Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana returned to Congress Thursday after a months-long recovery from being shot in his hip at a congressional baseball game practice in June.
Scalise, the House Majority Whip, entered the House chamber to a thunderous applause from his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
In addressing members of Congress, Scalise said he is “a living example that miracles really do happen.”
“You have no idea how great this feels to be back here at work in the people’s House,” he said.
Scalise, 51, was critically wounded when a gunman opened fire at a Republican congressional baseball team practice on June 14. Upon arrival at the hospital after being hit with a single bullet, he was at “imminent risk of death.” He underwent a number of surgeries during two lengthy hospital stays, since recovering at home and in inpatient rehabilitation.
The first thing Scalise said he did after being shot on the field was pray. One of the things for which he prayed, he said, was that “David and Crystal would be successful,” naming Capitol Police officers David Bailey and Crystal Griner, the two officers who were assigned to Scalise’s detail.
Bailey was present in the chamber for Scalise’s return. Griner, however, was not able to attend.
“David, you are my hero, you saved my life — thank you so much,” Scalise said.
“Even after being shot both themselves…they not only saved my life but the lives of everyone else on that field,” he added.
Scalise also thanked several other individuals — including Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, who he said applied a tourniquet that saved his life; Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, who Scalise said was his first visit in the hospital; and the doctors who “gave me a second chance at life” and “put me back together.”
He recalled world leaders such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and King Abdullah of Jordan reaching out to wish him a healthy recovery.
“They saw this as an attack on all of us,” Scalise said of world leaders who reached out to him.
The Louisiana Republican said, in the current political climate, that it’s important that political battles don’t become personal, adding that the US sets the tone for so much of the world.
“The United States being strong is critical to the rest of the world having freedom,” he said.
Watch portions of his speech below:
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