Not everyone believes Elvis is the king.
President Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to seven Americans on Friday, including the late rock star Elvis Presley, though even that gesture is coming under fire from liberals.
Trump honored Presley, baseball legend Babe Ruth, former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, philanthropist Miriam Adelson, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, football star Alan Page, and Hall-of-Fame quarterback Roger Staubach.
Still, some have accused Trump of racism for honoring Presley, long known as the "King of Rock and Roll."
The Washington Post’s pop culture critic Chris Richards called Trump’s move “a little nod to the good old days, back when black visionaries could invent rock-and-roll, but only a white man could become the king.”
“Yes, Trump is sending a message here,” Richards wrote.
That claim has been scoffed at online, with the Weekly Standard publishing a rebuttal titled, “Elvis Wasn’t Racist. Neither Is Giving Him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”
“If you’re invested in making Elvis an avatar for racial resentments more than 40 years after his death, you’re, perhaps unwittingly, making the problems of contemporary divisions worse,” columnist Mark Hemingway wrote. “Music is one of a precious few cultural forces still holding us together.”
Liberals have also protested Trump’s award for Adelson, the wife of GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson. The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called the award to Adelson “ludicrous” and an “insult to people who received the medal for genuine service.” Krugman said she’s “done nothing for her country besides being the wife of a Trump-friendly megadonor.”
According to the White House, Adelson is a “committed doctor, philanthropist, and humanitarian.”
“She has practiced internal and emergency medicine, studied and specialized in the disease of narcotic addiction, and founded two research centers committed to fighting substance abuse,” the White House said in a statement. “With her husband, Sheldon, she also established the Adelson Medical Research Foundation, which supports research to prevent, reduce, or eliminate disabling and life-threatening illness. As a committed member of the American Jewish community, she has supported Jewish schools, Holocaust memorial organizations, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, and Birthright Israel, among other causes.”
The award ceremony took place in the East Room of the White House.
Ahead of Friday’s ceremony, the White House said, “This prestigious award is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, which may be awarded by the President 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.”