President Donald Trump thanked the members of Congress and others for supporting the Congressional Baseball Game with a recorded statement played at Nationals Park on Thursday night.
The annual charity game continued as scheduled despite House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.) and four others being hospitalized after James Hodgkinson opened fire at a Republican team practice on Wednesday. Trump only alluded to the shooting indirectly while voicing support for the victims.
"This game is always an important moment for both parties to come together to support charity, build friendships, and celebrate our national pastime," he said. "But as you all know, tonight's game has taken on a much deeper level of meaning, beyond anything that we would have thought. By playing tonight, you are showing the world that we will not be intimidated by threats, acts of violence, or assaults on our democracy."
He focused on the character of those who are dealing with the aftermath of the attack.
"I want to take a moment to send our thoughts, love, and prayers to Congressman Steve Scalise and his entire family," he said. "Steve is our friend. He's a patriot, fighter. I know you all will be playing extra hard tonight for Steve."
Trump added, "We pray for all of the victims of this terrible crime who are still recovering, including Zachary Barth and Matt Mika, both of whom are respected and cherished by so many. We also praise special agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey of the Capitol Police for their heroic deeds that saved so many lives."
He finished by appealing to the unifying power of baseball.
"In Washington we have our disagreements, but we all agree that we are here to serve this nation we love and the people who call it home," he said. "That's the source of unity, and more than ever we must embrace it, so on this special night, I leave you with three great American words that for generations have torn down barriers, built bridges of unity, and defied those who have sought to pull us apart. Ladies and gentlemen, let's play ball."