Wounded US lawmaker 'in some trouble', Trump says

Claudine Rigal
Juin 17, 2017

President Donald Trump on Friday said that Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who is in critical condition after a gunman attacked a Republican congressional baseball team practice Wednesday, "took a bullet for all of us". But Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, criticised some Republicans who have blamed the shooting on vitriol from the political left.

"The Congressional Baseball Game has never been about Republicans against Democrats", said Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., in an opinion piece he wrote for CNN.

His doctors say Rep. Scalise will be in the hospital for a considerable amount of time, possibly weeks.

Mr Scalise, 51, a Louisiana Republican who is the No 3 House Republican, remained in critical condition at a hospital a few miles from the stadium after undergoing a third surgery on Thursday.

Trump said Scalise "in his own way, may have brought some unity to our long-divided country". Scalise was fielding balls at second base when he was hit in the hip, and sustained grievous injuries as the bullet traveled through his pelvis and injured internal organs.

The first pitch was thrown by one of the two heroes of the shooting, member of the Capitol Police David Bailey, who along with colleague Crystal Griner are credited with taking down the gunman.

The statement was read aloud at a press conference by Brett Horton, Scalise's chief of staff. Scalise was visited in the hospital Wednesday by President Trump and Thursday by Vice President Pence. Capitol police officers were also seriously injured along with a current and former congressional aide. Hodgkinson had posted comments critical of President Trump on his social-media accounts and engaged in a profane tirade about Trump in a chance conversation with an auto mechanic the day before the attack in Alexandria, where Hodgkinson had been living in his van since about March.

Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old contractor from southern IL, had a history of left-wing political activism and violent outbursts.

The US Capitol Police said Hodgkinson used a 9 mm handgun and a 7.62-caliber rifle in the shooting, and traces run by investigators showed he evidently acquired the weapons legally.

"It's been much more hard than people even thought at that time", Trump said.

"We're all praying for him", House Speaker Paul Ryan said during the interview right before the game, adding that Scalise's wife "Jennifer and the kids are here". Republican members of the US Congress and their staffers were holding a practice for the annual congressional charity game, a tradition in the US capital since 1909. "Oh, it was the toughest phone call I have ever made", Rep. Davis said.

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