GOP campaign ads have demonized Pelosi for years

According to an analysis by AdImpact, an ad-tracking firm, Republicans and allied groups pumped about $50 million in campaign ads nationwide this cycle in which they invoked, condemned, or demonized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

That surpassed the $45 million total for 2020 anti-Pelosi-referenced ads at home races, the company said.

Democrats say the Republicans’ long history of singleing out the most powerful woman in Congress, coupled with the GOP’s acceptance of voter denial and conspiracy theories, contributed to the brutal attack that hospitalized Pelosi’s husband, Paul, after the alleged assailant in her home in San Francisco was broken into on Friday.

On Monday, the Justice Department charged man David DePape with assault and attempted kidnapping. Authorities said DePape hit Paul Pelosi in the head with a hammer before officers restrained him. Officers recovered duct tape, a rope, a second hammer, rubber and cloth gloves, and zip ties from the crime scene.

DePape told San Francisco police he planned to hold Nancy Pelosi hostage and let her go if she was telling the truth and break her kneecaps if she was lying.

“The attack on Paul Pelosi shows the real and violent consequences of conspiracy theories and the millions of dollars Republicans have spent attacking Speaker Pelosi,” said Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-San Diego). “Elected officials sign up to be in the public eye, but that doesn’t mean we’ve signed off on death threats, harassment and violence — and it certainly doesn’t mean that for our loved ones.”

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel dismissed the notion that Republican publicity was in any way responsible for the attack on Paul Pelosi.

“You can’t say that people who say, ‘Let’s fire Pelosi’ or ‘Let’s take back this house’ are saying, ‘Power up,'” she said on Fox News Sunday. “It’s just unfair.”

On Oct. 28, the day her husband was assaulted, Pelosi was featured in nearly $1.3 million in ads, including 97 spots, that totaled more than 3,000 airs on television that day .

While the ads don’t condone violence, many use combative rhetoric that portrays Pelosi as an enemy in a fight for the nation’s future.

According to GOP commercial transcripts, Pelosi’s “failed policies are destroying the American dream,” Pelosi has “declared war on working Americans,” and her agenda is “radical.” Some ads call for “strength to fight Biden, Pelosi and the awakened mob,” while many Republican candidates tout the strength to fight back.

The McCarthy Victory Fund, run by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) to help GOP racing, has also run ads citing Pelosi.

“What has given us a year of Democrat-controlled Washington? Bottlenecks, inflation, crime, chaos, division and failure,” McCarthy said in an ad. “We can end one-party rule, fire Nancy Pelosi and take back our country.”

McCarthy has come under fire for failing to make a strong public statement condemning the attack on Paul Pelosi. A spokesman released a statement to reporters who requested one, saying: “Leader McCarthy has reached out to the spokesman to check on Paul and said he is praying for a full recovery and is grateful she has caught the attacker would have.”

Last year, at a fundraiser in Tennessee, McCarthy joked that if he succeeds Pelosi as Speaker of the House and she hands him the ceremonial gavel, that’s what happens “will be hard not to hit her with it.”

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, replied at the time: “[a] The threat of violence against someone who was the target of an assassination attempt by your Trump supporters on January 6 is irresponsible and disgusting.” GOP campaign ads have demonized Pelosi for years

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