President Trump Awards Purple Heart US Army Sergeant Wounded in Afghanistan

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a signing ceremony with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the Treasury Department in Washington

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a signing ceremony with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the Treasury Department in Washington

He was joined by his wife, first lady Melania Trump.

"When I heard about this and I wanted to do it myself", Trump told Barrientos during the brief ceremony at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

President Donald Trump plans to visit wounded service members at a military hospital outside Washington.

He awarded the medal to Sgt. 1st Class Alvaro Barrientos, who was wounded in Afghanistan on 17 March.

Trump was driven to Maryland instead of flying in the Marine One helicopter because of annual public tours of the White House south grounds and gardens that were taking place Saturday.

"Congratulations, on behalf of Melania and myself and the entire nation. This was much easier".

Barrientos entered the atrium designated for the meeting in a wheelchair, accompanied by his wife, whom Trump kissed on the cheek before pinning the medal on the sergeant's left shirt collar.

Trump, who is also commander of the USA military, kissed Barrientos' wife before pinning the medal on the sergeant's left shirt collar. The Purple Heart recognizes service members who are wounded in combat.

In the tweet, Trump said, "Looking forward to seeing our bravest and greatest Americans!"

Trump allowed news media to cover the event on Saturday, in contrast to his predecessor, who awarded Purple Heart medals behind closed doors when he went to Walter Reed.

He also issued a statement on Saturday marking Earth Day. Some held signs that said "Support Science" and "Science Saves Lives".