ST. GEORGE — Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, of Utah, was among seven Americans awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump Friday.
“This prestigious award is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, which may be awarded by the President to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” the White House stated in a press release announcing the event and recipients.
In addition to Hatch, the award recipients were former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach; Alan Page, who began a legal career after leaving the NFL; and Miriam Adelson, doctor, philanthropist and wife of Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate considered one of the nation’s most powerful Republican donors.
The Adelsons donated $30 million to Trump’s campaign in the final months of the 2016 race. They followed up by donating $100 million to the Republican Party for last week’s midterm elections.
Trump says Miriam Adelson is “somebody who’s worked so hard. Doesn’t have to do it, but she does, 24 hours a day, this is what she does.”
Three recipients were awarded the medal posthumously: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, baseball legend Babe Ruth and singer Elvis Presley.
As Friday’s ceremony got underway at the White House, Hatch was the first of Trump’s picks to be mentioned.
“The first recipient is one of the longest-serving and most respected senators in American history,” Trump said. “Sen. Orrin Hatch, a friend of mine, a great friend of mine.”
Trump said he liked Hatch because the senator supported him from the beginning.
“For the last 42 years, Sen. Hatch has proudly represented the people of Utah, sponsoring more bills that have become law than any other living legislator,” he said.
Trump briefly summarized some of Hatch’s accomplishments in the Senate and said overall that there were too many the mention.
Among the achievements Trump mentioned were Hatch helping to rewrite the nation’s tax code, leading the way for the nomination of Supreme Court justices in the Senate and protecting religious freedom, among others.
“Sen. Hatch is a true American Statesman,” Trump said.
Senator Hatch is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. pic.twitter.com/IWuKTK6Gwo
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) November 16, 2018
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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