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Washington (AFP) – Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said on Saturday that she and her family were “heartbroken and traumatized” by the violent attack on her husband at their California home.
An intruder had broken into the couple’s San Francisco home early Friday morning and attacked the speaker’s husband Paul Pelosi with a hammer, fracturing his skull.
“Our children, our grandchildren and I are heartbroken and traumatized by the potentially fatal attack on our Pop,” Pelosi said of the incident in a letter posted to Twitter on Saturday evening.
“We are grateful for the quick response from law enforcement and emergency services, and for the life-saving medical treatment he is receiving,” she said in her first commentary on the attack.
Paul Pelosi, 82 – who underwent surgery and is recovering in hospital – was home alone as his wife worked in Washington.
“His condition continues to improve,” Pelosi said in the letter.
San Francisco police said officers found the attacker at the couple’s home just before 2:30 a.m. (0930 GMT), where he and Paul Pelosi were fighting over a hammer.
“The suspect ripped Mr. Pelosi’s hammer off and violently assaulted him with it,” San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott told reporters, later claiming that Paul Pelosi had been punched at least once. .
Police identified the assailant as 42-year-old David Depape. Scott said Depape will be charged with attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and other crimes.
“It wasn’t a random act,” Scott said. “It was intentional, and it’s wrong.”
The suspect “demanded to confront me and brutally attacked my husband Paul,” Pelosi – who is second in line after the presidency – said in Saturday’s letter.
“This speech produces violence”
US media, citing family sources, said the intruder told Paul Pelosi he would tie him up and wait for the speaker to come home.
Local media had earlier reported that the intruder shouted “Where’s Nancy?” during the assault, which took place less than two weeks before the midterm elections.
And speaking after voting in his home state of Delaware on Saturday afternoon, President Joe Biden said he “didn’t know for sure, but it appears this (assault) was aimed at Nancy.”
He again denounced the attack, calling for increasingly polarizing political rhetoric.
“You can’t condemn the violence unless you condemn these people who keep claiming the election wasn’t real, that it’s stolen — all the malarkey that was put out there to undermine democracy,” did he declare.
“This discourse produces violence,” he added.
The suspect, who the Wall Street Journal said broke in through a sliding glass door, citing law enforcement officers, had espoused far-right positions on social media, one of the officers said the newspaper.
Several Republicans have also spoken out against the attack, including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, who was himself shot during a congressional baseball practice in 2017 and said he was “disgusted” by Friday’s attack.
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