Trump praises cops after Va. shooting, says America best when ‘unified’

Olivier Knox
Chief Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON — In his first remarks on the shooting at a Republican baseball practice, President Trump on Wednesday hailed the “heroic actions” of the Capitol Police officers who took down the gunman and urged Americans to look past their frequently toxic political divisions.

“We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country,” he said.

“We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace, and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good,” said the president.

Related slideshow: Shooting at GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. >>>

Trump, speaking in the Diplomatic Room of the White House, also announced that the man who opened fire on GOP lawmakers and aides at a field just outside Washington, D.C., shortly after 7 a.m. had died from wounds inflicted by police. The gunman has been identified as James T. Hodgkinson.

“Authorities are continuing to investigate the crime, and the assailant has now died from his injuries,” he said. “The FBI is leading the investigation and will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.”

President Trump delivers a statement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House. (Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump noted that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise — the chamber’s No. 3 Republican — had been “badly wounded” along with two “very courageous” officers assigned to protect him, but predicted that the Louisiana lawmaker would recover.

“And Steve, I want you to know that you have the prayers not only of the entire city behind you, but of an entire nation and frankly the entire world,” Trump said. “America is praying for you, and America is praying for all of the victims of this terrible shooting.”

The president said he had spoken by telephone with Scalise’s wife and offered “full and absolute support, anything she needs.”

Trump also praised Scalise’s protective detail: the Capitol Police assigned to safeguard senior lawmakers.

“Many lives would have been lost if not for the heroic actions of the two Capitol Police officers who took down the gunman despite sustaining gunshot wounds during the very, very brutal assault,” he said. “Melania and I are grateful for their heroism and praying for the swift recovery of all victims.”

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