Being a congressional sycophant of President Donald Trump has always had its perks, but now it apparently comes with an award, too.
Trump will reportedly give Reps. Devin Nunes of California and Jim Jordan of Ohio the Presidential Medal of Freedom before he leaves office later this month, according to the Washington Post. It’s the top civilian honor in the United States, created by former President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and awarded “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,” according to the White House.
Nunes could receive his medal as early as Monday, while Jordan is expected to receive one next week, according to CBS News.
Fewer than a dozen Presidential Medals of Freedom have been handed out per year in the past 20 years, with prior recipients including Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and President-elect Joe Biden. Trump has only given 19 since he took office in 2017, with the majority going to former professional athletes and coaches, as well as prominent conservatives like economist Art Laffer, Senator Orrin Hatch, and former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Nunes and Jordan, both Republicans, have been some of Trump’s most ardent allies in Congress over the past four years. While Nunes was chair of the House Intelligence Committee, he publicly cast doubt on the special counsel investigation into Trump and authored the infamous “Nunes memo,” which alleged FBI and Justice Department misconduct during the investigation, which Trump declassified in 2018. More recently, Nunes has taken to filing defamation lawsuits that have mostly been thrown out of court.
Jordan, a founder of the right-wing Freedom Caucus, took a leading role in defending Trump during impeachment hearings in 2019. Prior to entering Congress, Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State, where former wrestlers who worked with him have said he reportedly knew about sexual misconduct complaints against team doctor Richard Strauss and did not act on them.
Trump previously floated the idea of giving Nunes a medal, saying in a 2018 Fox News interview that he should get the Medal of Honor, a military honor, before later correcting himself.
“Maybe we'll call it the Medal of Freedom because we actually give them, the high awards for civilians,” Trump said in the interview.