Fox News senior strategic analyst and retired Army Gen. Jack Keane became emotional on “Sunday Morning Futures” responding to President Trump’s decision to name him as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which he is set to receive in an award ceremony at the White House on Tuesday.
“I was absolutely shocked and stunned when the president called several months ago,” Keane told Maria Bartiromo, detailing the call between him and the president in which he was informed that he would receive the nation’s highest civilian honor.
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“I mean, it really is quite overwhelming, to tell you the truth. It’s not something that anyone would aspire to, and you cannot help but reflect almost immediately when you’re told you’re receiving an honor like this, about the love and support that I’ve had all my life from family and friends,” Keane added.
In a statement, the White House called Keane a “well-respected foreign policy and national security expert” who “devoted his life to keeping America safe and strong.”
“It’s a humbling thing … I lived the life in the military among heroes and they have given me the inspiration – when I was serving and to this day – in terms of the sacrifices that they are willing to make,” Keane said Sunday.
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“I also recognize fully that so many people that I have associated in my life, to be quite honest, deserve this award more than I do – and that will keep me grounded, for sure,” added Keane, a decorated veteran who has received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, five Legions of Merit and the Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award, among other honors.
“I was absolutely shocked and stunned when the president called several months ago.”
Bartiromo said she “could not be happier” for the 77-year-old retired general and that the award “could not be better deserved.”
Asked to comment on concerns surrounding U.S. soldiers at risk of contracting the coronavirus abroad, particularly in South Korea, Japan and Italy, Keane said the “entire chain of command” is focused on putting proper safeguards in place, but that he believed infected soldiers would make a full recovery.
“Here is the good news,” Keane explained. “This is a very healthy population. It’s largely young and – and in good health, so I think even if they contract it, they will get through it as we have seen so many other people. The overwhelming majority, everybody who gets the disease survives it and I think the soldiers would be the embodiment of that.”
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Keane added that the “entire chain of command is focused on it and they will have safeguards and protections for them … but our troops will stay deployed in the national interest of the American people and keep doing their job and their duty.”
Fox News’ Charles Creitz contributed to this report.