One of the biggest surprises of the evening was the presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative political radio host Rush Limbaugh.
Limbaugh announced this week that he has been diagnosed with advanced-stage lung cancer.
Limbaugh was seated right next to first lady Melania Trump in the House gallery when he was recognized by the president.
“Almost every American family knows the pain when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness,” Trump said. “Here tonight is a special man, beloved by millions of Americans, who just received a Stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis. This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet.”
Trump thanked Limbaugh for “decades of tireless devotion to our country.”
“And, Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country's highest civilian honor: the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Trump declared.
Trump asked the first lady to present the medal to Limbaugh. Limbaugh was noticeably shocked and grateful for the honor.