Trump plans to award Belichick the Presidential Medal of Freedom
President Trump plans to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
A White House official confirmed that Trump plans to honor Belichick with the award one week after the president incited a mob of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol during proceedings to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
The ceremony is set to take place near the end of a week during which House Democrats have vowed to impeach the president for a historic second time in connection with last week’s deadly Capitol riot. Trump presented the honor to golfers Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam in the days following the riot.
Belichick will join a list of sports figures to whom Trump has given the Medal of Freedom.
Trump and the Patriots coach are longtime friends, and the president named Belichick to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition in 2018. The NFL team and Belichick visited the White House after their 2017 Super Bowl win but eschewed a return visit after their 2019 victory.
As recently as August, Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that Belichick is “a very good friend of mine. He’s a winner.”
“You know, if I ever had a military battle, I’d call up Belichick and say what do you think? What do you think? Give me a couple of ideas,” Trump said.
“I am flattered by that, but I’ll just stick to coaching football,” Belichick told Boston-area sports station WEEI.
Politico first reported plans to honor Belichick with the award.
The president in recent weeks has also presented the honor to one of his most vocal advocates in the House, Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), another Trump ally, is set to receive the honor this week, the White House official confirmed.
It is unclear whether either medal ceremony will be public. Trump has typically presented the awards publicly throughout his presidency but kept the events for Nunes and the pair of golfers closed to the press.
The Hill has reached out to the Patriots for comment.
Updated at 8:55 a.m.
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