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Trump awards Medal of Freedom to automotive mogul Roger Penske


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Trump awards Medal of Freedom to automotive mogul Roger Penske

President Trump on Thursday awarded the Medal of Freedom to auto racing mogul Roger Penske, the fourth sports activities legend he’s bestowed the respect to since late August.

Mr. Penske, a former race automobile driver, obtained the nation’s highest civilian honor after turning IndyCar fame into an automotive enterprise empire. He’s additionally championed Detroit’s financial revival.

“This guy keeps winning,” Mr. Trump mentioned in an Oval Office ceremony attended by Vice President Mike Pence and the Penske household, together with Mr. Penske’s spouse of 46 years, Kathy.

Mr. Trump has favored these one-on-one medal ceremonies of late, as a substitute of the galas that President Obama and others held to distribute awards en masse.

It’s maybe one of the explanations Mr. Trump has handed out solely 14 of the medals throughout his three years in workplace, in contrast to the whopping 115 President Obama handed out in his two phrases.



Mr. Trump additionally received a late begin, failing to award a Medal of Freedom till 20 months into his presidency. He appears to be making up for misplaced time amid a storm of impeachment hearings and different scandals du jour, honoring a pair of NBA legends, New York Yankees nice Mariano Rivera, and former Attorney General Edwin Meese in current weeks.

But Mr. Trump would have to maintain a busy schedule of award ceremonies to match the tally of different current presidents.

Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton every handed out greater than 80 medals throughout their eight years in workplace, placing them according to Ronald Reagan’s 86 over two phrases.

Mr. Trump, nevertheless, is behind the tempo of one-term presidents equivalent to George H.W. Bush (37 medals) and Jimmy Carter (34).

The White House hasn’t mentioned whether or not Mr. Trump needs to meet up with his predecessors.

The president has huge discretion in choosing recipients of the medal, established by President John. F. Kennedy in 1963 to acknowledge those that make “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere mentioned the Office of the Staff Secretary coordinates choices round presidential medals, like in previous administrations.

“In addition to receiving recommendations from the public and applicable presidential advisory bodies, the staff secretary has solicited nominees from the Cabinet and White House senior staff. These nominees are then vetted for presentation to the president,” he mentioned.

Mr. Penske, 82, has made his mark in a number of industries. He was a well-known racer within the 1950s and 1960s earlier than working IndyCar groups and launching the Penske Corporation, a retail automotive, trucking, racing and manufacturing firm.

Mr. Trump marveled at his sprawling profession, saying he associates Mr. Penske together with his IndyCar administration and enterprise profession.

“You know I didn’t know you were that great of a driver,” Mr. Trump informed Mr. Penske. “What do I know?”

Mr. Trump has an affinity for present and former athletes — he’s doled out greater than half of his medals to those that scurried round a discipline, court docket or a racetrack.

Mr. Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom to a dozen athletes throughout his two phrases, plus 12 politicians and 13 musicians, together with Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. He additionally honored “Hollywood types,” together with Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and Robert de Niro.

Political activists made up Mr. Obama’s greatest class — percentage-wise — with 16 recipients.

Unsurprisingly, presidents have a tendency to favor their political kin for the respect.

Mr. Obama awarded his final medal to his vice chairman, Joseph R. Biden, whereas Mr. Trump has honored conservative stalwarts equivalent to former Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, GOP super-donor Miriam Adelson, former Attorney General Edwin Meese — who served underneath President Ronald Reagan — and the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Mr. Penske, who mentioned it was exhausting to consider he was standing within the Oval Office, thanked the individuals who helped him alongside the way in which.

“If they hadn’t done their work I wouldn’t be here today,” he mentioned.

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