PATRIOTS HEAD COACH NIXES MEDAL OF FREEDOM AWARD FROM TRUMP
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has announced he would not accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom President Trump was scheduled to bestow on him, the Washington Post reported.
Belichick cited the "tragic events of last week" as leading to his decision. Pro-Trump rioters rampaged in the US Capitol last Wednesday. Five people died as a result of the chaos, including a US Capitol Police officer.
House Democrats want to impeach Trump, accusing him of "incitement of insurrection," Kevin Dotson also reported for the Washington Post.
"Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honor represents and admiration for prior recipients," Belichick said in a statement.
"Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award.
Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation's values, freedom and democracy."
A White House official told CNN the White House was made aware of the decision. Belichick has been the Patriots' head coach since 2000 and has won six Super Bowls, a NFL record for a head coach.
Belichick had faced repeated calls to decline the Presidential Medal of Freedom given the President's response to the US Capitol breach. Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern told CNN earlier Monday that Belichick should refuse it.
"This President has made a mockery of the Presidential Medal of Freedom," he said. "Look at who he is giving it to in the last weeks -- people like Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan -- I mean, please. Bill Belichick should do the right thing and say: 'No thanks.'"
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