During the ceremony on Thursday, Trump praised the recipients’ contributions to “American society, culture, and life.”
“Great nations produce great thinkers, artists, musicians, and scholars who make our world a more beautiful, enlightened, and joyful place. Each of today’s recipients has made outstanding contributions to American society, culture, and life. They exemplify the genius, talent, and creativity of our exceptional nation.”
The other honorees of the National Medal of Arts were philanthropist Sharon Percy Rockefeller, blue-grass country singer Allison Krauss, and the musicians of the military bands. Those awarded the National Humanities Medal included Chef Patrick O’Connell, author James Patterson, philanthropist Teresa Lozano, and the conservative think-tank the Clairemont Institute.
Watch his comments below:
The first person Trump gave the National Medal of Arts to was the four-time Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight. He described Voight as an “actor and a friend” and proceeded to list a series of movies that Voight has starred in such as “Pearl Harbor,” “National Treasure,” and “Mission Impossible.”
He praised Voight’s acting, saying, “Jon captures the imagination of the audiences and dominates almost every single scene he’s in. He’s a special person. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor, earned four Oscar nominations and four Golden Globes.
Additionally, he called Voight a “beloved icon of the American film.”
“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 — we love having you here, especially since it’s somebody that I happen to really like. So, thank you very much, Jon. Congratulations.”
Earlier this year, Voight urged Americans to “stand with our president,” saying that “our country is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our president has made his every move correct,” as IJR has previously reported.
Later Thursday, Voight accompanied Trump on a visit to Dover Air Force Base to honor the remains of two U.S. soldiers who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan this week.
Voight told reporters the moment was, “So respectful and so dignified,” adding that, “It must be some comfort that their children were cherished by their country.”