On a day of extraordinary news events, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., took the extraordinary step of relinquishing the chair and coming down to the well to address the rest of the House of Representatives about the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, that injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and several others.
The powerful speech was a call to unite and to tone down the rhetoric between Republicans and Democrats. Here is the full transcript of the speech:
My colleagues: There are strong emotions throughout this House today. We are all horrified by this dreadful attack on our friends and colleagues, and those who serve and protect this Capitol. We are all praying for those who were attacked and their families:
- Steve Scalise
- Zachary Barth
- Matt Mika
- Special Agent David Bailey
- Special Agent Crystal Griner
We are all giving our thoughts to those currently being treated for their injuries at this moment. And we are united. We are united in our shock and anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.
I know we want to give our thanks to the first responders and the Alexandria Police Department, who were on the scene in minutes. And I know this House wants to state unequivocally that we are, as ever, awed by the tremendous bravery of the Capitol Police.
I spoke with Special Agent Bailey and Special Agent Griner this morning...I expressed our profound gratitude to them. It is clear to me, based on eyewitness accounts, that without these heroes, Agents Bailey and Griner, many lives would have been lost.
I know we all want to learn as much as we can about what happened. We just received a briefing from the sergeant at arms. I have complete confidence in the investigation that is being conducted by the Capitol Police working with local law enforcement. I know we want to extend our gratitude for the outpouring of support we have received from throughout the Capitol and from throughout the country.
Now, knowing Steve Scalise as we all do, he is likely really frustrated that he will not be able to play in the baseball game. I also know that Steve wants all of us to commend the bravery of those who came to the aid of the wounded. In the coming days, we will hear their stories, and we will have the chance to hold up their heroism.
My colleagues, there are many memories from this day we will want to forget, and many images we will not want to see again. But there is one image in particular that this House should keep. And that is a photo I saw of our Democratic colleagues gathered in prayer this morning after hearing the news.
You know, every day, we come here to test and challenge each other. We feel so deeply about the things we fight for and believe in. At times, our emotions can get the best of us. We are all imperfect. But we do not shed our humanity when we enter this chamber.
For all the noise and fury, we are a family. These were our brothers and sisters in the line of fire. These were our brothers and sisters who ran into danger and saved countless lives.
So before this House returns to its business, I want us to slow down and reflect, to think about how we are being tested right now. Because we are. I ask each of you to join me in resolving to come together...to lift each other up...and to show the country—show the world—that we are one House. The people's House—united in our humanity.
It is that humanity which will win the day. It always will.
After the speech, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she wholeheartedly agreed with the speaker's comments.
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