WASHINGTON, D.C. (WMBF) - Rep. Tom Rice says there is shock, sadness and a feeling of not knowing what to do next in Washington, D.C. after a shooting Wednesday morning in Alexandria, Virginia that hospitalized House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. He also says a baseball game Thursday night will go a long way to heal the community of lawmakers.
Rice didn't initially plan to attend's tonight game, with an abbreviated work schedule planned for today.
"I was thinking about it last night, gosh, these people were out here to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club to do this game," Rice said.
"This maniac came and started shooting at them, and today they're going to play a baseball game. We're going to let them know that we're not going to be stopped. I wasn't planning on being at the baseball game, but I changed my plans and I'm going to be there tonight."
"If they can get shot at for it," he said, "least I can do is go and support them, right?"
Rice says the game, and the way members of Congress move forward, should calm what he called vitriol in Washington.
"This man [accused shooter James Hodgkinson] was driven in part by the rhetoric," Rice said, "and I think there are people who certainly go overboard on both sides and we need to be cognizant of the fact that what we say effects people, what the media says effects people."
Rice didn't want to discuss his own security detail with WMBF News during a Thursday morning phone call. He said Capitol Police encourages lawmakers to work with local law enforcement. He also said he didn't want security to get so tight that he wasn't accessible to the people he represents.
"We've got to realize that we're in this together," Rice said. "I represent the folks in this district, I need to be able to hear them. My title is representative. I represent them. Part of the beauty of our system is people have access to their representative and I don't want to change that."