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Three Months After Shooting, Republican Congressman Steve Scalise Returns To Congress

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who represents the 1st Congressional District in Louisiana,returned to the House of Representatives today after being seriously injured three months ago when a gunman opened fire at a practice session for the Republican half of the annual Congressional baseball game:

WASHINGTON — Walking gingerly and on two canes, Representative Steve Scalise, the Republican whip, made an emotional return to the Capitol on Thursday, more than three months after a gunman nearly took his life during practice for a charity baseball game.

“It shows you if you fight and persevere, you can overcome anything,” Mr. Scalise told reporters as he entered the House chamber to thundering applause from his colleagues, who were awaiting his return. He then delivered his first remarks on the House floor since the shooting on June 14.

Mr. Scalise, his voice strong, said he wanted to “thank true angels across the way” — the Capitol Police officers who were wounded and fired the shots that are credited with preventing the gunman from harming anyone else, and his doctors, who were seated in the House gallery.

“You are my hero,” he told one of the officers, David Bailey, who was also in the gallery. The other officer, Crystal Griner, was not present.

The return of Scalise, a jovial backslapper who counts close friends in both parties, was a moment of relief and celebration for lawmakers who have worked under a cloud since the shooting.

“He’s been wanting to come back forever,” said Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), who joined a crowd waiting in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall for Scalise to make his way to the chamber. “You can’t keep a good man down.”

Scalise thanked his colleagues for the “outpouring of love” from both sides of the aisle, and he said he did not dwell on the shooter or the reasons that he opened fire.

“To me, all I remember are the thousands of acts of kindness and love and warmth that come out of this,” he said.

Scalise also gave his first media interview since the shooting, telling CBS’s “60 Minutes” that the bullet did serious damage when it struck him in the hip at the Alexandria ballpark.

“My femur was shattered,” he told “60 Minutes” correspondent Norah O’Donnell, according to excerpts of the interview released Thursday by CBS News. “The hip and pelvis had serious damage where the bullet went through and, you know, did some damage to areas that had to be shored up with steel plates. And then they did a phenomenal job of rebuilding — you know, kind of the, rebuilding Humpty Dumpty. I mean, there were, there was a lot of damage inside that had to get fixed.”

“They put you back together again,” O’Donnell said.

“They put me back together again,” Scalise confirmed.

Hodgkinson opened fire during the GOP’s early-morning practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game, shooting four people. Hodgkinson was pronounced dead at a hospital after a gun battle with police.

Scalise suffered a single bullet wound to the hip, and as The Washington Post’s Dana Hedgpeth reported, doctors said the congressman was at “imminent risk of death” when he was first admitted to the hospital.

(…)

On the House floor Thursday, Scalise praised his medical team, saying, “They gave me a second chance at life.”

In a statement, MedStar Washington Hospital Center officials said they watched “with great joy” as Scalise returned to work.

“For the past few months, our teams have been in awe of Rep. Scalise and his intense commitment to returning to his family, home and his important work on Capitol Hill,” the hospital said. “We are pleased that he has reached this milestone and wish him continued success in his recovery.”

Scalise first announced his return via a picture posted early this morning on his Twitter account:

And here’s the video of Scalise’s speech from the floor today:

From the coverage, it seemed as though most if not all of the House membership was in attendance for Scalise’s return, and he noted support from both Republicans and Democrats during his long and continuing recovery period:

Welcome back, Congressman.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Paul L. says:

    @derekahunter

    Weird how @politico didn’t mention the @SteveScalise shooter’s motive. Being a progressive activist is a protected class…

    Nice to see Doug has the same standard.
    Left is pretending that they had nothing to do with and Democrats were also targets of the attack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  2. Gustopher says:

    @Paul L.: There are unbalanced people on both sides, but only one side wants to make sure they have easy access to guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. Stormy Dragon says:

    It shows you if you fight and persevere, you can overcome anything

    So if anyone you know got murdered, I guess it just means they weren’t mentally tough enough to live through it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. wr says:

    And now the sainted Scalise can return to his day job of making sure that anyone can get a gun, no matter how crazy or evil, and that poor people won’t be able to get the kind of care that saved his life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  5. Paul L. says:

    @Gustopher:
    Progressive Shooter James Hodgkinson held a license to legally buy guns in Illinois which has the toughest gun laws in the US.
    So be honest that your side the Democrats want to ban private ownership of Guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  6. The ideological motives of the shooter were and are not relevant to the subject matter of this post.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  7. Paul L. says:

    @wr:
    Democrats want only proper vetted people can get guns because they passed the highest level of background checks.
    Like the
    James Hodgkinson
    San Bernardino shooter
    Orlando Nightclub shooter,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  8. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @wr:

    And now the sainted Scalise can return to his day job of making sure that anyone can get a gun, no matter how crazy or evil, and that poor people won’t be able to get the kind of care that saved his life.

    WHAT !!!???!!!

    How DARE you politicize the shooting of a politician that was known for making his way in the world by overzealously ensuring the politicization and polarization of gun control !!!

    Sir, I am aghast !!!

    Three months is FAR too soon to discuss guns, or healthcare… or for that matter tax cuts. Or the fact that the GOP has accomplished nothing.

    Too soon, sir! Too soon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  9. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Paul L.:

    So be honest that your side the Democrats want to ban private ownership of Guns.

    Maybe you should be concerned we are starting to shoot back?

    I mean the blood of tyrants, the tree of liberty and all that, right?

    Worked for the Black Panthers. And the Colonists.

    :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  10. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Paul L.:

    So be honest that your side the Democrats want to ban private ownership of Guns.

    Maybe you should be concerned we are starting to shoot back?

    I mean the blood of tyrants, the tree of liberty and all that,

    Worked for the Black Panthers. And the Colonists.

    :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  11. Gustopher says:

    @Paul L.: I do want stronger restrictions on gun ownership, and a requirement that people who have guns carry insurance for the damage that they do.

    But seizing all guns? Seems impractical given the number that are out there, so I haven’t given it much thought.

    Perhaps the costs of gun violence can be covered through taxes on ammunition, rather than requiring gun owners to carry insurance… That would help contain the economic damage, at least.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  12. Franklin says:

    I’m glad he’s recovered so well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0