New York’s own Father Alexander Karloutsos will be among 17 prominent figures to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom next week, the White House announced Friday.

Actor Denzel Washington, gymnast Simone Biles and soccer star Megan Rapinoe are also among the recipients of the nation’s highest civilian honor — which presidents often use to host celebrities or reward longtime friends and associates.

Three honorees will receive their medals posthumously: Apple founder Steve Jobs, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka.

Other recipients will include former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), who has advocated for gun control since she was seriously injured in a 2011 mass shooting in her home state that killed six people, and prominent Donald Trump critic Khizr Khan.

Karloutsos retired last year as the vicar general of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Karloutsos retired last year as the vicar general of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
FilmMagic
Actor Denzel Washington is also among the high-profile honorees.
Actor Denzel Washington is also among the high-profile honorees.
Getty Images

Khan and his wife, Ghazala, emerged as public figures during the 2016 presidential campaign when they spoke at that year’s Democratic National Convention against then-candidate Trump’s rhetoric regarding Muslim immigration. Their son, US Army Capt. Humayun Khan, died in Iraq in 2004.

It’s unclear why Biden is only giving the award to Khizr Khan and not his wife.

Southampton resident Karloutsos retired last year as the vicar general of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The beloved spiritual leader and his family are close to the Bidens — so close that Karloutsos’ son Michael reportedly attended an infamous 2015 DC dinner arranged by then-second son Hunter Biden that included Joe Biden and, according to emails and a photo, business associates from Ukraine, Kazakhstan and possibly Russia.

Gymnast Simone Biles will also receive the Medal of Freedom next week.
Gymnast Simone Biles will also receive the Medal of Freedom next week.
AP
Soccer star and activist Megan Rapinoe will also receive the Medal of Freedom.
Soccer star and activist Megan Rapinoe will also receive the Medal of Freedom.
REUTERS

Hunter Biden wrote in an email at the time to Michael Karloutsos that “the reason for the dinner is ostensibly to discuss food security.”

A day after the dinner, Vadym Pozharskyi, an executive at Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, which paid Hunter Biden $83,000 per month to sit on its board, emailed Hunter to thank him for the opportunity to meet his father.

Emails indicated that the guest list also included Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina and her husband, ex-Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov. A 2020 report from Senate Republican-led committees alleges that in 2014, Baturina paid $3.5 million to a firm associated with Hunter Biden. She is one of the oligarchs yet to face Biden administration sanctions in response to this year’s Russian invasion of Ukraine.



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