Somber and shaken members of Congress put politics aside for at least a few hours as they walked through the halls of the United States Capitol Wednesday after a gunman went on a shooting rampage targeting Republican lawmakers at an early morning bipartisan baseball practice at a nearby Virginia field, NBC News reports.
The lawmakers spent the day consoling each other and recounting their experience as most official business in the House of Representatives was put on hold until tomorrow. Democrats and Republicans vowed to tone down their rhetoric and increase bipartisanship.
House Speaker Paul Ryan addressed the shooting that wounded Representative Steve Scalise, two Congressional and four others.
“There are very strong emotions throughout this House today,” Ryan said.
“We are all horrified by this dreadful attack on our friends and on our colleagues and those who serve and protect this capital. We are all praying for those who were attacked and for their families. And we are united. 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”, Ryan added.
The House Speaker hailed the bravery of the two members of the Capitol Police present and injured during the incident, saying that without them, “many lives would have been lost”, urging members of both parties to unite.
“For all the noise and all the fury, we are one family. These were our brothers and sisters in the line of fire. These were our brothers and sisters who ran into danger and saved countless lives. So before this House returns to its business, let’s just slow down and reflect, to think about how we’re all being tested right now, because we are being tested right now. I ask each of you to join me to resolve to come together to lift each other up, and to show the country, to show the world that we are one House, the People’s House, united in our humanity”, Ryan stated.
The House cancelled all official business on the House floor Wednesday except for statements by Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, as most seats in the House floor were filled by members to hear their statements in a show of unity and support.
“To my colleagues, you’re going to hear me say something you’ve never heard me say before. I identify myself with the remarks of the Speaker. They were beautiful remarks, Mr. Speaker, thank you so much for the sentiments that they represent”, Pelosi said, in support to Ryan’s remarks.