President Trump gave Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor in the U.S. for a civilian, on Monday.

The California Republican, a staunch ally and defender of Trump throughout his presidency, received the award at a ceremony closed to the press, according to the White House.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), another supporter of the president in the House, is expected to receive the Medal of Freedom next week. 

The Washington Post was the first to report that Nunes and Jordan were expected to receive the medals in the closing days of Trump’s presidency.

The award is intended to acknowledge “exceptional contributions” to national security, world peace or cultural and other “significant” endeavors. Previous presidents have given the Medal of Freedom to members of Congress but usually at the end of their public service career or for something unrelated to their congressional service, The New York Times noted

Both Nunes and Jordan defended Trump during the Justice Department’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and during the House’s impeachment inquiry in 2019 — probes that Trump labeled as “witch hunts.”

The two Republicans rallied behind the president, spreading unfavorable information about the Justice Department investigators and loudly condemning the Democrats during impeachment inquiry hearings for investigating Trump for attempting to pressure Ukraine to look into now President-elect Joe Biden.

“Devin Nunes’ courageous actions helped thwart a plot to take down a sitting United States president,” the White House said in announcing the award. “Congressman Devin Nunes is a public servant of unmatched talent, unassailable integrity, and unwavering resolve. He uncovered the greatest scandal in American history.”

Trump floated the idea of giving Nunes the Medal of Freedom during an October 2018 interview on “Fox & Friends” when he served as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. At first, Trump proposed giving the representative the Medal of Honor, which is only given for acts of military valor, before correcting himself and saying Nunes deserved the Medal of Freedom.

“What he’s gone through, and his bravery, he should get a very important medal,” Trump said at the time.

–Morgan Chalfant contributed to this report, which was updated on Jan. 4 at 1:23 p.m.

Tags award Devin Nunes Donald Trump impeachment inquiry Jim Jordan Joe Biden Medal of Freedom Russia Investigation

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