First Lady Melania Trump presented conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.
Multiple media sources reported the president’s intention to award the honor to Limbaugh during a lunch with television anchors, but plans apparently changed with the first lady presenting the award directly at the president’s request.
“Almost every American family knows the pain when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness,” Trump said Tuesday. “Here tonight is a special man, someone beloved by millions of Americans who just received a Stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis. This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet. Rush Limbaugh, thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country.”
A clearly touched Limbaugh stood as the crowd applauded.
“And Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our Nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”
As the audience applauded, Trump said: “I will now ask the First Lady of the United States to please stand and present you with the honor.” (RELATED: Activists On Twitter Celebrate Rush Limbaugh’s Cancer)
Someone shouted “thank you, Rush!” to more applause.
Limbaugh told his radio audience on Monday that he has been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and that he would be missing some days on his show for treatment.
“There are going to be days that I’m not going to be able to be here,” he said. “Because I will be undergoing treatment.”