CNN

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed how she learned her husband, Paul, had been attacked, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she was “very scared” when Capitol police knocked on the door.

Pelosi said in her first interview since the attack that she slept in Washington, DC, having arrived the previous night from San Francisco when her doorbell rang early in the morning. “I look up, I see it’s 5 [a.m. ET]they must be in the wrong apartment,” she told Cooper after he asked her where she was when she heard the news.

Pelosi went on to say that the doorbell rang again, and then she heard “bang, bang, bang, bang, bang at the door.”

“So I run for the door and I’m really scared,” Pelosi said, describing what happened. “I see the Capitol Police and they say, ‘We need to come in to talk to you. “”

Pelosi described how her thoughts immediately turned to her children and grandchildren.

“And I think of my children, my grandchildren. I never thought it would be Paul because, you know, I knew he wouldn’t be out, shall we say. And so they entered. At that time, we didn’t even know where he was,” she said.

The violent attack on Paul Pelosi has raised new concerns about threats of political violence driven by partisan animosity and increasingly hostile political rhetoric – and highlighted the potential vulnerability of lawmakers and their families in the current political climate.

During the interview, Nancy Pelosi revealed startling details about her husband’s condition after the brutal attack and discussed the aftermath of the incident.

Pelosi also reflected on the fact that she appears to have been the intended target of the attack. “For me, that’s really the hardest part because Paul wasn’t the target and he’s the one paying the price,” she said. “He wasn’t looking for Paul, he was looking for me,” Pelosi said later.

At times during the interview, Pelosi became emotional. “I was on the verge of tears several times in this conversation,” she said.

Paul Pelosi was attacked with a hammer at the couple’s San Francisco home by a man late last month, authorities said. The assailant was looking for the Speaker of the House, according to court documents.

David DePape is charged with six counts related to the attack, including attempted murder, burglary, assault, forcible confinement and threatening a family member of a public official. He pleaded not guilty to all charges against the state.

After the attack, Paul Pelosi underwent surgery “to repair a fractured skull and serious injuries to his right arm and hands,” Drew Hammill, spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi, said in an earlier statement. He was released from hospital last week.

Pelosi said her husband is “doing well” but is on the verge of a “long-term” recovery. “He knows he has to keep up his pace. He’s such a gentleman that he doesn’t complain,” she said.

The speaker said her husband’s surgery ‘was a success, but it’s only part of the recovery from a serious head injury’.

“It takes time,” she said, reflecting on the road ahead.

Describing her husband’s head injury, Pelosi said good news came when doctors “told us it didn’t puncture his brain, which could be fatal.”

Pelosi said her husband was worried about the emotional toll the attack could have on their children and grandchildren, while the family worried about the consequences for him.

“He’s so concerned about the traumatic effect on our children and our grandchildren, and we’re concerned about the traumatic effect on him,” she said.

When asked if she had spoken to her husband about what was going through her mind during the attack, Pelosi replied, “We haven’t really had that conversation because any feedback on this one is really traumatic.”

When asked if she wanted to hear the 911 call her husband made, Pelosi replied, “I don’t think so. I don’t know if I will have to. I do not know. It’s a legal question. But she added, “Paul saved his own life with that call.”

Pelosi criticized some Republicans’ reaction to the attack. “You see what the other side’s reaction is to this, to make a joke out of it, and it’s really traumatic too,” she said.

“In our democracy, there is a party that doubts the outcome of the election, fuels this flame and laughs at any violence that occurs. This needs to stop,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi then referenced the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. “I think there has to be a message to Republicans to stop misinformation,” she said. “It’s definitely a source of what happened on January 6, and the denial of that, and then a source of what’s happening to me now.”

There was bipartisan condemnation of the attack, but some prominent Republican figures have drawn scrutiny and criticism for their response.

Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake claimed she did not come to terms with the violent attack after receiving backlash for joking about it and making her supporters laugh during of a campaign event. Lake was asked at the event about her plans to increase school safety and she said: ‘It is not impossible to keep our children safe at school. They act like that. Nancy Pelosi, well, she’s protected when she’s in DC — apparently her house doesn’t have much protection. The crowd and the moderator burst into laughter.

Nancy Pelosi has also indicated that the attack on her husband will factor into her decision about her own political future after the midterm elections.

Pelosi, one of the most powerful figures in national Democratic politics, has earned a reputation as a formidable leader among House Democrats who wields significant influence in his caucus. But speculation is mounting in Washington over what Pelosi’s next move will be and whether she would decide to retire if Republicans regain a majority.

During Monday’s interview, Cooper asked Pelosi if she would confirm that she had made a decision, one way or another, about what she would do, noting that there has been ” a lot of talk about whether you would retire if the Democrats lost the House.” .”

The speaker said “the decision will be affected by what has happened in the last week or two”, prompting Cooper to ask: “Will your decision be affected by the attack in any way? whether it be ?”

“Yeah,” Pelosi said.

“It will be?” Cooper asked.

“Yes,” repeated Pelosi.

Pelosi said she was “optimistic” ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections where control of Congress hangs in the balance, despite many in Washington predicting Republicans will retake the House.

“I’m still about owning the land and getting the vote and I’m confident we’re in that position. The races are tight, some of them could go one way or the other,” she said.

Pelosi, however, warned that she fears democracy is on shaky ground and said “our democracy is on the ballot” in the election.

“I believe our democracy is in jeopardy because of what others are saying is undermining our elections, even now as we move forward,” Pelosi warned.

This story was updated with additional developments on Monday.

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