“The guy is tough,” he said. “I know how proud I am on the anniversary of my son Beau’s death as a result of fire pits in Iraq. But it brings everything back to how it happened at the time.
“I want to thank you for having the courage to be here today,” he added.
Apart from the police officers, Mr. Biden presented medals to five local officials who each refused to do the bidding of those who insisted the election was rigged.
Two of them — Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shay Moss — received awards for their work as poll workers in Atlanta, where they were abused by Trump supporters who falsely accused them of election fraud.
“Both were doing their jobs and they were targeted and threatened by the same peddlers of seditious lies,” said Mr. Biden said. “They were literally forced from their homes and faced hateful racist slurs.”
Mr. Al Schmidt is also a city commissioner on the Philadelphia County Board of Elections in 2020. Biden praised, noting that he “didn’t bend, he didn’t bow, he didn’t give in to political threats and pressure.” He praised Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Arizona Republican Speaker Rusty Bowers during the 2020 election. All three resisted pressure from those seeking to reverse the results in 2020.
Mr. Biden called Ms. Benson “a true leader of our nation” and Mr. Bowers said he was showing people “what integrity is.”
A year ago, with the events of January 6 in recent memory, Mr. Biden expressed greater concern for the country’s future, saying, “As we stand here today — one year since January 6, 2021 — the lies that fueled the anger and madness we’ve seen in this place have not abated.
But on Friday, he returned to the conviction that often characterizes his speeches.
“We are not a nation of kings and dictators, autocrats and extremists,” he said. “As we see in today’s honorees, we are a nation and we are a people who will harden our fibers, renew our faith and strengthen our purpose. When we work together, nothing is beyond our ability.