New Twitter owner Elon Musk tweets conspiracy theory about attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul

Just days after he took ownership of Twitter, Elon Musk has retweeted a baseless claim popular with right-wing extremists about the violent home invasion targeting Nancy Pelosi, an attack that left her elderly husband Paul with a skull fracture.

The man police say carried out the attack was David DePape, who has a history of spreading far-right conspiracy theories online and reportedly used a chant that was popular during the deadly January 2021 insurrectionist attack on the US Capitol.

DePape is said to have attacked Pelosi, 82, with a hammer after breaking into their California home over the weekend. 

Musk's since-deleted tweet was a reply to former US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who was one of many politicians condemning the apparently politically motivated violence.

"There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye," the controversial billionaire stated, with a link to a known misinformation website.

The story he linked to carried the headline, 'The Awful Truth: Paul Pelosi was drunk again, and in a dispute with a male prostitute'.

Online extremists, particularly those linked with the QAnon group, have reacted to the Pelosi attack by sharing unfounded conspiracy theories such as the apparent fake news article Musk tweeted.

Authorities have not yet released a motive for the attack on the Pelosi home, though DePape was reportedly shouting "Where is Nancy?" when he broke into the house at around 2:30am on Friday morning (local time).

Twitter owner Elon Musk tweets baseless QAnon conspiracy theory about violent attack on Nancy Pelosi's home.
Photo credit: Twitter

Clinton's tweet linked to an LA Times article about DePape's history of propagating QAnon conspiracy theories, anti-Semitism and bigotry.

Musk boosted the QAnon-linked conspiracy less than a week after his US$44 billion acquisition of Twitter was finalised amid concerns over his stated intention of loosening the rules about what kind of speech is allowed on the platform.

Those concerns could drive users and advertisers from Twitter, it's been reported.

Musk's tweet was screenshotted and reposted by US journalist Molly Jong-Fast, who said it "should kill any remaining confidence advertisers had in the platform".

Among the top replies to her tweet is one from US writer Ben Schwartz saying Musk is "not capable of managing Twitter as a social media platform, he's running it like a personal account".

"I'm shocked that the guy who called someone a paedophile because the other guy didn't like his submarine is somehow not committed to safe speech," noted another reply.

Although Musk's tweet about Pelosi has been deleted, most of those he has published since his Twitter takeover remain live, including some poking fun at the concerns about the platform's change in moderation policy, as well as a juvenile sex joke about the company's employee layoffs.