Nancy Pelosi addressed the Oct. 28 attack against her husband for the first time publicly on Monday, sitting with CNN’s Anderson Cooper to recount the events of the night and to denounce the responses she’s seen from Republican Party leaders in the days since.
She said the mocking jokes on the campaign trail and the spread of conspiracy theories about her husband Paul’s relationship with assailant David DePape have been “traumatizing,” adding that “they don’t care about that, obviously.”
The “Anderson Cooper 360” interview began with Pelosi recounting how she received the news of her husband’s attack around 5 a.m., when police officers came knocking on her apartment door in Washington, D.C.
“I’m thinking, ‘My children, my grandchildren’ – I never thought it would be Paul,” she said.
In the days since, newly crowned Twitter CEO Elon Musk has spread conspiracy theories about Paul have a preexisting relationship with DePape; others on the campaign trail, including former president Donald Trump and Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, have poked fun at everything from Paul’s mental health to their San Francisco home’s security system.
Elsewhere in the Republican Party, many have been radio silent, with an underlying refusal to acknowledge that DePape’s actions echoed the far-right efforts of the Jan. 6 insurrection (he was looking to abduct Nancy, not Paul) and that he was influenced by extremist propaganda. Such a silence is in hard contrast to Pelosi and other Democratic leaders’ response to the attack on Republican congressman Steve Scalise in 2017.
“You would think that there would be some level of responsibility, but you see what the reaction is on the other side of this – to make a joke of it. And, really, that is traumatizing,” Pelosi said. “But nonetheless, forgetting them, there has to be some healing process. And Democrats and Republicans, members of Congress, anybody could be a target … In our democracy, there is one party that is doubting the outcome of the election, feeding that flame and mocking any violence that happens. That has to stop.”
Cooper then asked her specifically about Trump and Musk’s reactions to the attack – “casting doubt on what happened, fomenting conspiracy theories. What do you have to say to them?”
After a four-second pause, Pelosi concluded that “it’s really sad for the country.”
“It’s really sad for the country that people of that high visibility would separate themselves from the facts and the truth in such a blatant way. It’s really sad and it’s traumatizing to those affected by it – but they don’t care about that, obviously,” she said. “It’s destructive to the unity that we want to have in our country. But I don’t have anything to say to them. I mean, we have nothing, there would be no common ground to have any conversation with them.”
Watch the full 13-minute CNN interview between Pelosi and Cooper in the video above.