House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed how she got word that her husband, Paul, had been attacked, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she was “very scared” when there was a knock on the door from Capitol Police.
Pelosi said in her first sit-down interview since the attacks that she was sleeping in Washington, DC, after the night before from San Francisco when her doorbell rang the next morning. “I looked up, I saw that 5 [a.m. ET]they must be in the wrong apartment,” he told Cooper after he asked where he was when he got the news.
Pelosi then said the doorbell rang again and she heard “bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang on the door.”
“So I ran to the door, and I was really scared,” Pelosi said, explaining what happened. “I saw the Capitol Police and they said, ‘We need to come talk to you.'”
Pelosi explained how her thoughts go out to her children and grandchildren.
“And I thought of my son, my grandson. I never thought that it was Paul because, you know, I knew he wouldn’t come out and about, should we talk. So they came. At that time, we didn’t know where he was,” he said.
The violent attack on Paul Pelosi has raised new concerns about the threat of political violence fueled by partisan animosity and increasingly hostile political rhetoric — and highlights the potential vulnerability of lawmakers and their families in today’s political climate.
During the interview, Nancy Pelosi revealed amazing details about her husband’s condition after the brutal attack and discussed the aftermath of the incident.
Pelosi also reflected on the fact that she seemed to be the target of the attack. “For me this is the difficult part because Paul was not the target and he is the one who paid the price,” he said. “He’s not looking for Paul, he’s looking for me,” Pelosi said later.
At points during the interview, Pelosi became emotional. “I’ve been close to tears several times in this conversation,” she said.
Paul Pelosi was attacked with a hammer at the couple’s home in San Francisco by a male assailant late last month, authorities said. The assailant was looking for the DPR speaker, according to court documents.
David DePape was charged with six counts related to the attack, including attempted murder, burglary, assault, false imprisonment and threatening a family member of a public official. He pleaded not guilty to all state charges.
Following the attack, Paul Pelosi underwent surgery “to repair a fractured skull and serious injuries to his right hand and arm,” Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Nancy Pelosi, said in an earlier statement. He was released from the hospital last week.
Pelosi said her husband is “doing fine” but is in a “long” recovery. “He knows he has to pace himself. He’s a man who doesn’t complain,” he said.
The spokeswoman said the operation her husband underwent “was a success, but it was only one part of the recovery from a drastic head injury.”
“It takes time,” he said, reflecting on the road ahead.
Describing her husband’s head injury, Pelosi said the good news came when doctors “told him it wasn’t brain damage, which could have been fatal.”
Pelosi said her husband worries about the emotional toll the attack could take on her children and grandchildren, while the family worries about the toll on her.
“He is very concerned about the traumatic effect on our children and grandchildren, and we are concerned about the traumatic effect on him,” she said.
Asked if she had talked to her husband about what was going through her mind during the attack, Pelosi said, “We haven’t had that conversation because anything in retrospect was really traumatic.”
When asked if she wanted to hear her husband call 911, Pelosi said, “I don’t think so. I don’t know if I should. I just don’t know. It’s all a matter of law. But she added, “Paul saved his own life with that call. ”
Pelosi was critical of how some Republicans responded to the attack. “You see what the reaction is on the other side to this, to make fun of it, and it’s really traumatized,” he said.
“In our democracy there is a party that doubts the results of the election, stokes that fire, and mocks all the violence that exists. That has to stop,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi then referred to the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. “I think there needs to be a message to Republicans to stop the disinformation,” he said. “It is without question the source of what happened on January 6, and that denial, then the source of what happened to me today.”
There has been bipartisan condemnation of the attack, but some prominent Republican figures have drawn scrutiny, and criticism, for their response.
Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, Kari Lake, said she was unaware of the violent attack after she received backlash for joking about it and drawing laughs from supporters at a campaign event. Lake was asked on the show about his plans to improve school safety and he said: “It’s not impossible to protect our kids in school. They act like that. Nancy Pelosi, well, she had protection when she was in DC – apparently her house didn’t have a lot of protection. Crowd and the moderator laughed.
Nancy Pelosi also indicated that the attack on her husband will influence her decision about her own political future after the midterm elections.
Pelosi, one of the most powerful figures in national Democratic politics, has earned a reputation as a formidable leader of House Democrats who wields significant influence in her caucus. But speculation is intensifying in Washington about what Pelosi’s next move will be, and whether she will decide to retire, if Republicans win back the majority.
During Monday’s interview, Cooper asked Pelosi if she would confirm that she had made a decision, one way or another, about what she would do, saying that “there has been a lot of discussion about whether you will retire if the Democrats lose the House. .”
The speaker said that “the decision will be affected by what has happened in the last week or two,” prompting Cooper to ask, “Will your decision be affected by the attack in any way?”
“Yes,” Pelosi said.
“It will?” Cooper asked.
“Yes,” Pelosi said again.
This story has been updated with additional developments Monday.
Pelosi said she was “optimistic” ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections in which control of Congress is at stake, despite the fact that many in Washington predict Republicans will take back the House.
“I’m always about having a home and getting out the vote and I believe that we are in that position. The race is close, some of them can go one way or the other,” he said.
Pelosi warned, however, that she feared democracy was on shaky ground, and said that “our democracy is on the ballot” in the election.
“I believe that our democracy is in jeopardy because of what others are saying about undermining our elections, even now as we move forward,” Pelosi warned.
This story has been updated with additional developments Monday.