President Donald Trump on Thursday said that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his role in leading the House Intelligence Committee during congressional investigations into potential conspiracy with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The award is the highest civilian honor in the United States.
“What he’s gone through, and his bravery, he should get a very important medal," Trump said, initially suggesting the Medal of Honor, which only goes to members to the military. Trump then clarified he meant the Medal of Freedom, during a phone call with Fox News.
The conservative lawmaker's hometown newspaper, the Fresno Bee, panned the idea in a blistering editorial.
"With due respect to the president and his affection for Nunes, giving the congressman the medal would be laughable," the Fresno Bee wrote.
"Nunes’ work on the Intelligence Committee has been highly controversial, damaging and embarrassing," the newspaper noted. "Nunes turned the committee’s traditional protocol — country before politics — upside down with how he has handled the committee’s investigation into Russian meddling."
"How ironic that the very medal Trump wants to give Nunes is called 'Medal of Freedom.' Freedom from a real investigation?" the editorial wondered.
"The Medal of Freedom should not be politicized. The president obviously is grateful to the congressman. But the better way to show it would be to give Nunes a stay at a Trump hotel, complete with some free breakfasts," the Fresno Bee concluded.