House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.) addressed the Capitol on Thursday for the first time since being shot in June, saying the attack had only strengthened his faith in God and the goodness of people.
"You have no idea how great this feels to be back here at work in the people's house," he said.
Scalise described himself as a fun-loving person and the attack on him would not change that.
"It's only strengthened my faith in God, and it's really crystallized what shows up as the goodness in people," he said. "I got to see that goodness in people, and so while some people might focus on a tragic event and an evil act, to me, all I'll remember are the thousands of acts and kindness and love that came out of this."
Scalise and four others were wounded when a politically far-left gunman opened fire on a Republican baseball practice on June 14. The shooter was killed by Capitol Police. Scalise was injured most critically after taking a bullet to the hip that caused massive internal bleeding.
The GOP lawmaker said during his remarks that members of Congress should remember not to make things personal while waging their political battles. Citing the outpouring of support he received from world leaders, some of whom he had never met, Scalise said the leaders saw the attack as an assault on the entire institution of Congress.
"There are people all around the world that want freedom, maybe that have freedom, but they know the United States being strong is critical to the rest of the world having the opportunity for freedom," he said.
The first thing he did when he was shot and was lying on the baseball field, Scalise said, was pray for God's help.
"Pretty much every one of those prayers was answered, and there were pretty challenging prayers I was putting in God's hands," Scalise said. "It just gives you that renewed faith and understanding that the power of prayer is something you just cannot underestimate."
Scalise thanked the U.S. Capitol Police for saving his life, specifically Officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey, who were assigned to his security detail that day and were wounded in the attack. They both received the Medal of Valor from President Donald Trump.
He also saluted his doctors and therapists who saved his life and helped him learn to walk again, his wife Jennifer for staying strong throughout the challenging recovery period, and the support of his colleagues and community.
Scalise further noted his Louisiana colleague from across the aisle, Democratic Rep. Cedrich Richmond (D., La.), who was one of the first people to come to the hospital the day of the attack.
"It really does show the warm side of Congress that very few people get to see," he said. "I want to thank each and everyone of you for that."