Bob Dole, longtime Senate Republican leader and the GOP's 1996 presidential nominee, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal Wednesday for his service in war and government. President Ronald Reagan gave Dole the Presidential Citizens Medal in 1989.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY noted to laughter that Mr. Dole was the person credited with the joke that the most unsafe place in Washington was between Mr. Schumer and a TV camera.
Dole thanked everyone for their "kind words", and, in typical Dole fashion, added "They're probably not true, but they're kind". He served in the army and was wounded during World War 2. But Trump and the Republican-led Congress are now mired in a pitched budget battle that could end in a government shutdown at the end of the week if not resolved.
"I am extremely honored to accept this great honor", said Dole, speaking from a wheelchair.
Some of the award's 300 recipients include George Washington and Mother Teresa, according to the Congressional Research Service. Trump is not scheduled to have any additional meetings while at the Capitol.
'Tonight, this hall belongs to the party of Lincoln. During his time in office, he was known for his bipartisan ability to "reach across the aisle", which was illustrated by his work on the Americans with Disabilities Act. He served as a US senator from Kansas from 1968 through 1996, and was the Republican nominee for president in 1996. He lost in an Electoral College landslide to Democrat Bill Clinton. Dole had played basketball and football for the University of Kansas, but his education there was ended by World War II.
He was grievously injured during an offensive in Italy as he tried to save another soldier.
By then, he had begun collecting more of the nation's highest honors.
It's the highest honor the nation's legislative body has for a civilian.
"I can not imagine someone more deserving of a Congressional Gold Medal than Senator Bob Dole", said Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas. For all of the meaning of the medal he's getting today, the Purple Heart is the one he really cherishes'. "Senator Dole has spent his life serving the state of Kansas and our country - helping veterans and combatting child hunger and poverty".
"In hearing (Dole's) story they will truly learn what it means to be a great American".
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