U.S. President Donald Trump verbally ribbed GOP Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana about his brush with near-death after a targeted shooting. Scalise is still recovering from the injury.
On Dec. 20, Trump and congressional Republicans congratulated themselves for the advancement of the GOP tax plan. Speaking from the White House, Trump singled out Scalise, Politico reports.
"He's braver than all of us," Trump said. "He's braver."
On June 14, James T. Hodgkinson of Illinois opened fire on Scalise and several other GOP lawmakers during a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Hodgkinson, who had a myriad of prior brushes with the law, shot Scalise through the hip and was killed by intervening law enforcement, according to USA Today.
"He had a rougher year than most of us," Trump said of Scalise. "But it's a hell of a way to lose weight, Steve."
The president added: "Not a good way. We love you, Steve. Good job."
Congressional reporter Paul Kane of The Washington Post took to social media to note that Trump's quip may not have come across as insensitive to some but likely did not offend Scalise.
"This is a joke/remark that Scalise has made privately," Kane tweeted out. "I bet he's made it to Trump, but without much of a filter, Trump blurts it out at this moment in awkward fashion."
When Scalise was shot, he was swiftly transferred to the MedStar Washington Hospital Center.
"When he arrived, he was in critical condition with an imminent risk of death," said director of trauma Dr. Jack Sava at the time, according to CBS News.
Sava noted that Scalise had gone into shock and that the bullet "fragmented and did substantial damage to bones, internal organs, and blood vessels."
Trump asserted at the time that Scalise's injury had united the country.
"America's hearts, and we mean this in the truest sense, sends its love. ... And Steve, in his own way, may have brought some unity to our long-divided country," Trump said on June 15.
On Sept. 28, Scalise made his return to the U.S. House. During a wide-ranging speech, the Louisiana lawmaker thanked a litany of world leaders but did not mention Trump by name, the Washington Examiner reports.
"The last three-and-a-half months have been a pretty challenging time for me and my family," Scalise told the chamber. "But if you look at the outpouring of love, of warmth, of prayer -- my gosh! -- we've been overwhelmed. And it's given us the strength to get through all this."