The husband of United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been “violently assaulted” in their home in San Francisco, her office has said.
A spokesman for the top US legislator said the attack took place on Friday morning and the assailant is in custody, adding that Paul Pelosi is receiving “excellent” medical care. The motives behind the assault remain unclear.
“The Speaker was not in San Francisco at the time,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement. “The Speaker and her family are grateful to the first responders and medical professionals involved, and request privacy at this time.”
The White House said later on Friday that President Joe Biden called Pelosi after the “horrible attack”.
“The president is praying for Paul Pelosi and for Speaker Pelosi’s whole family,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “This morning he called Speaker Pelosi to express his support after this horrible attack. He is also very glad that a full recovery is expected. The President continues to condemn all violence and asks that the family’s desire for privacy be respected.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also said he spoke with Pelosi to convey his “deepest concern and heartfelt wishes” and called the assault a “dastardly act”.
The attack comes less than two weeks ahead of the crucial November 8 midterm elections in which control of Congress, including the speakership of the House of Representatives, is up for grabs.
As a veteran Democrat, 82-year-old Pelosi is a frequent target for Republican criticism. Her office was ransacked during the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Paul Pelosi, 82, owns a San Francisco-based real estate and venture capital firm. He made headlines earlier this year when he was convicted of a misdemeanour charge of driving under the influence of alcohol for which he was sentenced to five days in jail. He has been married to Nancy Pelosi for nearly 60 years.
US Capitol Police, the agency responsible for the safety of members of Congress, said it was jointly investigating the assault with the FBI and the San Francisco Police Department, confirming that Speaker Pelosi was in Washington, DC at the time of the incident.
“The San Francisco Police Department has the suspect in custody. The motivation for the attack is still under investigation,” Capitol Police said in a statement.