POTUS and FLOTUS entered the East Room at 4:08 to a smattering of applause and the sound of “Hail to the Chef,” joining on stage the medal recipients who had entered moments earlier.
No news. All POTUS remarks were on the event. Listen here: https://otter.ai/s/AJ2gKkJ9THeh4ApvBHbc4A
Welcoming the attendees to the White House, POTUS called it a “special place” and an “experience you will never forget.” The medal recipients, POTUS said, won “a truly phenomenal achievement.”
POTUS said the medal recipients “exemplify the very best talent and creatively of our exceptional nation.”
Music played as POTUS paused, then Jon Voight got up a did dance apparently an allusion to one of his movies as POTUS looked at him askew.
POTUS commended Voight for his movies, especially “The Champ.” POTUS said he tried not to cried and called it the “very best boxing movie of all time.” POTUS said he’s glad to see the actor, who’s known for his praise for POTUS.
POTUS praises each of the other recipients. Next was Sharon Percy Rockefeller. Recognizing her support for news organizations, POTUS joked he finally might “start getting some good publicity” as a result of the award.
Went he got to James Patterson, POTUS joked the author’s books are the greatest sellers of all time, except for probably the Bible.
Bluegrass music played before POTUS introduced singer Allison Krauss, noting she has won more Grammys than anyone and calling that “big.”
Then POTUS recognized Patrick O’Connell, pointing out a White House chef once worked for him, then the Claremont Institute, then Teresa Lonzo Lang, then the more than 6,600 musicians of the U.S. military.
“Many of them could be in the great concert halls in the world, but this is what they want, and this is where they want to be,” POTUS said.
POTUS then bestowed the medals to each of the attendees on stage as they were announced in order to applause. POTUS departure the East Room at 4:35.
Before POTUS entered, the orchestra left the East Room. A few more VIPs entered as well as VPOTUS and Mnunchin, bringing the number of attendees closer to 120.
Spotted in the audience was Jon Voight’s son James Haven, but Voight’s other child Angelina Jolie wasn’t seen.