The suspect who attacked Paul Pelosi, House speaker’s husband, specifically targeted their San Francisco home, people familiar with the matter said Friday.
Pelosi was attacked and severely beaten by an assailant with a hammer. Pelosi, 82, suffered blunt force trauma to his head and body, according to the two people with knowledge of the investigation into the attack who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing probe. He was being treated by doctors for bruising, severe swelling and other injuries. Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill said he was expected to make a full recovery.
The assailant is in custody, and the motivation for the attack is under investigation, the spokesman said.
“The Speaker and her family are grateful to the first responders and medical professionals involved, and request privacy at this time,” Hammill said in a statement.
While the circumstances of the attack are unclear, the attack raises questions about the safety of members of Congress and their families as threats to lawmakers are at an all-time high almost two years after the deadly Capitol insurrection. The attack also comes just 11 days ahead of midterm elections in which crime and public safety have emerged as top concerns among Americans.
In 2021, Capitol Police investigated around 9,600 threats made against members of Congress, and members have been violently attacked in recent years. Former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head at an event outside a Tucson grocery store in 2011, and Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, was severely injured when a gunman opened fire on a Republican congressional baseball team practice in 2017.
Members of Congress have received additional dollars for security at their homes, but some have pushed for more protection as people have shown up at their homes and as members have received an increasing number of threatening communications.
Capitol Police, tasked with protecting congressional leaders, said Nancy Pelosi was with her protective detail in Washington at the time her husband was attacked. She’d just returned this week from a security conference in Europe and is due to keynote an advocacy event Saturday evening with Vice President Kamala Harris.
Capitol Police said the FBI and San Francisco police were also investigating. The suspect is in the custody of the San Francisco police.
Often at Nancy Pelosi’s side during formal events in Washington, Paul Pelosi is a wealthy investor who largely remains on the West Coast. They have five adult children and many grandchildren. The two have been married 59 years.
Earlier this year, Paul Pelosi pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence charges related to a May crash in California’s wine country and was sentenced to five days in jail and three years of probation.
Lawmakers from both parties reacted to the assault with shock and expressed their well wishes to the Pelosi family.
“What happened to Paul Pelosi was a dastardly act,” said Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “I spoke with Speaker Pelosi earlier this morning and conveyed my deepest concern and heartfelt wishes to her husband and their family, and I wish him a speedy recovery.”
“We have been to many events with the Pelosis over the last 2 decades and we’ve had lots of occasions to talk about both of our families and the challenges of being part of a political family. Thinking about the Pelosi family today,” tweeted Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that President Joe Biden has also been in contact with Nancy Pelosi.
“The President is praying for Paul Pelosi and for Speaker Pelosi’s whole family,” Jean-Pierre said. “This morning he called Speaker Pelosi to express his support after this horrible attack. He is also very glad that a full recovery is expected. The president continues to condemn all violence, and he asks that the family’s desire for privacy be respected.”