Biden connects 'despicable' Paul Pelosi attack to Republican talk of stolen elections

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(The Hill) – President Biden on Friday called the attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) husband at their San Francisco home “despicable” and suggested it was a natural progression from lies Republicans have spread about the 2020 election.

“This is despicable. There’s no place in America. There’s too much violence, political violence, too much hatred, too much vitriol,” Biden said at the start of remarks to Pennsylvania Democrats.

“And what makes us think that one party can talk about stolen elections, COVID being a hoax, that it’s all a bunch of lies, and it not affect people who may not be so well balanced?” Biden continued.

“What makes us think that it’s not going to corrode the political climate? Enough is enough is enough. Every person of good conscience needs to clearly and unambiguously stand up against violence in our politics, no matter what your politics are.”

Biden said he’d spoken with Pelosi and helped arrange for her to get back from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. Paul Pelosi, 82, underwent surgery for a skull fracture and is expected to make a full recovery.

Police said earlier Friday that the suspect in the case violently assaulted Paul Pelosi around 2:30 a.m. Authorities arrived at the home for a “priority well-being check” and found the two men tussling over a hammer. The suspect then gained control of the hammer and used it to attack Pelosi.

The Speaker was not in San Francisco at the time, according to her spokesman Drew Hammill. U.S. Capitol Police said she was in Washington, D.C., with her protective detail.

Before the assault occurred, the man confronted Paul Pelosi and shouted, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” according to a source briefed on the attack.

Biden on Friday connected that phrase to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when rioters stormed the Capitol and many sought Nancy Pelosi out.

The attack on Paul Pelosi is the latest instance of political violence that has been on the rise in the United States in recent years. 

Hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 to try to stop the certification of Biden’s victory after then-President Trump and his allies had claimed for weeks that the 2020 election was rigged and fraudulent.

A man was arrested earlier in June outside of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home while carrying zip ties and weapons. A month later, another gun-toting man was arrested and charged with making death threats outside the Seattle home of Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a prominent liberal figure.

Then-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot during a district event in Tucson, Ariz., more than a decade ago, while Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the Republican whip, was similarly targeted by a lone gunman on a baseball field in Virginia in 2017. Both almost died.

Biden and White House aides have repeatedly condemned political violence, and several Republicans have condemned the attack on Paul Pelosi, including former Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

Vice President Harris, who was also in Pennsylvania on Friday, told reporters that the attack on Pelosi was “an act of extreme violence” and that elected leaders have a responsibility to condemn such acts.

“There’s absolutely room and it is important to have public discourse when there are disagreements about policy,” Harris said. “But what we’ve been seeing recently is so base in terms of the reducing it down to something that I think is beneath the dignity and the intelligence of the American people.”

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