Former President Donald Trump has joined the chorus of right-wing personalities flirting with conspiracy theories in an effort to downplay the recent violent attack of Paul Pelosi in his San Francisco home.
On Tuesday, Trump, 76, made a number of false claims to radio host Chris Stigall, saying there were “weird things going on in that household in the last couple of weeks.”
Trump went on to falsely claim that, “The glass it seems was broken from the inside to the out so it wasn’t a break in, it was a break out.” (Not a single law enforcement official has supported this theory.)
The former president then hedged his remarks with, “I don’t know, you hear the same things I do,” before continuing with more unfounded claims.
“It’s a lot of bad stuff and I’m not a fan of Nancy Pelosi, but what’s going on there is very sad,” Trump said. “The whole thing is crazy, and if there’s even a little bit of truth to what’s being said. The window was broken in and it was strange the cops were standing there practically from the moment it all took place. So, you’re going to have to explain that to your audience, including me.”
None of Trump’s claims are backed up by law enforcement. In reality, Paul, the 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, underwent brain surgery and treatment for facial injuries late last week after an intruder armed with a hammer broke in to his home and attacked him, per authorities.
U.S. Capitol Police revealed that Nancy was in Washington, D.C. at the time of the overnight assault, in which the alleged intruder, 42-year-old David Wayne DePape, “confronted the speaker’s husband” and shouted, “Where is Nancy, where is Nancy?” per CNN sources. He then attempted to tie Paul up “until Nancy got home,” and was still “waiting for Nancy” when police arrived, sources said.
The notion that police were on site when the incident took place is misleading — officials witnessed, and quickly put an end to, the hammer attack, but the intruder had already been inside Paul’s home when they arrived. They were tipped off to the break-in when Paul slipped into the bathroom to make a 911 call.
According to an official complaint filed by the United States of America, once the intruder was restrained, “officers secured a roll of tape, white rope, a second hammer, a pair of rubber and cloth gloves, and zip ties from the crime scene, where officers also observed a broken glass door to the back porch.”
The suspect has been federally charged with one count of assault of an immediate family member of a United States official and one count of attempted kidnapping of a United States official. He faces several additional felony charges in San Francisco, which he pleaded not guilty to on Tuesday.
Trump’s comments about the attack come days after his adult son Donald Trump Jr. took to social media to mock Paul — and as right-wing media sources have been rife with conspiracy theories about the attack.
The suspect’s online behavior show a man who embraced right-wing conspiracies and anti-Semitic tropes. And according to charging documents, the suspect said — in a Mirandized and recorded interview after being detained — that he planned to tie Paul up and wait for Nancy, and would then question the House speaker before breaking “her kneecaps” if she lied to him.
Even after the suspect allegedly told police that he viewed Nancy as “the ‘leader of the pack’ of lies told by the Democratic Party,” many right-wing media personalities have suggested the attack on Paul wasn’t rooted in his fringe political beliefs.
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Trump’s espousing of false claims is nothing new. He has, for the past two years, insisted he won an election that he lost (a lie that the suspect in the Pelosi case has repeatedly endorsed online).
Trump was also recently deposed in a defamation suit filed by a woman who has claimed he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. Former Elle advice columnist and TV host E. Jean Carroll went public with her account of assault in 2019, after which Trump said in an interview: “No. 1: She’s not my type” and, further, that he had “never met this person in my life.” (The two have been photographed together, though Trump said that was an incidental moment.)
Trump also tweeted at the time that Carroll was “totally lying” about the rape, and claimed she made up the allegation in order to help sell her memoir.
Following those accusations, Carroll sued Trump for defamation, arguing that his claims caused her “emotional pain and suffering” and damaged “her reputation, honor, and dignity” — and thus her career.