Speaker Ryan: 'An Attack On One Of Us Is An Attack On All Of Us'

Ryan emphasizes the unity of a House formerly divided.

As news broke that the shooter who had opened fire on congressional Republicans practicing for Thursday's bipartisan baseball game had been a volunteer for Democratic Sen. Bernie Sander's 2016 president campaign, Speaker Paul Ryan began his address to the U.S. House of Representatives. In recent months, the House has been beset by reports of fracture, division, and discontent, but during Ryan's address, he stressed unity in the face of tragedy.

"We are all praying for those who are attacked and for their families," Ryan said, and proceeded to list aloud those injured, including Rep. Steve Scalise and two Capitol Police officers, David Bailey and Crystal Griner. "We are all giving our thoughts to those currently being treated for their injuries at this moment. And," he said, putting stress on each word that followed, "We. Are. United."

His next words drew a standing ovation from both sides of the aisle. "We are united in our shock. We are united in our anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us." 

Representatives stood again, clapping in unison as Ryan described the bravery of the officers who stopped the shooting and were injured in the process.

During his speech, Ryan acknowledged that the members of Congress gathered would likely want to one day forget much of what had transpired, both on the baseball field and in the moments following. But he urged them to hold one memory close.

"There is one image in particular that this House should keep, and that is a photo I saw this morning of our Democratic colleagues gathered in prayer this morning after hearing the news," he said, likely describing a photo of House Democrats tweeted by Rep. Ruben Kihuen at 8 a.m. The Democrats were at a different baseball field to practice for Thursday's game when they began their prayer.

"Every day we come here to test and to challenge each other," Ryan continued. "We feel so deeply about the things that we fight for and the things that we believe in. At times, our emotions can clearly get the best of us. We're all imperfect. But we do not shed our humanity when we enter this chamber. For all the noise and all the fury, we are one 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," he said, referring again to the Capitol Police officers. 

Then, as he ended his speech, Ryan made one final call for reflection and for unity.

"So before this House returns to its business, let's just slow down and reflect. To think about how we're all being tested right now. Because we are being tested right now. I ask each of you to join me to resolve to come together. To lift each other up and to show the country, to show the world, that we are one House, the people's House, united in our humanity. It is that humanity that will win the day and it always will."

Ryan finished the address with a simple "God bless," met with a third standing ovation from the members of Congress present. Everyone, it seemed, joined in.


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