Paul Pelosi assault raises questions about security protocol for lawmakers and their family members

Pelosi assault suspect will be charged with attempted homicide, assault with deadly weapon, elder abuse, and burglary, police say.

Updated: October 28, 2022 - 6:04pm

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The assault of Paul Pelosi, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, is raising questions about security protocol for lawmakers and their immediate family members.

Currently, congressional leaders such as Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer receive protection, but their immediate family members do not have government-provided security when they are alone. 

In 2021, U.S. Capitol Police reportedly tracked approximately 9,600 threats against the individuals and locations that it is assigned to protect. 

California Democratic Rep. Karen Bass, who is running for Los Angeles mayor, said the attack raises security concerns. 

"I certainly am concerned about my security, and I’m concerned for others, my colleagues that are in Congress, and frankly other people in elected office right now. It just shows you what a delicate position our democracy is in," Bass said.

A debate over expanding the availability of security for lawmakers took place after the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Spending on private security increased among lawmakers after the riot occurred. House members were given $10,000 for enhanced security as part of a program that began in August 2022.

Congress recently passed a bill that extended security to Supreme Court justices' family members. 

Illinois GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a member of the January 6th select committee, said in an interview on Friday that some of the threats against him have mentioned his child. He sought protection from the Capitol Police but was told he had to wait in line. He eventually hired private security. 

Police said the suspect in the Pelosi assault, David DePape, will be charged with attempted homicide, assault with deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary, and other felonies. The investigation into the assault is ongoing and a motive has yet to be determined.

However, some are speculating it was politically motivated. The suspect was reportedly asking, "Where's Nancy?" when he entered the home. 

The suspect's Facebook page, which has been removed, contained a post about MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's 2020 election fraud claims. Another post was titled: "Democrat FARCE Commission to Investigate January 6th Capitol Riot COLLAPSES in Congress!!!"

Other political figures have been attacked in the recent past, including GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who was assaulted by his neighbor in 2017. House Republican Whip Steve Scalise was shot in 2017 during a baseball game with other Republican lawmakers. Scalise, the House Republican Whip, had Capitol Police protection that day given that he is a member of House GOP leadership. Officers were able to respond and take down the gunman, who was reportedly a supporter of Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and anti-Trump.

In 2011, then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, was among those shot during a meeting with constituents. The shooting claimed the lives of 6 people. Giffords survived.