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Scalise: No forgiveness for shooter, Trump ‘motivated’ recovery

Paul Bedard

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Rep. Steve Scalise is a good Catholic who won the prayers of many church leaders as he recovered from a bullet fired by an angry liberal while he and his Republican baseball team practiced in June 2017.

“God was there on that ball field and he performed little miracles to save all of our lives,” said the Louisiana lawmaker, who fought death off several times with deep prayer and determination.

“The shooter was dead set on taking everybody out and would have been successful if not for the miracles of God and the acts of heroism on the ball field,” he added.


But while he is a faithful follower of Jesus, there is one Christian teaching that he is not ready to accept when it comes to the shooter, James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill.

Rep. Steve Scalise's book, "Back in the Game: One Gunman, Countless Heroes, and the Fight for My Life," came out Nov. 13, 2018.

“At some point I’ll have to deal with the issue of forgiveness,” he said in an interview, “but for now I’m focused on my recovery.”

Scalise has written in a new book, Back in the Game, about the difficulty of recovering and seeing three others shot.

He said in the interview that knowing that police shot and killed Hodgkinson helped him focus on getting better. “Because he ultimately didn’t make it, it made it easier to close that chapter and to focus on my recovery,” said Scalise, the GOP whip.

And eventually he might consider forgiveness. “It’s something to struggle with. I’m Catholic. I’m probably not there yet. That’s something I’m going to have to work with my priest on,” he said with a laugh.

For now he’s focused on thanking everybody who helped in his comeback, especially President Trump who, with first lady Melania Trump, visited Scalise on the night he was hit with the bullet that would shatter bones and rip through vital organs.

“They were really wonderful to my wife in helping to console her at the most difficult time. And he would follow up. He would call now and then, just randomly, I’d get a call at 8 o’clock at night, you know, ‘This is the White House. Would you hold for the president.’ And he would just call to check in and see how I was doing,” recalled Scalise.

Trump, he said, “motivated me to get back into the game,” and helped speed his recovery.

“That’s the side of the president that very few people see, and I don’t think the press reports fairly just how warm and genuine of a person he is,” said Scalise, who kept his role in the new GOP House minority. “He is a warm and genuine person, he cares about people.”