This morning, we were startled by sad and shocking news that a deranged individual opened fire and deliberately targeted members, associates, and staff of the U.S. Congress while they were practicing for a charity baseball game later this week. His target was, apparently, to hurt and kill Republicans. In the chaos, five people, including Majority Whip Steve Scalise, were injured and the assailant died while in custody.
President Trump delivered a statement shortly after the incident. He expressed his thoughts and prayers for the victims and his appreciation for the valor of the Capitol Police and first responders. He ended his remarks with this:
We may have our differences—but we do well in times like these, to remember that everyone who serves in our Nation's Capitol is here because, above all, they love our country. We can all agree that we're blessed to be Americans. That our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace. And that we're strongest when we're unified. And when we work together for the common good.
Speaker Paul Ryan, convened the House of Representatives at the start of business and delivered this statement:
We are all horrified by this dreadful attack on our friends and on our colleagues and those who serve and protect this Capitol. We are all praying for those who were attacked and for their families . . . We are united in our shock, we are united in our anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us . . . [B]efore this House returns to its business, let's just slow down and reflect. To think about how we're all being tested right now. Because we are being tested right now. I ask each of you to join me to resolve to come together—to resolve to come together, to lift each other up and to show the country, to show the world that we are one house, the “People’s House,” united in our—People's House, united in our humanity. It is that humanity which will win the day and it always will. God bless.
Minority Leader Pelosi joined Speaker Ryan and added:
To my colleagues, you're going to hear me say something you've never heard me say before. I identify myself with the remarks of the Speaker. They were beautiful remarks, Mr. Speaker, thank you so much . . . We are called for a purpose to this body. It's a great thing. And we know what it means to each of us to serve and we recognize that in others. And we also recognize that you have your constituents, we have ours. And we respect you and your constituents who sent you here. All worthy of respect. But we do have our differences. And so I pray, my prayer is that we can resolve our differences in a way that furthers the preamble to the Constitution, takes us closer to e pluribus unum . . . Thank you for the opportunity to share thoughts with you on this sad day. Steve and others, you are deeply in our prayers. We count the minutes until you return . . . .
While various political groups will not always agree on the issues, this must never be an excuse to devolve into violence. Vigorous debate is important in the deliberative political process in our democracy. But, when extremists act out in violence, it becomes an attack against our freedoms.
The RNLA extends its thoughts and prayers to Majority Whip Steve Scalise and the other victims of this senseless crime and their friends and family. We wish them all a speedy recovery.