House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday a violent attack on her husband had highlighted the "fear" felt by poll workers and other Americans in the heated political climate ahead of next week's midterm elections.
The comments come one day after her husband, Paul, was released from hospital following an attack in which a man broke into the couple's California home and hit him on the head with a hammer.
The man accused of the attack, David DePape, 42, allegedly intended to tie up Pelosi and break her kneecaps, but found only her 82-year-old husband.
"That has driven home to me the fear that some people have about what's out there, coming at poll workers and the rest," Pelosi said in a video posted to her Facebook page.
"The message is clear, there is reason to be concerned. But we can't be fearful, we have to be courageous," Pelosi said.
Conspiracy theories born in the 2020 election are fueling harassment of poll workers across the United States, while unconstrained disinformation and toxic political partisanship are raising concerns of potential election-related violence.
In a speech this week, US President Joe Biden linked the attack on Pelosi to the political assault unleashed by ex-president Donald Trump's supporters against Congress on January 6, 2021, calling emboldened violence "the path to chaos in America."
In her video, Pelosi said "it's going to be a long haul," but that her husband "will be well."
As for Tuesday's midterm elections, in which polls show Republicans poised for potentially heavy victories, Pelosi said that "there is no question that our democracy is on the ballot."
© Agence France-Presse