What happened to Steve Scalise, House Majority Whip earlier this week?
A congressional baseball practice turned into a shooting, when a lone gunman opened fire on the Republican team Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Va. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was hospitalized after sustaining injuries from a single rifle shot to the left hip, he and remains in critical condition awaiting additional surgeries, according to a statement from MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
“Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend a patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover,” President Donald Trump said in a tweet Wednesday morning. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”
Since his first tweet about the shooting, Trump held a televised press conference where he said the shooting was “brutal” and later visited Scalise in the hospital with First Lady Melania Trump.
The FBI identified the gunman who shot Scalise, two police officers, a congressional aide and a lobbyist as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Illinois, who died after being shot at the scene. Hodgkinson had a rifle and a handgun on him at the time, which he bought in March, according to local law enforcement officials.
Tim Slater, the FBI special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office, told reporters that it was unclear what the motivation for the shooting was, whether it constituted an assassination attempt, and whether specific members of Congress had been targeted.
Some, including Michael Hodgkinson, the brother of the shooter, said that President Trump’s election had left the shooter distraught and upset with the current political climate. Additionally, Hodgkinson’s LinkedIn page featured a photo of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who addressed the senate floor to say that Hodgkinson had volunteered on his presidential campaign and to condemn his actions.
In the wake of the shooting, the House cancelled Wednesday’s scheduled votes and adjourned until Thursday, when they will go home a day early. Following suit, Democrats canceled a press conference announcing a lawsuit against Trump and the Senate postponed a hearing examining a budget request from the Capitol Police.
While it’s not clear what policy implications this shooting could have for gun control, The Hill reported that Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), one of the lawmakers on the baseball field during the shooting, said that Congress should consider firearm reciprocity to make it easier for lawmakers to carry guns in Washington, D.C. Such a policy would recognize firearm permits from the lawmakers’ home states within D.C.