host Jimmy Kimmel ripped President Donald Trump’s decision to honor the veteran conservative talk show Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, pointing out that the prize was previously given to civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom following his announcement that he had received a stage four advanced cancer diagnosis.
Limbaugh, who was in attendance and seated next to First Lady Melania Trump, was visibly emotional upon learning of the honor.
“Here tonight is a special man, someone beloved by millions of Americans who just received a Stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis,” Trump declared.
“This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet,” he continued, before thanking the radio host for his “decades of tireless devotion to our country.”
Of course Kimmel — who referred to last night’s address as the “State of the Confederacy” — could not help but mock Trump’s decision.
“[Trump] gave Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” said Kimmel. “Today is Rosa Park’s day and this is a medal they gave Rosa Parks. Tonight, Rush Limbaugh got it.”
The decision also drew the ire of film director Rob Reiner and actor Patton Oswalt, both of whom took to Twitter in his usual fashion to share his disgust.
“Only one thing to say about Rush Limbaugh getting a Presidential Medal of Freedom at The State of the Union: I loathe this fucking man,” Reiner said.
Only one thing to say about Rush Limbaugh getting a Presidential Medal if Freedom at The State of the Union: I loathe this fucking man.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) February 5, 2020
“I’m a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, man. Front me 50 pills?” — Rush to his Oxy dealer tomorrow,” wrote.
“I’m a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, man. Front me 50 pills?” — Rush to his Oxy dealer tomorrow. #SOTU
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) February 5, 2020
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is often bestowed on individuals admired by the incumbent president. During President Barack Obama’s tenure, recipients of the award included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vice President Joe Biden, actor Robert De Niro, and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Obama awarded a total of 123 medals, the highest number in history, even surpassing the 102 medals awarded under President Ronald Reagan.