While handing out Medals of Freedom at the White House on Friday (November 16), President Trump took a moment to veer off-script and recount a personal anecdote about an Elvis Presley concert. It was given to seven people, including three posthumously.
Recipients include doctor and Republican Party donor Miriam Adelson, wife of Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), retired National Football League quarterback Roger Staubach, former Minnesota Supreme Court justice and National Football League star Alan Page, and philanthropist and donor Miriam Adelson, who is married to GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson.
Mr Trump also joked with Justice Scalia's widow, Maureen, over the size of her family.
"Together, my husband, Sheldon, and I have dedicated our lives to freedom: to a free market that benefits the greater good and to philanthropic endeavors that succor those suffering from poverty and disease", Adelson said. Orrin Hatch of Utah.
Barack Obama honored in his tenure as US President including Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and the former activists of the civil rights movement John Lewis with the freedom medal.
They were major proponents of Trump's decision previous year to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and formally move the U.S. embassy there, which the president recognized during Friday's ceremony. The couple has been champions for the Jewish community but were also two of the biggest financial supporters of the Trump presidential campaign.
"I always knew I liked him", Trump added of the late justice.
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Some questioned Trump's decision to recognize Miriam Adelson so soon after the November 6 election.
But Elliott Abrams, who held foreign policy positions under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, called the complaints "ridiculous".
Robert Weissman, president of the public interest group Public Citizen, said the decision was "emblematic of the corrupt and transactional presidency of Donald Trump".
Abrams noted that Miriam Adelson has donated her time and money to combatting addiction.
Reacting to the award Mrs Adelson told reporters she was "deeply humbled and moved by this exceptional honour".
"Liberty is at the heart of my decades of work against substance abuse".