President Donald Trump on Monday rewarded one of his staunch allies, California Rep. Devin Nunes, with the Medal of Freedom, in a ceremony held at the White House in-camera, according to a press release by White House Press Secretary Judd Deere, NPR reports.
Nunes was one of Trump’s closest allies who defended the president while his impeachment saga raged on. Nunes, one of the top Republicans seated on the House Intelligence Committee, teamed up with other allies of the president to sweeping the Justice Department’s Russia investigation under the carpet.
The award is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian in the United States. An earlier statement had announced that Nunes would be part of several others set to clinch the award. In the statement, Nunes was praised for his unflinching support of the president. The White House said Nunes exposed a plan to take down Trump – a sitting president who was falsely accused.
The statement noted that Nunes is a public servant of great integrity and resolve who took on detractors of the president, including the Democratic Party, the media, the intelligence community, among others, without fear.
According to reports making the rounds in the media, next among the expected Medal of Freedom honorees just before President Trump leaves office is Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who also played a critical role in standing up for Trump during the president’s impeachment, CNN writes.
The Medal of Freedom award ceremony has always attracted guests and friends of the awardees. The ceremony has also always gotten press coverage. However, the award ceremony for Nunes was carried out without press coverage. The ceremony was not announced as part of Trump’s itinerary for that day.
Among the other likely candidates for a Medal of Freedom award is Bobby Bowden, former coach of the Florida State University football team, who is now retired. According to White House sources, the president has received a flurry of names from close allies who want their names or that of people they favor on the list of individuals to receive the Medal of Freedom.
Over the years, Trump has used the nation’s highest civilian honor to reward associates and allies who have stayed loyal to him. And with just two weeks remaining for him to leave office, the president is on another award spree set to benefit his close friends.
Many groups have come out to criticize the award bestowed on Nunes. The Government Accountability Project, an advocacy group, chided Nunes for blowing the cover of whistleblowers who would have testified against the president. They described awarding a personality like Nunes with the Medal of Freedom award as dishonorable.
Trump has awarded many controversial figures with the Medal of Freedom award, and the next few days will see a likely scenario take place.