Trump Will Not Attend Congressional Baseball Game

White House cites insufficient time to secure Nationals Park

An investigator examines the third base dugout at the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Va., to gather evidence in the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others during baseball practice on Wednesday.  Due to security concerns, President Trump will not attend Thursday night's GOP vs. Democrats game at Nationals Park. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House says President Donald Trump will not attend Thursday night’s Congressional Baseball Game, citing insufficient time to fully secure Nationals Park.

Presidents have shown up at the annual Republicans vs. Democrats tilt, and press secretary Sean Spicer indicated Trump wanted to attend following Wednesday morning’s shooting at the GOP team’s practice session in Alexandria, Va. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and four others were wounded by a 66-year-old Illinois man who appears to have been a staunch critic of Trump and Republicans.

“While the president would like to attend the game and show his support for all of these brave public servants, he has been advised that there is not enough time to follow Secret Service protocols,” Spicer told pool reporters late Wednesday night.

[Trump Gets a Taste of Obama's Bitter Legacy with Mass Shootings]

Lawmakers told reporters Wednesday they are not concerned about their own safety during the game, with House members giving Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi a standing ovation during a briefing about the shooting when the duo announced the game would go on. Members said Nationals Park was designed as a secure facility.

Trump’s top spokesman spoke briefly with reporters at the White House after the president and first lady Melania Trump visited Scalise and one of the officers, Crystal Griner, at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

After leaving the hospital, Trump tweeted a grim picture of Scalise’s condition. He wrote that the GOP whip is in “very tough shape” and urged his followers to “Pray for Steve!”

That came after the hospital issued a statement saying Scalise, who was hit in the hip, will need additional surgeries after having two on Wednesday.

“The bullet travelled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding. He was transported in shock to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a Level I Trauma Center,” the hospital said. “He underwent immediate surgery, and an additional procedure to stop bleeding. He has received multiple units of blood transfusion. His condition is critical, and he will require additional operations.” 

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