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Trump to award Presidential Medal of Freedom to Elvis, Babe Ruth, others

By
Allen Cone
President Donald Trump (left) appears with U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, during a meeting with members of the Senate Finance Committee and his economic team at the White House on October 18. Hatch was named as one of seven recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to be awarded Friday in the White hose. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI
President Donald Trump (left) appears with U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, during a meeting with members of the Senate Finance Committee and his economic team at the White House on October 18. Hatch was named as one of seven recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to be awarded Friday in the White hose. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 10 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump has announced the first seven recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his time in office, including three deceased people: musician Elvis Presley, baseball Hall of Famer Babe Ruth and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Also to be awarded honors Friday at the White House are Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch; NFL Hall of Famers Roger Staubach and Alan Page, the latter also a former Minnesota Supreme Court justice; and philanthropist Miriam Adelson, the wife of Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

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Trump did not name any recipients in 2017.

"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 said in a statement Saturday.

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Republican Orrin Hatch is retiring from the U.S. Senate after representing Utah for more than 41 years. The Senate's president pro tempore and chairman of the Finance Committee "has sponsored more bills that have become law than any other living Member of Congress," the White House said.

Presley, who is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, "defined American culture to billions of adoring fans around the world. Elvis fused gospel, country, and rhythm and blues to create a sound all his own, selling more than a billion records," according to the White House.

Ruth's "legacy has never been eclipsed, and he remains the personification of 'America's Pastime," the White House said. He played for four teams between 1914 and 1935, including the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

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Staubach, as a quarterback, won two Super Bowls and made the Pro Bowl six times with the Dallas Cowboys before retiring in 1979. Previously, he played football for the United States Naval Academy and volunteered to fight in the Vietnam War.

Page is an "accomplished jurist, athlete and philanthropist," according to the White House. After playing as defensive tackle with the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, Page practiced law full-time and then won a seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1992 until 2015.

Scalia "was one of the greatest Supreme Court justices in American history," the White House said after being confirmed unanimously in 1986 and dying in 2016. "He was a champion of the Constitution, insisting that the role of Federal judges is to uphold the original meaning of the Constitution - never to impose their own beliefs on the country," the White House added.

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Adelson was described as "a committed doctor, philanthropist and humanitarian" by the White House. With her husband, she also established the Adelson Medical Research Foundation, which supports research to prevent, reduce, or eliminate disabling and life-threatening illness.

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