*New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick has declined to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump because he incited the deadly insurrection in the U.S. Capitol last week.
“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. Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award,” Belichick said in a statement, per TheWrap.
Belichick noted that while he’s a proud American “with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy,” he is also a coach who represents his “family and the New England Patriots team.”
“One of the most rewarding things in my professional career took place in 2020 when, through the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality, and human rights moved to the forefront and became actions,” Belichick said. “Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team, and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick says in statement he won’t accept Presidential Medal of Freedom after “tragic events of last week,” adding that “remaining true to the people, team and country I love” is outweighed by “benefits of any individual award.” https://t.co/0QSO53sHLK pic.twitter.com/drH9oeP0bE
— ABC News (@ABC) January 12, 2021
The president was expected to award Belichick on Thursday, but several lawmakers called on him to decline the medal.
Meanwhile, five people are dead, including a Capitol police officer after supporters of President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday amid the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. The president had urged his supporters to fight against the event, and they responded to his call to action.
An armed standoff with police took place at the House front door at about 3 p.m. ET, and several hours would pass before the building was cleared of the domestic terrorists.
Amid the riots, Trump responded to the insurrection in a tweet by telling the violent mob “We love you. You are very special.”
He also sympathized with the rioters, saying, “I know your pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it. Especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace.”
Trump is facing a second impeachment for inciting the deadly insurrection in the U.S. Capitol last week. The president is expected to defend his tarnished legacy Tuesday with a speech in Alamo, Texas.