President Donald Trump is always hearkening back to some supposed old American greatness, and his just-announced honorees for the Presidential Medal of Freedom reflect that. Among more recent figures like late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and current senator Orrin Hatch, Trump has added a who's who of Americana that suggests he would have nominated apple pie and Diet Coke if he could.
In his first Medal of Freedom ceremony, Trump will bestow the country's highest civilian honor to Elvis Presley, Babe Ruth, and Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, along with four others.
The White House said that Elvis “defined American culture to billions of adoring fans around the world" in their release announcing the honorees. They wrote that Ruth's legacy "has never been eclipsed, and he remains the personification of 'America’s Pastime.'" Staubach was chosen for the honor due to his success as a football player and his philanthropic work with children's and veterans' charities.
Only one person outside of the political or entertainment arenas was nominated for the honor by Trump. Doctor and philanthropist Miriam Adelson will be honored for her research centers dedicated to fighting substance abuse. Miriam is the wife of GOP donor, casino magnate, and Las Vegas Review-Journal owner Sheldon Adelson.
The honors will be handed out on Nov. 16 at the White House. It will be the first such ceremony since former President Barack Obama bestowed the honor on 21 people in the fall of 2016. His selections included Robert De Niro, Diana Ross, Lorne Michaels, and Bruce Springsteen. Obama gave out the honor one final time in a surprise presentation to his Vice President Joe Biden.