Statement by the Vice President About the Attempted Assassination of the President

March 30, 1981

Well, I have a very brief statement that I would like to read. I am deeply heartened by Dr. O'Leary's report on the President's condition, that he has emerged from this experience with flying colors and with the most optimistic prospects for a complete recovery. I can reinsure this Nation and a watching world that the American Government is functioning fully and effectively. We've had full and complete communication throughout the day, and the officers of the Federal Government have been fulfilling their obligations with skill and with care.

I know I speak on behalf of the President and his family when I say that we are very grateful to all the many people from across this country who've expressed their concern at this act of violence. And finally, let me add our profound concern on behalf of two brave law enforcement officers who served to protect the President and then, of course, for a friend of everybody here, dedicated public servant, Jim Brady. We're going to watch their progress with all our prayers and with all our hopes.

Now, I'm going to walk over and speak briefly to Mrs. Reagan, who's returned to the Residence.

Thank you all very much.

Note: The Vice President read the statement at 8:20 p.m. to reporters assembled in the Briefing Room at the White House.

The Vice President arrived at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., from Texas at 6:30 p.m. At 7 p.m., he met with members of the Cabinet and White House staff in the Situation Room at the White House.

Prior to the Vice President's statement, Dr. Dennis O'Leary, dean of clinical affairs, George Washington University Hospital, briefed reporters at the hospital on the condition of the President, Press Secretary Brady, and Agent McCarthy.

Dr. O'Leary reported that the President had been wounded by a single bullet which penetrated his left lung, that the President was awake and in stable condition following surgery, and that the prognosis for his recovery was excellent.

Dr. O'Leary reported that Mr. Brady was shot in the forehead and that he was still in surgery and in critical condition.

Dr. O'Leary also reported that Mr. McCarthy had been wounded by a bullet which entered his right chest and, following surgery, he was doing extremely well.