Biden Will Award Medal of Freedom to Simone Biles, John McCain and Others

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The medal, the nation’s highest civilian award, volition spell to barrier-breaking figures arsenic good arsenic salient governmental veterans.

Simone Biles is the astir   decorated American gymnast successful  past  with 32 Olympic and World Championship medals.
Credit...Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Peter Baker

July 1, 2022, 3:25 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — President Biden announced connected Friday that helium volition contiguous the Presidential Medal of Freedom adjacent week to 17 leaders from the worlds of politics, civilian rights, sports, business, acquisition and entertainment, including the Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, the histrion Denzel Washington and the archetypal American to person a Covid-19 vaccine.

The recipients, the archetypal of his presidency, see a assortment of barrier-breaking figures acquainted to galore Americans arsenic good arsenic salient governmental veterans Mr. Biden has known implicit the years. The database includes 3 posthumous grant recipients: Steve Jobs, the pioneering co-founder of Apple; John McCain, the longtime Republican legislator and two-time statesmanlike candidate; and Richard Trumka, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. president and Democratic powerfulness broker.

“These 17 Americans show the powerfulness of possibilities and embody the psyche of the federation — hard work, perseverance and faith,” a White House connection said. “They person flooded important obstacles to execute awesome accomplishments successful the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the astir susceptible among america and acted with bravery to thrust alteration successful their communities — and crossed the satellite — portion blazing trails for generations to come.”

The president volition grant the recipients astatine the White House connected Thursday. The medal is the nation’s highest civilian award, archetypal established successful its existent signifier by President John F. Kennedy and meant to grant “any idiosyncratic who has made an particularly meritorious contribution” to nationalist security, satellite bid oregon “cultural oregon different important nationalist oregon backstage endeavors,” arsenic the archetypal enforcement bid enactment it.

Over the years, presidents person typically utilized it to grant governmental allies, celebrities and Americans with stories that marque a peculiar constituent that could beryllium adjuvant to a White House astatine the moment. At times, presidents person utilized specified medals to scope crossed the aisle, arsenic Mr. Biden is attempting by honoring Mr. McCain, his longtime workfellow and person from their Senate days.

The narration betwixt the 2 was strained successful 2008 erstwhile they were some connected their respective enactment tickets, Mr. McCain arsenic the Republican statesmanlike nominee and Mr. Biden arsenic the Democratic vice-presidential nominee. Mr. Biden attacked Mr. McCain astatine the clip arsenic an “angry man” who was taking “the debased roadworthy to the highest bureau successful the land.” But the 2 aboriginal made up, and Mr. Biden comforted Mr. McCain’s household erstwhile the Republican legislator died of encephalon crab successful 2018.

Mr. Biden’s database includes different salient erstwhile Republican senator, Alan Simpson of Wyoming, a fashionable wisecracking mean who worked crossed the aisle adjacent arsenic helium zinged politicians and journalists with his crisp wit. Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona who was grievously injured during a wide shooting and became a starring dependable for weapon control, volition besides beryllium honored.

The president singled retired respective well-known civilian rights leaders, including Diane Nash, a laminitis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and adjacent state of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Fred Gray, a lawyer for Dr. King, Rosa Parks and others and aboriginal 1 of the archetypal Black members of the Alabama Legislature since Reconstruction; and Raúl Yzaguirre, who led the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy organization, for 30 years.

In summation to Ms. Biles, the most decorated American gymnast successful history with 32 Olympic and World Championship medals, a medal volition spell to Megan Rapinoe, different Olympian and a two-time Women’s World Cup champion. Ms. Biles has go a vocal advocator for intelligence health, foster children and victims of intersexual battle portion Ms. Rapinoe has spoken retired for sex wage equality, radical justness and cheery rights.

Mr. Biden singled retired others who overcame obstacles, similar Brig. Gen. Wilma L. Vaught, 1 of the fewer aboriginal women to service arsenic a wide successful the American military; and Julieta Garcia, the erstwhile president of the University of Texas astatine Brownsville and the archetypal Hispanic pistillate to pb an American college. He volition grant Sandra Lindsay, a New York captious attraction caregiver who was the archetypal American vaccinated for the coronavirus extracurricular of objective trials.

Other recipients see Sister Simone Campbell, a starring Catholic societal justness advocate; the Rev. Alexander Karloutsos, erstwhile vicar wide of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, who has counseled aggregate presidents; and Khizr Khan, the Gold Star begetter of a worker killed successful Iraq whose criticism of Donald J. Trump during the 2016 statesmanlike run made him a leader of Democrats.

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