Biden honors Democratic allies with highest civilian honor at the White House

President Biden on Friday honored 19 people with the United States' highest civilian honor, many of whom are Democratic allies.

The White House announced the selection for the annual Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony, with notable recipients including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Vice President Al Gore and former Secretary of State John Kerry.

Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who gave Biden a critical endorsement during the 2020 primaries, also received the medal.

BIDEN ANNOUNCES MEDAL OF FREEDOM FOR DENZEL WASHINGTON, STEVE JOBS, SIMONE BILES, JOHN MCCAIN, OTHERS

President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center in Philadelphia. (Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“The Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation's highest civilian award – we the people who do what we can to ensure that the idea of ​​America, the cause of freedom, shines like the sun to shape the future of the world to ease,” Biden said of the medal in a video promoting the latest recipients.

Civil rights leaders are well represented among the recipients, including: LGBTQ activist Judy Shepard, Juneteenth recognition advocate Opal Lee, attorney Clarence Jones and Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers.

Teresa Romero, president of United Farm Workers, received the award, as did Catholic priest Fr. Greg Boyle, organizer of an anti-gang ministry.

IN A PAID FAREWELL, OBAMA AWARDS BIDEN THE MEDAL OF FREEDOM

Medal of Freedom

Buzz Aldrin's Medal of Freedom, presented by Richard M. Nixon, is on display in New York City. (Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

Other recipients include former broadcaster Phil Donahue, Olympian Katie Ledecky, Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh, astronomer Jane Rigby and former NASA Johnson Space Center director Ellen Ochoa.

The first American Indian Olympic gold medalist, Jim Thorpe, received an award posthumously, as did the late Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey.

The only recognized Republican lawmaker is former Senator Elizabeth Dole, who served in the cabinets of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush.

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Medal of Freedom Obama Biden

President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to then-Vice President Joe Biden during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, January 12, 2017. (Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy. It replaced the Medal of Freedom, established by President Harry S. Truman in 1945, to honor individuals who provided significant assistance to the U.S. in World War II.

It is the nation's highest civilian honor and is intended to recognize any individual who has made an especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private efforts.”

Biden himself received the medal from then-President Barack Obama when he was his vice president on January 12, 2017.

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