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:
I’m back. pic.twitter.com/vuqYQorM6U
— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) September 28, 2017
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.