President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE said Thursday that he will award auto racing stalwart and longtime friend Roger Penske with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Trump shared the news during an Oval Office meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauCanada's Justin Trudeau isolating after COVID-19 exposure Dozens of possible burial sites found near former Indigenous school in Canada Canadian truck drivers protest COVID vaccine mandate MORE.
“He’s very deserving,” Trump said of Penske. “He’s a great gentleman. I’ve known him a long time.”
Penske is a former race car driver who gained prominence as the owner of Team Penske in Indy Car racing and NASCAR. His drivers have combined to win 18 Indianapolis 500 races and two Daytona 500 races.
Penske attended two White House events in recent months honoring his drivers. Penske joined Nascar Cup Series champion Joey Logano in April, and earlier this month returned to the White House with this year's Indianapolis 500 winner, Simon Pagenaud.
"He won many things over the course of years and he’s become a very successful man," Trump said.
Trump: "We're going to be presenting the presidential medal of freedom to Roger Penske... That'll be announced over the next little while, but I guess actually I'm announcing it pretty much now." https://t.co/nENcgRH8Xo— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 20, 2019
The president said a formal announcement would be issued soon.
The Medal of Freedom is awarded by the president to citizens who make an “especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, or world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
The president on Wednesday bestowed the honor on economist Arthur Laffer, and previously announced he would be giving the recognition to NBA legend Jerry West.
Trump has previously given the Presidential Medal of Freedom to golfer Tiger Woods, Elvis Presley, former Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMeet Washington's most ineffective senator: Joe Manchin Lobbying world Congress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage MORE (R-Utah) and Babe Ruth, among others.