- A man who violently attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, may have been looking for her.
- Violent threats to lawmakers have increased drastically in recent years, according to police.
- Nancy Pelosi has faced several threats, including some that resulted in charges or conviction.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was attacked with a hammer at their home in San Francisco on Friday, but the intruder, who was said to have shouted “Where is Nancy,” may have been looking for her.
Though the speaker was in Washington, DC, at the time of the attack, the incident followed many violent threats that have been made against her and other members of Congress in recent years, as such threats are on the rise.
According to Capitol Police data, threats to Congressional lawmakers increased by 144% between 2017 and 2022. In the first three months of this year, nearly 2,000 threats made to Congress members resulted in the Capitol Police opening cases.
Pelosi, as the top Democrat in the House who has often sparred with Republicans, has been the target of several violent threats prior to the invasion of her home on Friday, including some that led to criminal charges.
March 2019: A man in Florida threatened to behead Pelosi
In March 2019, a man in Florida called Pelosi’s office to tell her staff that he would “come a long, long way to rattle her head with bullets” and that he would behead her “jihadist style,” according to court documents from his trial.
“Sleep with one eye open, we’re coming to get you. America’s tired of this shit… all-out war. Bunch of you fucks are gonna die,” he added in one of the calls, the documents said.
The man, identified as Paul Vernon Hoeffer, also threatened and used racist slurs against Kim Foxx, a Cook County, Illinois District Attorney, and made violent threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over the phone, saying he would “rip her head off,” according to court records.
Hoeffer was charged in December 2021 with three counts of interstate transmission of threats to kidnap or injure for his threats to Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez, and Foxx. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
March 2020: A man in Texas accused Pelosi of being part of a Satanic cult, prosecutors said
In March 2020, a 27-year-old man was accused of posting on Facebook and ordering that his followers remove Democratic lawmakers such as Pelosi “by any means necessary,” including by killing them, CBS news reported.
The post said Pelosi was part of a “satanic cult,” according to the criminal complaint.
“Nancy Pelosi is apart [sic] of a satanic cult and so are the people who work closely with her. Dems of the establishment will be removed at any cost necessary and yes that means by death,” the post said, per the complaint.
“Shoot to kill. This is a revolution,” Perry wrote, according to the complaint.
The FBI arrested Perry after he said he owned the account behind the messages. He was charged with one count of transmitting a threatening communication but was later found not guilty.
January 1, 2021: Pelosi’s home is vandalized with fake pig blood and a real pig head
On New Years Day of 2021, vandals spray painted Pelosi’s home with the words: “$2k CANCEL RENT! WE WANT EVERYTHING.”
They also covered her driveway with fake blood and a detached pig head.
Pelosi was not home while her home was being vandalized, CBS Bay Area reported
The graffiti was in reference to the 2021 COVID-19 stimulus checks, which Congressional Republicans had blocked from being increased from $600 to $2,000. Similar graffiti appeared at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home with the questions “Where’s my money?”
“Vandalism and the politics of fear have no place in our society,” McConnell told the Courier-Journal in 2021.
January 6, 2021: Rioters breach the Capitol asking for Pelosi
When a pro-Trump mob breached the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in protest of the 2020 election results, some rioters said they were specifically looking for Pelosi.
“Nancy…Nancy…We’re coming for you Nancy,” a rioter threatened, according to a video recording cited during one rioter’s case.
“Where’s Nancy Pelosi?,” another one, David Antonio Ticas, asked during the attack, according to prosecutors.
Another man who planned to be at the the Capitol on January 6 drove from Colorado to Washington, DC, with an assault rifle, a handgun, and multiple rounds of ammunition after threatening to put a bullet in Pelosi’s head, according to a criminal complaint.
Cleveland Meredith Jr., a 53-year-old man from North Carolina, was found in his hotel room a mile from the Capitol on January 7, 2021, after his mother turned him in to the FBI. A relative had informed her of a text Meredith sent in which he threatened Pelosi, prosecutors said. He was later sentenced to 28 months in prison.
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a New York University expert on extremism, told Insider’s Charles Davis that the threatening calls to Pelosi during January 6 were similar to the ones uttered by the man who attacked her husband Friday morning.
“We know that Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker of the House and third in line for the Presidential succession, was a main target of insurgents on January 6,” Ben-Ghiat said. “The attacker who injured Paul Pelosi was looking for Nancy Pelosi, likely wanting to finish the job.”
January 17, 2021: An Arizona man says he’s coming to kill Pelosi
On January 17, 2021, less than two weeks after the Capitol attack, a man called Pelosi’s Washington, DC, office and left a voicemail saying “I’m coming to kill you,” according to the Justice Department. He later followed up that voicemail with another one, telling Pelosi: “You’re dead.”
The man, identified as Steve Arthur Martis of Arizona, had previously been approached by the FBI for making threatening calls in the past, the DOJ said in a press statement.
Martis was later charged and found guilty of one count of communicating an interstate threat to kill or harm and sentenced to 21 months in prison.