President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the “vast, vast majority” of FBI agents and other military and civilian law enforcement are “decent, honorable people.”
In comments from the Oval Office, Biden expressed his condolences to the families of two FBI agents who were killed Tuesday in Florida while trying to serve a warrant in connection with a violent crimes against children case.
“I was briefed on this tragedy earlier today, and I know the FBI is gathering information about how this happened, what happened. But I — I can only imagine how these families are feeling today,” Biden said from behind his desk.
“You know, one of the things, when you are in a combat zone of the military or you’re a FBI agent, or military or a police officer, every family just — when they put that shield on and go out in the morning — dreads the possibility of a call — receiving that phone call. And my heart aches for the families. I’ve not had an opportunity, nor will I try today, to contact them,” he said.
“But they put their lives on the line, and it’s a hell of a price to pay. And every single day, every single one of these folks get up and they — by and large, the vast, vast majority of these men and women are decent, honorable people who put themselves on the line, and we owe them,” he said.
President Biden comments on FBI agents killed in Florida: "I can only imagine how these families are feeling today."
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 2, 2021
Asked to clarify the president’s comments, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said simply: “That’s exactly what the president meant.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray identified the two special agents slain in a 6 a.m. shootout as Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger. Two other agents were injured, and the suspect also died. Tuesday marked deadliest day for the FBI since 9/11.
Also on Tuesday, Biden paid their respects at the Capitol to slain* U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who is laying in honor in the building he died defending.
Biden “traveled to the Capitol to pay tribute to Sicknick shortly after the viewing began Tuesday night, briefly placing his hand on the urn in the center of the Capitol Rotunda, saying a prayer and sadly shaking his head as he observed a memorial wreath nearby,” The Associated Press reported. “He was accompanied by first lady Jill Biden. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and a handful of other congressional leaders also paid their respects.”
Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, paid their respects on Wednesday morning, placing their hands over their hearts and also touching the urn.
“There are still questions about his death, which was one of five as a result of the rioting. As the mob forced its way in, Sicknick was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, two law enforcement officials said. He collapsed later on, was hospitalized and died,” the AP said. “Investigators are also examining whether he may have ingested a chemical substance during the riot that may have contributed to his death,” the wire service reported, citing “officials [who] could not discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.”
*UPDATE (4/20/21): The Washington D.C. Medical Examiner has determined that Officer Brian Sicknick died of natural causes after suffering two strokes. The chief medical examiner says “all that transpired” on January 6 played “a role in his condition.” Read more here: D.C. Medical Examiner: Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick Suffered Two Strokes, Died Of Natural Causes
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