The shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Capitol Police officer, a congressional aide and a lobbyist on Wednesday as the congressional Republican baseball team practiced in Alexandria, Va., for its annual game with congressional Democrats was savage, senseless and despicable. Scalise, a veteran Louisiana politician, was reported to be improving, but still in critical condition Friday.
The rifle-wielding attacker – James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Ill. – died after being wounded by Capitol Police. That social media and letters to the editor showed Hodgkinson to be an ardent liberal who hated congressional Republicans gave the attacks an awful partisan overtone and inevitably led Rep. Peter King, R-Iowa, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and others to blame it on the left’s harsh criticism of President Trump. There were reports of death threats being called in to congressional Democrats and Republicans alike.
After Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in 2011, we urged readers not to blame anyone but Jared Loughner, her deranged attacker, while deploring incendiary political rhetoric. We hold the same opinion in this attack. That’s why Democrats’ and Republicans’ decision to go ahead with their baseball game on Thursday in Washington is so welcome. It sends a needed message of unity and resolve.