(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Penn., hopes that Congress will find a way to debate hot-button issues with more civility in the aftermath of this week’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice.
Doyle, who managed the Democratic team at this year’s annual congressional baseball game for charity, told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein on the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast that while their passion about their preferred policies won’t change, all people in politics should work to treat one another with more respect.
Early Wednesday morning a man shot at Republican members of Congress and their staff as they practiced for Thursday’s congressional baseball game. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., among others, was shot in the hip and is in critical condition at MedStar Washington Hospital.
Doyle said the shooting provides an opportunity to think about divisive rhetoric.
“I think when something like this happens it’s at least a chance for some reflection, and hopefully we move a bit further down the line toward civility and away from some of the rhetoric that we hear on both sides that we’re talking about. That’s my hope,” Doyle said.
In the immediate aftermath of the harrowing shooting, people across the political spectrum have been calling for a renewed commitment to unity.
“Steve, in his own way, may have brought some unity to our long-divided country,” Trump said Thursday. “We’ve had a very, very divided country for many years and I have a feeling that Steve has made a great sacrifice but there could be some unity being brought to our country. Let’s hope so.”
The game — a longtime symbol of bipartisanship — raised more than $1.5 million for four charities, according to the organizing group’s Facebook page, but some are already doubting that unity will be sustained.
“We’re not going to change our positions on the budget or on health care. this isn’t about getting together in that sense. We have some real differences with Republicans on those issues just as Republicans have differences with us,” Doyle said. “But we can express those differences in a civil manner.”
Doyle said that members of Congress aren’t the only ones to blame for a vitriolic tone on Capitol Hill. “A lot of this tone is being set outside of Washington too,” Doyle said, adding that the media also tends to fan the flames.
As for what’s to come?
“I’m sure some of that’s going to continue because these are hotly contested issues,” Doyle said, adding that “Everybody has to take this upon themselves” to have rigorous, respectful debates.
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.