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
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 BarrWilliam Pelham BarrGiuliani says he won't comply with subpoenas from Democrats Barr bemoans 'moral upheaval' that has brought 'suffering and misery' Trump threatens to sue Schiff and Pelosi 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 MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Turkey controversy Trump hypes China trade deal as new doubts emerge Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump to slap sanctions on Turkey for Syria offensive | Trump calls on Turkey to broker ceasefire | Pelosi, Graham seek deal on sanctions | Ex-Trump aide testifies in impeachment probe MORE, Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosTrump administration blocked consumer watchdog from public service loan forgiveness program: report Judge warns DeVos: 'I'm not sending anyone to jail yet' but it's an option Students ask judge to hold DeVos in contempt over debt collection MORE and Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoDemocratic lawmaker asks for probe of reports Chao favored Kentucky officials Chao met with more officials from Kentucky than any other state: report Ex-senior Trump administration official joins lobbying shop MORE. Texas Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrying to kick tobacco again This week: Congress returns to chaotic Washington GOP braces for impeachment brawl MORE (R) also watched the remarks from a front-row seat.