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Trump gets Elvis catchphrase wrong and praises Judge Scalia for how much sex he had during Medal of Freedom ceremony tribute

Chris Stevenson

Donald Trump has misquoted one of the most famous phrases in music history during a presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony - claiming "Elvis has left the house".

The president was recalling an Elvis Presley performance he had attended as he paid tribute to the rock 'n' roll star while bestowing what is thehighest civilian honour in the US alongside the Congressional Gold Medal.

Mr Trump said overexcited fans were “ripping the place apart, screaming" and. "were going crazy.”

To calm the crowd, an announcement was made that “Elvis has left the house” according to the president, while the oft-repeated phrase is usually "Elvis has left the building"

Clearly in a jovial mood as he handed the award to a number of recipients, Mr Trump joked that if “they didn't say that I think I would still be there — maybe I wouldn't be here.”

As well as Presley, who the White House described as "an enduring American icon," there were six other recipients of the award. Baseball legend Babe Ruth, National Football League (NFL) hall-of-famers Roger Staubach and Alan Page, retiring Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia were among the others given the award.

During the ceremony, Donald Trump appeared to praise Justice Scalia - and his widow, Maureen, who accepted the medal posthumously for her husband - for their prowess in having children.

Upon presenting the posthumous award, the president said: “Joining us for this ceremony is his wife Maureen, who’s become a great friend of my family and myself, and they’re nine children: Anne, Gene, John, Catherine, Marie-Claire, Paul, Matthew, Christopher and Meg. You were very busy wow.”

Mr Trump paused as a small laugh rippled through the seated crowd. The president then said: “Wow. I always knew I liked him,” which was welcomed with an even bigger laugh.

Appointed by Ronald Reagan, Antonin Scalia served on the Supreme Court 30 years until his death in 2016.

However, the nomination that drew criticism was Miriam Adelson. The doctor and philanthropist is the husband of billionaire casino magnate - and large Republican donor - Sheldon Adelson. The couple donated millions to Mr Trump's presidential campaign in 2016.

The White House said that the nominees were chosen following the same criteria used by previous administrations.

The views of “the public, advisory bodies, the cabinet and senior staff” were all taken into account in making the decision, White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said.

Mr Trump was quick to praise the current state of the US under his leadership as he paid tribute to those receiving the award.

“America is blessed to have the most skill, passion and talent anywhere on Earth,” Mr Trump said. “We are truly a great nation and we are a nation that is doing really, really well right now.”