House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed how she got the news that her husband Paul had been attacked, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper she was “very scared” when Capitol Police knocked on the door.
Pelosi said in her first sit-down interview since the attack that she was sleeping in Washington, DC, after arriving from San Francisco the night before when her doorbell rang in the early morning. “I see, I see it’s 5 [a.m. ET]They must be in the wrong apartment,” she said after Cooper asked her where she was when she got the news.
Pelosi rang the doorbell again and then she heard, “Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang on the door.”
“So I run to the door, and I’m so scared,” Pelosi said, describing what happened. “I see the Capitol Police and they say, ‘We need to come talk to you.'”
Pelosi explained how her thoughts immediately went out to her children and grandchildren.
“And I’m thinking of my children, my grandchildren. I never thought it was Paul because you know, I knew he wouldn’t go out, let’s say. And he came in. At that time, we didn’t know where he was,” she said.
The violent attack on Paul Pelosi has raised fresh concerns about threats of political violence driven by partisan hatred and increasingly hostile political rhetoric — and highlighted the potential vulnerability of lawmakers and their families in the current political climate.
During the interview, Nancy Pelosi revealed startling details about her husband’s condition after the brutal attack and discussed the aftermath of the incident.
Pelosi reflected on the fact that she appeared to be the intended target of the attack. “For me that’s the really hard part because Paul wasn’t the target and he’s paying the price,” he said. “He wasn’t looking for Paul, he was looking for me,” Pelosi later said.
During the interview, Pelosi grew emotional. “I was close to tears several times during this conversation,” he said.
A male assailant attacked Paul Pelosi with a hammer at the couple’s San Francisco home late last month, authorities said. According to court documents, the assailant was looking for the Speaker of the House.
David DePape II has been charged with six counts of attempted murder, burglary, assault, false imprisonment and threatening family members of a public official in connection with the attack. He has pleaded not guilty to all state charges.
After the attack, Paul Pelosi “had surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hand,” Nancy Pelosi’s spokeswoman Drew Hamill said in an earlier statement. He was discharged from the hospital last week.
Pelosi said her husband is “okay” but in a “long-term” recovery. “He knows he has to pace himself. He’s such a gentleman, he doesn’t complain,” she said.
The speaker said her husband’s operation was “successful, but it is part of his recovery from a severe 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 us “it didn’t pierce his brain, which could have been fatal.”
Pelosi said her husband is worried about the emotional toll of the attack on their children and grandchildren, but the family is worried about the toll on him.
“He is very concerned about the traumatic effect on our children and our 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 his mind during the attack, Pelosi said, “We haven’t had that conversation because any recapitulation of it is really traumatic.”
Asked if she wanted her husband to hear the 911 call, Pelosi said, “I don’t think so. I don’t know if I should. i don’t know That’s all there is to the legal side of things. ” But she added, “Paul saved his life with that call.”
Pelosi criticized how some Republicans reacted to the attack. “You see what the reaction is on the other side of it, to make fun of it, and really it’s shocking,” he said.
“There is a party in our democracy that doubts the outcome of elections, is fanning that flame and mocking any violence that takes place. It has to stop,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi later referred to the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. “I think there should be some message to Republicans to stop the misinformation,” he said. “This is without question the source of what happened on January 6th, and the denial of that and then the source of what is happening to me now.”
There has been bipartisan condemnation of the attack, but some prominent Republican figures have drawn scrutiny and criticism for their response.
Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake has argued that she is not taking it easy after receiving backlash for joking about a violent attack and drawing laughter from her supporters at a campaign event. Lake was asked at the event about his plans to increase school safety and said: “Protecting our children at school is not impossible. They act like they are. Nancy Pelosi, she’s covered when she’s in DC – apparently her house doesn’t have much cover. The audience and the moderator burst into laughter.
Nancy Pelosi indicated that the attack on her husband will lead to her decision about her own political future after the midterm elections.
One of the most powerful figures in national Democratic politics, Pelosi has earned a reputation as a formidable leader for House Democrats who wields significant influence over 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 regain the majority.
During Monday’s interview, Cooper asked Pelosi if she would confirm what she would do one way or another, saying, “There’s been a lot of talk about whether you’re going to retire if the Democrats lose the House.”
“The decision will be affected by what has happened in the last week or two,” the speaker said, adding, “Will your decision be affected in any way by the attack?” prompted Cooper to ask.
“Yes,” Pelosi said.
“Will it be?” Cooper asked.
“Yes,” Pelosi said again.
This story was updated with additional developments on Monday.
Despite the fact that many Republicans in Washington will take back the House, Pelosi said she is “optimistic” ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections, where control of Congress is at stake.
“I always own the field and get the vote and I’m confident we’ll be in that position. The races are close, some of them could go one way or the other,” he said.
Pelosi, however, warned that she feared democracy was on shaky ground and said that “our democracy is at the polls” in the election.
“What others are saying about undermining our elections is that I believe our democracy is in jeopardy, even now we continue,” Pelosi warned.
This story was updated with additional developments on Monday.