Biden medal picks push partisan issues, and bipartisanship – JP


The ceremony included all the pomp and celebration of a White House event, and it was the first time Biden presented the nation’s highest civilian honor during his term, though he received one by surprise in 2017 when President Barack Obama gave it to his vice president. In addition to Rapinoe and Biles, 15 other people from the worlds of culture, innovation, business and public service were honored Thursday.

The honorees put a face on some of the most controversial issues in the U.S. as Americans continue to struggle with partisan gridlock, institutional racism and sexism, and deadly gun violence. Soccer star Rapinoe, whose World Cup-winning team declined an invitation to the White House when Donald Trump was president, is regularly criticized in conservative media for kneeling during the national anthem and voicing support for transgender athletes.

But Biden also displayed respect for bipartisanship, with two Republicans — former Sens. Alan Simpson and, posthumously, John McCain — among the recipients. The group also included Democratic former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who became the leader of a national activist group battling for stricter gun laws after surviving an assassination attempt.

Consensus builders

Both Simpson, 90, and McCain, who died in 2018, were consensus builders in what’s become a more fractured Senate since Biden left in 2009. 

Simpson, the Wyoming Republican who spent nearly two decades in the Senate, was known to work with Democrats on major legislation, Biden said, noting, “He never allowed his party or his state or anything to get in the way of what he thought was right.”

Las Vegas News Magazine

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