Apr 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

JFK “Profile in Courage” awards given to politicians who stood up to Trump and Putin

Liz Cheney in Dec. 2021. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will be two of the recipients presented with this year's John F. Kennedy "Profile in Courage" awards.

Driving the news: Recipients of the award are being honored "for their courage to protect and defend democracy in the United States and abroad," the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation said in a statement Thursday.

  • "There is no issue today more important than the fight for democracy. These honorees have placed their careers and lives on the line to protect democratic principles and free and fair elections," the statement reads.

The big picture: As Ukraine's leader, Zelensky has "marshaled the spirit, patriotism, and untiring sacrifice of the Ukrainian people," amid Russia's unprovoked invasion, the foundation wrote in a profile.

  • "His principled leadership has strengthened the resolve of Ukrainians and people around the globe to protect and defend the fragile human right of self-determination."
  • The foundation is honoring Cheney for standing up against the violence of the Capitol riot and former President Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, even as it meant enduring threats and breaking with her party.
  • Cheney "remains a consistent and courageous voice in defense of democracy," the foundation wrote.

The three other recipients this year are Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D), Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R), and Georgia Election Department employee Wandrea “Shaye” Moss. 

  • All three faced threats and intimidation from Trump supporters after they upheld the results of the 2020 election in their respective states.

What they're saying: "In America, we have also seen how fragile our democratic institutions can be, and we have learned that they do not defend themselves. We — each of us — must do that," Cheney wrote in a statement Thursday, thanking the fondation for the "tremendous honor."

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