Paul Pelosi, husband of home president Nancy Pelosi, was att*cked with a hammer at the couple’s San Francisco home on Friday, October 28.
Police arrested the suspect att*cker, 42-year-old David Wayne DePape, and Paul Pelosi was rushed to hospital with a broken skull.
Following the att*ck on Paul Pelosi, reports surfaced that DePape was mired in right-wing conspiracy theories, including the claim that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen.
Republican responses varied considerably, ranging from blatant condemnation to using the att*ck to target Biden’s crime story before the semester.
Immediately after the incident Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell was among Republicans who condemned the att*ck. He said he was “horrified and disgusted” by this incident and hoped that Paul Pelosi would “recover completely”.
Republican whip Steve Scalise said on Twitter: “Let’s be clear: there is no place for violence in this country. I am praying for the full recovery of Paul Pelosi.
Using the att*ck to track down Joe Biden’s crime records
Some Republicans used the att*ck to criticize President Joe Biden’s crime files six months ago.
On the day of the att*ck, Kari Lake, the Republican Arizona governor candidate, said the att*ck demonstrated “the policies of the left that made our streets more dangerous” during his appearance on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show.
Also on October 28, Devin Nunes, CEO of Trump Media & Technology Group, condemned the att*ck while speaking on the right-wing Newsmax channel.
But he linked it to more general problems of law and order. He said, “Where were the Democrats and Pelosi when the people were away from my home with my young daughters at home and my wife alone? Where were they when they targeted my 98-year-old grandma? Where were they when Antifa showed up on my family’s farm?
Marjorie Taylor Greene took to Twitter and blamed President Joe Biden for the crime rate in the US
She wrote: “Violence and crime are rampant in Joe Biden’s America. It shouldn’t have happened to Paul Pelosi. It shouldn’t have happened to innocent Americans. It shouldn’t have happened to me. day).”
Promotion of conspiracy theories and jokes
After the att*ck, many unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about Paul Pelosi began to circulate on the Internet, and Donald Trump also questioned the events of October 28.
Dinesh D’Souza, producer of 2000 Mules, who falsely claims the 2020 presidential election was rigged, said: “The Left is going crazy because not only are WE NOT BUYING Paul Pelosi’s crazy, incredible story, but we even laugh at it how ridiculous it is. “.
During an appearance on Chris Stigall’s conservative radio show, Trump himself described the incident as “very sad” before questioning police reports of the break-in.
The former president said: “Strange things have happened in this household in the last few weeks.
“You know, we probably better not talk about it. outside.”
Elon Musk was widely criticized after he shared a baseless conspiracy theory about the att*ck that was shared by right-wing Twitter users. He added: “There is a small possibility that there may be more to this story than meets the eye.”
Twitter’s new boss later deleted the post without explanation.
Donald Trump Jr. was widely criticized after sharing a photo of a hammer and a pair of men’s underwear with the words “I prepared my Paul Pelosi costume for Halloween.”
While retweeting the photo, he also posted a joke against Hunter Biden. Trump Jr. said: “The Internet remains invincible … Also, if you change your hammer to red feather boa, you can immediately become Hunter Biden.”
However, he later called the att*ck “shameful” after being at ease.
New York Republican Claudia Tenney posted a photo of men posing with hammers on Halloween on Twitter, adding: “LOL [laugh our loud]”.
Conservative commentator Charlie Kirk, co-founder of Turning Point USA, has suggested that an “amazing patriot” should pay to save DePape.
Using the incident to promote gun ownership
Speaking to a Trump rally in Iowa on Thursday, House of Representatives Majorie Taylor Greene said the att*ck was carried out “by a drug-induced illegal alien,” adding that “Paul Pelosi should own the gun and shoot the att*cker.”
What the Republican reaction means
Newsweek he spoke to many US policy experts at University College London about the Republican response and its importance for the future of US policy.
Dr. Julie Norman, co-director of the university’s Center for American Policy, said: Newsweek: “Many prominent figures, Democrats and Republicans, quickly condemned the att*ck on Paul Pelosi. But the fact that it was not ubiquitous across the country underscores the bleak state of US policy at the present time.
“Even the relatively low bar of condolences has been replaced by some on the right by advocating conspiracy theories … The fact that a republic cannot or does not want to take a firm stance against political violence does not bode well for a party or a country.”
Professor Ivan Morgan, an expert on the US Presidency of today, linked the att*ck to a reduction in the adherence to “democratic norms” by some members of the ruling party and warned that more violence could ensue.
He said Newsweek“The fact that the att*cker intended to seriously harm the President of the US Congress if she had been at home at the time calls for clear condemnation from all levels of each party. The comments of some republicans are quite shameful and a slander of democracy.
“The Republican Party has become a thoroughly Trump party since 2016, whose respect for democratic norms has waned. Refusing to accept the result of fair elections violates the essence of democracy.
“I am concerned the situation will worsen as far as the escalation of political violence is concerned. It’s fairly trivial that Republicans need to realize the danger their Party is helping to fuel them, but there is no other way to portray it. “
A similar view was expressed by Dr. Colin Provost, associate professor of public policy, who noted the role that conspiracy theories played in the radicalization of the att*cker.
The researcher said: “It seems that the consumption of right-wing misinformation and conspiracy theories was a major factor in David DePape’s att*ck on Paul Pelosi. Conspiracy theories in particular dehumanize political opponents and portray them as evil monsters, and therefore people with whom negotiation or compromise is impossible.
“In the aftermath of the att*ck on Pelosi, passive support for such violence can be seen in the responses of some GOP elites that do not recognize the toxic hatred that such att*cks normalize.”
Newsweek contacted the Republican Party for comment.
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