It Sure Sounds Like Rep. Gerry Connolly's Office Attacker Doesn't Fit the Media Mold

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Shortly before 11:00 a.m. Monday, Fairfax City police were called to the scene of Rep. Gerry Connolly’s (D-Va.) district office after a man who was allegedly carrying a metal bat entered the office and proceeded to attack some of Connolly’s staffers after allegedly asking for the Congressman himself.


In a statement, Connolly – who was not present at the time of the suspect’s attack – talked about what allegedly happened and noted that thankfully, the two staffers who were assaulted were going to be okay:

“This morning, an individual entered my District Office armed with a baseball bat and asked for me before committing an act of violence against two members of my staff. The individual is in police custody and both members of my team were transferred to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Right now, our focus is on ensuring they are receiving the care they need. We are incredibly thankful to the City of Fairfax Police Department and emergency medical professionals for their quick response.

“I have the best team in Congress. My District Office staff make themselves available to constituents and members of the public every day. The thought that someone would take advantage of my staff’s accessibility to commit an act of violence is unconscionable and devastating.”

Understandably, this story is getting a lot of media attention considering that it appears a sitting member of Congress may have been sought out by a deranged person who intended to harm him, with the unstated but obvious questions being “was he targeted for political reasons? Can we blame Tucker Carlson?”


The Fairfax City Police and the Capitol Police have launched a joint investigation into the disturbing incident, but as of this writing, a motive has not yet been established.

That said, the information that is currently known about the suspect, who originally resisted arrest and injured officers while in the process of trying to disarm one of them, suggests that he doesn’t fit the media mold, which might be why we haven’t heard much about him on the cable “news” networks like CNN and MSNBC beyond his name and age.

According to the Capitol Police, the suspect has been identified as 49-year old Xuan Kha Tran Pham, who resides in Fairfax. Connolly’s chief of staff Jamie Smith confirmed that Pham is a constituent.

Here’s a photo of Pham, who reportedly has a history of mental health issues:

Further, NBC Washington reporter Drew Wilder wrote on his Twitter feed about how an hour prior to the attack on Connolly’s office, Pham allegedly harassed and attempted to attack a woman who was parked in a car shortly after asking if she was white:


In 2022, Pham filed a lawsuit that alleged the CIA had been torturing and imprisoning him:

“The C.I.A. has been guilty of wrongfully imprisoning me in a lower perspective based on physics called the book world since 1995,” courts documents read. He added the CIA torture him since 1998 “from the fourth dimension.”


In his lawsuit, Pham said he wanted to be returned “to normal condition by a digital technology” and compensated for his alleged suffering in the amount of $29 million.

Clearly, a lot of issues going on here for Pham, but there’s nothing to indicate the attack on Connolly’s office was politically motivated – much less by the sterotypical “far-right extremist,” something even Connolly himself acknowledged in so many words while suggesting that a “toxic political environment” still might have played an indirect role:


“I have no reason to believe that his motivation was politically motivated, but it is possible that the sort of toxic political environment we all live in, you know, set him off, and I would just hope all of us would take a little more time to be careful about what we say and how we say it,” he said.

Any guesses on how soon it will be before this story disappears off the front pages of local and national media newspapers and websites? Because if the media can’t make the perps in these instances into Trump/Tucker-inspired right-wing villains, then the story isn’t worth it to them to cover any more, because narratives and all that.

Related: ‘Reporter’ Reminds Us Why NPR Needs Defunding in Remarks on WH Correspondents’ Dinner


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