President Donald Trump signed a bill on July 29 that authorizes the extension of a compensation fund for the first responders who risked their lives during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Trump arrived at the Rose Garden in the morning and delivered remarks on the bipartisan bill. Last week the Senate passed the long-awaited legislation dubbed the “Never Forget the Heroes Act” in a 97-2 vote to be sent to the president’s desk.
“Today, we come together as one nation to support our September 11 heroes, to care for their families, and to renew our eternal vow—never ever forget,” he said before signing the bill.
Trump took a moment from his speech to respond to the incident at the California Garlic Festival where three people were shot and killed. The president called the perpetrator a “wicked murderer,” adding, “We grieve for their families … we’re praying for those who are recovering right now in the hospital.”
“We will continue to work together as communities … to stop evil,” Trump added.
A White House official noted that every member of Congress had been invited to attend the signing. No Democrat lawmakers turned up.
In the midst of his remarks, Trump introduced his personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was New York City’s mayor during the 9/11 attacks. The president said Giuliani was “our greatest mayor, in my opinion,” calling on him to stand up.
Trump told the many first responders who were at the event that they “inspire all of humanity.”
“You lift up our communities and you remind us what it means to all stand united, one nation under God,” he said. “Today we strive to fulfill our sacred duty to you.”
According to the White House, the legislation authorizes federal funding until 2092. It would cover an estimated 18,100 victims, government estimates said.
Many of the first responders were exposed to toxic chemicals during the attack in which two jets were flown by radical Islamic terrorists into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The fund would compensate victims and their relatives.
“The whole world witnessed the might and resilience of our nation and the extraordinary men and women of the New York fire department and the New York police department,” Trump said. “Selfless patriots with unmatched character and devotion—I grew up with them, so I can tell you that’s absolutely true.”
After Trump closed his remarks at about 10:20 a.m. and sat down to sign the bill, he invited attendees to join him. He received a standing ovation from those who sat and a round of applause.
For roughly 10 minutes, the president shook hands with and took photos with attendees after he concluded his speech. Other notable attendees at the event included Vice President Mike Pence, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, and a number of Republican senators.
At one point, Trump brought up late New York City Detective Luis Alvarez, a 9/11 responder who was a major advocate of the bill. Last month, Alvarez testified before Congress, which Trump said “touched the heart of our nation.” Alvarez passed away just days after his testimony due to cancer linked to the attacks.
Trump said he was privileged to have Alvarez’s brother, Philip, his wife, Alaine, and their sons, Tyler and Ben, in attendance.
“Our whole nation prays and pays tribute to the incredible life and legacy of Detective Alvarez—how hard he worked and how much he suffered,” Trump said. “And we really want to thank him.”
From The Epoch Times