As condolences pour in from around the spectrum over the Paul Pelosi hammer attack that has placed him in surgery, we learn that suspect David DePape was a QAnon anti-vaxxer and election denier with a conspiracy-tinged streak, and a local nudist activist.
When we learned this morning that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi was attacked with a hammer in a home invasion, there were reports that the suspect was 42-year-old Berkeley resident David DePape. That was verified in an SFPD press conference later in the morning, but reports that Paul Pelosi was in “stable” condition may have been too optimistic, as we now know that he did undergo brain surgery, according to NBC Bay Area, but is described as “recovering.”
SFPD Chief Bill Scott described a chaotic scene in which three officers stormed into the Pelosi home to find Pelosi and DePape struggling over a hammer, which DePape used to violently hit Pelosi in front of the officers. District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said that DePape will be charged with attempted homicide.
Yet the more we learn about the attack and the attacker, the more disturbing this case becomes. CNN is reporting that in his attack on Pelosi, DePape “tried to tie him up ‘until Nancy got home.’” And a separate CNN report cites posts from DePape’s now-deleted Facebook page that contained “memes and conspiracy theories on Facebook about Covid-19 vaccines, the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 attack.”
The Chronicle adds that “In a 2013 article in The Chronicle, David DePape was identified as a ‘hemp jewelry maker’ who lived in a Berkeley Victorian flat with the nude activist Gypsy Taub and her family of five.” They add that “The group famously pushed conspiracy theories at the time, including the theory that 9/11 was ‘an inside job.’"
Law enforcement have identified David DePape as a suspect in the violent attack on Paul Pelosi.— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) October 28, 2022
DePape kept a blog with screeds about “the ruling class” and other conspiracy theories. https://t.co/URBLj0q3Er
Yes, that Gypsy Taub, the noted Berkeley nudist activist. According to the Chronicle, state Senator Scott Wiener “knew DePape’s name from when the senator was a city supervisor in the Castro. DePape was one of a number of activists who took to the streets to promote public nudity in 2011 and 2012.”
DePape served as best man at Taub's much-covered nude wedding outside San Francisco City Hall in late 2013.
Taub, meanwhile, remains in jail as far as we know after being convicted of attempted abduction and child abuse charges relating to a weird relationship she had with a teenage friend of her son.
My statement on the violent political attack against Paul Pelosi: pic.twitter.com/E4SyHinnMl— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) October 28, 2022
The Chronicle further reports on DePape's online blog stylings, which have sense been removed by Wordpress, in which he spouted QAnon stuff and made various statements of a bigoted and racist nature. Some post headlines include "Communist Voodoo science” and “Feminist gets owned, and “The woke are Racists with a guilty conscience."
And while NBC Bay Area reports that lawmakers across the nation are condemning the attack, another CNN report notes that members of Congress are demanding protections amidst a sharp increase in physical threats.
Doug and I are appalled by the attack on Paul Pelosi, Speaker Pelosi’s husband. The entire Pelosi family is in our hearts and we wish him a speedy recovery.— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) October 28, 2022
As CNN Notes, a Congressional security detail “does not protect their family members, including spouses, when the members of Congress are not with them.” The network adds that “some lawmakers have received additional security in their home districts from local police departments and private contractors.”
The New York Times spoke with other members of Congress, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who say they've received credible threats in the past and have had difficulty getting Capitol Police to provide them with extra security.
The President continues to condemn all violence, and asks that the family’s desire for privacy be respected.— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) October 28, 2022
On a more encouraging note, Speaker Pelosi’s just put out a statement saying that Paul Pelosi “is receiving excellent medical care and is expected to make a full recovery.”
Image: WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 16: Paul Pelosi, husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), arrives for a reception honoring Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his wife Mareva Mitsotakis in the East Room of the White House on May 16, 2022 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Joe Biden hosted Mitsotakis for bilateral meetings earlier in the day where they talked about allied efforts to "support the people of Ukraine and impose economic costs on Russia for its unprovoked aggression," according to the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
This post has been updated throughout.