Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will receive the Union League of Philadelphia’s highest honor Tuesday, first bestowed on President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
DeSantis will receive a gold medal of honor from the prestigious club, a historical society founded in 1862 based on the values of freedom and free enterprise, according to the League’s official website. The medal was created “to be conferred on men who were regarded as deserving well of their country,” the Union League Heritage Center noted.
The Union League of Philadelphia will bestow its highest honor on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. https://t.co/6W9sBcUbei
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) January 24, 2023
The decision has provoked backlash from some Union League members and activist groups, who say DeSantis is not deserving of the award, 6ABC reported. The Florida Department of Education rejected an AP African American History curriculum Jan. 12 from being taught in state public schools, arguing the course lacked “educational value and historical accuracy.” (RELATED: Florida Dems Are Still In Total Disarray After DeSantis’ Massive Midterm Win)
Advocacy groups including the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity, the Philadelphia sector of the NAACP, the Black Women’s Leadership Council, the Black Voters Matter Fund, the National Action Network and some Philadelphia City Council members will hold a press conference at noon denouncing the decision, according to The Philadelphia Tribune. The conference, dubbed the “Fight Against Anti-Blackness Protest and Press Conference,” will take place outside the Union League’s headquarters, where DeSantis is set to receive the medal of honor.
The groups will stage a protest against DeSantis receiving the gold medal at 4 p.m., after the press conference concludes.
Members and advocacy groups criticized the Union League in September 2022 when news broke about the League’s plan to give DeSantis its highest honor. DeSantis was running for reelection at the time and generated widespread coverage for his decision to relocate illegal migrants from Texas to Massachusetts.
The governor won reelection by nearly 20 points against Democratic opponent Charlie Crist in November.
DeSantis’ team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.