A man broke into the San Francisco home of Nancy Pelosi sometime around 2 AM on Friday morning, with the apparent intent of of assassinating the speaker of the House and second in line to the presidency. In this effort, the man assaulted Pelosi’s 82-year-old husband Paul Pelosi with a hammer, causing serious injury. Paul Pelosi has been hospitalized and is reportedly undergoing brain surgery related to the injuries incurred in the attack.
The attacker, 42-year-old David Depape, has now been identified as a racist, transphobic conspiracy theorist who seems to have expressed his belief in all things “Q.” According to CNN, Depape had links on his Facebook page (which has now been taken down) with “multiple videos produced by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell falsely alleging that the 2020 election was stolen.” Depape also used his Facebook account to support former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, the murderer of George Floyd; to post multiple transphobic images and memes; and to push ideas about the “Great Reset” conspiracy theory in which “elites” were supposedly using COVID-19 in a plot to gain more power.
All the evidence shows that Depape is highly prone to believing in conspiracies. And he found a one-stop shop for all the conspiracies he could handle: the Republican Party and right-wing media. That’s why his page was filled with very familiar lies about the 2020 election, COVID-19 vaccines, and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
It’s not surprising that some of the things packed into Depape’s online accounts are videos from conspiracy pusher Mike Lindell. Claims about fraud in the 2020 election were reportedly thick on Depape’s Facebook page before it was taken down. So were claims that the Jan. 6 attack was a ‘false flag’ operation. Through many of these conspiracy theories, antisemitism is a running thread.
But Depape didn’t just have a Facebook page: He also had his own blog. And on that blog he was very open about what he was all about—like every conspiracy theory ever. From alien human hybrids to Atlantis, he was there for every one of them. But mostly he was heavily into the idea that “big brother and the global elite” were censoring right-thinking people and covering up for the “Satanic Hollywood pedophiles.”
He was not just openly antisemitic, he was openly and violently racist against Black people. The N-word is repeatedly and frequently used to attack Black people who, according to Depape, are steeped in “communist ideology.” Just as frequently (and often in the same sentence), Depape flings insults at LGBTQ people, and against trans people in particular.
Running down the page of Depape’s blog is like taking a stroll through the mind of anyone who takes Tucker Carlson’s evening performances seriously. There are claims that Black people get special privileges denied to whites, insults against every letter of the LGBTQ community, claims that both Hollywood and libraries are filled with pedophiles, complaints that men aren’t allowed to criticize women, and an overall theme about how the global elites want everyone indoctrinated into their “satanic pedophile communist cult.”
There’s no doubt that Depape is at the very least highly suggestible, if not outright delusional. He’s also weirdly obsessed with taking kids’ movies and dubbing in beeps, followed up with claims that the movies have been “censored.”
But Depape’s violent anti-gay, anti-trans, anti-Black, antisemitic tendencies were inflated to extremes precisely because he found Republicans at all levels willing to feed him the conspiracy that he wanted—one that said a white male who hated Blacks, women, immigrants, trans people, and Jews was right, and it was just that “cancel culture” of Hollywood elites keeping him down.
Depape isn’t so much a conspiracy theorist as a conspiracy addict. And the Republican Party is his pusher.
On The Brief podcast, we speak with Way To Win’s co-founder and vice president, Jenifer Fernandez Ancona. Ancona comes in to discuss how grassroots progressive groups are spending money in the hopes of getting as many voters as possible out for the midterm elections. She also talks about which campaign advertisements are effective and which are not. One thing is for sure, though: We are living in historic times, and what that means for these midterms cannot be easily predicted—so Get Out The Vote!