Pelosi Floor Speech in Response to Congressional Baseball Practice Shooting


Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today on the Floor of the House after a gunman opened fire on a practice for the Congressional Baseball game:

Leader Pelosi.   Mr. Speaker, I rise to join the distinguished Speaker in paying tribute to the brave men and women of the Capitol Police Force, and also in sadness for the assault that was made on our colleagues and members of the staff.

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 and for the sentiments that they represent, thank you so much.

Again, we are not one Caucus or the other in this House today.  But we speak for each other in saying that we send our thoughts and prayers to our colleague, [Whip] Steve Scalise.  Personally, we have our Italian-American connection, so as soon as I heard his name, I was filled with concern as I would be for anyone here.  But we had that special connection.

So our hopes and prayers – and I said to the Speaker, ‘I’ll be asking you every five minutes, how is Steve coming along?’  And also for Zack Barth, in Congressman Roger Williams’ office, and Matt Mika, who was a former staffer, and of course, as the Speaker acknowledged, Crystal Griner and David Bailey.

In acknowledging their sacrifice and how fortunate we were that they were on the scene because their lives would have probably been lost.

I want us to remember that every single day the Capitol Police protects all of us, takes risk for us and while a day like this is a time where we can focus on it so sadly, it doesn’t mean that other days aren’t as challenging.

I especially want to call at to Detective John Gibson and Officer Jacob Chestnut, who almost 19 years ago, [1998] it was, in July, lost their lives protecting the Congress, the Capitol.  Not just the Members of Congress – the staff, the press and our visitors, people who come to see this Capitol, this great edifice to democracy known throughout the world.

So they are protecting a great deal and it is an attraction.  And that makes it all the more risky.

You may not know this, my colleagues, but every time I pray, which is very frequently, and certainly every Sunday, I pray for all of you.  All of you, together.

In the earlier years I used to pray for your happiness, for the fact that we would work together, heed the words of President Kennedy in the closing of his inaugural address, when he said, may God’s work – ‘God’s work must truly be our own.’  How do we view what god’s will is for us?  How do we come together to give confidence to the American people that, as our Founders intended, we would have our disagreements and we would debate them and we would have confidence in our beliefs and humility to listen to others?

But in more recent years, I have been praying not only for that, but for our safety.  As I above anyone in here, and I can say that quite clearly, have been probably the target of more – I’m a political target and therefore the target of more threats than anyone, other than the President of the United States, Barack Obama.  And so I prayed for Barack Obama.  Now I continue to pray for him.  And pray for Donald Trump.  That his presidency will be successful and that his family will be safe.  Because it is about family.

We are called for a purpose to this body.  It’s a great thing.  And we know what it means to each of us to serve and we recognize that in others.

And we also recognize that you have your constituents, we have ours.  And we respect you and your constituents who sent you here – all worthy of respect.

But we do have our differences.  And so I pray, my prayer is that we can resolve our differences in a way that furthers the preamble to the constitution, takes us closer to e pluribus unum.

Today, again, it’s in the family.  It’s an injury in the family.  For the staff and for our colleague and for his leadership.

As I mentioned a minute ago, in the fuller thing, sports are a wonderful thing in our country.  Probably one of the most unifying – I think the arts, we like to say music or plays or whatever.  But sports really bring us together in our cities.  You see people have the biggest differences of opinion on politics and yet when their team is on the field, people come together.  People come together.

When this team was on the field practicing, with such comradery and such brotherhood – I don’t know if you have any sisters on your team – we have two on our team.

For this person to take this action was so cowardly, so cowardly, we all learn more about motivation and the rest of that, but it seems particularly sad, although any violent death, of course, is sad, but particularly sad that at a time when people want us to come together, and we were prepared to come together tomorrow night, that this assault would be made.

We cannot let that be a victory for the assailant or anyone who would think that way.  So tomorrow we’ll go out on the field, we’ll root for our team, and want everyone to do his or her very best, and we will use this occasion as one that brings us together and not separates us further.

With that, again, I want to thank the Speaker for bringing us together and again with endless gratitude to our Capitol Police and particular today to Crystal Griner, David Bailey.  But never out of our prayers, Detective John Gibson and Officer Jacob Chestnut.  Thank you for the opportunity to share thoughts with you on this sad day.

Steve [Scalise] and others, you are deeply in our prayers.  We count the minutes until you return.  Please convey that to him, Mr. Speaker. Thank you all.