Updated Nov 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Nancy Pelosi: "Paul was not the target, but he's paying the price"

Speaker Nancy Pelosi during her CNN interview, broadcast Monday evening. Screenshot: CNN

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CNN Monday evening that the attack on her husband, Paul Pelosi, on Oct. 28 in their San Francisco home underscores the danger that all members of Congress are facing.

Details: "Paul was not the target, but he's paying the price," Pelosi said in her first sit-down interview since the attack.

  • "It's really sad because it is a flame that was fueled by misinformation and all the rest of that. It's very unfortunate and has no place in our democracy," said Pelosi, who noted she'd been "close to tears" during the interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

The big picture: Members of Congress from both sides of the political aisle have condemned the attack on Paul Pelosi, who underwent surgery for a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands after being attacked with a hammer.

  • Violence and threats of violence against lawmakers have surged in the past few years, and Pelosi told Cooper that both political parties have to engage in some kind of healing process because any member of Congress can be a target for an attack.
  • However, the jokes made by some Republicans about the attack had been traumatizing. "In our democracy, there is one party that is doubting the outcome of the election, feeding that flame, and mocking any violence that happens," Pelosi said.

Zoom in: Pelosi accused the Republican Party of engaging in a one-sided assault on democracy and said the GOP has to change for the better of the country.

  • "I do believe that our democracy is in danger because of what the others are saying about undermining our elections, even now as we go forward," Pelosi told Cooper.
  • Pelosi noted the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol and said she thinks "there has to be some message to the Republicans to stop the disinformation."
  • "That is without any question a source of what happened on January 6, and the denial of that, and then a source of what’s happening to me now," Pelosi said.

The bottom line: Pelosi she wants a strong Republican Party, noting they have done great things for the country and should take pride in that instead of yielding to a cult, in reference to former President Trump and the MAGA portion of the GOP.

What they're saying: Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel has rejected implications that Republican rhetoric helped fuel the attack on Paul Pelosi, calling such accusations "unfair."

  • Representatives for the RNC did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper... Pelosi: Retirement plans will be impacted by attack on husband

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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