Chaos broke out in Alexandria, Va. Wednesday morning after a gunman shot Louisiana Republican congressman Steve Scalise during baseball practice for the upcoming Congressional Baseball Game, in what was deemed a "deliberate attack." Scalise, the majority whip of the House of Representatives, is reportedly undergoing surgery and in stable condition after being shot in the hip. But, who exactly is Rep. Scalise?
Scalise, 51, described himself on his biography page as:
...a strong conservative leader who upholds the Constitution, advocating for the principles of fiscal discipline, lower taxes, an all-of-the-above national energy strategy, a robust national defense, and conservative values.
Scalise was first elected to Congress in 2008 and has served as majority whip for around three years. His role in the party includes maintaining communication between the leadership of the party and its' members, counting votes on key legislation, persuading members to vote for the party position, and gathering support for key party positions on the floor. In November, he was reelected with around 75 of the vote in the state's most conservative district.
However, the married father of two has also faced his share of controversy: in 2002, he faced criticism after giving a speech at a gathering hosted by a white supremacist group. And in 2014, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke described Scalise as a, "fine family man."
In 2004, the then-state representative was one of six state representatives who voted against making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday.
Scalise graduated from Louisiana State University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and a minor in Political Science. At LSU, he was twice elected as Speaker of the university's Student Government Association. From 1996 to 2008, he served as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and State Senate. Prior to entering politics, he was a systems engineer.
Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks told CNN that the shooter appeared to be a white male and was behind the third base dugout. In a text message, he wrote, "50+ shots fired. 5 hit including Steve Scalise. I am not shot." Several others, including a congressional staffer and members of the congressional police force, were injured during the shooting. A suspect is in custody, according to police.
"Prior to entering surgery, the whip was in good spirits and spoke to his wife by phone," according to a statement by Scalise's office. "He is grateful for the brave actions of U.S. Capitol Police, first responders, and colleagues."