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Trump awards Medal of Valor, civilian honors to responders in Dayton and El Paso shootings

Trump awards Medal of Valor, civilian honors to responders in Dayton and El Paso shootings
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE on Monday awarded the Medal of Valor to six police officers who responded to the August mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.

Trump also honored five civilians for their heroic actions in trying to stem the violence during a mass shooting a day earlier at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, presenting them each with a Certificate of Commendation.

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“These incredible patriots responded to the worst violence and most barbaric hatred with the best of American courage, character and strength,” Trump said in remarks from the East Room Monday morning.

“Few people could have done and even would have done what they did,” Trump continued.

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump hasn't asked Barr to open investigation into Bidens, McEnany says Seattle, Portland, NYC sue Trump administration over threat to pull federal money Trump says he doesn't actually want Whitmer, Biden and Obama to be locked up despite chants MORE also offered brief remarks, praising the honorees for their “extraordinary actions” and thanking Trump for his support for law enforcement.

"It's an honor to serve under a president who is so strongly supportive of law enforcement and has the back of police officers and first responders," Barr said.

Trump awarded six Dayton police officers for taking down a shooter before he entered a bar on Aug. 4, commending their bravery and “rock-solid nerves of steel” and noting that the officers stopped the shooter in 32 seconds. The shooting left 10 dead, including the gunman.

Trump also honored five civilians who helped respond to the shooting at an El Paso Walmart that took 22 lives and wounded 27 people. These include a store manager and employee at the Walmart, two employees at a nearby McDonalds and a patron shopping in the Walmart who threw soda bottles and other items at the shooter in order to distract him. The patron, Chris Grant, endured “two serious gunshot wounds but he is recovering well,” Trump said.

Trump called the Dayton shooter “wicked” and a “maniac.” He also described the suspected shooter in El Paso, who is currently being held in custody, a “soulless and bigoted monster” who was motivated by racism. Reports emerged following the shooting that the suspect in the El Paso shooting had left behind a racist manifesto and espoused support for white nationalism.

“It was a racist attack motivated by pure, evil hatred,” Trump said.

Trump has been scrutinized for his own rhetoric following the El Paso shooting, with some critics accusing him of encouraging racist views. Trump has also faced pressure to explain his stance on gun reform measures like background checks, for which he has seemed to offer conflicting accounts of his support.

The police officers receiving the medal of honor Monday include Sgt. William C. Knight, Officer Brian L. Rolfes, Officer Jeremy M. Campbell, Officer Vincent J. Carter, Officer Ryan D. Nabel and Officer David M. Denlinger.

The civilians receiving certificates of commendation include Robert Evans, Gilbert Serna, Marisela Luna, Angelica Silva and Grant, whose mother accepted the award on his behalf.

A handful of members of Trump’s Cabinet were also on hand for the event, including Barr, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHillicon Valley: Treasury sanctions Russian group accused of targeting critical facilities | Appeals court rules Uber, Lyft must comply with labor laws | Biden: Countries that target US elections will 'pay a price' Finger-pointing picks up in COVID-19 relief fight Treasury sanctions Russian group accused of targeting US critical facilities with destructive malware MORE, Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosHouse committee subpoenas Education Department staff over for-profit colleges DeVos says it isn't Department of Education's job to track schools' coronavirus reopening plans Judge calls Devos student loan forgiveness process 'disturbingly Kafkaesque' MORE and Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoTravel industry calls on Trump administration to prevent the need for quarantines by creating a testing plan Century of the Woman: Can Leading Women Have it All? Female lawmakers, officials call for more women at all levels of government to improve equity MORE. Texas Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 spending wars | Biden looks to clean up oil comments | Debate ratings are in The Hill's Campaign Report: Obama to hit the campaign trail l Biden's eye-popping cash advantage l New battleground polls favor Biden Quinnipiac poll finds Biden, Trump tied in Texas MORE (R) also watched the remarks from a front-row seat.