Just days after taking over Twitter, Elon Musk on Sunday posted an unfounded conspiracy theory about the attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Police say a man broke into the Pelosi home in San Francisco and beat Paul Pelosi with a hammer early Friday morning.
On Saturday, Hillary Clinton tweeted an article from the Los Angeles Times describing the suspect and his far-right extremist views.
“The Republican Party and its spokespersons now routinely spread hateful and deranged conspiracy theories,” she wrote. “It is shocking, but not surprising, that violence is the result. As citizens, we must hold them accountable for their words and subsequent actions.
In response, Musk tweeted that “there is a small possibility there is more to this story than meets the eye” and posted a link to an unfounded story proposing a conspiracy theory about the attack. . The story was published in the Santa Monica Observer, a publication known for spreading misinformation.
The Times, in a 2021 op-ed, noted that the Observer “has been known to publish fake news. In 2016, for example, he claimed Hillary Clinton had died and a lookalike had been sent to debate Donald Trump. Months later, he incorrectly reported that Trump had appointed Kanye West to a high-level position in the Interior Department. Last year, he incorrectly reported that sunlight could be a cure for people suffering from COVID-19 and that Bill Gates, a major funder of vaccine research, had been responsible for a polio epidemic.
Authorities said David DePape, 42, attacked Paul Pelosi with a hammer. A source said he shouted “Where’s Nancy?” several times. Police arrived at the scene after being alerted to a call from Paul Pelosi, who managed to conceal the call from his attacker.
Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) was in Washington at the time but has since returned to California to be with her husband, according to dispatches.
Police did not offer a motive for the attack.
Paul Pelosi, 82, is recovering from surgery at Zuckerberg General Hospital in San Francisco “to repair a fractured skull and severe injuries to his right arm and hands,” said Drew Hammill, spokesperson for the Nancy Pelosi’s office. He is expected to make a full recovery.
DePape was arrested Friday afternoon on suspicion of attempted murder, first-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, threatening a family member of a public official, elder abuse, assault and battery. serious, deterrence of a witness and injury of a wireless device.
A Times review of his online accounts shows DePape had moved further into the world of far-right conspiracies, anti-Semitism and hate.
In a personal blog maintained by DePape, posts include such topics as “History Manipulation”, “Holohoax”, and “It’s OK to be white”. He mentioned 4chan, a favorite far-right message board. He posted videos about conspiracies involving COVID-19 vaccines and the war in Ukraine being a ploy to get Jews to buy land.
DePape’s screeds included articles about QAnon, an unfounded theory that former President Trump is at war with a cabal of Satan-worshipping elites who run a pedophilia ring and control the world. In an Aug. 23 entry titled “Q,” DePape wrote, “Either Q is Trump himself, or Q is the deep moles of Trump’s inner circle.
On Saturday, Nancy Pelosi told her congressional colleagues that she and her family were “heartbroken and traumatized” by the events of Friday.
“Our children, our grandchildren and I are heartbroken and traumatized by the potentially deadly attack on our Pop,” Pelosi said in a statement to members of the U.S. House of Representatives. “We are grateful for the quick response from law enforcement and emergency services, and for the life-saving medical treatment he is receiving.”
Musk completed his $44 billion takeover of Twitter last week after a lengthy legal battle and months of uncertainty.
After backing out of an initial deal to buy the company earlier this year, Musk announced this month that he was resuming the acquisition, blocking a lawsuit against him in Delaware. A judge had ordered him to complete the case by Friday.
The deal means that Twitter will become a private company in which ordinary investors will no longer be able to buy shares.
Major staff changes are widely expected and Musk ousted three senior Twitter executives last week, according to two people familiar with the deal. But the tech guru and self-proclaimed “Chief Twit” has otherwise made conflicting claims about the company’s future – and shared some concrete plans for how he’ll run it.
This left Twitter users, advertisers and employees analyzing his every move in an effort to guess where he might lead the company. Many are looking to see if he will welcome back a number of influential conservative figures banned for breaking Twitter rules.
Musk took to Twitter — his go-to platform even before he made an offer to buy it — to discuss his vision for the company’s future.
“A beautiful thing about Twitter is how it empowers citizen journalism – people are able to spread information without establishment bias,” Musk wrote in a tweet.
Another post found him trying to reconcile two conflicting impulses at the root of Twitter’s business model: the need to cultivate an ecosystem on which third-party advertisers want to appear, versus Musk’s frequently stated desire that the platform be without intervention when it comes. to moderate user posts.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is that it is important for the future of civilization to have a common digital public square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated,” Musk wrote, who in the past has criticized the platform as being overly censored.
Yet at the same time, Musk continued, “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape where anything can be said without consequences!”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Los Angeles Times