With less than 10 days remaining to his presidency and Democratic leaders screaming for new impeachment proceedings or his removal from office under the 25th Amendment after the violence at the nation’s Capitol last week, President Donald Trump is making the most out of his final days. President Trump is to award Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick the Presidential Medal of Freedom, according to the White House.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor an American civilian can receive. According to the White House, the award is given “to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
These are two of several awards the president is reportedly planning in his final few days in office.
Belichick is one of the president’s favorite sports figures. His award is the culmination of a friendship and mutual admiration between the two public personas who hail from very different backgrounds. The president has traditionally loved sports and sports figures.
Coach Belichick has been a part of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition and visited the White House following the Patriots’ fifth Super Bowl win against the Atlanta Falcons in 2017. After the team’s sixth Super Bowl win in 2019, both Belichick and Patriots’ team owner Robert Kraft appeared at the White House although the Patriots didn’t appear as a group.
The president has called Belichick a “very good friend.” His admiration for Belichick’s game planning and attention to detail is so great that he even told a radio interviewer that he would ask Belichick for military advice.
“He’s a very good friend of mine. He’s a winner,” Trump said back in August. “You know, if I ever had a military battle, I’d call up Belichick and say what do you think? What do you think? Give me a couple of ideas. He’d be as good as general.”
However, Belichick, who although grew up at the Naval Academy, doesn’t have any actual military experience. His father, Steve, had been a scout and coach for the Navy for 36 years. Belichick took the high road and said that while it was a “very nice compliment” he is fine with his day job.
“I am flattered by that,” Belichick said in an interview with Boston sports radio. “But, I’ll just stick to coaching football.”
Belichick wrote a letter to President Trump just before the election. The then-candidate Trump read it to a crowd at an election rally.
“Congratulations on a tremendous campaign,” Belichick wrote, according to Trump. “You have dealt with an unbelievable slanted and negative media, and have come out beautifully… You’ve proved to be the ultimate competitor and fighter. Your leadership is amazing. I have always had tremendous respect for you, but the toughness and perseverance you have displayed over the past year is remarkable. Hopefully, tomorrow’s election results will give the opportunity to make America great again. Best wishes for great results tomorrow.”
Rep. Jordan has been one of the president’s staunchest allies during his time in office. He has appeared on Fox News nearly 300 times during the Trump presidency and never failed to come to bat for his administration. Jordan was one of the Republican members of Congress who had objected to the certification of the election that saw Joe Biden defeat the president.
For all the talk that President Trump has “cheapened” the award by handing it out to sports stars such as golfers Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player, football player Roger Staubach, and political allies, he has been downright tightfisted with awarding it.
He has only done so 20 times, the fewest number for any president since President Kennedy instituted the award. George Bush had awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom 85 times during his administration while Barack Obama handed it out a whopping 118 times including to President-elect Joe Biden.