President Donald Trump, joined by First Lady Melania Trump awarded eight recipients with the National Medal of Arts on Thursday.
For this special occasion, Melania wore a custom tuxedo jumpsuit designed by her personal stylist Hervé Pierre. The tux jumpsuit is made of black grain de poudre and featuring midnight blue duchess satin details, as described by Pierre. This current jumpsuit is unavailable for purchase.
The White House announced earlier this week that the President would be awarding four of each medal, with some recipients being recognized as a group, such as the United States Military’s musicians and the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank.
Recipients included the chef at the Inn at Little Washington, 27-time Grammy Award-winning musician Alison Krauss, the best-selling novelist James Patterson and Academy Award-winning actor Jon Voight.
“Great nations produce great thinkers, artists, musicians and scholars who make our world a more beautiful, enlightened and joyful place,” Trump said during the awards reception in the East Room. “Each of today’s recipients has made outstanding contributions to society, culture and life. They exemplify the genius, talent and creativity of our exceptional nation.”
The president singled out each of the recipients for their achievements, beginning his remarks describing Voight as an “actor and friend” and “one of America’s greatest living legends in cinema.”
“Actor and friend Jon Voight is one of America’s greatest living legends in cinema,” Trump said. “Jon Voight, you are an amazing artist and a beloved icon of the American film. Congratulations. Receiving the National Medal of Arts is a tremendous, tremendous achievement. And you deserve it. We’re really love having you here, especially since it’s somebody that I happen to really like.”
Voight is one of a handful of vocal supporters of Trump in Hollywood, releasing a video message earlier this year describing Trump as “the greatest president of this century.”
Trump described Patterson as “another friend” while joking about his book sales as being among the highest of all time.
“Another friend of mine, author James Patterson, is one of the most prolific and talented fiction writers of all time,” Trump said. “James has authored or co-authored 277 books and sold more than 400 million copies worldwide. And I always tell James that I don’t talk about the books that I’ve done, when I’m in his presence, because he’s outdone me by a lot. You’ve sold a lot more books than me and I guess you’ve sold a lot more books than anyone but maybe one. I don’t know, the Bible, I think, has you.”
Trump also noted the size and reach of the musicians of the U.S. military honored, saying it the honorees including 6,656 members who form 136 bands across the world.
“I have the honor to recognize not just one, but 6,656 tremendous artists and patriots: the musicians of the United States Military,” Trump said. “Forming 136 bands worldwide, these awe-inspiring men and women in uniform perform over 35,000 times each year, from concert halls to war zones. They touch the hearts of service members of the frontlines, wounded veterans in hospitals, Gold Star Families at military funerals, and Americans everywhere. They’re not just magnificent performers and they really are the finest anywhere in the world, they’re also courageous warriors.”
Vice President Pence, Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley were among those present for the ceremony Thursday afternoon.
Trump recognized each of them at the outset of his remarks, in particular Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley and praised him for his role in organizing the U.S. military raid that led to the death of ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last month.
“Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a great warrior and a man who has done some incredible things two weeks ago,” Trump said. “He did a very great job. Al-Baghdadi, the terrorist leader, the head of ISIS, is dead. Thank you very much, Mark Milley.”
The medals have typically been awarded on a yearly basis, but this will be the first time Trump has awarded the medals since taking office in 2017.
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