President Donald Trump reportedly canceled his birthday plans with first lady Melania Trump to visit House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in the hospital following a shooting in Virginia that left him in critical condition.
Scalise was one of several people shot during a Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. He was later visited by the president in the hospital.
“Just left hospital. Rep. Steve Scalise, one of the truly great people, is in very tough shape -- but he is a real fighter. Pray for Steve!” Trump tweeted after the visit.
Earlier in the day, Trump spoke highly of Scalise in a speech and praised the officers who took down shooter James Hodgkinson.
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“Congressman Scalise is a friend and a very good friend. He's a patriot, and he's a fighter,” Trump said, the Daily Mail reported. “He will recover from this assault, and Steve, I want you to know that you have the prayers, not only of the entire city behind you, but of an entire nation and, frankly, the entire world.”
We also commend the brave first responders from Alexandria Police, Fire and Rescue who rushed to the scene. Everyone on that field is a public servant -- our courageous police, our congressional aides who work so tirelessly behind the scenes with enormous devotion, and our dedicated members of Congress who represent our people. We may have our differences, but we do well, in times like these, to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's capital is here because, above all, they love our country. We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace, and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.
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Republican Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois told Fox News that “political rhetorical terrorism” was to blame for the shooting.
“Political rhetoric has led to this violent type of activity that has got to stop in this country. I stand here today and say stop, we have to stop.”
Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina echoed Davis’ sentiments.
“We’ve seen ourselves engulfed by the spirit of division and oppression and we have to find a way to crawl our way out of this hole,” he said.