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Gore, Kerry, Pelosi: Biden awards allies top US honor

Jason Palmer American Samoa
Image: Video Screenshot

President Joe Biden will reward a host of veteran Democrats with the top US civilian honor Friday, in a politics-heavy election-year list that also features Oscar-winning actress Michelle Yeoh.

Former vice president Al Gore and former secretary of state John Kerry are among those who will receive the presidential medal of freedom in a ceremony at the White House.

Nancy Pelosi, the former House of Representatives speaker, and ex-New York mayor and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg also figure among the 19 people to get the awards.

Biden, 81, who faces a tough battle for reelection against Republican former president Donald Trump in November, will personally hand out the medals during the ceremony.

The medal honors people who have made “exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors.”

The White House pointedly noted that climate campaigner Gore, who served under Bill Clinton and narrowly lost the 2000 election to George W. Bush, had “accepted the outcome of a disputed presidential election for the sake of our unity.”

Trump still disputes his 2020 election loss to Biden, which led to the January 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol by his supporters.

Pelosi, 84, who led efforts to impeach Trump over the Capitol attack, was described by the citation as a “staunch defender of democracy.”

Bloomberg, 82, meanwhile stood unsuccessfully against Biden in 2020 for the Democratic presidential nomination, before throwing his support and considerable wealth behind the now-president.

The list also honors powerful Black Democratic congressman Jim Clyburn, whose endorsement in 2020 saved Biden’s flailing campaign by securing him the support of Black voters in the South Carolina primary.

Malaysian actress Yeoh, 61, who in 2023 became the first Asian woman to win an Academy Award for her performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, meanwhile “continues to shatter stereotypes and enrich American culture,” the White House said.

Biden himself received the medal of freedom days before Trump entered the White House in January 2017 — with then-president Barack Obama famously surprising his tearful vice president with the award.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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