Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday boosted wild conspiracy theories about the violent attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, just hours after the FBI filed court documents that directly debunked those same bogus allegations.
“You hear the same things I do,” Trump said in an interview Tuesday with conservative radio host Chris Stigall.
What Trump is hearing seems to come directly from his own social media platform, Truth Social, which is filled with conspiracy theories about 42-year-old David DePape, who told police officers that he wanted to take Nancy Pelosi hostage and break her kneecaps.
DePape allegedly broke into Pelosi’s house in San Francisco in the middle of the night last Friday and hit Paul Pelosi, 82, over the head with a hammer. Pelosi underwent surgery and remains in intensive care.
Within hours of DePape’s arrest on Friday, Truth Social and other fringe online channels and message boards were filled with extremists, QAnon supporters, and Trump fans sharing baseless conspiracies suggesting DePape was Paul Pelosi’s lover, that both men were in their underwear when police arrived, and that the glass door the attacker shattered to access the house was broken from the inside.
Federal court documents released Monday directly contradicted almost all of these wild claims, but for Trump, such facts didn’t matter.
“It’s weird things going on in that household in the last couple of weeks,” Trump told Stigall. “You know, probably you and I are better off not talking about it. 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.”
The FBI’s charging document quotes DePape as saying he “broke into the house through a glass door, which was a difficult task that required the use of a hammer.”
Trump went on to say that he’s “not a fan of Nancy Pelosi,” but that what happened was “very sad.”
“The whole thing is crazy. I mean, if there’s even a little bit of truth to what’s being said, it’s crazy,” Trump continued. “But the window was broken in and it was strange the cops were standing there practically from the moment it all took place. So, you’re going to have to explain that to your audience, including me.”
In updated documents published Tuesday, prosecutors revealed that DePape told investigators that he had been on a “suicide mission” and that he had a list targets that included “several prominent state and federal politicians, and relatives of those state and federal politicians.”
DePape has been charged by both state and federal prosecutors with a range of crimes, including attempted murder, residential burglary, elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment of an elder, and threatening family members of public officials.
Trump is just the latest in a long line of prominent Republican and right-wing figures who’ve boosted these conspiracy theories, including his own son Donald Jr. In a now-deleted Instagram post, Don Jr. posted a photo of a hammer and a pair of underwear with the caption: “Got my Paul Pelosi Halloween costume ready.”
Others who promoted conspiracies about the Pelosi attack include Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Dinesh D’Souza, and even Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk.
During a campaign event in Arizona this week, news anchor turned candidate for governor Kari Lake, who has boosted Trump’s conspiracy theories about 2020 election theft, joked about the attack on Paul Pelosi, to the delight of her audience and moderator:
Trump’s comments have once again revived the fever swamp of QAnon and MAGA channels who have become obsessed with the Pelosi attack. A number of major accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers are already using Trump’s comments to spin up fresh conspiracy theories about the attack, and two separate Telegram posts about Trump’s comments have each been viewed over 100,000 times.
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