DC shooting has brought some much-needed unity to Congress

by Garry Watts June 20, 2017, 0:13

Under the bright glare of the national spotlight, the congressional baseball game was transformed on Thursday a day after the shooting of majority whip Steve Scalise and three others at a practice session for the Republican team.

"Earlier today, Congressman Steve Scalise underwent a second surgery related to his internal injuries and a broken bone in his leg", MedStar said in a statement Thursday.

In addition to Mr Scalise, a police officer, a congressional aide and a lobbyist were wounded on Wednesday morning when a man opened fire as the Republican lawmakers practised for the game in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia.

The annual Congressional Baseball Game pits Republicans against Democrats, but this year the focus has turned to showing unity in the wake of the shooting. Scalise was reported to have been tended to by Rep. Brad Wenstrup of OH, a US Army Reserve doctor who served in Iraq, before his treatment at the hospital.

Scalise's trauma surgeon said Friday he can hope to make an "excellent recovery", even though the lawmaker arrived at the hospital Wednesday at imminent risk of death.

The shooter is identified as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois.

Hodgkinson's apparent Facebook page included strong criticism of Republicans and the Trump administration.

"Not here, but in our thoughts and prayers, Steve Scalise", said the announcer before the game.

"I'll be the only third-base coach in America tonight on crutches", he said with a wide grin.

Trump made an unannounced visit - with first lady Melania Trump and White House physician Ronny Jackson - to the hospital late Wednesday after Scalise's first surgery.

The game is one of the most anticipated events of summer in the capital, with Democrats and Republicans splitting the 79 games that have been played over the years 39-39, with one tie.

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In his first public comments since the shooting, Dr. Jack Sava of MedStar Washington Hospital Center said it's a "good possibility" that the Louisiana Republican will be able to return to work in his full capacity.

The doctor said U.S. Capitol Police Special Agent Crystal Griner, who was also wounded in the shooting, "sustained a gunshot wound to the ankle, and remains hospitalized in good condition".

"We will not give in to fear, violence or hate", Aguilar said.

"In Washington we have our disagreements, but we all agree that we are here to serve this nation we love and the people who call it home", Trump said.

Scalise is the No. 3 House Republican leader.

Republicans and Democrats sat in different parts of the park - fans could state their party preference when buying tickets.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) leaves during the House vote on continuing a resolution on a budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 28, 2017.

President Donald Trump said he was "deeply saddened by this tragedy" and was monitoring developments.

The two team managers, Republican Representative Joe Barton and Democratic Representative Mike Doyle, both vowed that their squads would win the charity game.


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