WASHINGTON, D.C. - Five years ago this week, my Republican colleagues and I were on a baseball field in Virginia practicing for the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity when a deranged, left-wing gunman opened fire at us. I was at the batter’s box when he began shooting. He was screaming “health care” at us while he was firing his rifle. He was trying to kill us because he disagreed with us politically. At the time, President Trump and Republicans were working to repeal and replace Obamacare and fix our broken health care system.
By the grace of God, the only life that was lost that day was that of the shooter. There were two Capitol Police officers with us at the baseball field that day - Crystal Griner and David Bailey. They ran towards gunfire and shot back so my colleagues and I could run away from gunfire.
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I will never forget the thoughts that raced through my mind as we took cover to avoid the gunfire. I thought about my wife, my daughter and twin boys, my family. Being in a terrible situation like that really puts life in to perspective and makes you think of the things that matter. Every day, particularly after the shooting, I am so thankful for my family and all the blessings we have in our life.
I thank God every day for those brave Capitol Police officers who saved the life of my good friend Steve Scalise, Matt Mika, and the lives of all of us who were there on the baseball field that day. If those officers weren’t there that day, it would have been a massacre. Law enforcement officers put their own lives on the line to keep our communities safe. We should always have their back.
Political violence and the extreme rhetoric that contributes to it are unacceptable. We’re seeing that play out now with protests, threats, and attempted violence against Supreme Court justices. Just last week, a deranged person attempted to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. It’s wrong whenever it occurs, and we must call it out whenever it happens.
We live in the United States of America. We settle our political differences at the ballot box, not with bullets.