Surrounded by his wife of 61 years, Ursula, as well as the couple’s children, grandchildren and great-grandson, Meese, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom after much praise from Trump who regarded 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,” Trump said. “You’re just an inspiration, period. Everybody that knows you uses that word: You’re an inspiration.”
Meese, the Deputy District Attorney of Alameda County, Calif. in 1966, met then Governor-elect Ronald Reagan and was offered the position of Legal Affairs Secretary for his administration, later serving as his chief of staff.
He went on to oversee Reagan’s transition to the White House after his presidential win in 1980 and became the 75th Attorney General four years later.
“He was a star,” 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 the late president in his remarks after being decorated with the medal in the Oval Office, saying “Ronald Reagan was a pivotal part of my life and I am always grateful to him.”
Meese resigned his position in 1988 after a series of corruption allegations plagued his time in office.
A staunch conservative, Meese, 87, went on to become an author, speaker and fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.