President Trump on Monday talked about the near-fatal shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) at a 2017 congressional baseball practice, telling a crowd in New Orleans that things “didn’t work out so well” that day for the lawmaker, whom he called “my Steve.”
Scalise, the No. 2 Republican in the House, was critically wounded in the shooting in Alexandria, Va. After a grueling recovery during which he lost 50 pounds and had steel plates implanted in his body, Scalise made a dramatic return to the House 15 weeks later and was greeted with a standing ovation when he reclaimed his position on the field at the annual Congressional Baseball Game the following year.
Speaking Monday at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th annual convention in New Orleans, Trump paid tribute to Scalise, calling him “the legend from Louisiana, a man who’s got a lot of courage.”
“He was playing second base, and it didn’t work out so well for him that day,” Trump said. “But I have never seen anything with more strength and, really, more courage than Steve Scalise.”
Trump recalled visiting Scalise in the hospital after the shooting, telling the crowd that the lawmaker “got hit hard” and wasn’t “looking too sharp.”
Scalise’s wife, Trump added, “loves him — because she was a mess; she had tears pouring down.”
Trump then recounted the day Scalise made his return to the baseball field, where the lawmaker was again playing second base.
“And the first hit is a smash groundball, hit at Steve,” Trump said. “And I’m pretty good at this stuff. I look, I say, ‘Oh, that’s going right to second base.’ . . . He bent down, stopped that ball, threw it to first. The place went crazy. And he then walked off the field in great triumph.”
“Who could have done that but my Steve, right? That was incredible,” Trump added.
Monday appeared to be the first time that Trump had publicly used the nickname for Scalise. The president has previously used the term “my Kevin” for another top Republican on Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.).