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Trump Presides Over First Medal Of Freedom Ceremony

President Donald Trump award seven individuals with the nation's highest civilian honor.
Posted at 5:35 PM, Nov 16, 2018

President Donald Trump presided over his first Medal of Freedom ceremony Friday at the White House.

"The Presidential Medal of Freedom has been given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to American life and culture," Trump said.

He awarded the nation's highest civilian honor to seven people: late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, Elvis Presley, Babe Ruth, former professional football player turned Justice Alan Page, Hall-of-Fame quarterback Roger Staubach and philanthropist Dr. Miriam Adelson.

Adelson was considered his most controversial pick. Adelson and her husband Sheldon were major donors in Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. The couple donated more than $20 million to his race and more recently gave at least $113 million to Republicans in the 2018 midterms.

The White House says Adelson was chosen for her research in addiction and the foundation of two substance abuse research centers. They also cite her support of Holocaust memorial organizations and a non-profit focused on supporting members of Israel Defense Forces.

There aren't strict rules for who can be awarded the Medal of Freedom, and the President has the final say. As CNN points out, President Barack Obama awarded a handful of Medal of Freedom awards to Democratic donors. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.