TRUMP AND THE PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM, REDUX…JIM JORDAN AND WILLIAM STEPHEN BELICHICK

The Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The nation’s highest civilian honor.

FOR “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.”

Yeah.

So?

Seriously???

OXYMORON #1:

Trump, the president, incited a violent insurrection against the U.S government.

He inspired a revolt against a lawful authority with the goal of destroying or overthrowing it.

Sedition.

On his watch, and with his not-so-tacit approval.

More like an open, avowed, explicit approval.

As president, he is discharged the responsibility of selecting those he deems worthy and bestowing upon them, this prestigious award.

You tell me.

Exactly what does he, the president, know about “especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States” [in particular], or “to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors?”

Nothing at all, when he has demonstrated a clear pattern of such abhorrent, repugnant and despicable behavior, culminating in this unforgivable incitement of insurrection.

He incited his thuggish masses to riot against America and our democracy.

‘If I can’t win, then everybody loses,’ has been his mantra always.

He whipped ’em up, fanned the flames, and they did it.

January 6, 2021, is now a day which will live in infamy.

He encouraged it, he endorsed it, he emboldened it and he was proud of these “very special” people.

And it may not be over.

God forbid.

Jim Jordan, the U.S. representative for Ohio’s 4th congressional district, must have wrestled his way to a barely functioning brain.

His record on the mat in both high school and college was stellar; as a Trump enabler, he has forever fueled the president’s lies, leading to last Wednesday’s riot.

He continued to object to the certification of the 2020 election following the violent pro-Trump mob attack on the Capitol.

Jordan has been one of the president’s strongest allies and most steadfast advocates on Capitol Hill, and even when other Republicans, who previously contested the results, withdrew their support as a result of the deadly riots, Jordan remained and remains fiercely loyal to Trump.

His reward?

Trump hung the Presidential Medal of Freedom around Jordan’s neck during a closed-door ceremony at the White House, yesterday, Monday January 11.

Members of the press were not invited to document the event.

Bill Belichick coaches football.

Cronyism knows no bounds in politics particularly, but also elsewhere.

The Donald and the Hoodie have been tighter than tree bark for years.

On the eve of the 2016 election, Belichick wrote a note to Trump and agreed to let him read it to voters in Manchester, New Hampshire.

“Congratulations on a tremendous campaign. You have dealt with an unbelievable slanted and negative media and have come out beautifully,” he told Trump. “You’ve proved to be the ultimate competitor and fighter. Your leadership is amazing. I have always had tremendous respect for you, but the toughness and perseverance you have displayed the past year is remarkable. Hopefully tomorrow’s election results will give you the opportunity to Make America Great Again. Best wishes for great results tomorrow. Bill Belichick.”

When Belichick was asked about the letter, he said in his inimitable terse and famously clipped fashion, “Our friendship goes back many years.”

That was then.

This is now.

That’s why it must have been profoundly difficult for Belichick to eschew the honor — scheduled for Thursday — which is precisely what he did on Monday evening.

But BB is nobody’s fool really; thank goodness he came to his senses.

It’s called, “doin’ the right thing,” on many levels.

And doing the right thing can be hard.

In rejecting Trump’s invitation to accept the award, Belichick wrote,

“Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out respect for what the honor represents and admiration for prior recipients. Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award. Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom, and democracy. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team.”

He elaborated further.

“One of the most rewarding things in my professional career took place in 2020 when, through the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality, and human rights moved to the forefront and became actions. Continuing those efforts while remaining true to people, team and [the] country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”

Belichick’s statement helps him keep his locker room, and allows him to remain true to all he has preached throughout his Hall-of-Fame career.

He is living by the same credo with which he coaches: Team above self.

Sacrificing individual glory for the good of the whole.

Ultimately, he put his team, his players, his franchise, his league, his family and his country first.

It also distances him from a president who criticized NFL players, including Colin Kaepernick, for their decision to “take a knee” — to kneel during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” in protest of social injustice in America.

During a rally in 2017, Trump remained true to his own values, stoking rhetorically, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired!’”

Belichick’s repudiation of the nation’s highest civilian honor is an enormous embarrassment for Trump, surely with many to follow.

Like an historic second impeachment.

Belichick said, “no,” to a president more keenly interested in changing the narrative about his dying, defiant days in office, than anything real — such as all the havoc he has wreaked.

All the lies he’s told.

He said, “no,” to being a decoy in the quintessential misdirection play.

It was the best play call he ever made.

[Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Mr. Kaplan in January 2021.]

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Peter J. Kaplan

Peter J. Kaplan

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