On a rainy spring Saturday, President Trump paid a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, awarding a Purple Heart to a soldier who was wounded last month in Afghanistan.
In his first visit as president to the military hospital in Bethesda, Trump pinned the medal on Army Sgt. 1st Class Alvaro Barrientos, who lost part of his right leg. The Purple Heart recognizes service members who are wounded in combat.
“When I heard about this, I wanted to do it myself,” Trump said. “Congratulations. Tremendous.”
Standing in front of a display marking the facility as the “President's Hospital,” Trump, joined by first lady Melania Trump, posed for photographs with Barrientos and his wife, Tammy.
Before leaving the White House, the president tweeted about the visit.
Getting ready to visit Walter Reed Medical Center with Melania. Looking forward to seeing our bravest and greatest Americans!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2017
Presidents often visit the hospital located just nine miles from the White House. Most visits go unannounced.
While at Walter Reed, Trump was expected to meet privately with other service members receiving treatment.
Trump otherwise had a quiet Saturday in Washington, unlike the previous two weekends, which he spent at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.
He also issued a statement on Saturday marking Earth Day.
Even though thousands of protesters gathered in Washington for the March for Science, an event organized to draw attention to the threat of climate change, the president's statement made no mention of climate change. Instead, he defended his administration's actions to boost economic growth, which he said "enhances environmental protection."
“We can and must protect our environment without harming America’s working families,” Trump said. “That is why my Administration is reducing unnecessary burdens on American workers and American companies, while being mindful that our actions must also protect the environment.
“Rigorous science is critical to my Administration’s efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection,” he added. “My Administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks.”