EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Congressman Bill Johnson, Full Transcr - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Congressman Bill Johnson, Full Transcript

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7news anchor Tessa DiTirro spoke with Congressman Bill Johnson, here is the full version of their conversation:

Tessa: I understand you had a meeting at the Capitol and you left just before the shots rang out. Did you hear anything, did you see anything? 

Congressman Johnson: I did not hear anything I did not see any of the activity. I did leave a little before 7 because I had an early morning meeting back on the hill and I had to get prepared for that. I did not find out about the incident until I was back. And, shocked was an understatement. I have made a statement to the Capitol Police about an individual that I saw as I was leaving the baseball complex, I don't know whether that's related or not, but I did give the Capitol Police that information.

Tessa: ABC News just released the name of the shooter James T. Hodginkson, I believe he is from Louisiana.

Congressman Johnson: And he is from Louisiana?

Tessa: I believe so.

Congressman Johnson: Wow, that is interesting because that is where Steve Scalise is from.

Tessa: Yes, we will see how the investigation continues. You said shocked, tell me more about the morning.

Congressman Johnson: Shocked is an understatement. Steve Scalise is a good friend of mine, as we all are. You know this baseball game, the charity baseball game is one of the most striking bipartisan efforts that goes on here in the House and so few people in the country know about it. Republicans and Democrats gather together to play in this-- it's been going on well over 80 years. And we play each other in a baseball game out at Washington National Stadium, raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in charity donations to inner city children here in Washington, D.C. and it's just a very,very  festive time as we celebrate America's greatest past time, and try to demonstrate to the country that we don't hate each other.

Tessa: Absolutely, and this kind of shattered that. But, how are you feeling? Are you feeling thankful, emotional?

Congressman Johnson: You know I had some strange emotions bubble up and I'm pretty transparent with those. I told my chief of staff I'm caught somewhere between thankfulness that I was not injured and that I was not there when it happened, and then because of my 26 and a half years in the military there are some pangs of guilt too that I was not there to help my teammates out.

Tessa: There was another Congressman from Ohio who helped Steve Scalise.

Congressman Johnson: Brad Wenstrup is a doctor, he is a podiatrist. He served in the army in  Afghanistan and the Middle East and did many, many surgeries from battle field wounds so I am sure he took very good care of Steve Scalise with what he had on hand to do it with.

Tessa: What message are you sending to the victims, and the first responders?

Congressman Johnson: I want to give a huge shout out to the Capitol Hill Police. This could have been a complete disaster. It could have been far worse than what it is, because, we don't bring weapons with us to baseball practice. We got bats balls and gloves and we're all standing around pretty stationary, unless you happen to be running to field a ball or to run out a base hit, so it's easy pickings. I am just so grateful to the Capitol Police for their immediate reactions to get this gunman under control before anyone else was hurt. And if I know Steve Scalise, he is saying let the game go on. We can't let the bad guys cause us to cower in the corner. I think we need to continue on.

Tessa: Along those lines, is this going to change anything about when you travel and your security?

Congressman Johnson: You know something, I don't feel I deserve any more security than the people I represent do. And, this kind of thing could happen anywhere in America. I mean at any little league baseball field, highschool baseball game, college baseball game, you name it. So, I don't intend to ask for additional security. I will say that you know there is some reasons to be concerned about the temperature and the anxiety that people are feeling today, much like what we saw back during the 60s when the American people saw the Vietnam War and all its horror come into their living rooms today, they're seeing the sausage being made here in Washington, D.C. They are seeing inside of the American political process from a perspective that they've never seen it before, because of a 24-hour news cycle and social media network that just inundates them with that information. And, much like what happened in the 60s we're beginning to see things play out in the streets.

Tessa: It's scary and alarming, not only for politicians but even the citizens here in the Ohio Valley. 

Congressman Johnson: Absolutely. 

Tessa: Anything else you'd like to say today?

Congressman Johnson: Nothing that I can add right now. 

Tessa: Thank you, Congressman.

Congressman Johnson: Thank you so much.

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