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Remarks: Joe Biden Presents 14 Presidential Citizens Medals to Voting Defenders - January 6, 2023

  • Joe Biden
    Person
  • Military Aide
    Person
  • Aquilino Gonell
    Person
Very Positive

Joe Biden

Somewhat Positive
00:00:00-00:00:07 (7 sec)
Thank you all very, very much. 1

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:00:07-00:00:22 (15 sec)
Two years ago, on January the 6th, our democracy was attacked. There's no other way of saying it. The U.S. Capitol was breached, which had never happened before in the history of the United States of America, even during the Civil War. 2

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:00:22-00:00:43 (21 sec)
A violent mob of insurrectionists assaulted law enforcement, vandalized sacred halls, hunted down elected officials -- all for the purpose of an attempt to overthrow the will of the people and usurp the peaceful transfer of power. 3

Joe Biden

Negative
00:00:43-00:00:49 (6 sec)
All of it -- all of it was fueled by lies about the 2020 election. 4

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:00:49-00:01:05 (16 sec)
But on this day two years ago, our democracy held, because "We the People," as the Constitution refers to us -- We the People did not flinch. We the People endured. We the People prevailed. 5

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:01:05-00:01:21 (17 sec)
And on this day of remembrance, joined by the Vice President and the Second Gentleman and all of you, we honor a remarkable group of Americans who embodied the best before, during, and after January the 6th, 2021. 6

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:01:21-00:01:42 (21 sec)
For the first time in my presidency, I am bestowing the Presidential Citizens Medal, one of our nation's highest civilian honors. It recognizes, quote, "citizens of the United States of America who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens." End of quote. 7

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:01:42-00:01:51 (9 sec)
In a few moments -- in a few moments, the full citation of their exemplary deeds will be read by a military aide. 8

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:01:51-00:01:55 (4 sec)
But this is who these people, these extraordinary Americans, are. 9

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:01:55-00:02:14 (19 sec)
Heroic law enforcement officers. As Congressman Bennie Thompson said -- a man of immense character and honor himself -- eloquently said about these officers. He said, quote, "You held the line that day. [And] what was on the line was our democracy. And history will remember your names." 10

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:02:14-00:02:29 (15 sec)
And history will remember your names. They'll remember your courage. They'll remember your bravery. They'll remember your extraordinary commitments to your fellow Americans. That's not hyperbole; that's a fact. That's a fact. 11

Joe Biden

Neutral
00:02:29-00:02:45 (15 sec)
And, folks, history is also going to remember your instincts to respond to do something, as you did -- and as we all watched. This is the irony of it all: All America watched it -- watched it on television and saw it repeated and repeated. 12

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:02:45-00:03:08 (23 sec)
In the past months, we've heard you testify to the nation about what happened that day; what you were thinking of at the time it was happening; what you're thinking now -- the threats, the violence, the savageness of what happened, the trauma. All real. 13

Joe Biden

Slightly Positive
00:03:08-00:03:25 (18 sec)
And it's not exaggeration to say America owes you -- owes you all -- I really mean this -- a debt -- a debt of gratitude, one we can never fully repay unless we live up to what you did. Live up to what you did. 14

Joe Biden

Somewhat Positive
00:03:25-00:03:30 (5 sec)
And what you did was truly consequential. Not a joke. 15

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:03:30-00:03:44 (14 sec)
If I can halt for a second and just say to you: The impact of what happened on [DEL: July :DEL] [January] the 6th had international repercussions beyond what I think any of you can fully understand. 16

Joe Biden

Slightly Negative
00:03:44-00:04:17 (32 sec)
The first meeting I had of what they call the G7 -- the seven leading economies in the world, democracies -- I sat down -- it was in February; it was in England -- and I sat next to the President of France, across from the Chancellor from Germany, et cetera. And I said, "America is back." You know what the response was? Not a joke. "For how long?" "For how long?" 17

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:04:17-00:05:01 (44 sec)
And I just there and looked. And I believe it was the Prime Minister of Italy who said it, but I can't remember for certain which of seven -- six said it. "And what would you think, Mr. President, if tomorrow you woke up and you had a headline in the press saying that in the British Parliament, a mob had come down the hall, broken down the doors of the House of Commons, police officers were killed or died, the place was vandalized in order to overthrow the election of the Speaker of the House -- a prime minister's election?" 18

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:05:01-00:05:13 (12 sec)
Think about it. Think about it. What would we think if we heard that news today that any other leading democracy in the world went through this? 19

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:05:13-00:05:31 (18 sec)
So, folks, what these people and the people representing those who couldn't be here because they gave their lives for this did is incredibly consequential. And that's not political talk. That's a historical fact. 20

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:05:31-00:05:53 (22 sec)
Officer Daniel Hodges, Metropolitan Police Department, a Virginia National Guardsman. Eight years -- eight years on the beat. And his first time inside the Capitol was on January the 6th. Sprayed with poison. Pinned and crushed. Eye almost gouged out. 21

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:05:53-00:06:29 (35 sec)
But he didn't break. After it was over, he was asked what he'd been fighting for. This is a local guy, an ordinary American. And he gave a simple, straightforward answer. "What were you fighting for?" His spontaneous answer was: "Democracy." That's what he knew he was fighting for. He wasn't a scholar. He wasn't a historian. He was a red-blooded American. He was fighting for democracy. 22

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:06:29-00:06:58 (29 sec)
Former Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone. We've become known friends. I've known him -- I've come to know him more. Twenty years on the job. A veteran narcotics investigator. At a moment of crisis, he was asked to do undercover work elsewhere, but he answered the crisis call of our nation at the Capitol. And you answered, Michael. You always did. 23

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:06:58-00:07:15 (17 sec)
He was beaten. Beaten. Not pushed around, beaten. And he was tased. Called a traitor, as the mob shouted, if you remember, "Kill him with his own gun." "Kill him with his own gun." 24

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:07:15-00:07:34 (19 sec)
But he defended our democracy with absolute courage. And ever since, he's spoken out forcefully to make sure people are held accountable, because he knows it could happen again. There's no guarantees, except us, all of you. 25

Joe Biden

Positive
00:07:34-00:07:44 (10 sec)
Private First Class Harry Dunn from the United States Capitol Police. Fourteen years on the force. On that day, 26

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:07:44-00:08:01 (16 sec)
he was outside Speaker Pelosi's office. He stood guard protecting fellow officers who were already injured. He was fighting back insurrectionists across the Capitol while being called the vilest racist names. 27

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:08:01-00:08:32 (31 sec)
His own congressman, a true constitutional scholar, Jamie Raskin -- who couldn't be here today as he recovers from cancer treatments, but he called -- he wanted me to say the following, and I wrote it down: "Officer Harry Dunn acted with remarkable courage and valor to defend both our institutions and our people." He went on to say, "Generations to come will think of him and these officers and thank them for their service." End of quote. 28

Joe Biden

Slightly Positive
00:08:32-00:08:59 (27 sec)
Officer [DEL: Carol :DEL] [Caroline] Edwards. Five years on the force, U.S. Capitol Police. On the frontlines of the mob's first surge, as she stood there, she said -- and I'm not -- I hope I'm correctly quoting you. You said, "It looked like a movie." "It looked like a movie." Sometimes in crisis, things look surreal. "It looked like a movie." 29

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:08:59-00:09:09 (10 sec)
Knocked unconscious with -- with traumatic brain injury, she got back up to help hold the line. 30

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:09:09-00:09:24 (15 sec)
The granddaughter of two proud military veterans, she says it was her job to, quote, "protect America's symbol of democracy" -- end of quote: that building. 31

Joe Biden

Neutral
00:09:24-00:09:27 (3 sec)
Sergeant Officer Aqui- -- excuse me. 32

Aquilino Gonell

Unknown
00:09:27-00:09:29 (1 sec)
Aquilino. 33

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:09:29-00:09:46 (17 sec)
[DEL: Aquinino :DEL] [Aquilino]. Thank you, pal. [Laughter] I'm glad you know your name. [Laughter and applause] He can call me President Bid-en from now on if he wants. [Laughter and applause] 34

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:09:46-00:10:07 (22 sec)
A proud immigrant from the Dominican Republic. Sixteen years on the force. Like my son, an Iraqi war veteran with the United States military -- the United States Army -- who described January 6th as something from a medieval battle. 35

Joe Biden

Slightly Negative
00:10:07-00:10:26 (19 sec)
Trying to keep insurrectionists from entering the tunnel entrance on the lower west terrace as he got punched, blinded with a laser, speared with an American flagpole with an American flag on it -- the flag he swore to defend. 36

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:10:26-00:10:36 (10 sec)
He stood tall in the breach with a deep and abiding love demonstrated for his country. 37

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:10:36-00:10:54 (18 sec)
Officer Eugene Goodman, an Army veteran who put himself at risk as a rifle squad leader conducting combat patrols to identify explosives in Baghdad. He came home -- he came home to guard the U.S. Capitol for the last 15 years. 38

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:10:54-00:11:13 (19 sec)
On January 6th, he risked his own safety to distract a charging group of insurrectionists. He said his duty is to serve and protect. And he said, that day, he was just doing part -- he was "protecting." And he did. He protected. 39

Joe Biden

Neutral
00:11:13-00:11:18 (5 sec)
To all of you, I know this honor is bittersweet. 40

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:11:18-00:11:25 (7 sec)
On that day, more than 140 law enforcement officials suffered physical injuries, and untold numbers are suffering 41

Joe Biden

Leans Negative
00:11:25-00:11:36 (12 sec)
from the psychological toll of the day as well. PSD doesn't also -- only occur in the military battlefield. 42

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:11:36-00:11:40 (3 sec)
Others are gone forever. 43

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:11:40-00:12:13 (33 sec)
And I said earlier, if I can hold a minute here -- I said earlier: You know, for those who lost someone on that day, they're proud as the devil that their kin are being honored, but, boy, is it hard. I know how proud I am when my son Beau is honored on the anniversary of his death as a consequence of burn pits in Iraq. But it brings everything back like it happened that moment. 44

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:12:13-00:12:54 (41 sec)
So to all the families here -- all the families here who lost someone, my heart aches for you. And I want to thank you for having the courage to be here today so the rest of America can know what your kin did, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who will be receiving this medal posthumously. A veteran of the New Jersey Air National Guard. Thirteen years on the Capitol Police force as an officer. He lost his life after protecting the citadel of democracy. 45

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:12:54-00:13:15 (21 sec)
We're joined today by his family today, whom my wife, Jill, and I met when we paid our respects in the Capitol Rotunda two years ago. I know you're proud of the honor being bestowed on Brian, but I also know this difficult moment, because it brings back everything as if it happened this very day. 46

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:13:15-00:13:22 (7 sec)
But thank you for being here. And thank you for letting us remember Brian. Thank you. 47

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:13:22-00:13:30 (8 sec)
Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood, who's receiving this medal posthumously. 48

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:13:30-00:13:46 (16 sec)
Howard's dad was a good friend of mine. I served with his dad. His dad was sergeant at arms in the United States Senate and chief of staff for Republican senators. We were genuinely friends. 49

Joe Biden

Leans Negative
00:13:46-00:14:09 (23 sec)
Officer Liebengood patrolled the grounds outside the Senate office building on January 6th. He worked nearly non-stop in the days that followed. And he lost his life after protecting the democratic institutions he'd learned to revere growing up. 50

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:14:09-00:14:14 (5 sec)
His family, his widow Serena, they're here today. 51

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:14:14-00:14:30 (16 sec)
Serena has honored Howard's memory by advocating for, quote, "positive change on mental health issues for his fellow law enforcement officers" and other reforms, help them cope with the crises they encounter. 52

Joe Biden

Slightly Positive
00:14:30-00:14:39 (9 sec)
Metropolitan Police Officer -- Department Officer Jeffrey Smith, who will be receiving this medal posthumously as well. 53

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:14:39-00:14:54 (15 sec)
He was part of the first line of officers who entered when the Capitol was breached. Assaulted many times, the last time with a metal pipe. 54

Joe Biden

Leans Positive
00:14:54-00:15:14 (20 sec)
After his death, his widow, along with -- Erin -- his widow, Erin, along with many others, worked tirelessly to pa- -- to pass, in the Congress, the Public Safety Officers Support Act, which I signed into law last summer. 55

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:15:14-00:15:35 (21 sec)
The law recognizes death by silent injury, like Officer Smith and Officer Liebengood, so future families of public safety officers who die in the wake of traumatic circumstances will get the benefits they deserve. It's long overdue. 56

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:15:35-00:15:48 (14 sec)
Today is a ceremony to honor heroes of January 6th, but we also recognize the late U.S. Capitol Police Officer, Billy Evans. His family is with us today. 57

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:15:48-00:16:32 (43 sec)
Three months after January 6th, while they were still cordoning off the Capitol because threats these -- by these sick insurrectionists continued to be profligated on the Internet, again, all of America saw what happened, what Officer Evans was killed defending a checkpoint you had to go through to get up to the Capitol, because of these God-awful, sick threats that continue to move forth. And the whole world saw it. 58

Joe Biden

Slightly Negative
00:16:32-00:16:40 (9 sec)
It's just hard to believe. It's hard to believe it could happen here in America. 59

Joe Biden

Positive
00:16:40-00:17:09 (29 sec)
When I was a 29-year-old kid, got elected to the Senate, came down here to be sworn in I was -- after I was 30, the idea that if you told me -- [a video of President Biden speaking plays from the audience] -- [laughter] -- that I could hear my own voice -- [laughter and applause] -- I would be amazed. 60

Joe Biden

Leans Positive
00:17:09-00:17:14 (5 sec)
But all kidding aside, think about it. Think about this. 61

Joe Biden

Slightly Positive
00:17:14-00:17:17 (3 sec)
Jill and I also met the family at the Rotunda to pay our respects. 62

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:17:17-00:17:36 (19 sec)
And I was honored to sign into law a bill awarding the Congressional Medal -- Gold Medal to those who protected the Capitol on January 6th and to honor Officers Sicknick, Evans, Liebengood, Smith for their sacrifices. These officers are the best among us. 63

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:17:36-00:17:49 (13 sec)
And we're also honored to be joined by many other members of various law enforcement agencies here today and who were here on that January 6th. We thank all of them as well. 64

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:17:49-00:17:56 (7 sec)
I want to thank you all for your service, your strength, your courage, and, I know it's a corny thing to say, but your patriotism. 65

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:17:56-00:18:02 (7 sec)
Joining these law enforcement officer honorees are five other public servants: 66

Joe Biden

Positive
00:18:02-00:18:23 (20 sec)
Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss -- her gran- -- where are you guys? -- sitting -- there, right in the middle. [Applause] They were election workers from Atlanta, Georgia. 67

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:18:23-00:18:31 (9 sec)
Ruby, who for years has taken time away from running her own business to work on election season to honor voting rights, the heritage of her beloved city. 68

Joe Biden

Leans Positive
00:18:31-00:18:46 (15 sec)
Her daughter Shaye, who learned from her grandmom how older generations of her family fought so hard to even get the right to vote. So Shaye decided to become a full-time election worker to help the elderly, the disabled, the students exercise their fundamental right to vote. 69

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:18:46-00:19:13 (27 sec)
Both of them were just doing their jobs until they were targeted and threatened by the same predators and peddlers of lies that would fuel the insurrection. They were literally forced from their homes, facing despicable racist taunts. 70

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:19:13-00:19:50 (37 sec)
But despite it all, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss found the courage to testify openly and honestly for the -- to the whole country and the world about their experience to set the record straight about the lies and defend the integrity of our elections. 71

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:19:50-00:20:29 (39 sec)
Ruby and Shaye, you don't deserve what happened to you, but you do deserve the nation's eternal thanks for showing the dignity and grace of We the People. Presumptuous of me, but I'm so proud of you both. So proud of you both. 72

Joe Biden

Slightly Negative
00:20:29-00:20:57 (28 sec)
Albert Schmidt, a former Republican city commissioner in Philadelphia, who spent a decade overseeing nonpartisan counting of votes. But like so many other local election workers, in 2020, he was harassed and threatened as he did his job faithfully. 73

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:20:57-00:21:07 (10 sec)
He did not bend, he did not bow, he did not yield to the political threats and pressure. 74

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:21:07-00:21:56 (48 sec)
And he's so trusted by both political parties that the new Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, appointed him as Pennsylvania's Secretary of State -- a Republican -- to ensure that -- the integrity of the elections. [Applause] That's a high compliment. His character and his commitment speak volumes of We the People. 75

Joe Biden

Positive
00:21:56-00:22:41 (45 sec)
That's what we also see in Jocelyn Benson, twice elected Michigan's Secretary of State to protect the sacred right to vote and have that vote counted fairly. That's what she did in 2020 when she oversaw a record number of Michiganders turn out to vote in that election, only to find an armed mob -- an armed mob outside of her home on Christmas Eve when she and her son were decorating their Christmas tree inside. 76

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:22:41-00:22:54 (14 sec)
But she refused to back down. She had done her duty. She had kept her oath. Full of integrity, she is a true leader in our nation. And thank you, thank you, thank you for what you've done. [Applause] I mean it. 77

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:22:54-00:23:01 (6 sec)
And finally, Rusty Bowers, a former Republican Speaker of the House in the state of Arizona. 78

Joe Biden

Slightly Positive
00:23:01-00:23:12 (12 sec)
When I met him today, I said, "I hope I'm not hurting your reputation." [Laughter] Where are you, Rusty? See, he's hiding behind you. He's able to do that, you know. [Laughter] 79

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:23:12-00:23:26 (14 sec)
Rusty, we may not agree on all things, but we agree on what this country is about though. We agree that public service is not without -- is not about what you're willing to do to win, it's about what you're willing to lose over. What you're willing to lose over. 80

Joe Biden

Slightly Negative
00:23:26-00:23:41 (14 sec)
Rusty put his obligation to the Constitution of this country ahead of everything when he refused intense political pressure to decertify the 2020 election results. His courage is probably the reason why he lost his primary last year. 81

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:23:41-00:24:00 (19 sec)
Rusty, you're an example -- is a demonstration to every young man and woman thinking about entering politics about what integrity -- what integrity is all about. And I'm not exaggerating. 82

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:24:00-00:24:06 (6 sec)
Thank you, thank you for your integrity and your honor. [Applause] 83

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:24:06-00:24:19 (13 sec)
So, folks, my fellow Americans, I want you to give one round of applause again for today's recipients of the Presidential Citizens Medal. Patriots who have performed exemplary deeds in the service to this great nation. 84

Joe Biden

Slightly Positive
00:24:19-00:24:34 (15 sec)
And let me close with this. Eighty-two years ago, on this very day in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his State of the Union Address that became known as his famous "Four Freedoms" speech, as he defined America's place in the world. 85

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:24:34-00:25:01 (27 sec)
He reminded the American people of, quote, the "strength from the things which have been done to make its people conscious of their individual stake in the preservation of democratic life in America. Things that have toughened the fiber of our people, renewed their faith, and strengthened their devotion to the institutions we make ready to protect." End of quote. 86

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:25:01-00:25:12 (11 sec)
Eighty years ago, after that speech, on this day two years ago, we were reminded about the most fundamental of things: democracy itself. 87

Joe Biden

Unknown
00:25:12-00:25:25 (13 sec)
As I've said before, we face an inflection point in our nation's history. On January 6th, it's a reminder that there's nothing guaranteed about our democracy. 88

Joe Biden

Somewhat Positive
00:25:25-00:25:35 (10 sec)
Remember learning in undergraduate school, high school that every generation is required to earn it, defend it, protect it? 89

Joe Biden

Positive
00:25:35-00:25:56 (21 sec)
I was a senator for a long time. I was Vice President, then President. I'd have to tell you: I began to think, looking back on it, that it was just permanent, the United States. It just was eternal. Nothing would happen. 90

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:25:56-00:26:13 (17 sec)
That's why I was so pleased to see Democrats and Republicans work together to pass the Electoral Count Reform Act that I just signed into law to protect the will of the people and the pas- -- peaceful transfer of power. 91

Joe Biden

Very Negative
00:26:13-00:26:58 (45 sec)
And defending and protecting our democracy also means that despite our differences of opinion, we must say clearly, with a united voice, that there is no place -- none -- zero, zero place in America for voter intimidation -- zero, never -- and political violence. They are completely contrary to the notion of democracy. 92

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:26:58-00:27:06 (9 sec)
You know, America is a land of laws and not chaos. A nation of peace and not violence. We're not a land of kings and dictators, autocrats and extremists. 93

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:27:06-00:27:15 (9 sec)
As we see in today's honorees, we're nation of "We the People" that toughen our fiber, renew our faith, and strengthen our cause. 94

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:27:15-00:27:56 (41 sec)
Just remember who in God's name we are. We're the United States of America. Not a joke. [Applause] We're the United States of America. And there's nothing -- there is nothing -- there has never been a single thing we've set our mind to that we've failed to accomplish. There's nothing beyond our capacity if we act together and remember who in God's name we are. 95

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:27:56-00:28:08 (12 sec)
So, God bless you all. And may God protect our troops. And may God protect those who stand watch over our democracy. 96

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:28:08-00:28:17 (9 sec)
I now have the opportunity and the great honor to award the medals to these incredible individuals and their representatives. 97

Joe Biden

Somewhat Positive
00:28:17-00:28:22 (5 sec)
Lieutenant Commander Shields, would you come and please read the citations? 98

Military Aide

Positive
00:28:22-00:28:26 (4 sec)
The Presidential Citizens Medal recipients. 99

Military Aide

Unknown
00:28:26-00:28:28 (2 sec)
Jocelyn Benson. [Applause] 100

Military Aide

Very Positive
00:28:28-00:29:32 (64 sec)
Jocelyn Benson was elected twice by the people of Michigan as their Secretary of State, where she continues her steadfast commitment to protect the right to vote and the integrity of our elections in the state of Michigan. In 2020, she administered an election with record turnout and certified the results in the face of unprecedented pressure and threats, including armed protestors outside her home. We the People honor the undaunted and unflinching Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, who continues her exemplary public service to advance free and fair elections in our nation. [Applause] 101

Military Aide

Unknown
00:29:32-00:29:32 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 102

Military Aide

Unknown
00:29:32-00:29:33 (1 sec)
Russell Bowers. [Applause] 103

Military Aide

Very Positive
00:29:33-00:30:42 (70 sec)
An artist, rancher, and fourth-generation Arizonan, Rusty Bowers represented the people of Arizona for almost two decades, rising to become Speaker of the House. In a dire hour of our democracy, he put country before party by refusing attempts to decertify the 2020 election and overturn the will of the people. He endured menacing protests, including at his home, and eventually lost an election because of his courageous actions. We the People honor Rusty Bowers, a public servant guided by a deep faith and unbreakable oath to God, family, and country. [Applause] 104

Military Aide

Unknown
00:30:42-00:30:42 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 105

Military Aide

Unknown
00:30:42-00:30:43 (1 sec)
Harry Dunn. [Applause] 106

Military Aide

Neutral
00:30:43-00:31:42 (59 sec)
A champion college football lineman, Harry Dunn has put his protective instincts to a higher purpose as a U.S. Capitol Police Officer. On January 6th, 2021, he rushed to protect injured fellow officers fighting back insurrectionists. His powerful testimony describing violence and stinging racism laid bare the day's facts for history, and his advocacy on behalf of officers battling lasting trauma is helping to ease the stigma around mental health in our nation. For defending the citadel of our democracy and for seeking truth and healing, We the People honor U.S. Capitol Police Private First Class Harry A. Dunn. [Applause] 107

Military Aide

Unknown
00:31:42-00:31:42 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 108

Military Aide

Unknown
00:31:42-00:31:43 ( sec)
Caroline Edwards. [Applause] 109

Military Aide

Very Positive
00:31:43-00:32:31 (48 sec)
The granddaughter of proud military veterans, Caroline Edwards left a corporate career to follow in their footsteps serving our nation. On January 6th, 2021, she helped stop advancing insurrectionists, even after being knocked unconscious in the mob's first brutal surge. She has also fought for colleagues as a police union board member and peer counselor, and her congressional testimony will help ensure their valor is never forgotten. For her courageous defense of our democracy and service to fellow officers, We the People honor U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards. [Applause] 110

Military Aide

Unknown
00:32:31-00:32:31 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 111

Military Aide

Unknown
00:32:31-00:32:32 (1 sec)
Michael Fanone. [Applause] 112

Military Aide

Very Positive
00:32:32-00:33:26 (55 sec)
The grandson of a police officer, Michael Fanone was born to protect and serve. A decorated narcotics investigator, he took an off-duty call to the Capitol on January 6th, 2021, helping to drive insurrectionists away from a key tunnel and facing vicious attack. He immediately became one of the day's most outspoken truth-seekers. For his absolute courage in protecting the Capitol and our democracy and his tenacious search for accountability, We the People honor former Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone. [Applause] 113

Military Aide

Unknown
00:33:26-00:33:26 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 114

Military Aide

Positive
00:33:26-00:33:26 ( sec)
Ruby Freeman. [Applause] 115

Military Aide

Very Positive
00:33:26-00:33:50 (23 sec)
Inspired by the voting rights legacy of her beloved Atlanta, Lady Ruby Freeman viewed her civic duty as a Fulton County election worker as a sacred mission to ensure the people of Georgia could exercise their fundamental right to vote freely and fairly. In the 2020 election, she upheld that sacred mission despite an orchestrated campaign to overturn the election and that targeted and threatened her and her family. To the nation, she bore witness of the trauma and tragedy of that experience, and, today, We the People honor Lady Ruby Freeman as part of our nation's voting rights history. [Applause] 116

Military Aide

Unknown
00:33:50-00:33:50 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 117

Military Aide

Unknown
00:33:50-00:33:50 (1 sec)
Aquilino Gonell. [Applause] 118

Military Aide

Very Positive
00:33:50-00:34:46 (56 sec)
As a child, Aquilino Gonell immigrated to America from the Dominican Republic. He became the first in his family to graduate college, serving in the U.S. Army and then in the U.S. Capitol Police. On January 6th, 2021, he courageously stood firm at the doors of the Capitol as insurrectionists stormed the entrance, sustaining serious injuries as he protected members of Congress and defended our democracy. He later testified publicly to ensure our nation and history never forget. For patriotism that puts love of country before self, We the People honor U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino A. Gonell. [Applause] 119

Military Aide

Unknown
00:34:46-00:34:46 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 120

Military Aide

Unknown
00:34:46-00:34:47 (1 sec)
Eugene Goodman. [Applause] 121

Military Aide

Very Positive
00:34:47-00:35:46 (59 sec)
An Army combat veteran and a U.S. Capitol Police Officer, Eugene Goodman embodies fearless public service. In the breach on January 6th, 2021, he made himself a target to divert insurrectionists away from the Senate chamber, enabling the former Vice President, lawmakers, and staff to escape safely. In the face of a clear and present danger, he did his duty and he did not flinch. For his valor and for ensuring the constitutional order, We the People honor U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman. [Applause] 122

Military Aide

Unknown
00:35:46-00:35:46 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 123

Military Aide

Unknown
00:35:46-00:35:47 (1 sec)
Daniel Hodges. [Applause] 124

Military Aide

Very Positive
00:35:47-00:36:27 (40 sec)
A Virginia National Guardsman and Metropolitan Police Department Officer, Daniel Hodges has dedicated his life to serving his community and our nation. On January 6th, 2021, he fought to push surging insurrectionists away from a key tunnel into the Capitol, returning to the line even after being brutally crushed and beaten. His courageous testimony will help ensure that we never forget or let such an attack happen again. For his heroism and unwavering commitment to the truth, We the People honor Metropolitan Police Department Officer Daniel Hodges. [Applause] 125

Military Aide

Unknown
00:36:27-00:36:27 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 126

Military Aide

Somewhat Positive
00:36:27-00:36:30 (2 sec)
Dr. Serena Liebengood, accepting on behalf of Howard Liebengood. [Applause] 127

Military Aide

Very Positive
00:36:30-00:37:34 (64 sec)
The proud son of a U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms, Howard Liebengood left a career as a champion racecar driver to follow in his late father's footsteps protecting the democratic institutions they both revered. He died after battling insurrectionists at the Capitol and staying on to restore security in the crucial days after January 6th. His painful loss helped change the law to better honor the unimaginable sacrifice that too many officers and their families face. For his deep dedication and selfless service, We the People honor U.S. Capitol Police Officer Howard C. Liebengood. [Applause] 128

Military Aide

Unknown
00:37:34-00:37:34 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 129

Military Aide

Unknown
00:37:34-00:37:37 (3 sec)
Wandrea' ArShaye Moss. [Applause] 130

Military Aide

Leans Negative
00:37:37-00:38:18 (42 sec)
Inspired by the stories her mother told her about the movement for voting rights in America, Shaye Moss pursued a career as an election worker in Fulton County, Georgia. Because of her dedicated service, she faced death threats, harassment, and intimidation by those seeking to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election. She would later testify to the nation about her pain and resolve. Today, We the People honor Shaye Moss for helping to ensure the American people have a voice in the destiny of our nation. [Applause] 131

Military Aide

Unknown
00:38:18-00:38:18 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 132

Military Aide

Unknown
00:38:18-00:38:19 (1 sec)
Albert Schmidt. [Applause] 133

Military Aide

Very Positive
00:38:19-00:39:36 (77 sec)
A former federal civil servant and the City Commissioner of Philadelphia, Albert Schmidt has spent his career on the unsung yet necessary task of making democracy work for the people. In the 2020 election, despite intense political pressure, he did what he had always done: ensured the integrity of the election, and faithfully oversaw the nonpartisan counting of the ballots. We the People honor Albert Schmidt for his clarity of purpose to protect every American's sacred right to vote and to have that vote counted. [Applause] 134

Military Aide

Unknown
00:39:36-00:39:36 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 135

Military Aide

Somewhat Positive
00:39:36-00:39:51 (15 sec)
Charles and Gladys Sicknick, accepting on behalf of Brian D. Sicknick. [Applause] 136

Military Aide

Very Positive
00:39:51-00:40:27 (36 sec)
A New Jersey Air National Guardsman who served two tours overseas, Brian Sicknick was a U.S. Capitol Police Officer devoted to serving our nation. For over a decade, he guarded the Capitol, including on January 6th, 2021. He lost his life protecting our elected representatives, upholding the will of the American people, and defending our Constitution. His heroism, courage, and character set an example for generations of Americans to come and will never be forgotten. For his service and his ultimate sacrifice, We the People honor U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick. [Applause] 137

Military Aide

Unknown
00:40:27-00:40:27 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 138

Military Aide

Very Positive
00:40:27-00:40:54 (27 sec)
Erin Smith, accepting on behalf of Jeffrey L. Smith. [Applause] 139

Military Aide

Positive
00:40:54-00:41:47 (53 sec)
A 12-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department, Officer Jeffrey Smith dedicated his life to public service. On January 6th, 2021, as he fought the violent mob, Officer Smith sustained devastating head injuries from multiple assaults inside and outside the Capitol. He died after protecting Congress, guarding the Capitol, and preserving our democracy. His passing sparked changes in the law that honor the silent injuries of our fallen officers. For his extraordinary heroism, pure courage, and unwavering devotion to the nation, We the People honor Metropolitan Police Department Officer Jeffrey L. Smith. [Applause] 140

Military Aide

Unknown
00:41:47-00:41:47 ( sec)
[The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented] 141

Joe Biden

Slightly Positive
00:41:47-00:42:51 (64 sec)
Well, as I said at the outset, this is warranted -- in some sense, it's overdue -- but also incredibly difficult for the families and particularly the families of those who lost a hero defending our democracy. And -- but I tell you, people who will go through, unfortunately, similar losses are going to look at you all and say, "That's the grace and dignity that I want to display." 142

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:42:51-00:43:04 (13 sec)
So, really, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 143

Joe Biden

Very Positive
00:43:04-00:43:27 (24 sec)
I want to thank you again for your service and sacrifice. And may God bless your families. May God protect our troops. Thank you all very much. [Applause] 144