Biden to award Medal of Freedom to John McCain and Gabby Giffords

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Former President Obama awards the Medal of Freedom to Joe Biden.  (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Former President Obama awards the Medal of Freedom to Joe Biden. (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

President Joe Biden will award the nation’s highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to the man he and Barack Obama defeated in the 2008 election, the late Arizona senator John McCain.

Mr Biden will also honour another prominent Republican, ex-Wyoming senator Alan Simpson, and another famous Arizonan — former representative Gabby Giffords — at the same 7 July ceremony at which he will posthumously award the Medal of Freedom to McCain’s family.

Additionally, the president will honour several political allies with the same honour, including the late AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka, and Khizr Khan, the attorney and gold star father who became widely known after calling out then-presidential candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 Democratic National Convention and getting drawn into a Twitter spat with Mr Trump.

In a statement, the White House said the 17 Americans Mr Biden will honour on 7 July “demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation – hard work, perseverance, and faith”.

“They have overcome significant obstacles to achieve impressive accomplishments in the arts and sciences, dedicated their lives to advocating for the most vulnerable among us, and acted with bravery to drive change in their communities – and across the world – while blazing trails for generations to come,” the White House said.