Donald Trump’s election two years ago was a stunning development for countless reasons, but I remember thinking to myself a few days after Election Day 2016 that his Medal of Freedom recipients were bound to be notable.
After all, who would this president deem worthy of the nation’s highest civilian honor? My imagination conjured images of Trump in the White House, placing the medal around the necks of Ted Nugent, Alex Jones, and Roseanne Barr.
I’m not sure whether reality is better or worse than what I imagined.
President Donald Trump is set to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor – to the wife of one of the Republican Party’s most prominent patrons, the White House announced Saturday.
Miriam Adelson will receive the medal along with six other “distinguished individuals” at a ceremony on Friday, the White House said. She is married to billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate and GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, who joined Trump for a watch party at the White House residence on Tuesday evening to monitor the incoming returns from the 2018 midterm elections.
As Politico’s report added, the other 2018 honorees include Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), former football player and retired Minnesota Supreme Court justice Alan Page, Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, and, posthumously, singer Elvis Presley, baseball great Babe Ruth, and former Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.
But it’s Adelson whose name stands out.
Remember, it was the Adelsons who contributed more than $113 million to Republican causes in just this election cycle. In the last election cycle, no one, other than the president himself, donated more money to Donald Trump’s campaign than Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.
Sure, it’s possible that White House officials were so impressed with Miriam Adelson’s philanthropic work that they felt compelled to honor her with a Medal of Freedom, but under the circumstances, they also must’ve realized that a move like this, especially in light of Trump’s other corruption allegations, would raise some questions about propriety.
The president did it anyway.
The Washington Post added in an analysis yesterday that Adelson’s medal “reflects a growing pattern: one of Trump awarding a large majority of such medals and even pardons to supporters, to Republicans, and to recipients who fit his political agenda.”
The news also comes exactly one month after we learned of Trump’s alleged efforts to lobby Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on behalf of Adelson’s business interests.
During the Republican presidential primaries three years ago, Sheldon Adelson reportedly favored Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for the GOP nomination, which annoyed Trump. The New York Republican tweeted at the time, “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!”
Who looks like the perfect little puppet now?