President Donald Trump awarded country music artist Toby Keith and bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs with the National Medal of Arts while the House of Representatives was voting to impeach him on January 13.
Trump acknowledged and honored the two singers who have been very supportive of him during his term. Keith performed at Trump’s inauguration concert and accompanied the president at a “men only” concert in Saudi Arabia in 2017 and has identified as a conservative Republican for some time, but recently explained he no longer affiliates with either party. The president’s decision to award Keith had been motivated by Keith’s expression of support for the military and his patriotic anthem, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (the Angry American).”
Skaggs, a longtime Republican, also voiced his support for Trump in an interview with the Gospel Herald in 2016 saying, “He’s not going to let anyone bulldoze over him because he’s a bulldozer himself. Mr. Trump is someone who tears down and rebuilds. I believe Donald Trump is the right person in the right place, and it’s prophetic.”
The news of the award ceremony was taken to Twitter by Bloomberg News reporter, Jennifer Jacobs and later NBC News reporter Peter Alexander.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) January 13, 2021
Trump is currently in the Oval Office awarding the National Medal of Arts to singers Toby Keith and Ricky Skaggs, minutes after becoming the first president ever impeached twice.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) January 13, 2021
Trump presented the National Medal of the Arts in a private ceremony in the East Room of the White House, according to an administration official. The award is given to musicians or artists who have contributed greatly to the “excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States”.
During his term, this is the second time Trump successfully presented the National Medal of the Arts. He awarded Alison Krauss, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, U.S Military musicians and actor Jon Voight in 2019. Earlier this year, he offered the award to New England Patriots coach, Bill Belichick, but he declined the offer.