Then she heard loud banging at her door.
“So I run to the door and I was very scared — I see the Capitol Police, and they said we have to come in to talk to you,” Pelosi said in the interview that aired Monday. “And I’m thinking, my children, my grandchildren. I never thought it would be Paul because I knew he wouldn’t be out and about, shall we say.”
What she would learn later was that Paul Pelosi, 82, had been attacked by a hammer-wielding assailant who broke into the couple’s San Francisco home. Paul Pelosi suffered a fractured skull and serious injuries to his right arm and hands, and is continuing to recover from the attack. He was released from a San Francisco-area hospital last week after undergoing surgery on his skull.
But in the early hours of Oct. 28, Nancy Pelosi and the police officers who had awakened her knew little of that. At one point in the interview, the House speaker had to pause to gather her emotions.
“At that time, we didn’t even know where he was or what his condition was,” she told CNN. “We just knew there was an assault on him, in our home.”
Asked about how the suspect, David Wayne DePape, had allegedly sought her, and not her husband, Pelosi said, “This is really the hard part.”
“Paul was not the target, but he’s the one who was paying the price,” she said.
Shortly after the attack, federal authorities filed attempted kidnapping and assault charges against DePape, 42. According to charging documents, DePape told authorities after his arrest that he had planned to “hold Nancy hostage” and break her kneecaps to send a message to other Democrats.
The Washington Post confirmed that a blog written under DePape’s name was filled with antisemitic writings and baseless claims as well as pro-Trump and anti-Democratic posts. It was registered to a house in Richmond, Calif., where DePape lives, according to neighbors.
Many Democrats have decried the attack as the consequence of Republicans’ inflammatory rhetoric, suggesting that Pelosi’s alleged attacker was influenced by right-wing misinformation and conspiracy theories spread by supporters of former president Donald Trump.
At a campaign event on the evening of Oct. 28, President Biden called on the crowd to “clearly and unambiguously” stand up against political violence.
“What makes us think one party can talk about stolen elections, covid being a hoax, [that it’s] all a bunch of lies, and it not affect people who may not be so well-balanced?” Biden said then. “What makes us think that it’s not going to alter the political climate? Enough is enough is enough.”
Like Biden, Pelosi saw a connection between Jan. 6 rioters who looked to find her in the Capitol, calling out her name, and the man who broke into her home.
“No question it’s the same thing,” she said.
Most Republican leaders have condemned the attack on Paul Pelosi — though many have also been quick to couple those denunciations with assertions of blame on “both sides” for the rise in political violence. Still others in the GOP have turned the brutal attack on the House speaker’s octogenarian husband into a punchline, joking about the incident at campaign events and sharing memes and Halloween costumes that mocked the assault.
Nancy Pelosi denounced the mocking of her husband’s attack. CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked her about former president Donald Trump and billionaire Twitter owner Elon Musk promoting conspiracy theories related to the incident.
“It’s really sad for the country that people of that high visibility would separate themselves from the facts and the truth,” she said.
Devlin Barrett, Eugene Scott and Holly Bailey contributed to this report.