Nancy Pelosi Says Attack on Husband Will Affect Her Political Future

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Politics|Nancy Pelosi Says Attack on Husband Will Affect Her Political Future

In her first televised interview since the attack, Ms. Pelosi also spoke about the first frightening moments after she learned what happened to her husband, Paul Pelosi.

Nancy Pelosi said the attacks on her husband last month and on the Capitol last year were “fueled by misinformation.”
Credit...Jamie Kelter Davis for The New York Times

Nov. 7, 2022

In her first televised interview since her husband, Paul Pelosi, was violently attacked, Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the first terrifying moments after she learned from the Capitol Police what had happened inside their San Francisco home on Oct. 28, and said that the traumatic episode would affect her decision about her political future.

“I never thought it would be Paul,” Ms. Pelosi, 82, appearing visibly emotional, said in a sit-down interview with Anderson Cooper that aired on CNN on Monday night.

When Mr. Cooper asked if she had made a decision on whether to retire if Democrats lose the House, Ms. Pelosi said that her decision would be affected by the attack, but she did not specify how.

Ms. Pelosi said that on the morning of the attack, she was asleep at her home in Washington when she heard the doorbell ringing and knocking on her door.

Capitol Police officers told her that Mr. Pelosi had been attacked in their San Francisco home and was hospitalized, she said. She immediately got on a plane and traveled to a hospital in San Francisco where her husband lay in recovery after sustaining a skull fracture that had thankfully “not pierced his brain,” Ms. Pelosi said.

The interview came more than a week after Mr. Pelosi, 82, was injured when an intruder hit him on the head with a hammer early in the morning on Oct. 28 before being tackled and restrained by police officers. The intruder had demanded to see Ms. Pelosi, according to the authorities.

Mr. Pelosi underwent surgery for a skull fracture and serious injuries to his hands and right arm. Doctors said they expected him to make a full recovery.

The man charged in the attack, David DePape, later told the police that he saw Ms. Pelosi as “the ‘leader of the pack’ of lies told by the Democratic Party” and that he wanted to break her kneecaps if she lied to him.

Mr. DePape was charged by federal prosecutors with attempting to kidnap Ms. Pelosi and assaulting a relative of a federal official. He has pleaded not guilty to several state felony charges.

The authorities have been examining what appeared to be Mr. DePape’s extensive online presence, which included angry rants and extremist views.

In the CNN interview, Ms. Pelosi said there was a parallel between the actions and beliefs of Mr. DePape and those of the thousands of people who participated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol last year, describing both as flames that were “fueled by misinformation.”

“This is not a path that we can continue on,” she said. “And we want people to run for office, local or in every way, and you can’t say to them, ‘You’re risking the safety of your families by going forward.’”

Ms. Pelosi’s comments came on the eve of Election Day, with candidates across the country making their final pitches to voters as one of the most consequential midterm campaigns in modern American history draws to a close.

“A vote tomorrow,” she said, “is a vote to defend our democracy.”

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