WASHINGTON (HPD) — Elon Musk tweeted a link Sunday to an unfounded rumor about the assault on the husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, days after his takeover of Twitter stoked concerns that the social network will stop trying to limit misinformation and hate speech.
Musk’s tweet, which he deleted shortly after, included a link to an article by a radical website, the Santa Monica Observer, a media outlet that had previously claimed that Hillary Clinton died on 9/11 and was replaced by a doppelganger.
In this case, the article recycled an unsubstantiated claim that the personal life of Paul Pelosi, the president’s husband, was somehow a factor in last week’s intruder attack on their San Francisco home, Although there is no evidence to support that claim.
Musk did so in a response to a tweet from Hillary Clinton. His tweet had criticized Republicans for generally spreading “hate and crazy conspiracy theories” and said: “It is shocking but not surprising that violence is the result.”
In response to Clinton’s tweet, Musk posted a link to the Santa Monica Observer article and added: “There is a small chance that there is more to this story than meets the eye.”
The Los Angeles Times, the dominant news organization in the Southern California area where the Observer is based, has said that the Observer is “renowned for fake news.”
San Francisco police have said the suspect in last week’s attack, identified as 42-year-old David DePape, broke into the Pelosi family home in Pacific Heights on Friday morning and confronted Paul Pelosi, demanding know, as the HPD has reported, “Where’s Nancy?”
The two men struggled over a hammer before officers responding to a 911 call at the residence saw DePape punch Paul Pelosi at least once, police said. DePape was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, elder abuse and robbery. Prosecutors are scheduled to file charges on Monday and expect his appearance on Tuesday.
Police said the attack was “intentional” and not random, but have not publicly stated their motive.