Trump awards pur­ple heart

Sergeant wounded in Afghanistan re­ceives honor at Wal­ter Reed

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - BY DAR­LENE SUPERVILLE

Pres­i­dent Trump on Satur­day awarded a Pur­ple Heart to an Army sergeant re­cently wounded in Afghanistan, the first of many Mr. Trump likely will award dur­ing his ser­vice as com­man­der in chief of the U.S. mil­i­tary.

“When I heard about this ... I wanted to do it my­self,” Mr. Trump said dur­ing a brief cer­e­mony at Wal­ter Reed Na­tional Mil­i­tary Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Bethesda, Maryland.

The medal went to Sgt. 1st Class Al­varo Bar­ri­en­tos, who was wounded in ac­tion on March 17 in Afghanistan dur­ing what is now Amer­ica’s long­est war. The White House did not re­lease Sgt. Bar­ri­en­tos’ home­town.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions on be­half of Me­la­nia and my­self and the en­tire na­tion. Tremen­dous,” said Mr. Trump, men­tion­ing his wife.

It was Mr. Trump’s first visit as pres­i­dent to the mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal.

Sgt. Bar­ri­en­tos, whose right leg below the knee had been am­pu­tated, was brought into a hos­pi­tal atrium in a wheel­chair, ac­com­pa­nied by his wife, Tammy.

Mr. Trump kissed Sgt. Bar­ri­en­tos’ wife be­fore pin­ning the medal on the sergeant’s left shirt col­lar, grasp­ing Sgt. Bar­ri­en­tos by the shoul­ders and then shak­ing his hand. The Pur­ple Heart is awarded to ser­vice mem­bers who are wounded or killed in ac­tion.

Be­sides Sgt. Bar­ri­en­tos, Mr. Trump met pri­vately with about a dozen ser­vice mem­bers who are re­ceiv­ing care at the med­i­cal cen­ter.

Be­fore leav­ing the White House, the pres­i­dent tweeted that he looked for­ward to “see­ing our bravest and great­est Amer­i­cans.”

Mr. Trump’s de­ci­sion to al­low news media cov­er­age of the medal cer­e­mony was in sharp con­trast to for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, who awarded Pur­ple Heart medals dur­ing his own reg­u­lar vis­its to Wal­ter Reed but al­ways did so be­hind closed doors.

Mr. Trump was driven to Maryland in­stead of be­ing flown in the Marine One he­li­copter, the way presidents typ­i­cally travel to Wal­ter Reed, due to an­nual pub­lic tours of the White House south grounds and gar­dens that were tak­ing place Satur­day.

As the mo­tor­cade ex­ited the com­plex, nearby side­walks were lined with peo­ple who had come to Washington on Satur­day, which was also Earth Day, to pro­mote science and de­fend it from at­tack, in­clud­ing Mr. Trump’s pro­posed bud­get cuts. Some held signs that said “Sup­port Science” and “Science Saves Lives.”

Later that evening, Mr. Trump and the first lady went to din­ner at Mr. Trump’s ho­tel near the White House. It’s a fa­vorite din­ing spot for Mr. Trump when he ven­tures out­side the ex­ec­u­tive man­sion.


Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump awarded U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Al­varo Bar­ri­en­tos with a Pur­ple Heart on Satur­day at Wal­ter Reed Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Bethesda, Maryland. Mr. Trump and Sgt. Bar­ri­en­tos were joined by first lady Me­la­nia Trump and his wife, Tammy Bar­ri­en­tos. Sgt. Bar­ri­en­tos was wounded in ac­tion March 17 in Afghanistan.

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