President Barack Obama ensured his pal vice president Joe Biden would be honored in the best way possible during his exit from the White House. In an emotional surprise, Obama awarded Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday afternoon (Jan. 12).
NPR reports Obama’s speech highlighted Biden’s time as VP and their strong bond. Towards the end of the address, the president surprised Biden with the medal (with distinction) as a collective wave of aww’s filled the room. Biden quickly turned around to fight back the tears, but it was too late.”To know Joe Biden is to know love without pretense, service without self-regard, and to live life fully,” Obama said. He also called him “the best vice president America’s ever had” and a “lion of American history.”
Obama handpicked Biden for the vice president honor in 2008. Before his tenure, Biden began his political career in his late 20’s when he was elected to the Delaware (he was officially sworn in at 30). He also was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and worked in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Biden has been praised for championing landmark legislation for women, working to reduce the costs of college tuition and bubbly personality.
“This honor is not only well beyond what I deserve, but it’s a reflection of the generosity of your spirit,” Biden said to Obama. “I don’t deserve this. But I know it came from the president’s heart.”
Of course, the internet managed to make the moment even memorable with memes of the besties.
Biden: Can I say it?
Obama: Yup. You earned it.
Biden: Appreciate Ya! MY N…… pic.twitter.com/9soKer4RuH
— Legends (@LegendsofCH) January 13, 2017
Check out the surprise ceremony below.