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Politics & Policy

Flanked by Bono, Paul Pelosi lauded at Biden’s State of the Union speech

Brandon Tsay, Bono, Paul Pelosi and Oksana Markarova at U.S. President Joe Biden's State of the Union address on Feb. 7, 2023. | (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Joined by U2 frontman Bono and other special guests, Paul Pelosi was praised by President Joe Biden at his State of the Union Speech for withstanding a brutal attack that left him hospitalized in October.

"Here tonight in this chamber is the man who bears the scars of that brutal attack, but is as tough and strong and as resilient as they get," said Biden at Tuesday's speech at the U.S. Capitol. "My friend, Paul Pelosi."

Biden referenced the Oct. 28 hammer assault on Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, as an "unhinged" attack that was unleashed by the Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate.

Pelosi sat in First Lady Jill Biden's box at the presidential address along with other guests that included Brandon Tsay, who disarmed the shooter at the recent Monterey Park mass shooting; Ambassador of Ukraine Oksana Markarova; and Bono, who's a noted HIV/AIDS activist in addition to his career as singer-songwriter for U2.

The Pelosi family are longtime U2 fans, the former speaker told Rolling Stone in a 2019 interview.

"We're obsessed. [...] I’ve probably been to more U2 concerts than, well, certainly anybody in Congress," she told the magazine.

On March 17 last year, the former speaker read aloud an original poem by Bono that likened Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Irish patron saint St. Patrick, who is credited with saving the island by driving snakes into the sea.

Bono sat beside Mr. Pelosi, who suffered a skull fracture and other injuries in the October attack and was wearing a hat, in the front row of the first lady's box. Biden asked him to stand, and Mr. Pelosi tipped his hat to the audience during a round of applause as his wife waved from the chambers below.

Describing the Oct. 28 attack on Pelosi as political violence, Biden said it was motivated by the "very same language that insurrectionists who stalked these halls chanted on January 6th."

"We must all speak out. There is no place for political violence in America," Biden said. "And we must give hate and extremism in any form no safe harbor."