President Obama surprised his Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday by bestowing the Presidential Medal of Freedom on him.
This happened at a tearful goodbye where the president referred to his VP of 8 years as “my brother”.
Obama had reportedly called Mr. Biden and his wife, Jill, to the White House for a private farewell, the president instead then brought him into a room filled with his friends, family and colleagues to present him with the honor, the nation’s highest.
According to records, for the first time, Obama awarded the medal with distinction, an added level of honour that previous presidents had reserved for recipients like Pope John Paul II more ceremonial dignitaries.
“To know Joe Biden is to know love without pretense, service without self-regard, and to live life fully,” Mr. Obama said during the televised ceremony, as Mr. Biden wiped tears from his eyes and dabbed at his nose with a handkerchief.
Addressing Mr. Obama, who stood to his side, Mr. Biden said that he had never met anyone who had “the integrity and the decency and the sense of other people’s needs like you do.”
The ceremony was an emotional conclusion to an improbable partnership that began in 2008 when Mr. Obama asked his former presidential rival to be his running mate.