Biden announces Medal of Freedom for Denzel Washington, Steve Jobs, Simone Biles, John McCain, others

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President Biden announced 17 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom Friday. 

The Medal of Freedom is the highest civil award in the U.S. and is given to individuals who have made leaps in philanthropy, science, politics, art and other endeavors. The White House shared the lineup of honorees, both living and posthumous, in an official press release.

Notable names among the recipients include Republican Sen. John McCain, tech entrepreneur Steve Jobs, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords and Gold Star father Khizr Khan.

“President Biden has long said that America can be defined by one word: possibilities. These 17 Americans demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation – hard work, perseverance and faith,” a White House release stated. 

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“They have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities – and across the world – while blazing trails for generations to come.”

The full list of recipients: Simone Biles, Sister Simone Campbell, Julieta García, Gabrielle Giffords, Fred Gray, Steve Jobs, Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, Khizr Khan, Sandra Lindsay, John McCain, Diane Nash, Megan Rapinoe, Alan Simpson, Richard Trumka, Wilma Vaught, Denzel Washington and Raúl Yzaguirre.

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The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors,” the White House explained.

(L-R, top): U.S. gymnast Simone Biles, actor Denzel Washington, former Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe. (L-R bottom): Gold Star father Khizr Khan, Apple CEO Steve Jobs. U.S. Republican Sen. from Arizona John McCain and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

(L-R, top): U.S. gymnast Simone Biles, actor Denzel Washington, former Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe. (L-R bottom): Gold Star father Khizr Khan, Apple CEO Steve Jobs. U.S. Republican Sen. from Arizona John McCain and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
(Valerie Macon, Angela Weiss, Mandel Ngan, Saul Loeb, Ryan Anson, Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

The medals are expected to be awarded to recipients July 7.

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Former President Donald Trump frequently awarded the Meal of Freedom to athletes, coaches and other high-level sportsmen.

Trump presented Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the White House Rose Garden, calling the champion golfer “a global symbol of American excellence, devotion and drive.”

He also honored Jim Ryun, a three-time Olympian and former GOP congressman from Kansas, calling him a “legendary runner” and “true American patriot.”

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