President Trump awarded the Purple Heart to Sgt. 1st Class Alvaro Barrientos at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, D.C., on Saturday.
Barrientos was wounded in Afghanistan on March 17 and had to have his right leg amputated below the knee, according to The Associated Press. He was accompanied at the ceremony by his wife, Tammi. First Lady Melania Trump was also in attendance.
The Purple Heart is awarded to service members killed or wounded in action.
According to pool reports, Trump kept his remarks brief. “When I heard about this I wanted to do it myself. So congratulations,” Trump said. “Tremendous.”
It was Trump’s first visit to the medical center.
Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted, “Looking forward to seeing our bravest and greatest Americans!” The AP reports he was expected to meet privately with about a dozen service members receiving care at the medical center.
As Trump’s motorcade made its way north from the White House to Walter Reed, located less than 10 miles away, it passed dozens of protesters gathered along the route, holding signs for the March for Science in downtown Washington, D.C.
Saturday was also Earth Day. President Trump released a statement, saying, “My administration is committed to keeping our air and water clean, to preserving our forests, lakes, and open spaces, and to protecting endangered species.” It goes on to say, “Rigorous science is critical to my Administration’s efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection.”
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