Giffords, McCain receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 6:13 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Two Arizona political icons were honored at the White House Thursday. President Joe Biden awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 17 people, including former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and the late Arizona Senator John McCain. (Station) Washington News Bureau reporter Peter Zampa is at the White House with the details.

The medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor. The White House says they demonstrate the power of possibilities and embody the soul of the nation.

“Gabby is one of the most courageous people I have ever known,” said President Joe Biden.

And in talking about his run against McCain at the top of the ticket in 2008, President Biden said, “I never stopped admiring John because I knew his honor, courage and commitment.”

Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ) says no one is more deserving of this award than McCain and Giffords. He commends Giffords for turning tragedy into triumph after being shot in Tucson, AZ in 2011. She went on to form Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization.

“If you look up resilience in the dictionary, you’re going to see a picture of Gabrielle Giffords,” said Stanton.

Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) echoed the sentiment and says he is elated to have two great Arizonans recognized among this short list of those being honored.

“They’ve been an asset to our country and people to look up to, the type of examples they have been for a multitude of reasons over time,” said O’Halleran

This is the first time President Joe Biden is giving out Medals of Freedom. Donald Trump awarded 24 medals during his time in office. President Barack Obama awarded 132.

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