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 TrumpCampaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis Outgoing inspector general says Trump fired him for carrying out his 'legal obligations' Trump hits Illinois governor after criticism: 'I hear him complaining all the time' 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 BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDecentralized leadership raises questions about Trump coronavirus response Feds distributing masks, other gear seized in price-gouging investigation to NY, NJ health care workers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - All eyes on today's unemployment numbers 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 MnuchinTens of thousands of travelers from China arrived in US as administration debated restrictions: report Pelosi, McConnell clash over next coronavirus bill Trump eyes additional funds for small businesses impacted by pandemic MORE, Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosCoronavirus bill allows DeVos to waive parts of federal special education law: NYT Students with disabilities could lose with COVID-19 stimulus package White House slams pastor leading Cabinet Bible studies for linking homosexuality, coronavirus MORE and Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic Critics blast Trump mileage rollback, citing environment and health concerns Trump administration rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards MORE. Texas Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP senator: National shelter-in-place order would be an 'overreaction' Lawmakers already planning more coronavirus stimulus after T package Cuban says he'd spank daughter if she was partying during coronavirus pandemic MORE (R) also watched the remarks from a front-row seat.