Roll Call: After Shooting, Members ‘Numb’ -- And Defiant
Members of Congress reacted to the shooting at the Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., Wednesday morning with a mixture of sadness, shock and defiance.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., two Capitol Police officers and two staffers were shot.
“I want the game to go on. We cannot cower in the corner,” said Ohio Rep. Bill Johnson, who is on the Republican team but had left practice before the shooting occurred. “And I guarantee you Steve Scalise and anybody involved in the congressional baseball game will say that the game should go on.”
Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., were reportedly huddling over whether Thursday night’s game at Nationals Park. should be rescheduled. Members of the House will be briefed this morning at 11:30 a.m. Events across the Capitol, including House floor votes, were canceled or postponed.
“I’m shocked. I’m greived. I’m numb,” Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., told Roll Call at the Capitol. “Steve Scalise is a close friend of mine.”
“All of us receive the aggressive comments,” Fortenberry said.“The aggressive nature of the political environment now is one thing, but when it spills over to violence against a fellow member or anyone in society, it’s just very hard to process.”
Fortenberry said “of course” there’s concern about security outside the Capitol. “A lot of people ask me that: ‘Where’s your security?’ It is assumed that there is robust security at all times around us. But that’s just not reality.”
“This is an attack on our democracy. The best response is to be here doing our jobs,” Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., said at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday morning.
Some members expressed concern about their personal safety at constituent events.
Rep. Dave Brat said the hostile environment that could have factored into the shooting in Alexandria could cause members to “recalibrate” and reconsider events like town halls.
“It’s a wake up call,” the Virginia Republican told Roll Call. “We should not be doing this.”
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