Jon Voight, James Patterson and Alison Krauss were among the honorees.

President Trump with Teresa Lozano Long, a philanthropist, before presenting her with the National Humanities Medal. Credit… Samuel Corum for The New York Times

WASHINGTON – In honoring the actor Jon Voight, an outspoken Trump supporter, with the National Medal of the Arts on Thursday, President Trump described him as “somebody I happen to really like.”

In introducing the author James Patterson as a recipient of the National Humanities Medal, Mr. Trump called him “another friend of mine,” although he failed to mention that Mr. Patterson was also a dues-paying member of his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.

The Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank whose alumni have gone on to serve in the Trump administration, also received a humanities award.

And in his remarks about Sharon Percy Rockefeller, a longtime advocate for public broadcasting and the former president and chief executive of WETA in the Washington area, who was also chosen as an arts medal recipient, Mr. Trump joked that “maybe I’ll start getting good publicity” from shows like “PBS NewsHour” and “Washington Week.”

“They tend to be on the other side of things, a little bit,” he added. “I think now I have a better chance.”

Throughout a brief and relatively sedate ceremony in the East Room presenting medals celebrating the arts and humanities for the first time since he assumed office, the president made it clear that his own relationship to the artists or patrons of the arts, and their support for him, were front of mind as much as their collective contributions to society.

The pattern was a familiar one. In the past, Mr. Trump has also used the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to celebrate friends and business partners like Tiger Woods.

Other recipients on Thursday like the chef Patrick J. O’Connell; Teresa Lozano Long, a philanthropist based in Austin, Texas; and the bluegrass musician and singer Alison Krauss had no clear links to the president.

But since the 1980s, when the United States began recognizing its greatest artists with the national medals, recipients have always been handpicked by the president, with input from members of the National Council on the Arts, and reflected their tastes if not their political affiliations.

Past recipients have included Georgia O’Keeffe, Frank Capra and Ella Fitzgerald. President Barack Obama’s list of recipients in 2016 included …read more

Source:: Daily Times


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Trump Awards the First Arts and Humanities Medals of His Presidency

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