- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 7, 2023

President Biden on Tuesday blamed what he called the “Big Lie” for last year’s attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and pleaded for bipartisan condemnation of political extremism.

He tied the attack on Mr. Pelosi to the violence that engulfed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the building, clashed with police and chased lawmakers from their attempt to count the Electoral College votes that confirmed Mr. Biden’s victory over Mr. Trump.

Mr. Pelosi, whose skull was fractured in the attack, was present in the viewing gallery Tuesday for Mr. Biden’s State of the Union address, which he closed with a call to defend democracy here at home.

“Just a few months ago, an unhinged Big Lie, an assailant unleashed political violence in the home of the then-Speaker of this House of Representatives. Using the very same language that insurrectionists used as they stalked these halls on Jan. 6,” the president said.

“Here tonight in this chamber is the man who bears the scars of that brutal attack, but is as tough and strong and as resilient as they get. My friend, Paul Pelosi. But such a heinous act never should have happened,” the president continued.

He said the duty to condemn the rhetoric falls on all sides — and then tied that to ongoing fights over the way elections are conducted.

“We must protect the right to vote, not suppress that fundamental right. Honor the results of our elections, not subvert the will of the people,” he said.

The “Big Lie” is the label Democrats have given to Mr. Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him by fraudulent voting.

The man accused of attacking Mr. Pelosi, David DePape, is an illegal immigrant from Canada. He had a history of unhinged online writings, including statements backing Mr. Trump and attacking Democrats.

Authorities believe he was at the home to attack Mrs. Pelosi, but she was not there the night of the attack.

In questioning by police after the attack, Mr. DePape said he was there to hold her hostage, singling her out for her role in opposing Mr. Trump.

“Day in and day out, the person on TV lying every day was Pelosi,” he said.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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