Trump Awards Soldier Medal of Honor On 9/11 in Maskless Ceremony

Sgt. Major Thomas “Patrick” Payne, a Ranger assigned to the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command, received the U.S. military’s highest honor for valor in combat in a White House ceremony on Friday, a week after Donald Trump’s comments regarding the military set off global shockwaves.

The mostly maskless ceremony took place soon after Trump returned from his obligations at a September 11th memorial where he seemed grumpy and sluggish; it was also clear he didn’t know the words to the Pledge of Allegiance.

Payne made history by being the first living member of Delta Force to receive the Medal of Honor, based on his actions during a 2015 rescue of about 70 hostages set to be executed by Islamic State militants in Iraq. He also has 17 deployments and other decorations for his service. The medal approval was confirmed by two Defense Department officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak on the record. Payne was initially given the Army’s second-highest award, the Distinguished Service Cross, for the special operations raid, which was upgraded to a Medal of Honor.

Throughout his career, Payne has deployed 17 times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and Operation Inherent Resolve, as well as to the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. He has received numerous valor awards including the Bronze Star Medal with combat “V” device; the Joint Service Commendation Medal with Bronze “V” device; and the Army Commendation Medal with Bronze “V” device with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster.

The ceremony comes at the end of another troubled week for Trump, who was still reeling from the Atlantic article fallout when excerpts from Bob Woodward‘s new book, “Rage”, revealed Trump not only knew about and understood the deadly effects of the coronavirus, he was deliberately downplaying it to the public.

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