David Kustoff, the first-term Republican U.S. Representative elected last year to serve the 8th District, keeps himself in good physical trim and is known to be a baseball fan, but he was not intending to play Tuesday night in the annual charity baseball game between congressional Republicans and congressional Democrats.
“I’ve been focused on my work,” said Kustoff. But he will definitely be in the full house expected to attend the game, still scheduled to go on at Nationals Stadium despite a gunman’s savage ambush Monday morning of several of his GOP colleagues, who were having an early-morning practice session for the game at a baseball diamond in suburban Alexandria, Virginia.
The attack would leave four victims wounded by automatic rifle fire, one severely — GOP House whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who was in critical condition at a Washington hospital Monday night. The gunman was himself killed, apparently in a shootout with Capitol security guards who were assigned to guard Scalise and with Arlington police, who were late on the scene.
Kustoff, who with other House members attended an emergency session Monday morning that was addressed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and minority leader Nancy Pelosi, spoke of a sense of solidarity binding members of both parties in the wake of the attack said the catastrophic incident had brought about at least a temporary sense of unity.
"We all agreed that it was important that the game go on as a signal. All of us are concerned about violence and the tone of our discourse,” the Congressman said. “I think members of both parties are. Rhetoric has been heated, but hopefully it will be toned down, and we’ll see a reset.” The House is, after all, "the people's house," Kustoff said.
He expressed confidence also that Congress can successfully go about its business despite the ongoing crisis atmosphere stemming from the continuing investigation of possible collusion between members of the Trump administration and Russia.
On that point, Kustoff alluded to a remark made by Speaker Ryan. “As he said, we can walk and chew gum at the same time.”