White House, lawmakers react to attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
Updated: 10:39 p.m.
The White House, lawmakers and others react to the news of Saturday's attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.):
"This morning, in an unspeakable tragedy, a number of Americans were shot in Tucson, Arizona, at a constituent meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. And while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded. We do not yet have all the answers. What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society. I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping Representative Giffords, the victims of this tragedy, and their families in our prayers."
Vice President Biden:
"The horrific attack in Tucson, Arizona, this morning has taken the lives of at least five people, including a federal judge and a young girl, and left many others wounded, among them a dear friend, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Gabby is one of the finest members of Congress I know. She is a principled leader and a consensus-builder. She has spent her time in office working her heart out to improve the lives of the people she represents. And she loves her husband and family above all else. On this tragic day, Jill and I are praying for Gabby's recovery, and we hold her family in our hearts. Chief Judge John Roll was a dedicated jurist whose death is a terrible loss to Arizona and to the country. We do not yet know the motivation behind these shootings. But what we do know is that there is simply no justification, no rationale for such senseless and appalling violence in our society. Please join Jill and me in praying for each of today's victims and for their families and loved ones."
Defense Secretary Robert Gates:
"Ms. Giffords represents a new generation of principled and thoughtful political leaders that have come to Washington in recent years. We will miss her strong character and good judgment in the Congress during these important days ahead, and we are praying for her full recovery."
U.S. Capitol Police:
"The United States Capitol Police are directly involved in the ongoing investigation regarding the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. We are currently working with Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. While the United States Capitol Police does not specifically discuss the security of Members of Congress including details on our protective measures, the United States Capitol Police has communicated with House Members of Congress advising them to take reasonable and prudent precautions regarding their personal safety and security. The United States Capitol Police remains at a high level of readiness, consistent with our operating conditions on U.S. Capitol Grounds, and we continue to maintain a robust presence."
Giffords chief of staff Pia Carusone:
"An unthinkable tragedy occurred at our Congress On Your Corner event today in Tucson. Our community has lost beloved friends and colleagues, and many more are injured. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of them and to those who are suffering the loss of treasured friends and family members."
Attorney General Eric Holder:
"As the President said, FBI Director Mueller is traveling to Arizona to help coordinate the investigation. The FBI is working jointly with local law enforcement to investigate today's events, and I have directed Department prosecutors and law enforcement officials to use every resource necessary to investigate this tragedy. I want to assure the people of Arizona and every American that we will hold accountable anyone responsible for these heinous acts."
Chief Justice John Roberts:
"The violence in Arizona today has senselessly taken five lives and inflicted tragic loss on dedicated public servants and their families. We in the judiciary have suffered the terrible loss of one of our own. Chief Judge John Roll was a wise jurist who selflessly served Arizona and the nation with great distinction, as attorney and judge, for more than 35 years. I express my deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his children, as well as the other victims and their families. Chief Judge Roll's death is a somber reminder of the importance of the rule of law and the sacrifices of those who work to secure it."
"We never entered [politics] believing that we were taking our lives in our hands...we're feeding anger, hatred, and division for quite a while. Maybe it is time for elected officials and leaders in this country that have been feeding that disease to realize that there are consequences to it. I hope people stop and think that we can be opponents, but we don't have to be deadly enemies...to demonize another person because of a disagreement and to make them expendible is not a democracy, it's not the America I know. ... People are feeding this monster. ... Some of the extreme right wing has made demonization of elected officials their priority."
"I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country."
"I was deeply horrified to learn today of the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson. Our thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and her family, her staff, and the residents of Tucson on this sad day. As this serious situation continues to develop, I remain in close communication with leaders of both parties, the Speaker's office and the Sergeant at Arms. We will remain in constant communication regarding any schedule changes."
"It is with the deepest sadness that we have received word of the attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, members of her staff, and her constituents. This terrible act of violence is a national tragedy, and today is a very sad day for our country. My prayers, and the prayers of all Members of Congress, go out to her, her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, their family, and to all of the staff and others who were victims of this horrible attack. Congresswoman Giffords is a brilliant and courageous Member of Congress, bringing to Washington the views of a new generation of national leaders. It is especially tragic that she was attacked as she was meeting with her constituents whom she serves with such dedication and distinction."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.):
"My thoughts are with the victims of today's tragic attack, including Congresswoman Giffords, and all their families. I hope for a speedy recovery for the congresswoman and all of the wounded, and that those responsible will be brought to justice quickly. This is a sad day for our country, and acts of senseless violence such as this one affect us all. Congresswoman Giffords is one of our most dynamic members of Congress. As a representative of a neighboring state, I have watched her career closely and admired her work on behalf of the state of Arizona. I know she will be in the thoughts of every American - and in particular those who dedicate their lives to public service as she and her staff have."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.):
"This senseless attack today in Tucson is a national tragedy, and all America mourns those who lost their lives in the very act of public service. I join the entire Congress in condemning this horrifying act of violence, and on behalf of the entire Senate family, Elaine and I extend our deepest expressions of sympathy and heartfelt prayers to Rep. Giffords and the families of those who have been killed or injured. The U.S. Capitol Police are joining local, state and federal officials in this investigation. We appreciate their quick response and stand ready to assist in their efforts."
"I am horrified by the violent attack on Representative Gabrielle Giffords and many other innocent people by a wicked person who has no sense of justice or compassion. I pray for Gabby and the other victims, and for the repose of the souls of the dead and comfort for their families. I beg our loving Creator to spare the lives of those who are still alive, heal them in body and spirit, and return them to their loved ones. Whoever did this; whatever their reason, they are a disgrace to Arizona, this country and the human race, and they deserve and will receive the contempt of all decent people and the strongest punishment of the law."
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele:
"I am deeply shocked and horrified by the attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her staff, and her constituents. Today's senseless act of violence is an attack on the American ideal and goes against our country's deeply held democratic values. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Representative Giffords and the families of all of those who were victims of this national tragedy."
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine:
"The terrible act of violence in Arizona has left us all aghast. It is a sad day for America and our thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Giffords and all the victims of this tragedy. The facts of this criminal act are still to be determined, but we thoroughly condemn what happened in Arizona today. We must all reaffirm that there is no place in our country for violent attacks of this kind on public servants or any citizen for any reason. I know that I speak for our entire Democratic family in saying that my heart goes out to the victims of today's shooting and to the families of those who have perished as a result of this act of violence. My prayers continue to be with those who have suffered from and are responding to today's tragic event in Arizona."
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel:
"I am shocked and saddened to learn of the horrific and tragic shooting of my friend Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her staff, and constituents today. Gabby was doing what she loved, working in her district and connecting with constituents. My thoughts and prayers are with her, her husband Mark and family. This is both a personal tragedy and a tragic reminder that we cannot remain silent when political rhetoric turns violent."
Businessman Jesse Kelly (R), Giffords' 2010 GOP challenger:
"In the wake of this stunning tragedy, my prayers are with Rep. Giffords, her husband Mark and the rest of her family. May God's strength comfort her as we pray together for her recovery. We mourn for those who lost their lives in this horrible act. Senseless acts of violence such as this have absolutely no place in American politics."
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich:
"Please join us in praying for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and everyone shot in this tragic attack, as well as for their families."
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:
"We find it unacceptable that when Americans and our elected leaders are assembling in public places, their lives are at risk from gun violence. We also are deeply concerned about the heated political rhetoric that escalates debates and controversies, and sometimes makes it seem as if violence is an acceptable response to honest disagreements."
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.):
"Our form of government, like all human things, is imperfect and flawed; but one of its greatest virtues is its power to resolve questions of the greatest import without violence. An attack on a member of that government--of whatever party or whatever views--is an attack on that principle, in which every American has a stake."
"Gabby is a pioneer, a tenacious fighter, and a true friend. EMILY's List members throughout the country have been inspired by Gabby and stood shoulder to shoulder with her during her political career -- we all stand together today with deepest sympathy for Congresswoman Giffords, her family, and the other victims."
LGBT Equality Caucus
Giffords served on the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. That group released a statement about the shooting.
"Congresswoman Giffords' support for our LGBT family has never faltered. After coming off of one of the closest races in the most recent election cycle, one in which she was criticized for her support of equality issues, she didn't hesitate for a moment to support the repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell.' She has stood with us unrelentingly and in this sad time we stand with her. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Congresswoman, her staff and their families," said LGBT Congressional Staff Association President, Chris Crowe.
Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT organization based in D.C., also released a statement about the shooting from group President Joe Solomonese:
"We are shocked and saddened by the events involving Congresswoman Giffords and our hearts go out to her and the other victims of this awful tragedy. Gabby Giffords is a champion for LGBT equality and a principled leader for Arizona. We wish her a speedy recovery as our thoughts and prayers are with her family as well as with the families of all of those touched by today's horrific violence."
Felicia Sonmez and Aaron Blake
| January 8, 2011; 5:03 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
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