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The Facts —
- House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (Louisiana) returned to the House of Representatives on Thursday for the first time since he was badly wounded when a gunman opened fire during a Republican congressional baseball practice in June.
- After a standing ovation from the entire chamber, Scalise began his speech saying:
“Thank you Mr. Speaker, you have no idea how great this feels to be back here at work in the People’s House.”
- Scalise described how leaders from around the world reached out to him following the attack, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and British Prime Minister Theresa May. He said that this stood for something greater than just his well being.
“What it says is, sure they cared about my well being, but more than that, they saw this as an attack on all of us. They saw this as an attack on the institution of our Congress and our government.”
- Officer David Bailey of the Capitol Police was in attendance at the speech and sat next to Scalise’s wife. Bailey was wounded in the June shooting and helped kill the shooter. In his speech on the House floor, Scalise said:
“David, you are my hero. You saved my life.”
- Scalise noted that that the bipartisan support “really does show the warm side of Congress that very few people get to see.”
- Scalise’s office told Fox News that he will be “returning to work at the United States Capitol” while he finishes his out-patient rehabilitation over the coming months.
- Prior to his speech, Scalise tweeted “I’m back.”
I’m back. pic.twitter.com/vuqYQorM6U
— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) September 28, 2017
- Scalise will appear on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday, his first interview since the attack.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 28, 2017
Video of Scalise’s Full Speech from the House Floor —
Scalise’s Timeline —
- On 14 July, a gunman opened fire during a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
- Four others were wounded, including two Capitol Police officers.
- Others at the softball practice included Sen. Jeff Flake (Arizona), Sen. Rand Paul (Kentucky), and Rep. Joe Barton (Texas).
- Scalise was in critical condition after suffering a single rifle shot to the left hip.
- Police shot the attacker, James T. Hodgkinson, who died from his wounds days later.
- Hodgkinson was a strong supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont), and CNN reported that his Facebook included posts such “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.” and “Republicans are the Taliban of the USA.”
- In June, Sen. Sanders acknowledged Hodgkinson’s support and denounced his actions as despicable.
“I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign. I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be: Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values.”
- Scalise was in critical condition, and the Washington Post explained how the wound was “life-threatening.”
- One week following the attack, MedStar Washington Hospital announced that Scalise had improved to “fair condition.”
- On 26 June, Scalise began inpatient rehabilitation.
- Norah O’Donnell, co-host of CBS This Morning, posted an Instagram of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan embracing Scalise, noting that Ryan was “brought to tears.”
- Ryan introduced Scalise to the House floor.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 28, 2017
- Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (Arizona), who survived a gunshot to the head 2011, tweeted her support for Scalise.
.@SteveScalise has a strength only survivors know. Welcome back to the people’s House. Your courage & resilience sends a powerful message.
— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) September 28, 2017
- President Trump told NBC News that Scalise is “Brave, just a great guy, a great friend of mine.”
- Trump also tweeted, “Welcome back, Steve Scalise! #TeamScalise.”
William Spruance contributed to this report.