Gun attack on top Republican stuns America; Trumps visit hospital as Scalise fights for life

America was rocked yesterday as a leading Republican politician fought for his life in a Washington hospital after a gun attack. Democrats and Republicans pulled together as the US reeled from the attack.

Scalise: Critical

President Trump and his wife last night visited Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise who is in critical condition in the hospital.

The Trumps met with Scalise's doctors and sat by his bed side during their visit, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the couple brought flowers

Scalise will require additional surgeries after a bullet pierced his hip, injured organs and caused "severe bleeding," according to a hospital statement last night.

Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, is in MedStar Washington Hospital Center , where he has had at least two procedures, and "multiple units of blood transfusion," the hospital said . Scalise was brought to the hospital in "shock," the statement said.

Scalise will "require additional operations," the hospital said in the statement.

"Congressman Steve Scalise sustained a single rifle shot to the left hip," the statement from the hospital read. "The bullet travelled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding. He was transported in shock to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a Level I Trauma Center. He underwent immediate surgery, and an additional procedure to stop bleeding. He has received multiple units of blood transfusion."

A gunman shot Scalise, two police officers, a congressional aide and a lobbyist Wednesday morning during a congressional baseball practice. The shooting shocked Capitol Hill and froze congressional business. Votes were canceled in the House Wednesday, and the GOP leadership is allowing lawmakers to leave town Thursday afternoon — one day early.

The FBI identified the alleged gunman as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of Illinois. He died after being shot at the scene.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters the surgery had been completed. The hospital tweeted that Scalise remained in critical condition.

"Prior to entering surgery, the Whip was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone. He is grateful for the brave actions of U.S. Capitol Police, first responders, and colleagues," McCarthy’s office said. "We ask that you keep the Whip and others harmed in this incident in your thoughts and prayers."

In a televised address Wednesday morning, Trump called Scalise "a very good friend," "a patriot" and "a fighter," and said the prayers of his family, the nation and the world were with him.

“We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country. We can all agree we are blessed to be Americans,” Trump said in his statement, delivered from the White House's Diplomatic Room.

Tim Slater, the FBI special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office,said it was too early in the investigation to label the incident an act of terrorism or determine whether it constituted an assassination attempt. He said Wednesday evening that the FBI believes the perpetrator Hodgkinson had been in Alexandria since March and was living out of his vehicle.

The bureau said in a statement that it is “actively investigating Hodgkinson to include his associates, whereabouts, social media impressions, and potential motivations.”

Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown described the scene to reporters as “not only chaotic” but also “a combat situation.”

The shooting shook Washington off its usual routines. The House canceled its scheduled votes on Wednesday, although Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said votes in that chamber would go on as scheduled. Some committees canceled hearings as well. Visitors to the Capitol on Wednesday also observed increased security in the wake of the shooting.

House Speaker Paul Ryan summoned House members to the floor at noon, where he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered back-to-back remarks urging a break from the fierce partisanship that divides the town.

"We are all horrified by this dreadful attack on our friends and on our colleagues and those who serve and protect this Capitol," Ryan said. "We are united in our shock. We are united in our anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us."

"To my colleagues, you're gonna hear me say something you've never heard me say before: I identify myself with the remarks of the Speaker," Pelosi said. "We are not one caucus or the other in this House today, but we speak for each other in saying we send our thoughts and prayers to our colleague Steve Scalise."

Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was the victim of a shooting in 2011, described the shooting as “an attack on all who serve and on all who participate in our democracy.”

“I am heartbroken for the pain of Congressman Scalise, the other victims, and their family, friends, and colleagues who survived. I am thankful for the great courage of Capitol Police, who were my protectors after I was shot and became my friends,” said Giffords, who was among 19 people wounded during the shooting at a Tucson, Ariz., meet-and-greet at which six people died.

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