November 11, 2018
Elvis Presley to Be Honored With Presidential Medal of Freedom
President Donald Trump has selected the late Elvis Presley as one of this year’s recipients for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House announced Saturday (Nov. 10).
“Elvis Presley defined American culture to billions of adoring fans around the world,” a statement from the White House read. “Elvis fused gospel, country and rhythm and blues to create a sound all his own, selling more than a billion records. Elvis also served nearly two years in the United States Army, humbly accepting the call to serve despite his fame. He later starred in 31 films, drew record-breaking audiences to his shows, sent television ratings soaring and earned 14 Grammy Award nominations. He ultimately won three Grammy Awards for his gospel music. Elvis Presley remains an enduring American icon four decades after his death.”
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is recognized as the nation’s highest civilian honor, awarded to those whom the President believes made a “meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Apart from Presley, other recipients include: famed baseball player Babe Ruth, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, hall-of-fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan C. Page, Senator Orrin G. Hatch and committed doctor and humanitarian Miriam Adelson.
Trump will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Friday (Nov. 16). This will mark Trump’s first time bestowing a Medal of Freedom.
During Obama’s presidency, the former president awarded Medals of Freedom to stars such as Ellen DeGeneres, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Stevie Wonder, Tom Hanks, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Cicely Tyson, Gloria Estefan, Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand.
The news arrived on the same day the president received backlash for threatening to withhold federal funding to California, after placing blame on “poor” forest management to sparking the growing wildfires that have destroyed 70,000 acres and have caused evacuations throughout Northern and Southern California.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.