President Trump created a lasting memory during an unscripted moment in a Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House.
Trump welcomed the wife of First Lt. Garlin Murl Conner, who died 20 years ago, to the stage to posthumously present the Congressional Medal of Honor on Tuesday. Conner, a native of Albany, Kentucky, was a World War II hero who fought on the front lines in 10 campaigns though he was wounded seven times.
As Conner’s wife Pauline made her way to the stage, the president stepped forward to show her to her seat. But the 89-year-old refused to sit down until she gave Trump a hug and planted a kiss on his cheek.
Not expecting the move at first, the president quickly realized what she was doing and reciprocated with an embrace and a kiss as well as those in attendance applauded.
“She told me she voted for Trump,” the president quipped as Conner took her seat, sparking an outburst of laughter and more applause from the audience.
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) June 26, 2018
The president had peppered his remarks before presenting the medal with facts and anecdotes about Conner, a man with an “extraordinary courage and devotion that burned like a righteous fire in his soul.”
Garlin Conner never wavered under fire during his 28 consecutive months of combat in North Africa and Europe. In the two decades since his death, his family never wavered in their quest for the recognition that they knew he deserved – the Medal of Honor. https://t.co/IeZ1G6h0Pn pic.twitter.com/pcLmgjJPvA
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) June 26, 2018
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) June 27, 2018
“Today we pay tribute to this Kentucky farm boy who stared down evil with the strength of a warrior and the heart of a true hero,” Trump said after joking with Conner’s wife about the couple’s 53-year marriage.
“Was it good or great, Pauline?” he asked, to which she replied, “It was great.”
“That’s good. Oh, boy, I’m glad she said that,” Trump said as the crowd broke into laughter. “We might have had to cancel the rest. That would have been terrible.”
It was a privilege to welcome members of the armed services to the @WhiteHouse today for the #MedalofHonor Ceremony. We honor the memory & service of First Lieutenant Conner to our great nation. Thank you Pauline, for accepting this honor on behalf of your husband.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) June 26, 2018
See the president’s full comments and presentation of the award in the White House video below: