White House Announces Medals of Freedom to include Simone Biles, Gabby Giffords, John McCain

Today President Biden announced 17 recipients of this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom to be presented at the White House on Thursday, July 7.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals 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.

In 2017, President Obama surprised then Vice-President Biden with the honor.

During the Trump administration, honorees included Rush Limbaugh, Jim Jordan, and Devin Nunes

The 2022 Honorees

Simone Biles, the most decorated American gymnast, and advocate for athletes’ mental health, foster children, and victims of sexual assault.

Gabrielle Giffords, former Arizona congresswoman and survivor of gun violence and founder of a non-profit organization to prevent gun violence.

Khizr Khan, Gold Star father and advocate for rule of law and religious freedom.

Denzel Washington, award winning actor, producer, and director who has been national spokesman for Boys & Girls Clubs of America for over 25 years.

Megan Rapinoe, champion soccer player, and advocate for gender pay equality, racial justice, and LGBTQI+ rights.

Posthumous Recipients

Sen. John McCain, public servant and recipient of a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam.

Richard Trumka, former president of AFL-CIO and United Mine Workers, advocate for social and economic justice.

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, CEO of Pixar, and leader at Walt Disney Company, a visionary who changed how the world communicates.

Other Recipients

  • Julieta Garcia, first Hispanice college president.
  • Fred Gray, former Alabama legislator and attorney representing the NAACP, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Sandra Lindsay, front line Covid nurse in New York City, the first American to receive a Covid vaccine outside of clinical trials.
  • Diane Nash, founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who organized some of the most important civil rights campaigns of the 20th century.
  • Alan Simpson, former Wyoming senator, and advocate for campaign finance reform, responsible governance, and marriage equality.
  • Wilma Vaught, Brigadier General, and one of the most decorated women in the history of the U.S. military, repeatedly breaking gender barriers as she rose through the ranks. 
  • Raúl Yzaguirre, civil rights advocate, former ambassador to Dominican Republic, and CEO and president of National Council of La Raza for thirty years.
  • Father Alexander Karloutsos, Vicar General of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. As a priest of 50 years, counseled several U.S. presidents.
  • Sister Simone Campbell, member of the Sisters of Social Service and former Executive Director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice organization. 

The Hill, Whitehouse.gov