Elon Musk tweeted a link Sunday to an unfounded conspiracy theory about the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, before eventually deleting his tweet hours later, just three days after the billionaire Tesla CEO acquired Twitter and pledged to make changes to how it handles content moderation.
In the since-deleted post, Musk replied to a tweet from Hillary Clinton, who called the attack on Paul Pelosi “shocking but not surprising,” argued the “GOP and its mouthpieces now regularly spread hate and deranged conspiracy theories” and shared a report that alleged attacker David DePape had shared QAnon and election conspiracy theories online.
In response to Clinton’s post, Musk claimed there was “a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye.”
Musk linked to a no-longer-accessible article from the Santa Monica Observer—which has spread false information in the past—that appeared to claim without any evidence that no one broke into the Pelosis’ home and that Paul Pelosi was having an affair with a male prostitute, even though police say Pelosi called 911 during the attack.
Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.
Authorities say DePape broke into the Pelosis’ San Francisco home on Friday to look for the House speaker, yelling “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” DePape allegedly tried to tie Paul Pelosi up while waiting for the speaker to come home (she was in Washington, D.C. at the time). Police saw DePape and Paul Pelosi struggling over the hammer before DePape grabbed the weapon from Pelosi and began to assault him, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said. Paul Pelosi suffered a fractured skull and injuries to his right arm and hands for which he underwent surgery after the attack, and he is expected to make a full recovery, according to Pelosi’s office. DePape was charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse and other felonies.
DePape’s Facebook page reportedly includes a host of conspiracy theories about Covid-19 vaccines, the 2020 presidential election and other false claims. The attack comes as elected officials have reported a surge in threats and harassment in recent years, including in the aftermath of the January 6 Capitol riot, in which supporters of former President Donald Trump who believed the election was rigged against him attacked police officers and breached the Capitol building.
Nancy Pelosi released a statement late Saturday night saying she, her children and grandchildren were “heartbroken and traumatized” by the attack on Paul Pelosi. His condition continues to improve, she said, adding that the family was grateful for the quick response of law enforcement and the medical care he received.