Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip who was shot by a gunman who attacked a congressional baseball practice on Wednesday, has kept company with racists. He was forced to apologize for speaking at an international conference of white supremacists, and reportedly referred to himself as “David Duke without the baggage.” Following Scalise’s shooting, Duke praised him for “defending white civil rights.”
Scalise has also been described as one of the most anti-LGBTQ politicians in Washington. He’s voted against LBGTQ rights over and over again. He also authored Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage. Like many of his ilk, he said he was only trying to protect “traditional” marriage.
So it is a point of especially delicious irony that Scalise, who survived the attack (and is reportedly in critical condition), may owe his life to a queer black woman.
Crystal Griner, a Capitol Police officer, was one of two special agents on Scalise’s security detail yesterday who helped take down shooter James Hodgkinson. People at the scene said that the two officers prevented an all-out “massacre” on the field that day, engaging in a firefight with Hodgkinson before killing him.
Griner sustained wounds in the fight, and she, like Scalise, was in a hospital recovering last night. By her side was her wife, Tiffany.
According to The Daily Beast, Griner, a graduate of Hood College in Maryland, was a basketball star and a “major force on campus”:
“She was a woman to be reckoned with at Hood: an amazing athlete and a lively presence,” the classmate wrote on Facebook. “It does not surprise me at all that she would think so quickly and act so courageously. You’re not on Facebook, Crystal, but I’m honored to know you. Wishing you a speedy recovery and the knowledge that you have the gratitude of the nation behind you!”
We’re willing to bet that Scalise is grateful too.
Correction: this post initially said the shooter’s name was John Hodgkinson. His name was James Hodgkinson.