Congresswoman Giffords: Reaction To Arizona Shooting

Jan 8, 2011 5:21pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe, John R. Parkinson & Michael Falcone report:

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ colleagues on Capitol Hill quickly denounced her tragic shooting in Arizona on Saturday that left several dead and others critically wounded.

“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,” said Republican John McCain, the state’s senior senator.

“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,” he said.

For many lawmakers, today’s shooting in Tucson was an indication of the heated political rhetoric that has escalated in recent years.

“We are in a dark place right now in this country politically,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-MO, told ABC News in an interview. “We can no longer disagree and simply try to resolve our disagreements and come up with a policy that both sides can in some ways embrace. We’ve come to a point now where if we disagree we are enemies, and we spend a great amount of time planning ways to dismember each other politically and it all begins with campaigns… I think people overlook the fact that the campaigns are becoming nastier and nastier, and more and more personal, and when that happens, after the election, people are still bruised.”

That sentiment was echoed by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ.

“America must not tolerate violence or inflammatory rhetoric that incites political violence,” Lautenberg said in a statement.

Speaker of the House John Boehner said that “an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve,” while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid noted that “this is a sad day for our country and acts of senseless violence such as this one affect us all.”

At the same time, some lawmakers such as Cleaver noted that incidents like today’s should not prevent members of Congress from meeting with constituents, as Giffords was doing at the time of the shooting.

“If we’re going to be a representative government, and we are in the House of Representatives, we’ve got to put anything in the back of our minds that would prevent us from interacting with our constituents,” Cleaver said.

On Saturday afternoon security on Capitol Hill did not appear to have increased in the wake of the shooting. In a message to Senate offices, US Capitol Police stated, “There is no indication at this time that this event is part of a larger threat against the Congressional membership or has a nexus to terrorism but the investigation is ongoing.” 

More reaction to the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Giffords, members of her staff and bystanders on Saturday is below:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

“This terrible act of violence is a national tragedy, and today is a very sad day for our country,” Pelosi said. “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 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."

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.:

“My prayers are with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her family, her staff, and all the victims of today’s shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Congresswoman Giffords is a devoted and insightful public servant, and a passionate advocate for her constituents—but more than that, she is my dear friend. To all those who are privileged to know Gabby Giffords, who know her spirit and graciousness in public life, today’s cowardly attack is devastating. But it is equally devastating to every American—to everyone who cares about our democracy. 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.”

Rep. John B. Larson, D-Ct., Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus:

“Today is a sad day for Arizona and our nation. Congresswoman Giffords is respected by all of our colleagues for her conviction to public service. With a benevolent soul and a gentle heart, she serves her home state with great pride and passion.

"This tragedy is one that touches all of us, and one that will leave an indelible mark on our nation for generations. My thoughts and prayers are with her husband, Captain Mark Kelly and their family, her staff, and her constituents in Arizona."

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.:

“Caryll and I send our most heartfelt condolences to the family of Judge John Roll and the others who were killed and injured today in Tucson.  Judge Roll, who presided over the federal District Court in Arizona, was an exceptional judge and a good friend. 

“We pray for the recovery of Representative Giffords and the others who remain in critical condition.  Congresswoman Giffords is also a good friend, and I find it especially saddening that such a heinous crime would occur while she was fulfilling her congressional responsibilities. All of us will work to ensure that justice will be served fully and swiftly.”

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."

Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.:

“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.”

Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Chairman, DCCC: 

“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.”

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R):

“All of Arizona is shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy that transpired this morning in Tucson.

“I have been in contact throughout the morning with law enforcement officials, as well as Tucson mayor Bob Walkup, and just a short while ago I spoke personally with President Obama.  The President conveyed his heartfelt sympathies for our State, and our shared determination to ensure that justice is fully served. 

“I am just heartbroken.  Gabby is more than just a colleague, she is my friend.  She has always been a noble public servant.  My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and her family, the Congresswoman’s staff and their families, and well as the other victims of this senseless and cruel violence.”

U.S. Supreme Court 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."

RNC 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."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R):

"Today's horrifying shooting in Tucson shocks the conscience of decent Americans everywhere.  When such an unspeakable act occurs, and lives are taken in violence, we rightly respond with comfort and support because that is the only way we know to show that evil does not triumph over goodness in the world.  I offer my prayers to all the victims and their families, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, and look forward to the swift and harsh punishment that awaits the perpetrator of this cowardly attack.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) and Callista Gingrich:

"Please join us in praying for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and everyone shot in this tragic attack, as well as for their families."  

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder:

“Today’s tragedy in Arizona was a senseless act of violence that has already resulted in devastating loss, including the death of Chief United States District Court Judge John Roll and four other individuals and the wounding of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and a number of others.  All of those who were killed or injured and their families are in our thoughts and prayers. 

“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.”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, former governor of Arizona:

“I am deeply saddened by reports that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Chief Judge John Roll and others were attacked this afternoon in Tucson, Arizona.  There is no place in our society or discourse for such senseless and unconscionable acts of violence.  Gabby is a steadfast representative for southern Arizona and both she and John are dedicated public servants.

"The Department of Homeland Security has offered all possible assistance to the FBI and the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, who are leading the investigation. My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her family and staff, and all those who were injured in this difficult time.”

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Tex.:

“I am deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and other Americans today.  I join all Americans in condemning in the strongest possible terms these senseless acts of violence.  My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her family and staff, all of the victims of this tragedy, and our nation during this time.”

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz.:

“Joyce and I are joining hands in heartfelt prayers for Rep. Giffords and all the other victims of this tragedy. It is unconscionable and while we are still awaiting all the details, we urge all Arizonans and Americans to pray for the victims of this terrible tragedy.”

Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C.:

“I was saddened and horrified to learn of the senseless shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and other innocent people today. I ask all those who receive this to pray for Gabrielle, the other victims, their families, her staff and all residents of Arizona. I hope that law enforcement acts swiftly to bring this perpetrator to justice. This is a very sad day for our country.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.:

"My heart is broken, and I am stunned and angered that Gabby Giffords was savagely gunned down while performing her congressional duties. I am praying for Gabby, and my thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy go out to her family, as well as the families of each of the victims.

 “Gabby Giffords governed with integrity and wisdom. We came to Congress together and I had the privilege of knowing her as a friend and colleague. It is my hope and expectation that the coward who carried out this horrific act of violence will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  I extend my hand of friendship to her family and staff and will keep them in my prayers.”

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-NY:

@cbrangel: My prayers are with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her family — she is a dear friend and a dedicated congresswoman

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa:

@SteveKingIA: Tragedy in Tucson unfolds as we continue to pray for Giffords & all who were shot. So far, a miracle she's alive, get well

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.:

@kevinomccarthy:  prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and those affected by today's tragedy.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.:

@RepPaulRyan: My thoughts & prayers are w/ Congresswoman Giffords & her family, & those impacted by this senseless act of violence:


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