US President Donald Trump has honoured Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight and country singer Alison Krauss with a prestigious national award for the arts.
It was first time during Mr Trump’s nearly three-year-old presidency that he has awarded the National Medal of Arts Medal.
Voight, one of four winners of the National Medal of Arts, later accompanied Mr Trump to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to pay tribute to the remains of two US service members who were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan this week.
The White House ceremony marked a rare warm moment between artists and Mr Trump. The president has had a chilly relationship with a broad swath of Hollywood and the arts world, which have shunned Mr Trump over his immigration policies, his Supreme Court picks, his administration’s efforts to roll back abortion rights and other issues.
The artists and pioneers receiving the National Medal of the Arts today have entertained millions, enriched American art and culture, and given us insights to the complexity of the human mind and heart. pic.twitter.com/WtEQ1uWsXC
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 21, 2019
Mr Trump said: “Each of today’s recipients has made an outstanding contributions to American society, culture and life. They exemplify the genius, talent and creativity of our exceptional nation.”
Voight, who stars in the Showtime drama Ray Donovan, won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of a troubled Vietnam War veteran in the 1978 film Coming Home and starred in the 1969 Oscar-winning best picture Midnight Cowboy.
The other recipients of the National Medal of Arts were Alison Krauss, a Grammy-winning bluegrass-country musician; Sharon Percy Rockefeller, the CEO of Washington’s flagship public television and radio stations; and the musicians of the US military.