WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump on Thursday honored an Oscar-winning actor, a bluegrass-country singer, a conservative think tank and others with two of the most prestigious national awards in the arts and humanities.
It was first time Trump has awarded the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal.
Honorees included Jon Voight, a Hollywood actor who is an outspoken backer of Trump. Voight, one of four winners of the National Medal of Arts, later accompanied Trump to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to pay tribute to the remains of two U.S. service members who were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan this week.
“Each of today’s recipients has made an outstanding contribution to American society, culture and life,” Trump said. “They exemplify the genius, talent and creativity of our exceptional nation.”
Voight, who stars in the Showtime drama “Ray Donovan,” won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of a troubled Vietnam War veteran in the 1978 film “Coming Home” and starred in the 1969 Oscar-winning best picture “Midnight Cowboy.”
The other recipients of the National Medal of Arts were Alison Krauss, a Grammy-winning bluegrass-country musician; Sharon Percy Rockefeller, the CEO of Washington’s flagship public television and radio stations; and the musicians of the U.S. military.
The National Humanities Medal recipients were Teresa Lozano Long, a Texas philanthropist; Patrick O’Connell, the chef and proprietor of the restaurant The Inn At Little Washington in Virginia; mystery writer James Patterson; and the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank based in California.
The award, initiated in 1997, is presented to individuals or groups whose outstanding work has strengthened the country’s understanding of the humanities and broadened citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects.
The Epoch Times writer Katabella Roberts contributed to this report.