Donald Trump accused of 'sending a message' by honouring Elvis Presley

'A little nod to the good old days, back when black visionaries could invent rock-and-roll, but only a white man could become the king'

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Saturday 17 November 2018 09:30
Comments
Trump recalls when he saw Elvis in Vegas

Donald Trump has been accused of "sending a message" by choosing Elvis Presley to receive a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom – 41 years after his death.

While it may come as a surprise Presley hadn't already received the honour, Trump's decision to extend the distinction to the cultural icon has raised a few eyebrows.

The Washington Post’s pop culture critic Chris Richards called Trump’s move “a little nod to the good old days, back when black visionaries could invent rock-and-roll, but only a white man could become the king.”

“Yes, Trump is sending a message here,” Richards wrote. "Presley was a hero to most, but does hanging a medal onto one of the most decorated ghosts in popular culture change anything at all about his complicated legacy or how we think about his music today? No. Does it show us how our president continues to use his brazen lack of imagination as a cultural cudgel? Yes."

During the ceremony, Trump managed to fluff a famous quote that referred to Presley as he recalled the time he saw the singer perform live.

Overexcited fans were “ripping the place apart, screaming“ and. ”were going crazy", Trump said. To calm the crowd, he claimed an announcement was made that “Elvis has left the house”. The oft-repeated phrase is actually “Elvis has left the building”.

As well as Presley, who the White House described as “an enduring American icon”, there were six other recipients of the award.

Baseball legend Babe Ruth, National Football League (NFL) hall-of-famers Roger Staubach and Alan Page, retiring Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were among the others given the award.

During the ceremony, Donald Trump appeared to praise Justice Scalia - and his widow, Maureen, who accepted the medal posthumously for her husband - for their prowess in having children.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in