Congressman wounded in baseball-field shooting makes emotional return: I’m a ‘living example that miracles really do happen’

Steve Scalise.

Steve Scalise.
Screenshot/NBC News

Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana returned to Congress on Thursday for the first time after recovering from being shot in his hip at a congressional baseball practice in June.

Scalise, the House majority whip, entered the House chamber to a thunderous applause from his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

In addressing members of Congress, Scalise said he was “a living example that miracles really do happen.”

“You have no idea how great this feels to be back here at work in the people’s House,” he said.

Scalise, 51, was critically wounded when a gunman opened fire at a Republican congressional baseball practice on June 14. Upon arriving at a hospital after being hit with a single bullet, he was at “imminent risk of death.” He underwent numerous surgeries during two lengthy hospital stays and had since been recovering at home and in inpatient rehabilitation.

The first thing Scalise said he did after being shot on the field was pray. One of the things for which he prayed, he said, was that “David and Crystal would be successful,” naming David Bailey and Crystal Griner, the two Capitol Police officers who were assigned to Scalise’s detail and returned fire, killing the gunman.

Bailey was in the chamber Thursday for Scalise’s return, though Griner was not able to attend.

“David, you are my hero – you saved my life,” Scalise said. “Thank you so much.”

“Even after being shot both themselves … they not only saved my life but the lives of everyone else on that field,” he added.

Scalise also thanked several other people – including Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, who he said applied a tourniquet that saved his life; Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, who Scalise said was his first visit in the hospital; and the doctors who he said “gave me a second chance at life” and “put me back together.”

He recalled world leaders such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and King Abdullah of Jordan reaching out to wish him a healthy recovery.

“They saw this as an attack on all of us,” Scalise said.

The Louisiana Republican also said that, in the current political climate, it was important that political battles not become personal, adding that the US set the tone for so much of the world.

“The United States being strong is critical to the rest of the world having freedom,” he said.

Watch portions of his speech below:

Rep. Steve Scalise on hisreturn to Congress: “I’m definitely a living example thatmiracles really do happen” 28, 2017

Rep. Steve Scalise thanksCapitol Police officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey for savinghis life 28, 2017