The top staffer for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been keeping her apprised of activity in her Congressional office, even while the Arizona Democrat recovers from a gunshot wound, according to an interview taped Wednesday afternoon.
“I’ve kept her updated on everything that’s going on and the work our Congressional office is still trying to do,” Chief of Staff Pia Carusone told NBC’s Brian Williams in an interview at University Medical Center in Tucson, where Giffords has been recovering since she was shot Saturday.
Carusone, who has been a constant at Giffords’ bedside, said that the lawmaker’s situation remains “critical” but that there are “all reasons to be optimistic” about Giffords’ recovery.
The chief of staff noted that Giffords has scratched her nose, put two fingers up — possibly signifying peace or victory — and squeezed someone’s hand.
“So she’s very much there, and we’ll just have to see ... how it develops, but, you know, it’s just been really difficult obviously,” Carusone said. “It’s been probably the most difficult weekend of all our lives.”
Asked about the prospect of her boss one day returning to work, Carusone was cautiously optimistic.
“Hard to say,” she said. “I’m thinking sort of one hour ahead, one day ahead at this point, but I certainly hope so.”
Around the time the interview aired in Washington, President Barack Obama was visiting Giffords and other victims at the hospital. He was scheduled to give a speech at a memorial for the victims Wednesday night at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.