Al Scalise, the father of House majority whip Steve Scalise, passed away overnight after a long battle with several forms of cancer. I offer condolences and prayers to the whole Scalise family.
This has been an incredibly roller-coaster week for Scalise. On Tuesday he celebrated his 50th birthday, obviously a big milestone, while feeling very secure that he had more than enough votes committed (the word is, more than 150 of a 247-person caucus) to become House majority leader. He entered the GOP Conference meeting on Thursday feeling certain that Kevin McCarthy would indeed ascend to the speakership, thus opening up the majority-leader slot for which Scalise apparently had the votes lined up. Then McCarthy withdrew; Scalise decided not to run for speaker himself, but to remain as whip, and to privately and publicly urge Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan to take the top job.
And then, that very night, his father died.
Amidst all the political to-ing and fro-ing, all the ups and downs, all the analyses, it is important to remember that officeholders do lead private lives and face private pressures and challenges like the rest of us. On a personal level, Scalise is a very good guy. Let’s all hold him and his family in our prayers, and pray for eternal joy for his father.