House Majority Whip Scalise Reunites with Teammates Who Helped Save His Life
WASHINGTON, D.C.— In part two of his exclusive cable interview with Fox News' The Story with Martha MacCallum, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) reunited with some of the Congressional Baseball Team members who helped save his life, Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), Congressman Mike Conaway (R-Texas), and Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
Click here or on the image above to watch part two of Whip Scalise's interview with Martha MacCallum on Fox News.
Click here to watch part one of the interview.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, HOST: So this is the first time that you all have been back together since June 14th, in the same room. Steve, what goes through your mind when you see these guys?
REP. STEVE SCALISE, R-LA.: Oh man, it’s great to see them all here together. We’ve all had a lot of individual conversations but each one of these guys had a role in helping to be here and obviously Brad had the background to help make sure to stop the bleeding enough to where I could make it to the hospital alive.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I mean, all of you played such an important role and Mike Conway, I want to start with you, because when I heard Steve talking about that the other day and saying that he was down, but he was conscious and he heard you whispering to him. What were you saying to him?
REP MIKE CONAWAY, R-TEXAS: Well, I was about 20 yards away, so it wasn’t a whisper, per se, but he was crawling and I was telling him to lay still, lay still. Because I didn’t want the shooter to catch that movement and engage him again on the ground. So I wanted him to lay still so that the shooter would go somewhere else and he did.
And Steve heard it and stopped crawling and that was -- because I just didn’t want him shot again on the ground. And so it was, you know, just a reaction to seeing him crawl, and knowing I did not want the shooter to catch that movement and re-engage.
MACCALLUM: I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for you guys, to not be able to run out there and to see him lying there. Because you’re all the kind of people who want to do that. Senator, what was that like for you?
FLAKE: That was the toughest part. I went to the dugout and then one of the staffers was shot right in front of the dugout and managed to crawl out. But there were several of us there, and then another staffer came in and we had to put a tourniquet on his leg. So we were busy doing that, but looking out periodically to see Steve out there and not being able to do anything. Every time you’d put your head up there’s more gunfire. And so, I mean, that was the longest wait and finally, as soon as somebody said "Shooter down," then I think a number of us ran out there. I got out there first, but I didn’t know what to do. But Brad did.
FLAKE: We just basically --
REP BRAD WENSTRUP, R-OH.: You as well.
FLAKE: -- used a batting glove and tried to plug up the wound. But it was just terrifying and just awful, not being able to get out to Steve. That was the worst part.
CONWAY: It was a real juxtaposition between the time it seemed like it was taking -- I was able to borrow a phone at 7:22 to call my wife to tell her that I was fine and you know, the shot either was at 7:06 or 7:09, so 13 minutes, all of that went on and it seemed like a lifetime while it was happening.
MACCALLUM: I bet.
CONWAY: But yet it was really a short period of time on the (INAUDIBLE) space.
MACCALLUM: Now you’re whispering to him -- you’re talking to him.
CONAWAY: I was talking to him--
MACCALLUM: He’s hearing it like it’s like a whisper, but those encouraging words for you, you said when you came to, that was one of the first things that you brought up. Right?
SCALISE: Yeah, I knew, you know, my colleagues had, they’d come out to help me and you know, and it really did give me a, you know, a really good sense of calm and strength to know they’re taking care of me and getting me ready and you know, you could hear paramedics coming and you know, figured help is on the way and hopefully I’m going to get to a hospital quick.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. Congressman Wenstrup, you -- as soon as -- what was your signal? When you knew you could get out there, and you had the skills, as a combat surgeon, to do something.
WENSTRUP: So by the grace of God, I was in a position that the second I saw the shooter go down, I took off. As I was running, Jeff was on his way out there with a few other people and they had already taken a shirt off and put it on -- Brian Kelly’s shirt, put that on that, right on the wound over his pants.
I got out there and I knew there was more that we needed to look and we were able to take it down and saw the entrance wound, but no exit wound. That’s when I knew Steve was in greater trouble than we might have imagined and that’s when we got the tourniquet put on him and try and stop any bleeding we could internally, as well as bandaging what was external.
SCALISE: And that really did save my life because the doctor said, when I got to the hospital I was almost out of blood then. If I would have lost even more they said that tourniquet was applied perfectly and really did save enough of my time to make it to the hospital alive. Otherwise I wouldn’t have.
MACCALLUM: So you all got a look at the shooter at some point during this. When you heard that he had a list of Republicans, that he was out there specifically seeking Republicans, Congressman Conaway, what went through your mind?
CONAWAY: When we first heard the list, Trent Kelly was talking to Jeff Duncan and told Jeff that the guy had, that Jeff told Trent that he had talked to you in the parking lot immediately before the guy was asking, "Are these Republicans or Democrats?" and Jeff said, "They're Republicans," and the guy said, "Oh, OK," and just kind of wandered off.
And then later when I was talking to Jeff, he had Jeff’s name in his pocket and I asked Jeff how he felt, he said, just started shaking all over. But he was, you know, at the time, you know, we had a couple guys out there whose names were on that list and it was a big deal. And I’ve never been shot at in anger -- just Army training, low crawl through, a bunch of machine gunfire, but they’re not shooting at you -- but to be shot at is real surreal.
FLAKE: I remember thinking that, as soon as the first volley went off, I turned to Ron and seeing bullets pitch off of the gravel and I just remember thinking, us? You know, here? How can somebody look out and see a bunch of middle-aged men playing baseball and see the enemy? It’s just --
CONWAY: -- that’s the downside both of these guys being killed is that we won’t be able to know why. What triggered -- he had been a practice the day before. One of our guys had seen him sitting in the bleachers, had been there since March. That was our last day to practice on that field, before the following year. What, what was it, what triggered that cause to go get his van, pull up those leopards (ph) and come shoot us? Same thing with this guy, but not being able to analyze that is -- it’s going to make it harder to figure out just what went through the mind that said it’s now okay for me to try to take somebody’s life for whatever reason
MACCALLUM: Obviously your colleague Gabby Giffords went through a similar situation and I saw her husband, Mark Kelly, speaking out very forcefully about this and saying, "If anybody thinks that the gun laws in this country are strong enough, they need to look again," when you look at Las Vegas and you know, I’m continuing with my own question that that was his comment yesterday, the machinery that appears to have been used, semi-automatic converted to automatic, which is illegal in this country, but accessible -- accessible on the Internet, the parts that you need to make, to turn that gun into an intense killing machine, that sprayed all those bullets across that crowd in Las Vegas. Second Amendment, any change of heart on this in this group?
CONWAY I think the Second Amendment is reported as collecting guns and target shooting and hunting and all of those (INAUDIBLE) to all of us. The Second Amendment is not about that. The Second Amendment is about it arms people to stand up to tyranny from a government that they would be opposed to. And so we need to cast the Second Amendment in its proper light.
So as we have this debate, let’s not lose sight why the Second Amendment is most important to us. Yes, it’s collecting and hunting and yes, there are going to be times where, you know, automobiles were used improperly and guns were used improperly and drugs were used improperly. But let’s be careful of that, of what we do to ourselves and in an attempt to try to stop people who aren’t sane from doing things that they might otherwise do. So just be careful.
MACCALLUM: Senator, I think a lot of people look at Republicans on this issue and say that you’re heartless. That you look at what happened at Sandy Hook, you look at what happened at Steve Scalise on the baseball field and in Las Vegas, that we need tougher laws. What do you say to those people who claim that Republicans have a tin ear on this issue?
FLAKE: I do think we’ll have discussions now about -- what was found in that hotel room, in terms of accessibility of -- you know, the ability to turn a semi-automatic into an automatic, automatic weaponry is illegal, per se, but he seems to have access to the material to change it. In terms of mental health, the ability of those with mental health and if -- issues in terms of documentation and sharing of information between states and the federal government, there are areas of agreement that we can have and I think we can move ahead on.
MACCALLUM: And you’re unchanged on the issue.
SCALISE: You know, if you look at what happened in my case, you had people onsite with guns to immediately counter the shooter and then take him down. And that happens every day in America where regular citizens that have their own guns because of the Second Amendment protection, are able to defend themselves against criminals.