‘Somebody’s going to die’: Democrats warn of political violence after Paul Pelosi attack – The Guardian US

Dire warnings after hammer assault on speaker’s husband and amid concern that security does not adequately reflect threats
Democratic politicians have ramped up their warnings about the threat of political violence in America after a man bludgeoned the 82-year-old husband of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, with a hammer in their California home on Friday.
The dire warnings come amid longstanding concern that security services provided do not adequately reflect ongoing threats, especially as midterm elections loom. The Associated Press reported on Sunday that Paul Pelosi’s assailant had been carrying zip ties when he broke in.
“Somebody is going to die,” Debbie Dingell, a Democratic congresswoman from Michigan, told the news website Axios. Dingell said that in 2020, after Fox News’s Tucker Carlson broadcast a segment on her, “I had men outside my home with assault weapons that night.”
Mike Quigley, a Democratic congressman from Illinois, similarly told Axios that the savage assault “is confirming what members know: we are completely vulnerable at a time when the risks are increasing”. Quigley also said: “We need more ways to protect members and their families.”
Indeed, the attack on Paul Pelosi appeared to have been intended for Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden said on Saturday. Authorities said that the attacker demanded “Where is Nancy?”; the veteran congresswoman was in Washington DC with her security detail when the assault took place.
On the day of the attack, a US joint intelligence bulletin warned that there was a “heightened threat’ to the midterm contests, fueled by a rise in domestic violent extremism, or DVE, and driven by ideological grievances and access to potential targets”, according to CBS’s Nicole Sganga.
The man charged in the assault, David DePape, might have expressed his political ire – which largely mirrored far-right taking points – in recent online missives. An internet user with the handle “daviddepape” voiced support for the former US president Donald Trump and seeming belief in the conspiracy theory QAnon.
Insurrectionists invaded and vandalized Pelosi’s office during the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol by extreme Trump supporters. The rioters had been inspired by the then president, attacking law enforcement in an attempt to overturn Biden’s win.
Some Capitol rioters sought out Pelosi, shouting her name; she escaped with other politicians and subsequently spearheaded efforts to secure the Capitol so that Congress could certify Biden’s victory.
New York City police warned on Thursday that extremists might target politicians, polling sites, and political events in advance of the 2022 midterm elections. Threats have increased dramatically in recent years, with the US Capitol police reporting that they investigated 9,625 threats against lawmakers in 2021 – an approximately threefold increase from 2017.
“I’m a rank-and-file member who served on a Mueller investigation and had death threats,” Kelly Armstrong, a Republican representative from North Dakota, told Axios. “I think everybody has to take it seriously.”
There have been steps taken to address increasing threats against members of Congress, such as the House sergeant at arms’ announcement in July that all US Representatives will receive a $10,000 security allowance, but these measures have been criticized as insufficient. Pramila Jayapal, a Democratic Congress member from Washington, said this summer that the allotment would not cover the recommended security measures for her home, per Axios.
There have also been calls for legislative solutions to security concerns, but the attitude toward these concerns might stall along party lines. Mike Sherrill, a Democratic lawmaker from New Jersey, has introduced a bill that would permit judges to protect their personal information, following a 2020 shooting in New Jersey that left a judge’s son dead and her husband injured.
Should Republicans win a majority in Congress, however, Capitol security will change; Republican Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, has criticized the placement of metal detectors outside the House chamber following the January 6 attack. McCarthy has hinted that he would remove them if he were in charge, Axios noted.


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