Donald Trump reportedly awarded the National Medal of the Arts to both Toby Keith and Ricky Skaggs while his impeachment hearing in the US House of Representatives was taking place yesterday (January 13).
Trump became the first US President to be impeached twice after he was charged with “incitement of insurrection” over last week’s deadly storming of the US Capitol by his supporters. He now faces a trial in the Senate, although that will not be concluded by the time he leaves office next Wednesday (January 20).
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Both Bloomberg and NBC News report that while yesterday’s impeachment hearing was underway in Congress, Trump was presiding over a private ceremony in the Oval Office which saw the country singers Keith and Skaggs each being awarded the National Medal of the Arts.
The Medal is the highest award that can be given to artists and arts patrons by the US government, and is awarded by the President to individuals or groups who “…are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States”.
Trump previously awarded the honour to Alison Krauss and Jon Voight during a ceremony in 2019.
Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, meanwhile, will culminate with the TV special Celebrating America, which will be hosted by Tom Hanks and feature musical performances by Justin Timberlake and Demi Lovato.