As President Trump finishes out his final days as president, he plans to award the Medal of Freedom to New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick this week, a White House official told CBS News. The move comes as House Democrats look to impeach the president over last week’s attack on the Capitol.
Belichick will be given the highest civilian honor on Thursday, according to the official. Belichick, who has won six Super Bowls as the head coach of the Patriots, would be the fifth public figure to receive the medal since a violent mob stormed the Capitol last week. Many of Mr. Trump’s critics andhave blamed the president for stirring up the mob.
Three of the honorees – former golfers Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player and Babe Zaharias – were awarded the medal on Thursday, less than 24 hours after the riot. Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, a staunch Trump ally, is expected to receive the medal on Monday, the official said.
It is not known whether Belichick would accept the offer. CBS News reached out to the Patriots for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
At least one local lawmaker believes Belichick should stay away from the medal. Congressman Jim McGovern, a Democrat representing Massachusetts, told CNN that Belichick should refuse it.
“Bill Belichick should do the right thing and say, ‘No thanks’… To accept it as disgraceful,” he said.
JUST NOW: “To accept it is disgraceful. “
— John Berman (@JohnBerman)
Mr. Trump thinks highly of Belichick and considers the legendary coach a friend. Over the summer, Mr. Trump praised Belichick and even joked that he’d seek him for military advice, after being asked whether Belichick or Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady had a better chance of winning the Super Bowl this year.
“This guy just knows how to win…You know, if I ever had a military battle, I’d call up Belichick and say what do you think? What do you think? Give me a couple of ideas,” he told radio host Hugh Hewitt.
Belichick was also recently re-appointed to Mr. Trump’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition in December, CBS Boston reported. The objective of the council is to “increase sports participation among youth of all backgrounds and abilities and to promote healthy and active lifestyles for all Americans,” according to its website.