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The Republicans who were hunted by a crazed gunman at a Washington, D.C. baseball park last week were saved by two African-American U.S. Capitol police officers who, as Black folks, are not inherently part of the GOP’s legislative agenda.
David Bailey and Crystal Griner are being hailed as heroes this week, days after they exchanged gunfire with James Hodgkinson, who methodically shot Republicans as they practiced for the 2017 Congressional Baseball Game against Democrats.
Griner was shot in the ankle and remains hospitalized and Bailey was treated and released after suffering minor injuries. Hodgkinson was killed in the volley of gunfire. Louisiana Republican Representative Steve Scalise was shot in the hip and was listed in serious condition Sunday.
Scalise, at best, is close-minded, racially insensitive and ideologically stuck in the past.
Griner, who serves on Scalise’s security detail, is openly gay and married to a woman. Scalise vehemently opposes same-sex marriage and has railed against it for years.
Bailey and Griner risked their lives during a gunfight to save Scalise and other Republicans at a time when white supremacist groups are on the rise – vandalizing Black churches and demeaning Black people while celebrating President Donald Trump.
Scalise also has a past history with white supremacist groups: In 2002, Scalise reportedly spoke to the European Unity Rights Organization, a group led by David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the KKK. And a reporter in Louisiana told The New York Times that Scalise once described himself as “David Duke without the baggage.” (Scalise has since denounced Duke.)
If that’s not enough, Scalise voted against honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy as a state holiday — twice.
Still, Scalise and other Republicans were protected from what could have been a ballpark bloodbath by two highly trained Black law enforcers who some Republicans probably ignore every day.
“I expressed our profound gratitude to them. It is clear to me, based on various eyewitness accounts, that without these two heroes — Agent Bailey and Agent Griner — many lives would have been lost,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a speech on the House floor.
I can’t recall the last time Ryan has said anything positive about African-Americans specifically. And it took a shooting of Ryan’s Republican colleagues for Ryan to acknowledge Black people directly.
African-Americans and the poor are hit hardest in the GOP’s proposed budget: social programs are being cut drastically, major cuts to Medicare and Social Security are planned; and cuts to affordable housing, after-school programs, Pell Grants for college tuitions; disease research, job training, food assistance and health insurance for low-income children are all on the chopping block.
It’s absolutely heartless.
Ryan won’t create a budget that protects Black people and the poor but he’s happy to praise Black folks for protecting his Republican buddies from a gun-wielding madman.
“We’ve heard all of this talk from President Trump about African-Americans not having anything to lose under his Administration,” Cedric Richmond, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in a statement. “The truth is that we have a lot to lose and his budget proposal is proof of that.”
“I’m grateful that Special Agent Griner is in good condition in the hospital having been shot in the ankle, and Special Agent Bailey was treated and released having sustained a minor injury during the incident,” U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa said in a statement.
So now, days after the shooting, will Republicans finally embrace a gun control bill after one of their colleagues was shot?
Republicans are correctly hailing Griner and Bailey as heroes –but it’s unfortunate that GOP legislators won’t acknowledge the nation’s other 42 million Black Americans, many of whom are an integral part of this republic.