Trump awards the Medal of Freedom to 3 golfers after his supporters attacked the US Capitol

US President Donald Trump looks on after presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Celtics basketball legend Bob Cousy in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on August 22, 2019.

Almond Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

Less than a day after the riot among his supporters in the U.S. Capitol, President Donald Trump was due to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to three professional golfers, a White House official told CNBC on Thursday.

The medals will be awarded to Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player, who are retired, and to Babe Didrikson Zaharias, who died in 1956 and will posthumously receive a medal.

Trump, who in his last public appearance on Wednesday called on Vice President Mike Pence to reject the election results, will hand over the medals in a closed ceremony, the official confirmed.

These remarks to supporters at a White House rally came just before a joint congressional session to confirm the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. Pence, who chaired the event, rejected Trump’s request to reject legitimately cast votes.

Trump’s supporters swarmed around the Capitol, broke through the ranks of police officers and invaded the convention halls. The unrest forced the proceedings to be discontinued, as well as bans and evacuations. The National Guard was activated to respond to the attack. At least four people died and numerous injuries were reported.

Congress convened again that evening and finally confirmed Biden’s victory after 3 a.m. on Thursday.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civil honor. It recognizes individuals who “have made particularly meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural, or other significant public or private endeavors”.

Thursday’s three recipients will join Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Charlie Sifford and Tiger Woods as the only golfers to receive the award, according to NBC’s Golf Channel, which first covered the award on Thursday.

Trump is a keen golfer and his company, the Trump Organization, owns numerous golf club resorts. The President has visited these clubs hundreds of times during his tenure.

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