A Republican congressman personally asked President Donald Trump to attend the Congressional Baseball Game Thursday to show his support for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.) and other lawmakers one year after a deranged gunman opened fire on a group of practicing Republicans.
Rep. Roger Williams (R., Texas), who coaches the Republican team, asked Trump to attend the game during a recent visit to the White House, according to the Associated Press.
"I asked him to come, I guess it was last week, I was over at the Oval Office," Williams said. "He said, ‘I’ll be there.’"
Williams added he doesn’t know if the president will attend, and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP.
Scalise, who still uses crutches to get around, will not play in this year's game, but he returned to the practice field for the first time this month after suffering a life-threatening shot to the hip and undergoing an intensive recuperation period.
The whip and five others were wounded in June 2017 when James T. Hodgkinson, a deranged supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), opened fire on the Republican team as they practiced in Alexandria, Va. Hodkinson, who specifically targeted the Republican lawmakers because of his belief that their attempts to repeal Obamacare were destroying the country, was killed at the scene by U.S. Capitol Police.
The shooting sparked speculation the game, a charity event that dates back to 1909 and has taken place continuously every year since 1958, would be canceled or postponed in order to grant members of Congress the opportunity to properly process the shooting. Instead of canceling, however, members of Congress rallied together in a show of bipartisan unity. Players even went to the added length of donning gear from the Louisiana State University, Scalise's alma mater, to honor their wounded colleague.
Trump, who didn't attend the 2017 game in person, addressed the crowd via a recorded video statement.