Scalise shooter a Sanders volunteer; lawmakers denounce violence

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The alleged gunman who opened fire on a GOP baseball practice Wednesday morning, identified as 66-year old James Hodgkinson, was allegedly a volunteer for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Sen. Sanders joined a chorus of fellow lawmakers in denouncing all forms of political violence.

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“Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms," Sanders said Wednesday. "Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values."

While there are concerns the shooter could have been politically motivated, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) asked lawmakers to view the tragedy as a call for Americans to come together and form a united front.

“An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” Ryan said. “I ask each of you to join me to resolve to come together … to show the world that we are one House, the people’s House, united in our humanity … it is that humanity that will win the day.” Ryan also joked that he knew Rep. Scalise would be frustrated that he could not participate in tomorrow night’s charity baseball game.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)—Ryan’s chief opponent in the chamber—addressed lawmakers as well Wednesday, praying for the safety of President Trump’s family.

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“You will hear me say something I’ve never said before … I identify myself with the remarks of the Speaker [Paul Ryan],” Pelosi began. “I pray for Donald Trump, that his presidency will be successful and his family will be safe … We will use this occasion as one that brings us together and not one that separates us further.”

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Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), who survived a gunshot wound in 2011, also spoke out to send her condolences to Rep. Scalise and his family Wednesday, knowing firsthand what it is like to recover from this type of incident.

“This shooting is an attack on all who serve and on all who participate in our democracy … May all Americans come together today with prayers for the survivors, love for their friends and family, and the courage to go about everyday making this country its best. Our nation is resilient, and we always come back stronger,” Giffords said in a statement.

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