Skip to main content

  President Trump Presents Medals of Valor Heroic Commendations  CSPAN  September 9, 2019 1:17pm-1:46pm EDT

1:17 pm
anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on c-span. c-span3, and online at or listen live on the free -span radio app. >> president trump presented the medal of valor to six police officers from dayton, ohio, in a ceremony at the white house. the president also honored five citizens from el paso, texas, who acted to save lives during a mass shooting at a wal-mart. >> ladies and gentlemen, the recipients of the medal of valor and heroic commendations.
1:18 pm
1:19 pm
1:20 pm
>> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states, accompanied by the attorney general. ♪. president trump -- mr. barr: good morning, everybody. thank you for joining us today. i'd like to thank president trump for hosting this ceremony.
1:21 pm
let me say it's an honor to serve under a president who is so strongly a supporter of law enforcement and has the back of police officers and first responders. thank you, mr. president. [applause] attorney general barr: we have come together to recognize the sfroord actions of 11 fellow citizens. the president has chosen to honor five civilians from texas who displayed an extraordinary degree of care for their fellow man. putting their own lives at risk. we also honor six police officers from ohio who put themselves between a gunman and a crowd of innocent civilians. for the people out in dayton that night, these officers were the thin blue line between life
1:22 pm
and death. the actions of this -- these six officers show that while that line may be thin, it is very strong. established in 2001, the medal of valor is our nation's highest public safety award. officers across the nation are nominated by their peers, but only a handful are selected to receive this honor. traditionally this process occurs only once a year. however, the law permits the attorney general to expand the total number of recipients when exceptional instances of bravery arise. so that's what we did this year. in my eyes and in the eyes of our nation this special recognition is warranted. valor is a word we don't commonly hear. people can show courage and bravery confronting many different challenges in life, but valor can notes -- can notes
1:23 pm
a -- can notes a willing, putting oneself in danger to protect others. we humans have a powerful instinct to flea -- flee from peril. it takes courage, deep sense of duty, and extraordinary character to overcome these impulses and for the sake of others to run toward the danger. and we thank god that on that horrible night in dayton we had men of these qualities. as we honor the valor of these men, we must recognize that we cannot take them and their brothers and sisters in law enforcement for granted. serving as a police officer is the toughest job in our country, and as they put themselves on the line to keep us safe, they deserve our gratitude and support. we are grateful not just for the courage of these officers, but also of their families. and we salute those families here today.
1:24 pm
you encounter long days and restless nights, still you endure them for all of us. our very ability to live normal lives, to go to school, to go to work, and to pursue our aspirations without fear is only because of your sacrifice. the brave actions of today's honorees from dayton and from elpass so -- el paso should awaken in all of us a new dedication to service and selflessness on behalf of our communities. so god bless our heroes and their families. and thank you, mr. president, for the opportunity to express our appreciation today. [applause] president trump: i want to thank the attorney general for not
1:25 pm
only this today but for doing an incredible job. thank you very much, bill. appreciate t today i'm honored to welcome you to the white house as we recognize 11 extraordinary american heroes. these incredible patriots responded to the worst violence and most barbaric hatred with the best of american courage, character, and strength. faced with grave and harrowing threats, the men and women standing behind us step forward to save the lives of their fellow americans few people could have done. and even would have done what they did. in a few moments i will award six police officers from dayton, ohio, with our nation's highest public safety award, the medal of valor. i will also honor five americans from el paso, texas, with certificates of commendation, recognizing these civilians who displayed tremendous bravery. the life of these intrepid souls
1:26 pm
confronted the most sin certificate danger. would you-all please join me in expressing our deepest gratitude and highest admiration to these unbelievably exceptional americans. thank you. [applause] president trump: we are also joined by senator john cornyn
1:27 pm
and several members of my cab bet and i thank you-all for being here. jon, thank you very much. most importantly to the families of our heroes, you understand bert than anyone the difference your loved ones have made in the lives of so many americans. we treasure you and we really do thank you from the bottom of our hearts. again, thank you very much. great job. one month ago america witnessed horror beyond belief. on saturday, august 3, at a a -mart in el paso, texas, soulless and bigoted monster killed 22 innocent people and wounded 27 others. it happened quickly. it was a racist attack motivated by pure evil hatred. the next day in dayton, ohio, a vial and wicked murderer stole nine lives and injured 34 others. our nation is shocked and enranged by these inhuman and sadistic acts of blood shed. we fail to comprehend how any
1:28 pm
person could be so warped by mall list -- mall lace and contempt. every heart breaks for the families who lost precious loved ones, and every american grieves for those who were so crewly taken from us. in the midst of such profound anguish, one memory fills us with hope. when evil showed its hideous face, americans of all walks of life rose up and they did, they rose up, they defied fear, they staired down death to protect the innocent, and stand tall they did just for righteous and for good. several days after the shootings, the first lady and i visited both cities. we met with first responders, hospital staff, survivors, and families. we will never forget the unity and love we shaw in those communities and at those hospitals.
1:29 pm
-- love we saw in those communities and at those hospitals. it was incredible. in ohio, i had the privilege of meeting the six dayton police officers, who without a moment's hesitation, immediately and courageously engaged the gunman, ending his attack and rescuing countless lives. who knew and who can even understand how many lives would have been taken if they didn't act so quickly? just after 1:00 a.m. on august 4, these officers were patrolling the streets of downtown dayton when the killer opened fire into an innocent crowd. the shooter continued firing as he ran down a sidewalk packed with people. sergeant william knight was stationed in his cruiser about
1:30 pm
150 feet away. he heard the gunfire. jumped out of his car, and quickly returned fire. meanwhile, officer brian rolpus ran directly toward the shooter and into the onslaught of incoming bullets. then officers jeremy campbell, vincent carter, ryan nebel, and david denlinger moved in engaging the shooter at close range calling upon years of training in the span of an instant. millions of americans saw the video footage of these officers calmingly charging forward in the midst of chaos and constant fire. without a thought for their own safety, they stood square to the target, executed their mission, and brought down the murderers with precision gunfire. it was just before that maniac was ready to enter a very
1:31 pm
crowded restaurant and bar. within 32 seconds of the start of the attack, these six officers ended the violent rampage and saved countless lives. today it is my immense honor to award the medal of valor to those law enforcement heroes. sergeant william knight, and officers brian rolphus, jeremy campbell, vincent carter, ryan nabell, and david denlinger. to each of you we are in awe of your swift response, sterling professionalism, and rock solid nerves of steel. on behalf of our entire nation, we thank you for your remarkable and heroic actions in the line of duty. and we just want to thank you so much, what a great job you have done. thank you very much. [applause]
1:32 pm
president trump: robert instantly alerted employees of the active shooter. he saw the killer heading towards the store so he raced inside and directed customers toward the nearest emergency exits, helping hundreds escape to safety. incredible. robert, you exemplify noble leadership and selfless service. thank you very much, robert. [applause] wal-mart employee gilbert cerna heard robert's alert over the radio and immediately, without hesitation, guided dozens of shoppers to refuge through a rear exit. boosting some people over a 12-
1:33 pm
foot wall and hiding others in shipping containers. so smart to think of that. who would think of that under these circumstances? a lot of people would just run for their lives. he cleared out the back area of the store a minute before the shooter got there, gilbert, your unwavering resolve inspires us all. thank you very much, gilbert. great job. [applause] marcela luna was managing the mcdonald's inside the wal-mart when the murderer burst into the entrance. she quickly gathered customers from the lobby and led them to refrigerators and other hiding places. shielding them from the shooter's line of sight. thank you, mare sella, for racing to rescue others from grave danger. thank you very much. thank you. [applause]
1:34 pm
mcdonald supervisor angelica silva was working at another location when she got word of the active shooting. she drove straight to the scene to check on her employees. upon arriving angelica saw two people in the parking lot who were very, very badly wounded. she alerted first responders and helped save the life of one of those severely injured victims. angelica we thank god you were there. thank you very much. thank you. [applause] chris grant was picking out snacks for his kids when he suddenly saw the murderer firing at innocent shoppers a few aisles away from him. chris grabbed, listen to this, soda bottles and anything else in front of him and began hurling them at the gunman.
1:35 pm
distracting him from the other shoppers and causing the shooter to turn toward chris and fire at chris. wherebye chris suffered two various gunshot wounds but he's recovering well and we wish him the best. his family is here. please thank chris for us. [applause] think of that. in the darkest moments of danger and despair, god calls the bravest to action. these 11 individuals answered the call. they staired -- starde down evil, they put -- stared down evil, they put love of neighbor besides themselves. we are overwhelmed by their example. and we are forever inspired by the goodness of their hearts, the grace of their souls, and the enduring greatness of their deeds. to every one of the heroes we
1:36 pm
recognize today, thank you and god bless you-all. thank you very much. [applause] president trump: incredible. now i would like to ask the military aide to come forward nd read the citations, please. >> the medal of valor is presented to the following individuals for their bravery and composure in the face of an armed assailant intent on the murder of innocent civilians in dayton, ohio, on august 4, 201. their quick and decisive actions in the face of extreme danger neutralized the gunman within seconds, protecting the lives of hundreds of people.
1:37 pm
sergeant william knight. [applause] officer brian rolphus. [applause] officer jeremy campbell.
1:38 pm
[applause] office ervin sent carter. -- officer vincent carter. [applause] officer ryan nabell. [applause]
1:39 pm
officer david benlinger. [applause] >> medal of valor recipients, please take your seats and the certificate of commendation
1:40 pm
resipents, please join the resident on stage. the certificate of commendation is presented to the following individuals for acting selflessly and fearlessly to save hundreds from a hateful gunman who opened fire at a wal-mart in el paso, texas, on august 3, 2019. each of these courageous civilians could have escaped the safety during the massacre but they instead put their own lives in jeopardy ethiopia their neighbors find refuge and access desperately needed medical attention. r. robert evans. [applause]
1:41 pm
mr. gilbert cerna. [applause] miss marcela luna. [applause] miss angelica silva. [applause] accepting on behalf of her son, chris grant, miss mini grant. [applause]
1:42 pm
would the medal of valor recipients please join the president on stage for one last group photo. [applause]
1:43 pm
[applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats as the president departs. ♪ [captions copyright national able satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. isit]
1:44 pm
>> on capitol hill members of congress return from break today. the house will gavel in at the top of the hour. this week they'll be debating legislation that could block oil and gas drilling in alaska and along the coast. as well as in the eastern gulf of mexico. they'll also work on four energy bills later today. you can watch the house live here on c-span. in tweet from florida senator rick scott who says today the senate homeland security committee held a hearing at the 9/11 memorial and museum to examine how the department of homeland security has einvolved since 9/11 and the threats our nation faces today. we also honored the victims of that terrorist attack anti-many brave heroes who risked their live that day. we showed that hearing live this morning on c-span and if you missed it find it op our website at to watch any time online. a tweet from congresswoman robin
1:45 pm
kelly who writes, today congress returns. it is time for senate majority leader mitch mcconnell to do his job and address the public health epidemic of gun violence by starting with bringing h.r. 8 to the senate -- floor of the senate today. the house judiciary committee will be working on gun violence legislation tomorrow starting at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. you can also watch that online at or listen live with the free c-span radio app. e hill, senior reporter, here to talk about congress returning from the august break. let's start with the brick itself. any significant changes when legislators were back in their districts and how does that translate to coming back to work today? guest: all of these mass shootings had began just after they had gone home and that drove the debate are a couple weeks and democrats hope that