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"Now more than ever we have to put aside our differences and unite against cowardly violence," the mayor said.
In an impromptu address, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked the people of New Orleans and the nation as a whole to keep their thoughts and prayers with U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot Wednesday morning along with four others when a gunman opened fire on group of Republican lawmakers during a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
Landrieu and his staff originally began the morning preparing for the mayor’s final State of the City address while in office, but in light of the news of the shooting, the original speech was called off.
“It’s in times like these when we have to pause and reflect, which is why I cancelled the State of the City address,” he said during brief remarks given from the Mayor’s Press Room at City Hall.
Scalise, a Republican who represents Louisiana’s First Congressional District, which includes suburban areas around New Orleans, was shot in the hip and has undergone surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. According to MedStar, Scalise is currently in "critical condition."
In his remarks, Landrieu, a Democrat who serves as vice president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, spoke of Scalise as a “dear friend” and a “strong fighter for the city of New Orleans.”
The mayor said that he had not yet been in touch with Scalise or his family, but that he had spoken on the phone with U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, who represents New Orleans and Baton Rouge and who had been playing with his son on a nearby field when the shooting took place.
Landrieu also emphasized that although those under fire were Republicans, this is no time for partisanship.
“Now more than ever we have to put aside our differences and unite against cowardly violence,“ he said, adding a reference to earlier remarks made by President Trump that, “we are stronger when we are together, we are better when we work for common good.”
Landrieu spoke also of the fact that this violence is particularly jarring because it took place at a practice for the Congressional Baseball Game, an annual event that brings senators and representatives together in the spirit of friendly competition. The mayor recalled that during his time in the Louisiana House of Representatives, bipartisan basketball games served that same purpose.
“The world sees us fighting politically … what the public might not understand is that we know each other really well, our families know each other.”
Editor's Note: This article has been updated.
Quinn Libson is a Staff Correspondent for Government Executive’s Route Fifty based in Washington, D.C.