U.S. President Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the U.S., to seven individuals Saturday, both living and dead — one of whom has been the biggest donor to the Republican Party.
Miriam Adelson was awarded the Medal of Freedom. She is married to Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate and another GOP megadonor.
The Adelsons recently contributed $113 million to GOP causes during the 2018 election cycle. Among those donations, the couple gave $25 million in July to the Senate Leadership Fund, $2 million in September to ESAFund, $3 million in July and September to the Republican Governors Association and roughly $40 million between May and September to the Congressional Leadership Fund, according to Politico.
They also gave $82 million during the 2016 election cycle to the Republican Party, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan research group, making them the largest donor to Republicans that year, too.
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The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the “Nation’s highest civilian honour, which may be awarded by the President to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” according to the White House.
The White House justified the award to Adelson for her work in medicine and for the Jewish community.
“Miriam Adelson is a committed doctor, philanthropist, and humanitarian,” a White House statement read. “With her husband, Sheldon, she also established the Adelson Medical Research Foundation, which supports research to prevent, reduce, or eliminate disabling and life-threatening illness.”
Sheldon Adelson has been a major driver of the Trump administration’s Middle East policy, such as pushing for the U.S. embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to The Guardian.
Others that received the medal of freedom Saturday include Orrin G. Hatch, one of the longest serving Senators in U.S. history; Alan Page, a retired NFL player; entertainer Elvis Presley; baseball legend Babe Ruth; former Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia; and Roger Staubach, a Hall-of-Fame quarterback.