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Trump Awards Controversial Radio Personality Rush Limbaugh The Medal Of Freedom

During the State of the Union address, President Trump bestowed the highest civilian honor an American can receive on controversial talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

One day after Limbaugh revealed he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, the president awarded him the Medal of Freedom.

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"Here tonight is a special man, someone beloved by millions of Americans who just received a Stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis," said President Trump. "This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner you will ever meet."

After outlining Limbaugh's charity work, Trump announced the honor to a visibly emotional Limbaugh.

"I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom," said President Trump. He then instructed the First Lady, sitting next to Limbaugh, to give the talk radio host the medal.

Although the news had broken earlier in the day, Limbaugh appeared surprised by the honor.

He sat for a moment, appearing to let it sink in, before rising and welling up. As the Republican lawmakers in attendance applauded, Democratic lawmakers remained seated and did not applaud.

Many of Limbaugh's past comments have made President Trump's choice to honor him controversial.

Many pointed to Limbaugh's insensitive mockery of Michael J. Fox following the actor's diagnosis of Parkinson's disease as evidence that Limbaugh was unworthy of the Medal of Freedom.

Others pointed to numerous "racist and sexist" comments over the years.

In particular, comments defending slavery, as well as referring to NBA and NFL players as "thugs" and "gangs."

The Medal of Freedom is awarded to "individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors," according to the White House.

h/t: CNN, Business Insider