Skip to content
‘Where’s Nancy?’ Pelosi’s Husband Attacked in San Francisco Home
Go to my account

‘Where’s Nancy?’ Pelosi’s Husband Attacked in San Francisco Home

Paul Pelosi suffered serious injuries to his head and arms but is expected to recover.

Happy Halloween 🎃👻! And a happy Reformation Day to the Protestants in the room.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Brazil’s election authority declared on Sunday that leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva—known as Lula—won 50.9 percent of the vote in the presidential runoff election, defeating incumbent right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. It’s a comeback for Lula—the country’s former president who was jailed on corruption charges—and a narrow repudiation of Bolsonaro’s disastrous handling of the pandemic and limited popularity with women. Bolsonaro had yet to concede as of Monday morning, but some of his political allies—including House Speaker Arthur Lira—have begun encouraging him to do so. President Joe Biden congratulated Lula and Brazil on a “free, fair, and credible” election.
  • Russia’s foreign ministry announced Saturday the Kremlin had, for an “indefinite period,” suspended a United-Nations brokered deal that allowed grain and other agricultural products to leave Ukrainian ports, claiming Russia couldn’t guarantee ships’ safety. The move came shortly after (unconfirmed) reports emerged over the weekend alleging a Ukrainian drone attack on the Crimean port of Sevastopol had damaged the Admiral Makarov, Russia’s Black Sea flagship vessel. The Russian ministry’s statement also claimed—without evidence—that the United Kingdom helped Ukraine with the drone strike and was behind the explosions that damaged the Nord Stream undersea gas pipelines. The British government denied both assertions, arguing the “invented” accusation “says more about arguments going on inside the Russian Government than it does about the west.”
  • North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the ocean off its east coast Friday, the latest in a string of missiles North Korea has launched since late September to simulate nuclear strikes and retaliate for joint U.S.-South Korea defensive military exercises. South Korea’s annual 12-day “Hoguk” field exercises with U.S. troops ended Friday, and joint aerial exercises are scheduled to begin today.
  • At least 153 people died and 133 were injured in an alleyway stampede in a Seoul, South Korea nightlife district during Halloween festivities Saturday night. Police are investigating what caused the rush and whether businesses took required safety precautions. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol declared a one-week period of national mourning and about 100 businesses near the scene have agreed to close through Monday to limit crowds.
  • At least 132 people died and countless more were injured on Sunday when a pedestrian bridge over the Machchhu River in western India collapsed. The bridge—which was constructed in 1880—had reopened just days earlier after months of renovations, and was reportedly carrying higher-than-usual traffic as people traveled for holidays. The death toll is expected to rise as rescue work continues.
  • Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said two car bombings near a busy Mogadishu intersection on Saturday killed at least 100 people and injured 300 more. Al-Shabab, a terrorist affiliate of al-Qaida, claimed credit for the attack and said it was targeting the nearby Ministry of Education, blaming it for leading Somali children away from Islam. A truck bombing at the same intersection five years ago killed more than 500.
  • England’s National Health Service outlined a new clinical approach earlier this month, issuing an ​​interim service specification that says most pre-pubescent children experiencing gender incongruence—feeling their gender identity doesn’t match their biological sex—are experiencing a phase that “does not persist into adolescence.” The NHS announced plans to close the United Kingdom’s only gender-identity clinic dedicated to children this summer after an independent review found problems including insufficient record-keeping and an “unquestioning affirmative approach.” It will stand up regional centers instead, but reportedly will take a more cautious tack when treating minors’ gender dysphoria and ban the use of puberty blockers in minors outside of clinical trials.
  • The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index—the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation—showed prices rose 6.2 percent year-over-year in September. The so-called core index, stripped of volatile food and energy prices, rose 5.1 percent year-over-year—the fastest pace since March—while the Labor Department’s Employment Cost Index showed that wages last month grew at a slightly slower pace than they did a month earlier. The data keep Federal Reserve officials on track for yet another 75-basis-point interest-rate hike at their meeting later this week.

Yet Another Attempt at Political Violence

Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, pictured during a visit to the White House this year. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The United States has come perilously close to losing a number of high-ranking officials to assassination attempts in recent years. A congresswoman from Arizona. The House majority whip. The vice president. A Supreme Court justice. A congresswoman from Washington. A gubernatorial nominee. And now, the speaker of the House

At 8:40 a.m. ET on Friday, political reporters received a shocking statement from Drew Hammill—spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—in their email inboxes. “Early this morning, an assailant broke into the Pelosi residence in San Francisco and violently assaulted Mr. [Paul] Pelosi,” it read. “The assailant is in custody and the motivation for the attack is under investigation.”

The speaker was fortunate to have stayed in Washington Thursday night, as San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott told reporters Friday evening the crime—which took place a little before 2:30 a.m. PT on Friday—was “intentional” and “not a random act.” According to sources familiar, the invader—a 42-year-old man—broke into the Pelosis’ home through a back door armed with a hammer and zip ties, and was looking for the Democratic leader. “Where’s Nancy?” he allegedly shouted. “Where are you, Nancy?”

The assailant never found his intended target, but did stumble upon her 82-year-old husband. Paul Pelosi was reportedly able to trick the attacker into letting him use the bathroom where his phone was charging, allowing him to make a discreet emergency call. Scott, the police chief, later commended Heather Grives, Pelosi’s 911 dispatcher, crediting her with “reading between the lines” of his words and sussing out there was “something more” going on. Police treated the incident with more urgency than a typical wellness check, and, upon arriving at the scene, were able to wrestle the suspect to the ground and arrest him.

But not before he struck Pelosi with the hammer. Though the speaker’s husband is expected to make a full recovery, he was rushed to the hospital and reportedly underwent surgery for both a skull fracture and “serious injuries” to his right arm and hands. Nancy was spotted visiting Paul at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Sunday, and their son—Paul Pelosi, Jr.—told reporters things were “so far, so good.”

The attack was met with widespread, bipartisan condemnation. “Every person of good conscience needs to clearly and unambiguously stand up against the violence in our politics regardless [of] what your politics are,” President Joe Biden told attendees at a Pennsylvania Democratic Party event. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both said they were “horrified and disgusted” by the news, and former Vice President Mike Pence labeled the attack an “outrage,” adding that his “heart [is] with the entire Pelosi family.” In an interview on Breitbart radio over the weekend, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy decried the attack as “wrong” and said he had reached out to Pelosi privately to let her know he was praying for her husband. Even the typically belligerent Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed sympathy for the speaker’s husband, though she couched it in commentary about crime in “Joe Biden’s America.”

Biden argued those denunciations were insufficient. “You can’t just say, ‘I feel badly about the violence; we condemn it.’ Condemn what produces the violence,” Biden argued on Saturday, citing the stolen election talk spouted by some of his political opponents. “It affects people’s mentality. It affects how people think, particularly people who are not, maybe, as stable as other people.”

That description seems to fit David DePape, the alleged perpetrator of the attack who will be booked for attempted homicide, first-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, and a host of other charges. Multiple relatives told CNN he had been estranged from his family for years, and he was identified in the San Francisco Chronicle about a decade ago as “hemp jewelry maker” and pro-nudity activist. DePape’s purported stepdaughter alleged in a since-deleted blog post that he inflicted “extreme abuse” on her and her brothers, and a woman who claimed he used to housesit for her said he was living in a storage unit and struggling with hard drugs when she’d first met him. Another woman—who is in jail on charges of attempted child abduction—described herself as DePape’s “ex-life partner” and said he’d been “mentally ill for a long time” and “constantly paranoid.”

That paranoia appears to have driven him toward conspiratorial politics in recent months, as evidenced by a blog registered in August under his name and address. The website—which The Dispatch cannot verify, but was confirmed by DePape’s stepdaughter as belonging to him—featured hundreds of posts targeting a sadly familiar collection of groups: Jews, the media, black and transgender people, Democrats, pedophiles, public health officials, etc. He expressed support for Donald Trump and his claims of a stolen 2020 election, but he also wrote often about an “invisible fairy” that would occasionally transform into a bird and visit him. “They have lots of fairy houses but NONE of them are MADE for fairies,” he allegedly wrote, frustrated with Etsy’s selection. The website made no mention of Pelosi.

Still, several Democratic officials—and more than several pundits—sought to pin the blame for Friday’s violence squarely on heated rhetoric from the GOP and a demonization of the House speaker that dates back more than a decade. “The Republican Party and its mouthpieces now regularly spread hate and deranged conspiracy theories,” Hillary Clinton argued. “It is shocking, but not surprising, that violence is the result.”

Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, argued yesterday that such accusations were “unfair,” telling Fox News’ Shannon Bream calls to “fire Pelosi” or “take back the House” are in no way advocating violence and pointing to the White House’s initial refusal earlier this summer to forcefully condemn protests outside conservative Supreme Court justices’ homes. Pressed on a video he recently tweeted from a shooting range alongside a #FirePelosi hashtag, GOP Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota got in a testy exchange with CBS News’ Margaret Brennan. “When a Bernie Sanders supporter shot Steve Scalise, I never heard you or anyone else in the media trying to blame Democrats for what happened,” he protested. 

But some Republicans seemed to treat Friday’s attack as an opportunity to reflect on the danger inherent in our political moment. “I believe people in both parties are guilty of intense rhetoric that really leads to, you know, feed into these people who are deranged and create violence,” GOP Rep. James Comer—who is likely to lead the House Oversight Committee in the next Congress—said yesterday. “We need to try to do better in both parties, myself included.”

Worth Your Time

  • Nearly three years after SARS-CoV-2 reached the United States, we still don’t have a definitive answer to questions about where it came from—but this ProPublica/Vanity Fair investigation brings us much closer. “Vanity Fair and ProPublica downloaded more than 500 documents from the [Wuhan Institute of Virology] website, including party branch dispatches from 2017 to the present,” Katherine Eban and Jeff Kao write. “We sent key documents to experts on CCP communications. They told us that the WIV dispatches did indeed signal that the institute faced an acute safety emergency in November 2019; that officials at the highest levels of the Chinese government weighed in; and that urgent action was taken in an effort to address ongoing safety issues. The documents do not make clear who was responsible for the crisis, which laboratory it affected specifically or what the exact nature of the biosafety emergency was.” What does that mean? “There may have been an after-the-fact attempt to reframe the events of November 2019,” Eban and Kao write. “On Nov. 11, the WIV appeared to republish the entire section of its website containing institutional and party branch news. Every dispatch from prior dates, even those from several years earlier, contains underlying data that indicates that it was changed on that day.” This, according to former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger, “is the CCP’s version of ‘cover your ass.’”
  • With Saturday marking the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis’ end, Clive Irving recalls in New York Magazine covering what felt like the edge of Armageddon. “By mid-morning on Saturday, October 28, 1962, I believed that it was highly likely that I had no more than 48 hours left to live and that the same was true of the entire population of New York City,” Irving writes. “I was writing the magazine’s cover story. There was as yet no lede. I had to dictate my copy over the phone to an editor in London. Overseas calls had to be booked in advance through operators at White Plains. I decided to file a first tranche of the story as a chronology of the crisis up to that moment. Given the demand, I had to wait hours to get through. The editor asked the obvious question: How was this going to end? I said nobody knew, but if this was a first draft of history, it might also be the only one, if it even got on the presses. He did not find that funny.”
  • Though he helps his kids dress up in Halloween costumes, Wheaton College biblical scholar Esau McCaulley doesn’t forget the original purpose of the holiday: remembering the saints. “Long after the candy is gone and forgotten, our family will continue a tradition that we started some years ago. After dinner a few times per week, we open a book called ‘Lesser Feasts and Fasts’ that recounts the lives of the saints and discuss the saint of the day,” he writes in the New York Times. “I teach my children about saints from my own life. I tell them about my great-grandmother Sophia, who died when I was 3. Our family remembers her as a woman of deep piety whose faith allowed her to survive and even at some points thrive despite the racist laws and customs of Jim Crow Alabama. When asked how she bore it, her answer was always the same: ‘The good lord carried me through.’ I recount the stories about my still-living grandfather. The sweet old man with the ever-present smile is more complex than he appears. He traveled the back roads of Alabama, dodging sundown towns to preach revivals in rundown country churches for little more than gas money and a meal. The bittersweetness of their lives is my children’s birthright. The costumes may not last beyond the year, nor will the candy survive the autumn, but I trust the memory of the saints will abide.”

Presented Without Comment

Also Presented Without Comment

Toeing the Company Line

  • Jonah remembers his mother Lucianne in both Friday’s G-File and Saturday’s episode of The Remnant, paying tribute to a remarkable woman, telling funny stories, and reflecting on being “the last survivor of the world I came from.” For all her ambition and professional success, Jonah says, he always felt like her family mattered most. “At the end of the day, that’s all parents can do—make their kids feel like they come first,” he writes. “That’s what my mom did for me. And beneath all of my heartache and self-pity, there’s a granite bedrock of gratitude to her for that. She was an awesome mom—and she never let me think she wanted any accolade more than that one.”
  • Everyone on Twitter seems to have strong feelings one way or the other about Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media platform, but does the move have any actual off-line ramifications? “If you care a lot about what’s going on [on Twitter], there’s something wrong with you,” Nick writes in Friday’s Boiling Frogs (🔒). “But even if you don’t use the platform, most of the people with influence over the news you consume each day use it religiously. As a conduit for rapidly conveying information about developing events, it has no equal. Changes to Twitter could, in theory, affect media coverage and elite opinion in all sorts of ways.”
  • Chris provides another ratings roundup in Friday’s Stirewaltisms (🔒), this time listing his predictions for the House. “When it comes to what the overall composition of the House will be, it doesn’t really help to get bogged down in specific races,” he notes. “With 435 simultaneous contests, it’s better to think about the climate overall.”
  • And in Friday’s Uphill (🔒), Haley reports on Rep. Cori Bush’s atypical political memoir, which dives into the progressive member’s two gut-wrenching abortions and illuminates the medical trials many black women endure.
  • As the Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in a key affirmative action case, David argues in Sunday’s French Press that the cure for racial discrimination is not more racial discrimination. “The moral necessity of ameliorating the effects of centuries of discrimination is clear,” he writes. “The method for doing so is not.”
  • On the site over the weekend, Charlotte reported on the Biden administration’s shifting approach to Americans wrongfully detained overseas, Alec made the case that Die Hard is actually a Halloween movie, Peter Meilaender introduced readers to the greatest Christian author they’d never heard of, Father James Labosky reflects on the Second Vatican Council 60 years later, and Jacob Becker reviewed a book about the evolution of higher education policy in the mid-20th century.

Let Us Know

For your fellow commenters—definitely not Declan and Esther—who might be looking for last-minute Halloween tips, what’s the best costume you’ve ever come up with?

Correction, October 31, 2022: An earlier version of this newsletter misstated Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s name as Luiz Inácio da Silva.

Declan Garvey is the executive editor at the Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2019, he worked in public affairs at Hamilton Place Strategies and market research at Echelon Insights. When Declan is not assigning and editing pieces, he is probably watching a Cubs game, listening to podcasts on 3x speed, or trying a new recipe with his wife.

Esther Eaton is a former deputy editor of The Morning Dispatch.