One might have thought that after the unprovoked attack on Paul Pelosi that all politicians, from both sides of the aisle, not to mention all other public figures, would condemn it in the most forceful terms. If so, one would be wrong. Some tweets making the rounds suggest that Pelosi was drunk and his attacker was his secret lover. In fact, the disinformation is spreading so rapidly that San Francisco Police Chief William Scott has told reporters: "There is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Pelosi knew this man, and as a matter of fact the evidence indicates the exact opposite." He also said that the conspiracy theories were being spread "whether they believe it or not."
Scott was probably referring to a (since-deleted) tweet by Elon Musk suggesting that maybe Pelosi was actually having a fight with a male prostitute he had hired. Of course, Musk had zero evidence that was the case. He just made it up. It will be interesting to see how Musk's newfound love of free speech holds out the first time someone (baselessly) tweets that he has actual evidence that Musk is a pedophile who has raped at least three young boys and the tweet goes viral.
Conspiracy theories similar to Musk's have been floating around the far-right corners of the Internet for days now. Most of them suggest that Pelosi was in some kind of romantic relationship with someone other than Nancy Pelosi and/or that a third party (other than Paul Pelosi and his attacker, David DePape) were present when Pelosi was attacked. Some of the people who are spreading false stories really know better. They just are hoping for attention. For example, Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News host who has been demoted to running her own podcast, wants to get back in the limelight, so she said of the police body cam footage: "Let's see it all. I don't know what went on. I know enough to smell a rat. There's something going on here that they're not telling us. I just don't know what it is." Get this: She says she doesn't know what happened but she smells a rat. How could she smell a rat when she says she doesn't know what happened? Maybe she has a really, really good sense of smell, since she lives in Rye, NY, about 2,500 miles from San Francisco. In other words, she wants to be somebody important again, so she knowingly made up and spread a hateful lie in order to get herself in the news. It worked, but mostly showed what kind of desperate and awful person she is.
Kelly isn't the only one wants to use the incident for personal advantage. At first, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) make light of the matter, but yesterday he sort of apologized. Sort of. But Arizonal gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is absolutely not backing down. When asked about protecting school kids, she made a joke about Nancy Pelosi's house not having any protection. The audience laughed. Lake claimed it wasn't her fault the audience laughed at what was clearly a joke. Since then, she has refused to budge or say that making jokes about political violence is just maybe inappropriate. She is the model for Republican reactions to the attack more than Youngkin, though. (V)