Biden To Award Major Donor, Key Political Ally Presidential Medals Of Freedom

Photo edit of President Biden. Credit: Alexander J. Williams III/Pop Acta.
Photo edit of President Biden. Credit: Alexander J. Williams III/Pop Acta.

President Joe Biden will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Democratic South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, both of whom played key roles in his 2020 presidential campaign.

Biden cited Bloomberg’s legacy as businessman, philanthropist and mayor and Clyburn’s decades of work in the House of Representatives in the Friday announcement. Bloomberg, a major Democratic donor, spent tens of millions of dollars supporting Biden’s 2020 campaign and Clyburn, meanwhile, delivered a crucial endorsement to Biden that some credit with saving his campaign.

A White House spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation that Clyburn and Bloomberg’s roles in Biden’s 2020 victory played no part in the president’s decision to honor them.

Bloomberg’s super PAC, Independence USA, committed over $55 million to opposing former president Donald Trump and supporting Biden during the 2020 election, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosures. The former mayor has since donated tens of millions of dollars to left-of-center political organizations, including House Majority PAC and Planned Parenthood Votes.

Bloomberg ran for president in 2020, spending over $1 billion only to drop out and endorse Biden after the Super Tuesday primaries.

“I’ve known Joe for a very long time,” Bloomberg said while conceding. “I know his decency, his honesty and his commitment to the issues that are so important to our country—including gun safety, health care, climate change and good jobs.”

After suspending his campaign, Bloomberg re-hired hundreds of campaign staffers to assist the Democratic presidential nominee in key swing states. Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona, four of the six swing states Bloomberg deployed staffers to, were crucial in handing the White House to Biden in 2020.

Clyburn’s endorsement of Biden was widely credited for turning his campaign around after poor performances in the 2020 Democratic New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucus.

“I can think of no one better suited, better prepared, I can think of no one with the integrity, no one more committed to the fundamental principles that make this country what it is than my good friend,” the influential Democrat said at a Biden campaign event in South Carolina ahead of the state’s primary, according to the Associated Press.

Biden won the South Carolina primary by nearly 30 points. Prior to Clyburn’s endorsement, Biden’s lead in the state’s primary was only in the single digits, according to The Guardian, and exit polls found that 47% of voters identified Clyburn’s endorsement as an important factor in determining who they supported.

“That substantive victory in South Carolina is what set off a chain reaction in the next few days — the Buttigieg endorsement, the Klobuchar endorsement and what amounts to all but a clean sweep on Super Tuesday,” Democratic strategist Isaac Wright told The Guardian.

“Black voters turned out and they had their voices heard and they are on the trajectory of propelling Joe Biden to be the Democratic nominee. Clyburn’s endorsement was part of a flood of good fortune for Biden,” Eric Goldman, another Democratic operative, told the outlet.

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, former Biden climate advisor John Kerry and former Vice President Al Gore were among the other individuals named to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“Words cannot express the profound honor and gratitude I feel upon receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Clyburn said in a press release. “This recognition is not only a testament to my work, but also to the countless individuals who have supported my journey; the giants who fought alongside me for justice, equity, and the pursuit of progress; and the support of my loving family.”

Bloomberg could not be reached for comment.

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