WASHINGTON – Looking thrilled to be among friends and colleagues, Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to Washington on Thursday to attend a Navy retirement ceremony for her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly.
The visit marks the Arizona congresswoman’s second trip to the nation’s capital since she was shot in the head last January while meeting with constituents in Tucson.
About 30 people, including Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, greeted her and Kelly with a standing ovation as they entered the Secretary of War suite at the Eisenhower Executive Building next to the White House. Giffords walked slowly and with a noticeable limp, wearing running shoes with her suit, but she looked overjoyed to see some of her fellow lawmakers again.
Vice President Joe Biden, who emceed the ceremony, made note of Giffords appearance and her near-constant smile, telling her, “You look good, Gabby.”
As the ceremony ended, reporters were quickly escorted from the room so there was no chance to ask Giffords questions or for her to make any statements.
Aides said Giffords planned to conduct no congressional business and would return to Houston shortly after the ceremony, where she undergoes rehabilitation therapy.