Trump Awards Nation's Highest Civilian Honor To Sen. Orrin Hatch

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In 2013, Barack Obama gave the honor to Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton. He also named all nine of their children.

'You were very busy. 'Wow. I always knew I liked him'. "I think you can criticize a judge but it ought to be done in a formal way", Hatch said at the time.

Recipients include doctor and Republican Party donor Miriam Adelson, wife of Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Senator Hatch has participated in the confirmation of every sitting Justice, as well as the late Justice Scalia who was also honored today.

The president praised Scalia for his lifetime of service and his more than 30 years on the bench, giving about 900 written opinions that helped guide the nation.

Before introducing Presley's award, "How Great Thou Art", as sung by Presley, played throughout the East Room.

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Trump also bestowed the honor on six other individuals - the late Elvis Presley, former Dallas Cowboys star Roger Staubach, baseball hall of famer George "Babe" Ruth, former Minnesota Vikings player and State Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, Sen.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said Trump used the process follow by previous administrations to settle on his group of honorees. Trump is nearly certainly referring to "Elvis has left the building", an oft-repeated remark apparently originating in 1956, when promoter Horace Logan said it over a loudspeaker to calm an unruly crowd in Louisiana.

The honours are often viewed as a way towards understanding the values of a president, with pundits in the USA noting how Trump's nostalgic-populist Make America Great Again slogan meshes with many of his picks.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom was created in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, and in the past it has gone to icons of American culture and history such as Martin Luther King Jr., Walt Disney and Frank Sinatra.

Trump also awarded the Medal of Freedom to philanthropist Miriam Adelson, the wife of GOP donor Sheldon Adelson as well as retired National Football League players Roger Staubach and Alan Page, who now serves as a Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court.