U.S. President Donald Trump has announced his first recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and they include Miriam Adelson, the wife of major Republican Party donor Sheldon Adelson, Elvis Presley and Babe Ruth.
Trump will also posthumously recognize the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Medals are going to Miriam Adelson, a doctor and wife of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a Republican Party donor; Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is retiring after more than 41 years in the U.S. Senate; former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and Alan Page, who began a legal career after leaving the NFL.
"Miriam Adelson is a committed doctor, philanthropist, and humanitarian," the White House said in a statement naming the medal recipients. "She has practiced internal and emergency medicine, studied and specialized in the disease of narcotic addiction, and founded two research centers committed to fighting substance abuse. With her husband, Sheldon, she also established the Adelson Medical Research Foundation, which supports research to prevent, reduce, or eliminate disabling and life-threatening illness. As a committed member of the American Jewish community, she has supported Jewish schools, Holocaust memorial organizations, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, and Birthright Israel, among other causes."
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest honor for a civilian. The awards will be bestowed by Trump on November 16.
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The Adelsons, staunch supporters of President Donald Trump, are also backers of Netanyahu and owners of Israel Hayom newspaper in Israel.
In September, the Jewish Adelson couple pumped $32 million into the GOP, according to a report in Politico, which called the couple “a primary source of strength” for the Republicans. Politico estimated that thus far, the Adelsons have given at least $88 million to Republican candidates and super PACS, which, unlike official individual candidate war chests, have no limits on contributions or spending.
The Guardian reported that Sheldon and Miriam Adelson donated a total $113 million in the 2018 midterm elections.
The Medal of Freedom was first awarded during the presidency of John F. Kennedy, though the ceremony was held after his assassination in November 1963. American presidents have since then used the award for various purposes: At times to make a symbolic point on policy, in other cases to reward political allies, and sometimes to express their personal appreciation.