House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., posted a tweet commemorating the anniversary of the anti-GOP mass assassination attempt that resulted in him being shot and nearly dying, saying America “must never defund the police.”
The number two House Republican recognized the fourth anniversary of the shooting by a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with a tweet that lauded law enforcement for saving his life and others “from a leftist who came to the baseball field to kill Republican Members of Congress.”
In a statement to Fox News on Monday, Scalise said Americans “must always speak out against political violence” in the country and that “we can’t allow the media or the left to forget about this attack simply because it doesn’t fit their narrative.”
“Had it not been for the heroic actions of Capitol and Alexandria Police, myself and a dozen other Republican Members of Congress would have likely been assassinated that day,” Scalise said. “I am forever thankful for their heroism, and will always stand up for the brave men and women in law enforcement, and fight any efforts to defund police.”
Scalise wrote in his tweet that he and his colleagues would be “dead” without the “heroism” of the Capitol Police officers that took down the shooter – who later died from his injuries.
“God bless the officers who risk it all to keep us safe,” Scalise wrote. “We must never defund the police.”
The tweet also included a video thanking law enforcement and featured the officers that put a stop to the shooting as well as the May committee testimony of fellow shooting survivor Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, who criticized the FBI’s classification of the assassination attempt as a “suicide by cop.”
“We know from his social media posts that he hated Republicans and he hated President Trump,” Wenstrup said about the shooter in the video, who volunteered for Sanders’ failed 2016 presidential bid. “He loved Bernie Sanders and held left-leaning beliefs.”
“I am sickened by this despicable act,” Sanders said in a 2017 statement after the shooting. “Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values.”
The town of Alexandria, Virginia, awoke to gunshots the morning of June 14, 2017, as a shooter opened fire into the crowd of Republican lawmakers practicing for the Congressional Baseball Game – a game for charity where both parties field a team at the Washington Nationals’ stadium in D.C.
Scalise was one of many victims in the attack. Zack Barth, a congressional aide to Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, and Tyson Foods director of government relations Matt Mika were also injured. Both Mika and Scalise were in critical condition following the attack.
The shooter was killed after five police officers sprang into action, taking him down before he could harm anyone else.
The five officers – Capitol Police Special Agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey and Alexandria Police Department Officers Kevin Jobe, Nicole Battaglia and Alexander Jensen – were awarded the “Officer of the Year” award by the International Association of Chiefs of Police in 2017 for their heroism.
The FBI ruled the assassination attempt “suicide by cop” although other federal agencies and Virginia state prosecutors ruled the attack an act of domestic extremism, prompting Scalise, Wenstrup and other attack survivors to demand answers from FBI director Christopher Wray on the categorization.
“It seems very odd that the FBI reports would come to that conclusion when everybody else that looked at it clearly recognized that it was an act of domestic terrorism,” Scalise said in an interview with Fox News last month.
“We’re asking Director Wray to go and reevaluate the classification but also to look into why they came to that conclusion,” Scalise continued. “He wasn’t the director when that determination was made, but we’re very curious to know why someone made a determination that far off base.”