Former President Obama called at least one Republican lawmaker after the shooting at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday, contacting Sen. Jeff Flake (R- Ariz.) to send “best wishes and prayers to those injured,” the senator said.
Flake, who maintained good relations with Obama during his presidency, rode Air Force One with Obama back home to Arizona for a service after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in 2011.
The former president wanted to let Rep. Steve Scalise, who was injured in the attack, and other Republican members of Congress “know he’s thinking about this,” Flake said.
House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was shot and badly wounded at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday in Alexandria, Va., but he was only the best known of the victims of the attack.
Four others — including two Capitol Police officers — were also injured.
Also wounded were a former congressional staff member who works as a lobbyist and a staffer for Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas).
The gunman who attacked Republican congressional members at a baseball practice Wednesday morning campaigned for Sen. Bernie Sanders during the presidential election.
It didn't take long for some to connect the shooting to Sanders himself. One person in particular, Jack Posobiec — a Trump supporter who has pushed the conspiracy theory surrounding DNC staffer Seth Rich's death — especially fueled that idea.
"Just 4 days ago Bernie Sanders ordered his followers to 'take down' Trump," he tweeted.
One widespread point of agreement in Congress after Wednesday’s baseball practice shooting was that the toll would have been much worse had Republican Whip Steve Scalise’s security detail not been at the playing field.
Top congressional leaders are protected around the clock by the Capitol Police, a practice that was bolstered after several incidents, including a 1998 shooting at the Capitol and the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
But now, in today’s intensely polarized political environment, more members want to reconsider their own security needs.
The gunman who attacked congressmen at a ball field in a Washington suburb was a “very irascible, angry little man” with a history of charges for assault and other minor offenses, according to his former lawyer.
Lyndon Evanko, a now-retired attorney from Belleville, Ill., said he remembered James T. Hodginkson, a former home inspector and contractor, for his temper and brusque attitude toward police and neighbors.
Hodgkinson, 66, was shot and killed on Wednesday after he opened fire on Republican congressmen, staffers and others at a morning baseball practice in Alexandria, Va.
The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee met behind closed doors Wednesday with Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel heading the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Sens. Richard M. Burr (R-N.C.), the committee chair, and Mark R. Warner of Virginia, the panel's ranking Democrat, issued a statement after the meeting calling it "constructive."
"We look forward to future engagements,” they said.
The gunman who attacked a congressional baseball practice in Virginia on Wednesday, wounding five, has been identified as a passionate Bernie Sanders supporter and campaign volunteer who had long expressed his hatred for Republicans on social media. He was pronounced dead shortly after the attack.
James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Ill., had repeatedly likened the GOP to “a group of terrorists” in hyperbolic posts dating back to at least 2014.
Hodgkinson was a home inspector in downstate Illinois and a Democratic supporter who had written multiple letters to the editor of the Belleville News-Democrat in 2012, often opposing Republicans or supporting marijuana legalization.