Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Pelosi attacker was immersed in 2020 election conspiracies

Police haven’t disclosed the motive in attack but Democrats point to toxic rhetoric.

David DePape, center, holds a recording device amidst a throng of people in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO — A man accused of breaking into the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacking her husband inhabited a vivid and resentment-fueled world of conspiracy while living a fringe existence even by the standards of the open-minded San Francisco Bay Area.

David DePape, who is in custody and facing charges that include homicide and elder abuse for the attack on Paul Pelosi at the couple’s home, also appears to have embraced falsehoods about the outcome of the 2020 election and political conspiracies, according to his social media and online posts.

The connection to the election falsehoods promoted by former President Donald Trump and his supporters immediately led many to conclude that the 42-year-old DePape was motivated by politics — though police have not said what motivated him to break into the couple’s Pacific Heights house calling out “Where’s Nancy?” before dawn Friday.

“This attack is terrifying, and the direct result of toxic right-wing rhetoric and incitement against Speaker Pelosi and so many other progressive leaders,” said state Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat who had encountered DePape before the attack. “Words have consequences, and without question, the GOP’s hate and extremism has bred political violence.”

Police said DePape wrestled a hammer from Pelosi inside their home in the Pacific Heights neighborhood and struck him several times. The 82-year-old husband of the speaker was hospitalized but expected to recover.

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