Political News

Scalise has more surgery as authorities track shooter's path

Posted June 15

— In critical condition and undergoing repeated surgery, GOP House Whip Steve Scalise faces a "much more difficult" struggle to recover from his gunshot wound than first thought, President Donald Trump said Thursday. The House lurched back to business in a somber mood as law enforcement tracked the path the shooter traveled to his ballfield carnage.

Investigators studying Wednesday's attack at a suburban Virginia park said shooter James Hodgkinson had obtained his rifle and handgun from licensed firearms dealers. Capitol Police said they had "no evidence to suggest that the purchases were not lawful."

Hodgkinson, a Belleville, Illinois, home inspector who had been living out of his van near the park, had a social media page filled with criticism of Republicans and the Trump administration. He died after officers in Scalise's security detail fired back at him.

The FBI said it was investigating the shooter's "activities and social media impressions" in the months leading up to the attack. Authorities also were going over a cellphone, computer and camera taken from Hodgkinson's white van, which was parked near the ballfield.

So far, investigators have not linked Hodgkinson to any radical groups, said a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

Colleagues who visited Scalise at a Washington hospital sounded generally upbeat, but spoke more in terms of hopes than the confident predictions of the immediate aftermath a day earlier.

Democrat Cedric Richmond, a fellow Louisiana congressman, said as many others did that Scalise is a fighter. "I'm prayerful he will pull through, and I hope he does," he said.

Scalise was fielding ground balls at second base Wednesday when he was shot at a practice for an annual Republicans-Democrats baseball game. Richmond , who plays for the Democratic team, said he had visited the hospital twice and planned to go again before Thursday night's game at Nationals Park.

Four miles north of the Capitol, Scalise, 51, lay at Medstar Washington Hospital Center with a rifle wound in his left hip that shattered bones, tore organs and caused severe bleeding. The House's No. 3 GOP leader completed his third surgery late Thursday, and a person close to the lawmaker said he remained in critical condition.

"He's in some trouble," said Trump, who had visited late Wednesday. "He's going to be OK. We hope."

Scalise was among five people wounded when a shooter sprayed rifle fire at congressional Republicans practicing on a diamond in Alexandria.

Also hurt but released from hospitals were two Capitol Police officers, David Bailey and Crystal Griner, and House GOP aide Zack Barth. Lobbyist Matt Mika was shot multiple times and critically injured and remained hospitalized.

Following a day that saw most congressional business canceled, the House approved legislation offering health insurance tax credits to some veterans while committees pondered federal land management, cybersecurity and more. The Capitol's usual partisan combativeness, though not absent, was less pointed than usual, and warm words were exchanged between some lawmakers with starkly opposing political philosophies.

"There is so much you do that I disagree with," House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, a staunch conservative, told his panel's top Democrat, unwavering liberal Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. "But you have long since earned my respect, and you deserve to be heard, and you are an honorable individual."

Addressing Scalise, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said, "You are not alone. ... We love you." Lewis led a House floor Democratic sit-in last year when Republicans refused to consider gun control legislation.

Members of both parties said they needed to soften rhetorical attacks on each other, if only to set a better example for a public that seems increasingly divided into hostile political camps. It's a sentiment lawmakers frequently express after mass shootings or terrorist attacks, only to see their sharp oratorical elbows gradually return.

Underscoring the day's mood, the Rev. Patrick Conroy, the House chaplain, opened the day by seeking divine forgiveness "when we seem to forget that words matter and can become seeds that will bring bitter harvest."

Still, finger-pointing lingered as some on each side suggested the other had contributed more to the disparaging broadsides they've increasingly aimed at each other.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said in a brief interview that Democrats would be reminded of "positions they've taken in the past that are not consistent with their voice for bipartisanship today."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recounted candidate Trump's comments prodding supporters to pummel demonstrators at rallies and said Republicans were being "sanctimonious."

The shooting prompted talk of improving security for lawmakers, most of whom are unaccompanied by officers in their normal day-to-day pursuits. Some have suggested using federal money to provide security cameras in their offices, while others spoke of a need for protection when groups of them appear in public.

The House used a voice vote Thursday to approve a resolution lauding the Capitol Police for protecting lawmakers and stating that "violence has no place" in society. A reading of the measure received a standing ovation.

House Republicans met privately earlier to discuss the shootings, pray and sign oversized cards for the wounded.

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Associated Press writers Darlene Superville, Sadie Gurman and Erica Werner contributed to this report.

5 Comments

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  • Jackie Strouble Jun 16, 4:10 p.m.
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    Opportunities for the right to gloat over acts of hate & violence from the left are few and far between, so I would expect them to make the most of those rare occasions. All the above sanctimonious hypocrisy stems from the group that routinely traffics in hate, fear-mongering and racism -- the very people who installed alt-right Steve Bannon as key counsel to the president, the party that voted in a candidate who openly threatened violence against dissenters and who vilifies minorities by telling outrageous lies about them.
    If the left is expected to "own" this guy, then likewise the right must own every single one of the homicidal maniacs who have created their own bloody maelstrom of hate, fueled by right-wing rhetoric. They must own the abortion clinic shooters, the synagogue bombers, the mosque arsonists, the black church murderers, the Sikh stabbers, the gay bashers... It's a very long list so y'all might want to take a break from this forum and get busy on your mea culpas.

  • Robert Swiger Sr. Jun 15, 11:50 a.m.
    user avatar

    You also can add the senator who in in her speech said &
    F$@* Trump, Maxine Waters who has been spreading hate, others include late night host, and Rosie O'Donnel.

  • Wayne Hill Jun 15, 11:25 a.m.
    user avatar

    This is strikingly ironic. Congress can pray, but school children cannot?

    The Democrats would serve them selves well to remember that the last time a group tried a civil rebellion it ended in war, and it did not turn out too well for the ones who initiated the civil war. rebellion. It will be interesting to see if the Democrats encourage the summer of resistance or ask for civility and decorum. This being in light of the attempted murderous act on the Republicans yesterday. BTW, golf clap to John Jones and Charlie Watkins.

  • John Jones Jun 15, 10:46 a.m.
    user avatar

    I blame all the hateful, anti-Trump, anti Republican rhetoric on the liberals and the biased media. Destroying property when a conservative wants to give a speech, blocking traffic on major highways, public comments about dreaming of blowing up the president, beating him to death with a golf club, a play depicting a Donald Trump look alike being assassinated, comedian holding up a severed bloody head with a strong likeness to Trump. And just think the left calls themselves the party of love and compassion. That is as long as your view is the same as theirs.

    Just think Hank Williiams Jr.made a comment about Obama and Hitler and he was fired.. We need the same repercussions for the left. All this impeach him now, racist rhetoric is absolutely sickening. All because the left is a bunch of intolerant sore losers.

    I despised Barack Obama policies and did not like his anti white, anti Christian, anti police stance, but never once thought about holding up a bloody head of him.

  • Charlie Watkins Jun 15, 8:35 a.m.
    user avatar

    I blame Kathy Griffin for this !