- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 21, 2019

The star of “Midnight Cowboy,” a best-selling author, a versatile Grammy-winning singer and the man behind a 3-Michelin-star restaurant in Virginia were among eight people awarded presidential medals recognizing achievements in the arts and humanities on Thursday.

President Trump showed special affection for Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight, an outspoken Trump supporter who once said Mr. Trump is the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln.

“Actor and friend, Jon Voight is one of America’s greatest living legends in cinema,” Mr. Trump said at a medal ceremony in the White House East Room. “He has captivated audiences for more than half a century, starring in dozens of Hollywood blockbusters.”

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Mr. Trump said Mr. Voight’s performance as a boxer in “The Champ” was especially moving.

“Everyone was crying at that movie. I tried not to, Jon, but it wasn’t easy,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump also awarded the Medal of Arts to Allison Krauss, a bluegrass, folk, gospel and country singer; Sharon Percy Rockefeller, a champion of the arts and wife of former Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia; and the musicians of the U.S. military.

The arts medal was first awarded by President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

Mr. Trump awarded the National Humanities Medal to James Patterson, a prolific author and philanthropist, and Patrick J. O’Connell, a renown chef whose Inn at Little Washington in Virginia was awarded a coveted three Michelin stars.

“I think the first lady and I will have to stop by very soon, because it sounds good to me,” said Mr. Trump, who unlike President Barack Obama does not frequent capital-region restaurants — unless they’re located at properties bearing his name.

The president also awarded the humanities medal to the Claremont Institute for championing the nation’s founding principles and to Teresa Lozano Long for promoting the arts through scholarships and philanthropy.

The humanities medal has been awarded since 1997.

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