Author: LISA MASCARO (Correspondent of the AP Congress)
WASHINGTON (AP) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that a brutal att*ck on her husband would influence her decision to stay in Congress after the midterm elections, as she called on Republicans to end the disinformation that fuels political violence and urged Americans to “vote in defense of our democracy ”.
In an extensive interview with CNN, the Democrat leader did not reveal her plans for the future if the party loses a majority in the House, as many believe Pelosi and others will step down. Known for her stiff determination, Pelosi’s voice broke with emotion and she admitted she was “close to tears”, describing the trauma of the att*ck on her 82-year-old husband and the sadness she felt for the country.
“I am sad for my husband, but also for our country,” said Pelosi.
“I just want people to vote and we will respect the election result and I hope the other side will, too,” she said.
Pelosi was speaking in public for the first time on the eve of the election, as Democrats battle against the surge of Republican enthusiasm to maintain control of Congress at a time of increasing threats of violence against lawmakers and concerns over the US elections.
When asked if she had made the decision to remain in Congress, Pelosi, who rarely discussed her future publicly, only revealed that the att*ck on her husband had affected her thinking.
“I have to say my decision will be influenced by what happened in the last week or two,” said Pelosi on CNN.
Leading Republican leaders, including allies of Donald Trump and even Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, ridiculed and downplayed the att*ck, despite the seriousness of the assault on her husband.
“There has to be some news for the Republicans to stop disinformation,” she said. “We want the country to heal.”
Pelosi’s husband, Paul, was beaten 11 days before the election by intruders, officials say, broke into his native San Francisco and sought out an orator before hitting him on the head with a hammer at least once. The intruder told police he wanted to speak to Marshal Pelosi and “break her kneecaps” as a lesson for other Democrats. Paul Pelosi suffered a fractured skull and other injuries in what authorities said was a deliberate political att*ck.
“For me, this is the hardest part because Paul was not the target and he pays the price,” said Pelosi.
Pelosi said the hammer hit her husband in two places but did not pierce his brain. Pelosi said his recovery was “on the right track,” but admitted it was “a long way.”
Long the target of Republican att*cks, Pelosi said the att*ck on her husband for nearly 60 years, echoing the January 6, 2021 Capitol Uprising, was fueled by disinformation “for which there is no place in our democracy.”
Pelosi said she slept in her apartment in Washington, just returned from San Francisco, when she heard a “boom, bang, bang, bang” sound on her door. It was around five in the morning on October 28.
“I was very scared,” Pelosi told CNN. “I am thinking of my children, my grandchildren. I never thought it was going to be Paul.
“We didn’t even know where it was or in what condition,” Pelosi said in the interview excerpt. “We just knew there had been an att*ck on him in our house.”
David DePape, 42, is being held without bail in San Francisco after pleading guilty to attempted m*rder and other allegations in San Francisco. He also charges him with federal charges of attempting to kidnap an elected official.
An activist on the sidelines who followed the conspiracy theories broke into Pelosi’s house, woke Paul Pelosi, and demanded to speak to “Nancy,” authorities said. When Paul Pelosi told the intruder his wife was out of town, DePape said he would wait. After Paul Pelosi called 911, officers arrived to see two men fighting over a gavel before DePape hit Paul Pelosi in the head with a hammer at least once.
DePape later told police that he wanted to kidnap the speaker and threatened to injure her “to show other members of Congress that actions had consequences.”
The authorities’ harsh narrative in court files on the case contrasts with the jokes and innuendo that conservatives and some Republican officials have spread about Pelosis in the aftermath of the att*ck.
Pelosi has said little since the att*ck on her husband, shortening her campaign appearances, but spoke on a virtual phone to grassroots activists late last week after Paul Pelosi was discharged from the hospital.
“People say to me, ‘What can I do to make you feel better?’ I say: “Vote!” Pelosi told callers.
Her voice sometimes broke as she spoke of her husband’s recovery: “It will be a long way.”
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