Paul Pelosi was hospitalized after the assault, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi said. The House speaker was not in San Francisco at the time.
By Amanda Holpuch
Oct. 28, 2022 Updated 9:25 a.m. ET
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was hospitalized after he was assaulted by someone who broke into the couple’s residence in San Francisco early on Friday morning, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi said.
“Early this morning, an assailant broke into the Pelosi residence in San Francisco and violently assaulted Mr. Pelosi,” Drew Hammill, the spokesman, said in a statement on Friday. “The assailant is in custody and the motivation for the attack is under investigation.”
Mr. Hammill said Mr. Pelosi was expected to make a full recovery. Ms. Pelosi was not in San Francisco at the time of the attack, he said.
“The Speaker and her family are grateful to the first responders and medical professionals involved, and request privacy at this time,” Mr. Hammill said.
Amanda Holpuch is a general assignment reporter. @holpuch
This is how sick Trump's cultists have become. Terrorism and attempted assassination is a joke to them.
Well, I guess in a way that's better than their usual bullshit -- "Antifa did it to make Trump supporters look bad!" You have to be a conservative to have that kind of brilliant logic -- "Let's bust in, maybe kill a bunch of congressmen, and overthrow an election that we won to make Trump supporters look bad!"
Almost as illogical as their current thing -- "Drug dealers are putting fentanyl in Halloween candy!" Now, anybody can ask Pkr about this -- druggies are scrambling to get their latest fix, they're not just gonna give it away. So, in what way would it make aaaaaaaannny sense to dope kids' candy? First, you'd be risking a zillion years in prison if you were caught doing it, so there's gotta be some kind of HUGE level of reward for attempting it. So I guess they're hoping to hook kids on drugs? But if it's slipped into their candy, how are they supposed to know what they took or where they got it, or even if it was a drug? Absolutely none of it makes any sense if you think about it critically at all.
And yet all day I'm having to console Republican co-workers because Marjorie Taylor Greene's got 'em convinced some random psycho out there's going to dope up their kids. By all means, check your kids candy, it can't hurt, but -- and this is based on about a one-out-of-three ratio of Republicans I know -- if you're a Republican your kid's far more likely to end up abusing substances because of the shitty way y'all raise 'em than because any loonietoon decided it was worth wasting his fifty-bucks-a-pop (or whatever fentanyl costs -- Pkr can correct me on this, I'm sure) doses on some random kid that they just decided to risk decades in prison to roofie.
If people would just think this world wouldn't be so damn exhausting.
If you wanna know the real problem, it's conspiracy-peddlers feeding child-like conservatives bullshit with their "news." Yeah, tricker-fuggin'-treat, y'all.
Nancy Pelosi's husband 'violently assaulted' in their home by man with hammer
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, was “violently assaulted” with a hammer in their San Francisco home early Friday morning by a man who was reportedly looking for her.
At a press conference, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said officers were dispatched to the Pelosi home at approximately 2:27 a.m. local time. When they arrived, they observed Paul Pelosi, 82, and the suspect, identified as David Depape, struggling to gain control over a hammer.
“The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it,” Scott said. “Our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup and rendered medical aid.”
Both Pelosi and Depape were taken to a hospital. Depape was then arrested and will be charged with attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and several other felonies, Scott said.
According to multiple reports, the suspect shouted, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” during the assault.
A law enforcement source familiar with Nancy Pelosi’s security arrangements told Yahoo News that Paul Pelosi only has a security detail when he is with her, but that “there is an alarm system” in the home. Local police occasionally drive by, but there is no security detail for the house. Two sources said the incident is being looked at as suspected domestic terrorism based on “ideological comments the suspect made to law enforcement."
Pelosi “suffered blunt force trauma to his head and body and was being treated by doctors for bruising, severe swelling and other injuries,” the Associated Press reported.
Nancy Pelosi has been featured prominently in Republican attack ads leading into next month’s midterm elections and is a regular target in right-wing media. Last year, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said that “it will be hard not to hit” Pelosi with the speaker’s gavel if he takes over the position in 2023.
In 2019, the National Rifle Association’s American Rifleman magazine included a photo of the House speaker next to the headline “Target Practice.” Video taken during the Jan. 6 takeover of the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump shows rioters seeking Pelosi, with one shouting, “Where are you, Nancy? We’re looking for you,” and then singing, “Nancy? Oh, Nancy?” Some of the insurrectionists took over Pelosi’s office, with one, Richard Barnett of Arkansas, posing with his feet on a desk.
One of the counterterrorism officials told Yahoo News they’re “still reviewing [the attacker’s] social media and online footprint but I can tell you now the suspect appears to have promoted a range of conspiracy theories. Some of these are videos initially posted by the ‘MyPillow Guy’ Mike Lindell, or by others.”
The Pelosis' home, which is located in the affluent Pacific Heights neighborhood, has been a target of vandalism. Last year, their garage door was painted with graffiti, and unidentified suspects “left a pig’s head on the sidewalk,” San Francisco police said.
Social media, o' course, is full of right-wing twerps trying to bring up the nutcase who threatened Brett Kavanaugh... even though that guy didn't actually do anything and turned himself in for even considering it. Still a scumbag, but damnsure better than busting in and trying to brain an old man with a hammer because some howling-at-the-moon pillow salesman (and former crackhead, and probably degenerate gambler and tennis jerkoff ) tried to make a few bucks by telling him a bunch of bullshit.
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The man who allegedly attacked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband early Friday posted memes and conspiracy theories on Facebook about Covid-19 vaccines,
Wow, good thing we don't know anybody who does that, eh kids?
the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 attack.
David DePape, 42, was identified by police Friday as the suspect in the assault on Paul Pelosi at the speaker’s San Francisco home.
Two of DePape’s relatives told CNN that DePape is estranged from his family, and confirmed that the Facebook account – which was taken down by the social media company on Friday – belonged to him.
His stepfather, Gene DePape, said David DePape grew up in Powell River, British Columbia, and left Canada about 20 years ago to pursue a relationship that brought him to California.
“I really don’t know what to think,” the suspect’s uncle, Mark DePape, said of his nephew’s alleged attack on Pelosi. “Hopefully it’s a scam. I don’t want to hear something like that.”
Last year, David DePape posted links on his Facebook page to multiple videos produced by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell falsely alleging that the 2020 election was stolen. Other posts included transphobic images and linked to websites claiming Covid-19 vaccines were deadly. “The death rates being promoted are what ever ‘THEY’ want to be promoted as the death rate,” one post read.
DePape also posted links to YouTube videos with titles like “Democrat FARCE Commission to Investigate January 6th Capitol Riot COLLAPSES in Congress!!!” and “Global Elites Plan To Take Control Of YOUR Money! (Revealed)”
Two days after former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of killing George Floyd, DePape wrote that the trial was “a modern lynching,” falsely indicating that Floyd died of a drug overdose.
He also posted content about the “Great Reset” – the sprawling conspiracy theory that global elites are using coronavirus to usher in a new world order in which they gain more power and oppress the masses. And he complained that politicians making promises to try to win votes “are offering you bribes in exchange for your further enslavement.”
Always love those "George Floyd died of a drug overdose" folks. Like it just happened to happen while a cop was kneeling on his head. What an unlucky break for that cop, eh? It's so mean to throw a fella in prison over bad timing.
First on CNN: Attacker tried to tie up Paul Pelosi and said he was "waiting for Nancy," sources say From CNN's Jamie Gangel
The man who assaulted Paul Pelosi, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, tried to tie him up “until Nancy got home,” according to two sources familiar with the situation.
When the police arrived at the residence, the attacker said he was “waiting for Nancy.”
Damn lucky Nancy wasn't home.
And meanwhile, Republicans are trying to make excuses for this guy, making jokes about it, etc.
If I was a Republican, I'd've fuckin' quit 'em by now. There's no place in that party for respectable humans.
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So, when Republicans behave like terrorists, the REAL fault is the Democrats for not having taken enough precautions against violent Republicans.
This is like if I bust in your house and shoot you in your sleep, I try to tell the cops, "Yeah, but it's their fault, it wouldn't have happened if they'd be sleeping in a bulletproof vest. And anyway, why was I able to break in? It's their fault."
Also, she's fretting that people are making it a "partisan issue." Fucker comes in, trying to murder someone over Republican political rhetoric, and that's not supposed to be a "partisan issue"?
It should be laughable, but it's just too damn sick. The Republican party has become an asylum. This kind of crap should not be accepted by anybody, it should be laughed off the face of the fucking world if anybody even tries, and yet, nope, they just keep doing it. Not a one of 'em will call out lunacy even when they have their noses rubbed in it, because they're all too busy trying to "own the libs" even if they have to make fools of themselves to do it.
I don't know how anybody, with even an ounce of pride, can be a Republican anymore. I really don't. I get why some people might not like Democrats or whatever, but, shit, the Republican party's turned into an absolute JOKE. How is it not too embarrassing to be associated with? Jesus.
1. House Republicans practicing for a congressional baseball game were shot by a liberal supporter and volunteer for 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Sanders said he was “sickened” by the shooting and recently dismissed liberal charges that Trump was to blame for the Pittsburgh synagogue slayings.
2. In June, California Rep. Maxine Waters called for threats and attacks on Trump team members. She said, "If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere."
3, That month White House Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders and her group had to leave a Virginia restaurant because of their work for Trump. “This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals,” said Red Hen Restaurant co-owner Stephanie Wilkinson.
4. White House top aide Stephen Miller was verbally assaulted at two restaurants, in Washington, D.C.
5. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was met with shouting protesters at a Washington restaurant, part of a social media pop up assault.
6. Sen. Ted Cruz and his wife were shouted out of a restaurant by anti-Brett Kavanaugh protesters.
7. Democratic Sen. Cory Booker in July urged liberal advocates to “Get up in the face of some congresspeople."
8. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Democrats shouldn’t be civil to Republicans until they win back control of Washington. She said, “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.”
9. Former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder junked former first lady Michelle Obama’s call for civility when he told supporters, “Michelle always says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No. No. When they go low, we kick them,” he said, adding, “That’s what this Democratic Party’s about. We’re proud as hell to be Democrats. We’re willing to fight for the ideals of the Democratic Party.”
10. The wife of Republican Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said that she received a graphic text message with a video of a beheading after he voted to confirm Kavanaugh.
11. When Kavanaugh arrived at the Supreme Court to take his seat, a mob pounded on the doors of the Supreme Court. They yelled, “No justice, no peace.”
12. During the Kavanaugh hearings Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins received a potentially deadly mailing of Ricin at her home. “Today’s incident is the latest in a series of threats against Senator Collins, her loved ones, and her staff,” said spokeswoman Annie Clark.
13. The campaign manager for Nevada GOP gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt was allegedly grabbed and yanked by an operative for American Bridge 21st Century, funded by liberal billionaire George Soros. “Politics is a little bit aggressive these days, but this is just insane. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said a bruised Kristin Davison.
14. Two Minnesota state GOP candidates say they were attacked, punched by political foes.
15. The Laramie, Wyo. Republican office was set on fire, a case of arson, according to police.
Sooo... they live in a gated community (see: wall). The "dude" strolls in there... hits an old man in the head with a hammer (sounds serious... if not fatal?) then is arrested almost immediately. But is this about a mentally disturbed person? No... it's a partisan issue right before an election. Are people concerned about a random act of violence? No... they've bought into a story that wouldn't raise an eyebrow if it was their next door neighbor. You seriously have to be a useful idiot to buy into this shit.
Data shows a surge in homegrown incidents not seen in a quarter-century By Robert O'Harrow Jr., Andrew Ba Tran and Derek Hawkins April 12, 2021
"Domestic terrorism incidents have soared to new highs in the United States, driven chiefly by white-supremacist, anti-Muslim and anti-government extremists on the far right, according to a Washington Post analysis of data compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The surge reflects a growing threat from homegrown terrorism not seen in a quarter-century, with right-wing extremist attacks and plots greatly eclipsing those from the far left and causing more deaths, the analysis shows..."
Far-right terror poses bigger threat to US than Islamist extremism post-9/11
Since the 9/11 attack, far-right extremists killed more people in the US than did American-based Islamist fundamentalists
Joanna Walters and Alvin Chang in New York Wed 8 Sep 2021 03.00 EDT
Donald Trump’s presidency was bookended with two of the ugliest outbursts of white nationalist violence in 21st century America – the 2017 far-right rally in Charlottesville and the 2021 storming of the US Capitol by his extremist supporters to sabotage the election results.
Rightwing apologists like to downplay these lethal events or dismiss them as aberrations, but experts warn this is a form of terrorism that’s not only entrenched but has ballooned to become the biggest domestic security threat in the US.
In the 20 years since 9/11, far-right extremists killed more people in the US than did American-based Islamist fundamentalists – but that’s often hard to discern from the way the federal government has treated domestic terrorism.
Earlier this year an intelligence report warned that racially-motivated extremists posed the most lethal domestic terrorism threat. It said the menace was now more serious than potential attacks from overseas, and the White House published a strategy for countering the problem.
The FBI director, Christopher Wray, told Congress that the 6 January insurrection wasn’t an isolated event and “the problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a number of years”.
Wray added that white supremacists comprise “the biggest chunk of our domestic terrorism portfolio overall” and “have been responsible for the most lethal attacks over the last decade”.
But warnings of rightwing extremism have long been minimized. Attention and resources were overwhelmingly channeled into stopping al-Qaida or, later, Isis sending in terrorists from abroad or inspiring radical sympathizers within the US to attack the homeland..."
Here's one reason I'd quit the Republican party now even if I was dumb enough to think their ideas worked (which I don't because I live in Mississippi and see, firsthand, every damn day, the kind of lousy results they get): I'd be humiliated to be part of any group that's so ridiculously illogical... and so pathetically WEAK. They will believe ANY ridiculous thing to avoid accepting an obvious fact that's unflattering to them.
When that Bernie-bro asshole shot up the baseball game, the left didn't make excuses for the bastard. They condemned it and said, "This is not what we want." I'm glad the fucker's dead. And, luckily, that was a rare thing. Most of the other "attacks" on right-wingers are people getting pestered at lunch, rather than anything violent. Doesn't mean that's good, either -- it isn't -- but trying to say "the left is as bad as the right" is fucking ridiculous at this point, especially given the way the right reacts to the bad shit their people do. If you can't even own up to it happening, how can you be trusted to address it?
They've never heard of Occam's Razor. Instead, they've got Alex Jones's KKKrazy Straw.
They're still trying to run with the narrative that "antifa stormed the Capitol and tried to overthow an election the Democrats won just to make Trump supporters look bad." That's beyond silly, but the right's too weak to admit, "Yeah, we have some lousy people." When they make excuses for them, it makes it clear that they can't be trusted to kick those people out of their party. They make violent radicalized insurrectionists welcome by dodging and making excuses for them. They even call them "political prisoners" (while simultaneously still claiming they're "antifa," so figure out the magical logic of that) or that Ashole Babbitt was a "martyr" when she was climbing through a smashed window to get at congress people.
Now we have an 82-year-old man attacked with a hammer by a guy who came in with a pocket full of zip-ties, screaming "Where's Nancy?" Surely the right will own up to this guy being radicalized, right? Nope. Instead they go mountain-climbing over the obvious to concoct a conspiracy that shouldn't make any sense to them at all... but, because they're desperate and because they're miracle-believing idiots, somehow does.
So, it's too far-fetched for them to think that all the crazy rhetoric that gets spewed out of their propaganda outlets like a burst sewer pipe could have made this guy want to pull off an assassination. Just like the Jan. 6th rioters were doing (also screaming "where's Nancy?" ).
Instead, this is the story they find more plausible:
82-year-old Paul Pelosi was so interested in gay sex that he decided to risk a scandal by inviting a guy to his place. The guy, who's 42, was so eager to have sex with the octogenarian that he came running... even though he doesn't like Democrats at all, and spends most of his time spewing crazy conspiracy theories against them. Nope, this 82-year-old fella is just sooooo tempting that he's gonna overlook that he's Nancy Pelosi's husband. The guy shows up in the middle of the night with a pocket full of zip ties (hey, sometimes we're tying up our garden hoses for the winter and forget to empty our pockets afterward, it's totally plausible!) and yells "Where's Nancy!?" just to make sure the coast is clear. Then, in the middle of it all, there just happens to be a lover's spat that gets violent. Bad timing, yeah, but that doesn't mean it's a partisan thing! It's all just a big coincidence!
Honestly, how is it not humiliating to be a Republican at this point, seeing that kind of illogic thrown around. Even if you don't buy it, you're in the same car as all the people who do. It oughtta give ya pause.
And, even worse, they think it's funny. An 82-year-old man had to get brain surgery because of an attack, and Dinesh D'Souza goes and posts this shit:
Haw haw haw, right? And these folks want us to trust them with the reins of power... like they're not gonna build camps and exterminate everybody they hate. They're depraved. I honestly don't trust them not to commit atrocities anymore, when hitting an octogenarian with a hammer is not only acceptable, it's a punch line.
You also have Elon Musk buying Twitter because he wants to create "free speech" and a "marketplace of ideas," and then he tweets the "Paul Pelosi gay lover" theory. He deletes it later but, too late, Elon, you showed us your face. You're about as unbiased as 4Chan... and that's exactly what Twitter's going to turn into. What happened with the "free speech" thing, by the way? How did right-wingers celebrate it? By posting a 500% increase in the n-word. https://www.forbes.com/sites/shaunharper/2022/10/31/elon-musk-twitter-takeover-leads-to-n-word-and-hate-speech-increase-lebron-james-calls-for-action/?sh=4065fa2ddd99
How much of this ya gotta see before you accept that if you're a Republican and you're not a racist lunatic, then you're in the wrong fucking party and should get out?
For years now I've dealt with Republicans screaming "Libs just hate facts and logic!" Then you bring up religion and they go "No fair, religion doesn't count." Then they bring up absolute horseshit on just about any topic you can name -- George Floyd just happened to O.D. while a cop was kneeling on his neck, vaccines are more dangerous than diseases that kill millions, libs are drinking baby's blood to stay young, Joe Biden's a pedophile and shows it in public, etc. Just horseshit.
You know you're a crazy person if you cannot reject anything bad about someone you don't like, even if it's ridiculous. I remember way back during the Dubya days. Hardly anybody hated Dubya any more than I do, but I had a co-worker who came up crowing, "Dubya's drunk! He's gone back to drinking!" And she posted some link to some thing that was basically a lefty version of The Babylon Bee -- some satirical shit that she thought was actual news. I had to set her straight on that... even though I hated Dubya and would be happy to think just about anything bad about him. But, was it true? No. So, therefore ya gotta reject it.
Republicans nowdays, though? They don't seem capable of rejecting anything bad about anybody they don't like. If you get somebody to post that Joe Biden kicked a puppy to death, they'll all repeat it and swear it's true. And if you get footage of Trump mocking a disabled person, they'll swear that didn't happen.
Side note: I saw something pretty amazing on a wrestling documentary on Vice yesterday. One of the biggest wrestling feuds ever took place when Bob Roop said Steve Keirn's dad wasn't a war hero because he got caputred and was a P.O.W.
During National POW/MIA Recognition Day today, Richard Keirn would enjoy a lot of local attention as one of the best-known among former prisoners of war. He is one of only two Americans captured in both World War II and Vietnam.
But the son's wrestling transformation in 1976 would endear the father to a whole different circle of fans.
On Tampa television, bad guy wrestler Bob Roop called Richard Keirn a coward, and forced the good guy son to defend his dad's honor in a series of matches that set attendance records around the state.
According to wrestling archivist Barry Rose, in an era when the industry was thought legitimate, patriotic fans threatened Roop, at times with real guns.
And when Steve Keirn finally vanquished the evildoer, he became an American hero beloved by all, launching a career that lasted 40 years.
"The angle between Keirn and Roop was responsible for propelling Steve," Rose said. "The feud was white hot."
People literally wanted to murder Bob Roop for doing that. A dude in a parking lot pulled a gun on him.
And then, years later...
That's acceptable to 'em. They wanted to kill Bob Roop, but they voted for that guy... for the same thing. Amazing.
Here's a screenshot in case he smartens up and deletes it.
Y'know, I'm no fan of Steve Scalise at all, but I'd be cussing out anybody who had posted stuff like that after that asshole shot him. Some stuff just isn't funny, even if it happens to somebody you don't like.
How are we supposed to trust the country to people who think it's funny when their opponents are almost murdered? If Nancy had been home and that guy had killed both of them, Republicans would probably be hee-hawing about it and going "Do Schumer next!" instead of trying to rein back in a monster they've created.
They're not trying to address it because they're too busy conditioning their base to do this kind of shit. It's what they want now. They think "God" will allow them to do it. They WANT more violence. They can't wait.
PkrBum wrote:Surprised two grown men in SF wearing tighty whities hammering each other made the news.
See, here we go with another absolute piece of shit laughing about assassination attempts. Just making my case for me. Like we really needed another example of what being a right-winger turns you into.
First, he's spreading misinformation: the "underwear" story's been debunked for days now but he wouldn't know it because he doesn't read actual news. He's a fucking parrot who hears things and repeats them because he can't think, he lacks the equipment.
But that's the mild part: he's also making childish "fag" jokes. And about an 82-year-old old man who almost got murdered.
And, just to make it even more pathetic, he's so unoriginal that he's recycling Dinesh D'Souza's shitty "fag" joke -- posted earlier in the thread -- because low-watt here can't even think up his own material. The only thing more pitiful than being a bigoty asshole yourself is being some other bigot asshole's echo. I fully understand why you've got no pride, Pkr... it's because you have absolutely nothing to be proud about. I just don't know why it seems so important to you that we know you don't.
Anyway, I try not to reply to this parasitical scumbag anymore because he's proven himself, time and time again, to be an absolutely worthless waste of everyone's time... and not only that, I think engaging him helps somebody with a sick mind get off on some kind of masochism trip, because I really don't know why else he'd be here. But I'm replying this time just to preserve what he said in the quote. Because if he's got any decency in him anywhere -- and rest assured, he doesn't -- then he'll probably want to delete his post later... and I don't think he deserves that chance. He ought to have to own it.
So there ya go. That's who he is. Anybody really surprised?
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More on the growing levels of Republican sadism. This is just a preview of what their "Christian nationalism" would result in. If you aren't one of 'em, they'll murder you and make fucking jokes about it.
Embracing the politics of sadism, the GOP base hits a new low. By Tom Nichols
November 1, 2022
This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here.
January 6 was not an outlier. Laughing over a hammer attack on an old man, the GOP has completed its transition from a political party to a brutal mob.
A Spreading Cancer
It might seem late in the game to point to any one event as a final or conclusive moment in the decline of the Republican Party. And I have no doubt that if the GOP returns to power this winter, its worst members will find new ways to appall decent people while gamboling about in jester’s bells for its base. (As my Atlantic colleague Adam Serwer has put it so well, “The cruelty is the point.”) But the reaction among Republican elected officials and their conservative-media life-support system to the beating of Paul Pelosi—by a man named David DePape, who was charged with attempting to kidnap Speaker Nancy Pelosi and admitted to planning to torture her—feels different.
I am not alone; my friend Mona Charen, among others, also senses that this event marks a new level of depravity in the GOP. I have struggled for a few days to decide why, exactly, this moment seems like an inflection point. In terms of actual damage, January 6 was far worse than one violent crime in San Francisco. Republican leaders—and here I will leave aside Donald Trump, who is in a class of hideousness all by himself—have said far worse things over the past five years. But a parade of Republicans somehow think that an unhinged, hammer-wielding intruder putting an old man in the ICU is funny.
We might expect such inanity from pathetic attention hounds such as Donald Trump Jr. and the usual conservative troll-pundits. Some of them tried to get a rumor about Paul Pelosi trending and briefly succeeded, especially when Twitter’s new boss, Elon Musk, characteristically decided that he just had to get involved in something he knows nothing about and amplified a dodgy story about it on Twitter. (He later deleted the tweet.) GOP leaders, however, stayed silent.
But that didn’t stop people in both right-wing politics and media from laughing it up over the Pelosi attack, including the Arizona gubernatorial contender Kari Lake, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, and sitting Representative Clay Higgins. Others have joined in trying to obfuscate or deflect attention from the intent of the attack; Senator John Cornyn of Texas even lamely tried to raise immigration as an issue. (DePape is here on a long-expired visa from Canada.)
One might think that it would be easy for America, as one nation, to condemn an attempt to kidnap the woman second in line to the presidency that resulted in the beating of her husband with a hammer. As Ernest Hemingway would say: Pretty to think so. Instead, we have seen the dark heart of the Republican Party, with a reaction so callous, so flippantly sadistic, so hateful, that it all feels irredeemable.
Of course, Republicans have put on a master class in whataboutism over the past few days. What about the people who laughed at Rand Paul’s neighbor giving the Kentucky senator a beatdown? What about Kathy Griffin’s ugly photograph of her holding up a mask representing Trump’s severed head? And, most of all, what about James Hodgkinson, who shot at a group of GOP political officials and nearly killed Representative Steve Scalise? These are all said with triumph, as if the transformation of the GOP into a violent mob is rendered moot by these examples.
I disapproved of laughing off the attack on Rand Paul and the Griffin photo shoot. (I am allergic to even the implication of violence against any president.) But I also don’t think these are neatly comparable cases; Paul, a middle-aged man, was attacked by a neighbor angry over a pile of brush in Paul’s yard, and Griffin paid a significant career price for her tasteless stunt.
Hodgkinson and DePape, by contrast, do seem alike, a similarity exploited by Republicans. Both were troubled and unstable men who spent a lot of time on the internet and settled on political figures as their intended target. That’s fair as far as it goes.
The problem is that the GOP and their media footmen are flooding the zone with hate, and creating more potential DePapes every day. There is no equivalence here; it’s not liberals who are threatening election officials, stalking ballot boxes with guns, or barraging Congress’s phones and inboxes daily with threats. January 6 should have been our warning that these messages have real power, and yet that terrible day has already receded from our collective memory.
To see how the right wing is deranging more people every day, consider the case of Scott Haven, a Utah insurance salesman. In a new book, the journalist Robert Draper notes that Haven was convicted in 2019 of making threats in many of the almost 4,000 calls he made over two years to Democrats in Congress, singling out Maxine Waters, Dick Durbin, and Jerry Nadler:
He focused his attention on them because Limbaugh and Hannity had themselves done so—even going so far as to supply their Washington office numbers while on the air. Haven dutifully jotted them down. Then he began calling, sharing sentiments like the following:
“Tell the son of a bitch we are coming to hang the fucker!”
Later, as he pleaded guilty in court, Haven trembled with regret. So did many of the insurrectionists of January 6. Perhaps David DePape will do so as well one day. But the members and staff on the Hill who lived in fear of Haven’s threats will not get those years back; the people killed and injured in the Capitol breach cannot be made whole; Paul Pelosi’s body is no less shattered.
Sadistic glee in harming others is a sin (at least in my faith). But it is also a social cancer, a rot that can spread quickly and kill the spirit of democracy. If all attempts at reason and all offers of friendship fail, the rest of us should shun those whose dark hearts encourage them to revel in such poison. Unfortunately, millions of our fellow citizens seem poised to vote many such people into power. The darkness is spreading.
Also, this Twitter thread debunks all the Republican conspiracy-theory bullshit. Not that it'll stop them from spreading it -- they don't care about the truth and will crawl over a thousand truths to get to one nasty lie if it means they get to call somebody a "queer" and snicker about it -- but, just in case anyone needs a handy place to bring up the information.