“People are being hit with hammers every day. People are being pushed into subways, slashed, shot in cold blood, but the media focuses on this one single crime to pin it on Republicans?” he said on his show, “Jesse Watters Primetime.”
In Watters’ mind, the attack was nothing special in the current landscape of violent crime, a complicated issue Republicans have seized on in their midterm talking points to paint Democrats as too soft.
Paul Pelosi, 82, was rushed to a hospital and underwent surgery to address a skull fracture earlier on Friday after a man broke into the San Francisco home he shares with his wife, who was in Washington, D.C., at the time.
The suspect, 42-year-old David DePape, had asked, “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?”
An acquaintance told CNN that DePape was “out of touch with reality” and had been struggling with homelessness and hard drugs. He posted conspiracy theories to his Facebook page about the 2020 election and the 2021 Capitol attack. A blog authored by “daviddepape” featured similar content, along with antisemitic sentiments and opinions related to the QAnon conspiracy theory, CNN reported.
Many see the attack on Pelosi as a product of escalating political rhetoric.
Nancy Pelosi, in particular, has been vilified by the GOP for years. During Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, participants were filmed yelling, “Where’s Nancy?” One fantasized about dragging her down the Capitol steps, her “head hitting every fucking stair.”
Yet on Fox News, anchors rushed to portray it as an example of the randomness of crime.
“This can happen anywhere,” host Bill Hemmer told the audience minutes after the story broke Friday morning. “Crime is random, and that’s why it’s such a significant part of this election story.”
Host Laura Ingraham ran a chyron beneath a photograph of the Pelosis during her show that read, “EVERYONE NEEDS TO CALM DOWN.”
Watters, considered by Fox to be part of its opinion side, echoed his colleagues, telling his audience, “People in San Francisco are smashing people in the head every day, and they get bailed out, and they don’t get hit with attempted murder charges.”
He appeared to be referencing the progressive movement to end cash bail for nonviolent offenders, declining to note that such policies base the decision of pretrial release on the offender’s risk to the community.
DePape was charged with several felonies on Friday, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse.
Speaking Friday night, President Joe Biden condemned the attack and slammed the tone that has come to saturate right-wing politics.
“There’s too much violence — political violence — too much hatred, too much vitriol,” he said. “What makes us think that one party can talk about stolen elections, COVID being a hoax, [that] it’s all a bunch of lies, and it does not affect people who may not be so well-balanced?”