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Trump rewards GOP ally Rep. Jim Jordan with Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Monday awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, one of the outgoing president’s fiercest GOP allies.

The nation’s highest civilian honor was presented to Jordan in a private ceremony at the White House It comes as Trump has been rewarding supporters with awards and the perks and prestige associated with serving on a host of federal advisory boards and commissions.

Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, was one of eight House lawmakers who were part of Trump’s defense team in his Senate impeachment trial last year. He’s been one of the more outspoken defenders of the president as Trump faces the prospect of being impeached for a second time in his final days of office because of his role in inciting a mob assault on the Capitol last week.

The White House in a statement noted Jordan “led the effort to confront the impeachment witch hunt” last year.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, established by President John F. Kennedy, is meant to recognize those who have made an “especially meritorious contribution” to national security, world peace or ”cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Last week, Trump awarded the Medal of Freedom to another Republican ally, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, in a private ceremony.

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Trump has not appeared in public since delivering a grievance-filled speech five days ago at a rally near the White House shortly before a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol as Congress began formally counting the Electoral College votes to certify his defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why it was holding the ceremony without the media present.