Conspiracy Theories That Surround The Attack On Paul Pelosi

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's husband was attacked by an armed intruder on October 28, 2022. According to The New York Times, the assailant, David DePape, entered the home of the Pelosi family sometime early in the morning. Mr. Pelosi was asleep at the time when DePape broke in. However, Mr. Pelosi wasn't the primary target — his wife was. DePape's reasoning was that he believed Speaker Pelosi to be second in line to the presidency, telling Mr. Pelosi, " ... we've got to take them all out."

While DePape was taken into custody, Paul Pelosi suffered serious injuries from the numerous hammer blows to his skull. But what's strange about the whole violent affair is the staggering number of conspiracy theories that have popped up around the incident. As the BBC News reports, figures like Elon Musk, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Donald Trump, and so on have all contributed their own false theories about the attack. But what do these theories entail exactly? 

Donald Trump has been a major voice in the Paul Pelosi conspiracy campaign

Former President Donald Trump is no stranger to inciting controversy. As CNN reports, there is an entire laundry list of conspiracy theories that Trump has openly courted. He's spread a fair amount of misinformation about the Pelosi attack incident to his followers. Trump has also insinuated that the attack might have been staged, saying, "The glass, it seems, was broken from the inside to the out and, you know, so, it wasn't a break in, it was a break out" (via CNN). Trump then went on to claim that " ... the cops were standing there practically from the moment it all took place."

Trump also said that Paul Pelosi even knew the man. This has since been debunked by various sources. As The Washington Post explains, law enforcement was provided substantial documentation and footage confirming that it was indeed a break-in. Trump's theory was disproven very quickly after its dissemination, though many of his core supporters are still claiming this conspiracy as fact.

Elon Musk has put forth homophobic conspiracies about the incident

Silicon Valley tech giant and the now-owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, also has his own history of controversies. The latest in a long history of misinformation for the entrepreneur is his claim that both Paul Pelosi and his attacker DePape were actually lovers. As the Washington Blade explains, this anti-gay allegation Musk tweeted was in response to a tweet shared by former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. Musk asserts that DePape was actually a sex worker romantically involved with Pelosi. Musk also said that Pelosi was drunk, which led to a violent dispute and his ensuing injuries. 

As expected, this claim was proven false. As BBC News states, there is no actual evidence to support this, and several details about what Musk alleged, such as both men being near-naked at the time, were also proven false. Musk has since deleted the tweet. It isn't the first time Musk had spread misinformation on Twitter, such as when he once claimed that Sec. Clinton died in 2016 and that a body double was used as her replacement (per the Los Angeles Times). 

The conspiracy theory that DePape's hateful blogs were fake

During its investigation, law enforcement discovered that DePape wrote many hate-filled blog posts prior to the attacks. The Washington Post explains that his blogs were often incredibly violent, racist, transphobic, and antisemitic. In addition, he wrote scores of posts about false conspiracy theories that targeted these particular groups. The blog posts were also filled with disturbing drawings and photos, many of which contained gore and other disturbing images. 

Though these posts were written months before the attack, PolitiFact reports that some theorists circulated information around the internet, claiming that DePape's blog posts were actually fake. The claim that the blogs were created on the day of the attack has since been debunked and flagged as misinformation by social media websites like Facebook. Though the blogs themselves aren't available online anymore, some posts have been archived, which many news outlets have since reported on. 

Several right-wing pundits tried to deny DePape's political leanings

DePape's blogs, his motivations for the attack on Pelosi, along with his overt political leanings all signify characteristics of extremism. Despite that, numerous right-wing pundits and figures have openly denounced his association with the far-right. As the Independent states, Ted Cruz said about the incident: "But I do know that trying to paint a hippie nudist from Berkeley as some kind of militant right winger is absurd and will always be absurd." Ted Cruz asserted that DePape was instead a far-left extremist, not a right-wing one. 

Cruz went on to propagate this misinformation on social media, sharing conspiracy theories as spread by Matt Walsh. However, Walsh, Cruz, and other pundits have since been disproven. As BBC News explains, DePape had right-wing political motivations behind the attack, which were confirmed by law enforcement and San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. Cruz, along with other pundits, have attempted to downplay these inclinations and distant themselves from DePape's extremism. 

There's a conspiracy that Marjorie Taylor Greene knew of the attack ahead of time

Marjorie Taylor Greene is currently the U.S. representative for Georgia's 14th district. She has a long history of spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories via her social media platforms (via CNN). Greene recently came under fire for her inflammatory remarks about Pelosi, arguing that he could have avoided the attack altogether if he had a gun (per The Hill). Greene is also a very vocal supporter of gun rights and ownership. 

But recently, Greene became connected to the Pelosi attack in a different way. According to BBC News, some liberal-leaning accounts on Twitter have claimed that Marjorie Taylor Greene had inside knowledge of the Pelosi attack the day before it happened. This theory is based on the fact that Greene allegedly tweeted, "just wait until tomorrow," on her Twitter account on October 27. However, these allegations are, as of now, unproven, so they should be taken as a coincidence for the time being. As law enforcement puts more pieces of the attack together, misinformation will hopefully slow down.