Elon Apologizes for Spreading Conspiracy Theory About the Hammer Attack on Paul Pelosi
Twitter CEO Elon Musk gave a brief public apology for his role in helping spread and amplify a baseless conspiracy related to the brutal October attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Musk’s backtracking comes just days after the release of graphic police body camera footage capturing the attempt on Pelosi’s life. Musk is in the midst of a multi-day tour of the nation’s capital meeting with and sweet talking lawmakers.
The Tesla CEO issued the public apology on Twitter over the weekend, responding to a tweet by Juanita Broaddrick, who once accused Bill Clinton of raping her, asking why “idiots on the left” could possibly want him to apologize for spreading an article rife with misinformation: “Idiots on the left want @elonmusk to apologize to the Pelosis. For what? It is still a questionable and bizarre situation between two men in their underwear.”
In response, Musk said, “Nonetheless, I apologize.”
The article in question resurfaced baseless rumors over the sexual orientation of Paul Pelosi, saying he was drunk and fighting with a male escort the night of his attack. Both of those claims have since been proven false via additional reporting and disclosures by police. At the time of the quote tweet, however, Musk wrote, “There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye.” The CEO deleted the quote tweet days later without additional explanation.
Recently released San Francisco Police body camera footage shows the alleged assailant, 42-year-old David Depape, and Pelosi both clutching a hammer. Police on the scene direct Depape to drop the hammer moments before he rips it out of Pelosi’s hand. Depape then violently bludgeons Pelosi’s head with the object before police restrain him. Injured, Pelosi falls to the ground and laid unconscious in a pool of his own blood for three minutes. Depape now faces charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
The publication responsible for the article, right-wing conspiracy rag The Santa Monica Observer, has a long history of spreading deliberately false information. In possibly the most egregious example, the publication previously reported that Hilary Clinton died and was replaced by a body double. The paper still hasn’t issued a correction or redacted for the Paul Pelosi story, but did appear to slightly walk back its stance following the recent release of police body camera footage illustrating part of the attack.
“This story has always been labelled opinion,” The Observer recently wrote in an update to its story. “My original post expressed the opinion that David Depape and Paul Pelosi were ‘friends,’ a description Pelosi used in his call to 9-1-1. Elon Musk was kind enough to retweet it, and we got a lot of unwanted attention directed to our small local newspaper.”
It’s worth noting here that Musk’s “apology” in this context, wasn’t exactly unconditional. The “nonthless” part of his tweet was in response to another user tweeting, “It [the attack on Pelosi] is still a questionable and bizarre situation between two men in their underwear.” Though Musk may have apologized to the Pelosi family, he still stopped short of unequivocally condemning the actual details of the conspiracy, details that previous reporting has proven were also baseless.
Musk’s tweet comes during the tail end of a trip to Washington D.C, where he has reportedly met with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle including Republicans in charge of multiple House committees eager to investigate tech companies over allegations of so-called ant-conservative bias.
On the Democratic side, Musk reportedly spoke with senior White House energy advisor John Podesta and presidential adviser Mitch Landrieu, where they spoke about electric vehicle policies. Musk hasn’t seen eye to eye with the Biden Administration and has criticized it for allegedly unfairly singling out Tesla.
The billionaire also reportedly sat down with newsy minted Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan to discuss the Twitter Files and, oddly, the origin of Covid-19. On Twitter, Musk confirmed he met with McCarthy and Minority house leader Hakeem Jeffries to “discuss ensuring that this platform is fair to both parties.”
McCarthy, who received an endorsement and political contributions from Musky, told The Journal and Axios Musk stopped by his office to wish him happy birthday.
“We’ve been friends for years,” McCarthy added.