US Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) was greeted with a standing ovation when he returned to the House Chamber for the first time since he was shot in an assassination attempt on July 14.
Rep. Scalise took to the podium immediately upon returning to the House for the first time since he was hospitalized in June. Scalise praised God for helping him survive the potentially deadly shooting, and told his colleagues that the incident “only strengthened my faith in God.” He added, “If you look at the outpouring of love, of warmth, of prayer, my gosh, [my wife] Jennifer and I have been overwhelmed with all of that outpouring. It’s given us the strength to get through all of this and to get to this point today. And it starts with God,” he said, according to LifeZette.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) acknowledged Scalise for the first time with clear emotion.
“I’m not a big crier,” Ryan told reporters at The Washington Post, but admitted that during his earlier meeting with Scalise he was moved. “I just was a babbling idiot. I just could not compose myself.”
Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip, was practicing for Congress’ annual charitable baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia with friends and staffers when a rabid Bernie Sanders supporter descended on the field.
Armed with an SKS rifle and a 9mm handgun, the shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, took cover behind the third base dugout and opened fire on the Republican players. Hodgkinson struck lobbyist Matt Mika, staffer Zach Barth, and Capitol Police Officer Crystal Griner in addition to Rep. Scalise.
The bullet struck Rep. Scalise in the left hip, passing through his pelvis and penetrating organs, causing extensive internal damage before exiting his right hip. Hodgkinson was eventually taken down by brave police officers after a 10-minute shoot out, putting an end to the shooting spree that could have had a fatal outcome.
Rep. Charles Fleischmann (R-TN) recalled the event, saying, “It’s still hard sometimes for me to get my head around the fact that a field that we played at for seven years without incident — I mean, not even a protest — that that happened.”
Scalise praised God for helping him survive the potentially deadly shooting. Is this a testimony to the power of prayer?
Scalise was rushed to a local hospital by helicopter and was triaged in critical condition. Doctors attending to Scalise told reporters that he was at “imminent risk of death” when he first arrived.
While addressing the House upon returning to Congress, Scalise recalled the moment he was shot. “When I was laying out on that ball field, the first thing I did once I was down and couldn’t move anymore is I just started to pray,” he said. “And I’ll tell you, it gave me an unbelievable sense of calm knowing that at that point it was in God’s hands.”
“But I prayed for very specific things, and I will tell you pretty much every one of those prayers was answered. And they were some pretty challenging prayers I was putting in God’s hands. He really did deliver for me and my family, and it just gives you that renewed faith and understanding that the power of prayer is something that you just cannot underestimate,” said the 51-year-old congressman and father of two.
“I am definitely a living example that miracles really do happen,” Scalise noted. After listening to his story, who can argue with that?