The toxic and vitriolic energy of our body politic erupted into the city of San Francisco once again Friday morning with an attack by a conspiracy-obsessed loon on the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that left her husband seriously injured.
Is accused attacker David DePape a far-right zealot? Far-left? It doesn't really matter, and what we know so far points to a bit a both — or to the ugly overlaps at the far ends of the political spectrum, where the two sides circle back to each other.
DePape lived in Berkeley in the last decade with a noted nudist activist whose politics one would assume were pretty far left. Being an anti-vaxxer has been the purview of both the far-right Trumpists and the far-left natural-medicine enthusiasts of Marin and beyond. And as the Chronicle reported via some now unpublished blog posts, DePape was something of an equal-opportunity bigot with various negative views on feminists, the "woke" left, LGBTQ people, and Jews. Maybe we can just go with "crazy."
The reactions to the attack have been widespread, and they've come from across the political spectrum.
Republican Senator Susan Collins, who herself has been the target of attacks on recent years, said in a statement that she "was horrified by this vicious attack on Paul Pelosi at his home."
"My prayers are with him, Speaker Pelosi and their family," Collins said.
Retiring Republican Senator Ben Sasse, per the New York Times, said that "every single American needs to be lowering the temperature. This is increasingly obvious: Disturbed individuals easily succumb to conspiracy theories and rage — the consequences are bloody and un-American."
Governor Gavin Newsom said, "Our leaders should never fear for their safety and the safety of their families in serving the people they were elected to represent. Not in their homes, not at the U.S. Capitol, not anywhere.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the attack a "dastardly act."
What happened to Paul Pelosi was a dastardly act. 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.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 28, 2022
The Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Republicans, tweeted about the attack saying, "The @GOP fueled this fire. It's time for them to put it out. We're awaiting statements from every member of the party condemning the attack on Speaker Pelosi's husband and all political violence."
State Senator Scott Wiener said in a statement, "This attack is terrifying, and the direct result of right wing rhetoric and incitement against Speaker Pelosi and so many other progressive leaders."
Wiener added, "I've experienced firsthand how right wing political violence and threats that we as elected officials — and our families — face every single day badly damage democracy and must end. Words have consequences, and without question, the GOP's hate and extremism has bred political violence."
San Francisco Mayor London Breed called the attack a "horrific and scary incident," and she thanked a specific dispatcher with the Department of Emergency Management. "I want to thank Heather Grives, the 911 emergency dispatcher who took the call and acted quickly to get first responders on scene," Breed said in a tweet. "We are so lucky to have 911 dispatchers who continue to go above and beyond for our City and its residents."
Top image: In an aerial view, San Francisco police officers and F.B.I. agents gather in front of the home of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on October 28, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Paul Pelosi, the husband of U.S. Speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi, was violently attacked in their home by an intruder. One arrest has been made. Speaker Pelosi was not at home at the time of the attack. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)