President Donald Trump recognized Thursday the quick action and bravery of those who responded quickly when left-wing nut job James Hodgkinson started shooting at Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice.
It was my great HONOR to present our nation's highest award for a public safety officer – THE MEDAL OF VALOR to FIVE AMERICAN HEROES! pic.twitter.com/j7ceXuBZ3f
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2017
THE PRESIDENT: Please sit down. Thank you. And thank you to Vice President for doing a fantastic job and for the introduction. We welcome you all, members of Congress and distinguished guests. We are gathered here today for a very, very special occasion, as we pay tribute to real heroes whose courageous actions under fire saved so many lives in Alexandria, Virginia just six weeks ago.
On the morning of June 14th, several members of Congress began their day on the baseball diamond, practicing for one of this town’s greatest traditions — the annual charity Congressional baseball game. It was just another beautiful morning until the unthinkable happened. The familiar sounds of baseball were suddenly interrupted by loud, vicious gunfire.
Matt Mika, Zachary Barth, and beloved Congressman, and my friend, Steve Scalise were each shot during an attack. Others were injured trying to evade the incoming bullets, of which there were many.
Fortunately, from the moment that gunman began to shoot, he was met by return fire. Capitol Police Special Agents David Bailey and Crystal Griner raced through the bullets — and that’s exactly what they did, they raced through the bullets — and immediately engaged the gunman.
Minutes later, members of the Alexandria Police Department arrived on scene. Officers Nicole Battaglia, Kevin Jobe, and Alex Jensen joined the fight. Special Agent Griner was shot in the leg — visited her in the hospital, she was hurt very badly — and shrapnel injured Special Agent Bailey as bullets swirled around him.
Despite their injuries, both officers heroically continued to face down the gunman until they brought him down. And he had rifles; they had handguns. That’s a big difference.
These officers saved the lives of every innocent person on the field that day — many of them friends of Mike and myself. They are American heroes and we salute them. (Applause.) Fantastic. That is so beautiful. Thank you.
We also salute the members of Congress who acted with such bravery in the face of danger, shielding each other and caring for the injured. We honor today the emergency dispatchers who directed the first responders to the scene within seconds. They really acted quickly.
I especially want to recognize all of the personnel from the Alexandria Fire Department and the U.S. Park Police Aviation Unit for providing life support in a crisis where every second mattered. Thank you for what you did that day and for what you do every single day. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
We also express our deep appreciation for the paramedics, doctors, nurses, and surgeons from MedStar Washington Hospital and George Washington University Hospital for saving the lives of the wounded.
Joining us today is Congressman Scalise’s medical team: Dr. Jack Sava — where’s Jack? Dr. Sava. Stand up, Jack. Come on. (Applause.) That’s beautiful. MedStar’s Director of Trauma Surgery, and Dr. Robert Golden, the Director of Orthopedic Trauma. Doctor, doctor — congratulations. (Applause.) They were a lot more worried that night at the hospital, weren’t they? Great job.
You have the gratitude of the entire nation. Thank you for caring for the victims and for your dear friend Steve — and he is our dear friend. Steve is a fighter. We’ve known that for a long time.
This week, he was been discharged from the hospital and is now beginning weeks of intensive rehabilitation at an in-patient facility. He will recover. We are praying for him, we are pulling for him, and we are sending his family our support and our love.
Steve’s great wife — who I have gotten to know — Jennifer is here with us today, and we applaud the strength and courage that she has shown throughout this incredible ordeal. Thank you, Jennifer. (Applause.) Thank you, Jennifer.
Other Americans responded to this tragedy in ways that remind us how much stronger we are when we are united. When the Congressional baseball game was played just one day later, nearly 25,000 people turned out — by far, a record. They raised more than $1.5 million for charity — also, by far, a record. The citizens of Steve’s home parish organized a blood drive in his name, and Vice President Pence donated his blood at the Congressional blood drive. Thank you, Mike. (Applause.)
Just recently, House Republicans and Democrats introduced a bill to provide support to Capitol Police officers who are injured on duty. People have been looking at this for a long time. But Jennifer, you can tell Steve that he pulled it off, okay? That’s better than being a whip. I hope it gets to my desk soon. I will sign it immediately. (Applause.)
The assault on June 14th reminded us that evil exists in this world. But it also reminded us that heroes walk in our midst, that love triumphs over tragedy and that our resolve is stronger than ever. We praise America’s law enforcement — and I’ve been praising them for a long time, they are unbelievable people — for doing a tough — for doing the tough jobs, the dangerous jobs, and a sometimes thankless job with tremendous integrity, devotion, and courage. So I just want to thank law enforcement generally. Thank you. (Applause.)
I can only tell you from the campaign, the people love you, they respect you, and they admire you. So I know you go through a lot, but they have great admiration. So just remember that, please.
Today I am deeply honored to present our nation’s highest award for a public safety officer — the Medal of Valor to Special Agent Crystal Griner, Special Agent David Bailey; and Alexandria Police Department Officers Nicole Battaglia, Kevin Jobe, and Alex Jensen.
The Medal of Valor is reserved for those who go above and beyond the call of duty as each of these men and women did on that fateful day. And they did it with great courage, and they did it with instinct. When our human instincts tell us to run — there’s danger — our police and first responders run straight at it, standing in the breach, protecting the innocent, and keeping our loved ones safe.
Now I would like the military aide to read the citation, as these American heroes step forward to receive the Medal of Valor.
MILITARY AIDE: Special Agent Crystal Griner. Medal of Valor presented to Special Agent Crystal Griner, U.S. Capitol Police District of Columbia, for bravery and composure while engaged in an active shooter incident. Despite being shot, Special Agent Griner placed herself in mortal danger to save the lives of members of Congress, attending family members, and congressional staff during a charity softball practice at Eugene Simpson Memorial Park in Alexandria, Virginia. (Applause.)
Special Agent David Bailey. Medal of Valor presented to Special Agent David Bailey, U.S. Capitol Police District of Columbia, for taking brave and decisive action to subdue an active shooter. Special Agent Bailey was shot during the exchange of gunfire but continued to advance the shooter without the benefit of cover until the active shooter was subdued, saving the lives of members of Congress, attending family members, and congressional staff. (Applause.)
Officer Nicole Battaglia. Medal of Valor presented to Officer Nicole Battaglia, Alexandria Police Department, Virginia, for demonstrating extraordinary courage in saving the lives of two U.S. Capitol Police officers, members of Congress, their families, and congressional staff. Officer Battaglia engaged the assailant, exchanging gunfire at close range and ultimately neutralizing him. (Applause.)
Officer Alexander Jensen. Medal of Valor presented to Officer Alex Jensen, Alexandria Police Department, Virginia, for swift and valiant action in responding to an active shooter. Officer Jensen put himself in harm’s way during the active shooter incident, moving without cover and drawing fire from the assailant until the assailant was subdued and the safety of the members of Congress, their families, and the congressional staff was ensured. (Applause.)
Officer Kevin Jobe. Medal of Valor presented to Officer Kevin Jobe, Alexandria Police Department, Virginia, for placing himself in grave danger to protect two U.S. Capitol Police officers, members of Congress, their families, and congressional staff. Officer Jobe engaged an active shooter, neutralizing a volatile gunman, and preventing further injuries to innocent bystanders in the park. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Very brave people. Great people. Congratulations to all of you. We are forever in your debt. Thank you. God bless you. God bless our truly amazing law enforcement. And God Bless America. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)