Sunday 25 February 2018

Here's how Republicans and Democrats honoured Steve Scalise at the annual congressional baseball game

The House majority whip was critically wounded by a gunman during practice for the baseball game.

By Max McLean

Republicans and Democrats have swapped political insults for friendly rivalry at their annual congressional baseball game in honour of House of Representatives politician Steve Scalise, who was critically injured in a shooting rampage.

The game at Nationals Park, Washington DC, carried on a century-old bipartisan ritual, this one tinged with worry about Louisiana Republican Mr Scalise, 51, and their determination to answer the attack by coming together in sport.

The Democrats eventually won the game 11-2, but Democrat Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, his team’s manager, gave the trophy to his Republican counterpart Joe Barton of Texas, to put in Mr Scalise’s office on behalf of the Democrats.

After accepting it gracefully, Mr Barton cracked: “Next year we won’t be so nice.”

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A huge ovation came from the crowd, which swelled to a record 24,959, when Special Agent David Bailey, one of the Capitol Police officers injured in the attack on Republicans at their practice in Virginia on Wednesday, threw out the first pitch.

A sign in the crowd proclaimed “ONE FAMILY” and the announcer’s mention of Scalise, the House majority whip who was critically wounded in the attack on Wednesday, brought the masses to their feet.

Mr Scalise remains in a critical condition after undergoing several operations, though word came from the hospital during the game that he had improved.

He was fielding at second base while practising for the event when he was shot in the hip and sustained serious injuries as the bullet travelled through his pelvis and injured internal organs.

Gunman James Hodgkinson, from Belleville, Illinois, a home inspector, died after officers in Mr Scalise’s security detail fired back at him.

It emerged Hodgkinson had a social media page filled with criticism of Republicans and the Trump administration.

“By playing tonight we are showing the world that we will not be intimidated by threats, acts of violence or assaults on our democracy,” said US president Donald Trump, appearing on the park’s giant screen but not attending.

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Before the event, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said: “Tonight we will go to the game, play our hardest, but we will all be Team Scalise.”

Press Association

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