President Donald Trump on Tuesday, Oct. 8, awarded one of the nation’s highest civilian honors to Edwin Meese III, former President Ronald Reagan’s attorney general.
Surrounded by his family and friends in the Oval Office, Meese received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump who praised him as “a loyal fighter for freedom, a champion of law and order, mentor to young Americans, and faithful defender of our Republic.”
“You are an inspiration to liberty-loving citizens everywhere,” the president said. “You’re just an inspiration, period. Everybody that knows you uses that word: You’re an inspiration,” the president continued.
Meese, the deputy district attorney of Alameda County, California in 1966, joined then-Gov. Ronald Reagan’s staff one year later. He served as legal secretary and as an executive assistant and chief of staff.
After Reagan became president, Meese ran the transition team and was offered the position of chief policy adviser before going on to become the 75th attorney general. He also served as a frequent ambassador to evangelicals and other conservatives on social issues.
Meese helped President Reagan to build a foreign policy that led to the end of the Cold War and played a pivotal role in securing historic tax cuts.
“He was a star,” President Trump said. “Ed was among President Reagan’s closest advisers as the administration implemented tax cuts, a dramatic defense buildup and a relentless campaign to defeat communism.”
Meese thanked President Trump, praising him on the variety of successes he has achieved—including being the first president of the United States to bring religious liberty issues to the United Nations.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 9, 2019
Meese resigned his position as attorney general in 1988 after being subject of an investigation, which ended without prosecution. Meese, 87, stayed active in conservative circles and became author, speaker, and a fellow at Heritage Foundation.
Includes reporting of the Associated Press