Trump awards Jon Voight, others National Medal of Arts

Trump awards Jon Voight, others National Medal of Arts
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's op-ed Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover up,' 'national disgrace' MORE awarded the National Medal of Arts to Jon Voight, an Oscar-winning actor and outspoken supporter of the president, along with several others during a ceremony at the White House on Thursday.

Also among those honored were country-bluegrass musician Alison Krauss, philanthropist Sharon Percy Rockefeller and the musicians of the U.S. military. The event marked the first time Trump has awarded the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal since he took office in January 2017.

“Each of today’s recipients has made outstanding contributions to American society, culture and life. They exemplify the genius, talent and creativity of our exceptional nation,” Trump said in remarks from the East Room of the White House, where he was joined by first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump beefs up impeachment defense with Dershowitz, Starr Trump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE and several members of his Cabinet.

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Trump on Thursday also awarded the National Humanities Medal to author James Patterson; the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank; University of Texas educator Teresa Lozano Long; and chef Patrick O’Connell, founder of local restaurant The Inn at Little Washington.

Trump singled out each of the recipients for their achievements, beginning his remarks describing Voight as an “actor and friend” and “one of America’s greatest living legends in cinema.”

Trump cheered Voight’s performances in movies like “Midnight Cowboy,” “Mission Impossible,” and “The Champ” — which he called one of the best boxing movies in history.

“Everyone was crying at that movie. I tried not to, Jon. It wasn’t easy,” Trump said. “We love having you here, especially because it’s someone that I happen to really like.”

Voight is one of a handful of vocal supporters of Trump in Hollywood, releasing a video message earlier this year describing Trump as “the greatest president of this century.”

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Trump described Patterson as “another friend” and joked about his book sales being among the highest of all time.

“You’ve sold a lot more books than me,” Trump said. “The Bible has you by a little bit.”

Before Trump made remarks about Krauss, bluegrass music began playing in the East Room. The president thanked Krauss, who has received 27 Grammy awards throughout her career, “for sharing your wonderful gift with the world.”

Trump also noted the size and reach of the musicians of the U.S. military honored on Thursday, saying it the honorees including 6,656 members who form 136 bands across the world.

Trump noted the bands play more than 35,000 times each year, including in war zones, at military funerals and other places.

“They’re not just magnificent performers,” Trump said. “They’re also courageous warriors.”

Vice President Pence, Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinSecurity for Trump's Mar-a-Lago visits cost local taxpayers million On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Senate approves Trump trade deal with Canada, Mexico | Senate Dems launch probe into Trump tax law regulations | Trump announces Fed nominees Senate Democrats launch investigation into Trump tax law regulations MORE, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosMueller investigation witness pleads guilty to child sex crime charges Proposed changes to Title IX will not solve the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses US officials say Erik Prince may have violated Venezuela sanctions: report MORE and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley were among those present for the ceremony Thursday afternoon.

Trump recognized each of them at the outset of his remarks, in particular praising Milley for his role in organizing the U.S. military raid that led to the death of ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last month.