- The man charged with attacking Paul Pelosi told police that he was motivated by hatred of Democrats.
- David DePape echoed former President Donald Trump, claiming that the 2020 election was stolen.
- “They are criminals,” DePape said of Democratic Party leaders.
The man charged with attacking the 82-year-old husband of Democratic congresswoman Nancy Pelosi told police he wanted to make her pay for Democrats’ “persecution” of former President Donald Trump and his campaign, which he said only ended when “they were finally able to steal the election.”
In the days following the arrest of David DePape, some allies of the former president suggested the attack was not politically motivated, insinuating it was a domestic spat. Despite the accused leaving an online trail of right-wing opinions, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, shared one conservative’s commentary that it was “absurd and will always be absurd” to portray the attacker as “some kind of militant right winger,” writing on Twitter: “Truth.”
Twitter CEO Elon Musk, meanwhile, promoted a false story claiming DePape was a sex worker who had been invited over by the victim, Paul Pelosi, who is now recovering from a brain injury, a claim subsequently endorsed by rising Republican star Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
But in his jailhouse interview, DePape, 42, made it explicitly clear that his actions were politically motivated.
“Is there a reason?” a San Francisco Police Department sergeant asks DePape in the recording, which was made public Friday. “Like, did you feel like the Pelosis had done something to you?”
“Well not me, specifically,” DePape responded. “To the entire American public, honestly.”
Pressed for more detail, DePape relayed a litany of grievances expressed by Trump, claiming the 2016 investigation of his campaign over potential collusion with Russia was a plot initiated by Democrats and worse than Watergate, when burglars working for former President Richard Nixon broke into the offices of the Democratic National Committee. (In 2016, Russian hackers broke into the servers of the DNC and released stolen emails through WikiLeaks and a fake activist-hacker persona; the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign began after a foreign diplomat informed the bureau that a Trump staffer appeared to have foreknowledge of that hack-and-leak campaign).
“When Trump came into office, what they did went so far beyond spying on a rival campaign,” DePape said.
Hillary Clinton was the ultimate, criminal puppet master, DePape maintained: “It originates with Hillary.” But when it came to liars in Washington, he said, Nancy Pelosi is the “leader of the pack.”
‘They are criminals’
DePape’s interview, released the same day as graphic bodycam footage of the attack on Pelosi, reveals an intimate knowledge with Trump world talking points, including a reference to the wiretapping of Carter Page, a Trump adviser, which the Justice Department now says was based on a flawed FISA application.
“They are criminals,” DePape said of Democratic leaders. “Not only were they spying on a rival campaign, they were submitting fake evidence to spy on a rival campaign, covering it up, persecuting a rival campaign. It’s just like an endless fucking crime spree. It’s like they go from one crime to another crime to another crime to another crime, and it’s just like the whole fucking four years until they were finally able to steal the election.”
“It’s unacceptable,” he added.
What did DePape hope to achieve by breaking into the Pelosis home in search of the former House speaker? “Well, I was basically going to hold her hostage and I was going to talk to her,” he told police. “If she told the truth? I’d let her go, scot-free,” he said. “If she fucking lied, I was going to break her calves.”
The confession from DePape backs up the assessment of Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a political scientist at New York University, who told Insider after the attack that it looked to be an attempt “to finish the job of January 6.”
“Republicans and Fox News have long depicted Democrats as mortal enemies, and political violence happens in exactly these circumstances: when people feel that the political opposition poses an existential threat and must be eliminated through violence,” Ben-Ghiat said.
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