President Joe Biden decorates 17 people with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This recognition is the highest that at the civilian level can be awarded in the US, which Biden himself received in 2017, from Barack Obama (when he was Vice President).
Hoy, @POTUS le entregó la Medalla de la Libertad a diecisiete personas, incluyendo dos latinos, quienes son el ejemplo del poder de las posibilidades y que representan el alma de nuestra nación: pic.twitter.com/O6E2RRWr59
— La Casa Blanca (@LaCasaBlanca) July 7, 2022
This is Biden's first post-pandemic award. His list includes posthumous awards, such as that of Steve Jobs, Republican Senator McCain (one of the most critical of Trump). He also wanted to bring some personal imprint through the awardees, as the White House has pointed out.
17 Presidential Medals of Freedom 2022
This is the complete list of Joe Biden's honorees in this edition:
- Sandra Lindsay, the NYC nurse who received the first COVID vaccine in the US. A recognition of all the people who have suffered from the coronavirus, in the words of the US President.
- Gabrielle Giffords, former Arizona congresswoman, who founded the eponymous organization to campaign for gun control. The Democrat was shot in the head in January 2011 during a campaign rally in Tucson.
- Republican Senator John McCain, who ran for the White House in 2008, competing against Democrats Barack Obama and Biden. McCain died of a brain tumor in 2018. He spent more than 5 years in captivity in Vietnam while serving in the U.S. Navy. He represented Arizona in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
- The fellow Republican Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming as a sign of political concord. Biden praised Simpson's parliamentarianism in which despite their disagreements in the chambers, they subsequently had a cordial relationship. They would argue in the morning and then meet for dinner in the evening.
- Simone Campbell, a member of the Sisters of Social Service and former executive director of NETWORK, a Catholic nonprofit organization.
- Julieta Garcia, the first Hispanic woman to be president of a university (the University of Texas at Brownsville).
- Fred Gray, an attorney who represented Rosa Parks, the NAACP and Martin Luther King Jr. He was one of the first black members of the Alabama Legislature after Reconstruction. At 91, he continues to practice law.
- Steve Jobs, co-founder, CEO and chairman of Apple Inc. died in 2011, and is given posthumously.
- Father Alexander Karloutsos, advisor to several U.S. presidents. "One of my dearest friends," in the words of Joe Biden.
- Khizr Khan, Pakistani immigrant who had a well-known confrontation with Donald Trump after speaking at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
- Diane Nash, founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which organized some of the most important civil rights campaigns of the 20th century.
- Megan Rapinoe. Olympic soccer player, renowned feminist who promotes LGBTI advocacy.
- Richard Trumka, posthumously, died in 2021. He was a union advocate, and president of the United Mineworkers.
- Wilma Vaught. Military and Brigadier General, One of the most decorated women in the U.S. military, who retired in 1985.
- Denzel Washington, two-time Oscar-winning actor, who was unable to attend the ceremony because he was positive for COVID.
- Raul Yzaguirre. Hispanic civil rights advocate who served as president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza for 30 years.
- Simone Biles, Olympic gymnast, the youngest recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.