Dec 7, 2020
Donald Trump Presents Medal of Freedom to Dan Gable Transcript December 7
President Donald Trump presented the Medal of Freedom to wrestler and coach Dan Gable on December 7. Trump also answered questions from the press, and said Rudy Giuliani is “doing well” after testing positive for COVID-19. Read the transcript of the event here.
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President Trump: (00:00)
We present our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom to one of the greatest wrestlers in American history, Iowa legend, Dan Gable. He has been an incredible inspiration to so many people. We’re joined today by Dan’s wonderful wife, Kathy, and they’re incredible and large family, including 13 grandchildren. Thank you very much. Thank you Kathy, very much. It’s a great honor for us too. Thank you for being here. We’re also joined by Iowa senators, Chuck Grassley. Where’s Chuck? Chuck, congratulations on everything. Chuck and Joni Ernst, who just had a big victory. Thank you, Joni. What a job, what a job. They had you down a couple of points and you won by a lot.
Joni Ernst: (00:43)
President Trump: (00:43)
It’s one of those things that you really, you should be very proud of yourself. You campaigned hard, and that was a tremendous victory. Thank you very much. Also, representatives Jim Jordan. Where’s Jim? A great wrestler, a really great wrestler. I won’t go over the record because the only way you’re not great is compared to this guy, perhaps, but he’s a warrior in every way and we appreciate you being here and Markwayne Mullin. Thank you very much for being here and I’m glad your son is doing well and setting records also. These two guys are great. They’re really, really fantastic people.
President Trump: (01:19)
Dan was born and raised in the working class town of Waterloo, Iowa. His mother said she knew Dan would be a wrestler the day they brought him home from the hospital. Even as an infant, Dan refused to let his back even touch the ground. That’s sort of an interesting statement, probably so. At four years old, his parents sent him to the local YMCA where he learned to swim, wrestle, and play football.
President Trump: (01:45)
When he reached high school, Dan decided to commit himself entirely to wrestling. His coach quickly saw his unmatched intensity and gave Dan the keys to the gym so he could come first thing in the morning to practice. At first, Dan was alone, but as he achieved one victory after another, the rest of the team followed his lead. He worked hard, but he was also born with something very special. It’s called talent, and talent, you either have it or you don’t. During his time in high school, Dan’s beloved sister, Diane, toughest time in his life was murdered. Afterwards, Dan poured even more of his energy into wrestling and his exceptional success brought happiness and pride to his family, especially in overcoming this incredible heartbreak that they had with what happened to Diane.
President Trump: (02:37)
As a high school wrestler, Dan went 64 and zero, not losing a single match. I have to say, Jim Jordan told me all about, I knew all about Dan, but he told me things that are pretty amazing, right, Jim? Pretty amazing. Dan then attended Iowa State where he secured two NCAA wrestling championships, National Wrestling Championships, three Big Eight titles and became a three-time All-American. He won 117 consecutive matches and lost only one. Well, in politics I won two, so I’m two and O and that’s pretty good too, but we’ll see how that turns out. After that lone defeat, Dan vowed that it wasn’t going to happen again. He couldn’t stand the feeling of losing a match. He rededicated himself to mastering the sport and soon adapted his wrestling style to reach new heights of greatness. Sports Illustrated labeled Dan the hardest working athlete in the world by far, and detailed his rigorous routine of working out two to three times a day, every single day of the week. They estimated the Dan produced 60 pounds of sweat every seven days. That’s a lot. I’m not sure I want to hear about it, but that’s a lot. That’s a lot of work.
President Trump: (03:59)
In his pursuit of perfection, Dan suffered multiple injuries. His nose, multiple fingers were broken and his feet were very tough stuff. He pushed every single muscle to the absolute limit. Nobody’s ever done it like him, but his unwavering grit and focus, it propelled him forward through all of that adversity, tremendous adversity. Before matches, Dan would repeat the words, “Cakes, carries, ducks, picks, shucks, sweeps,” over and over again. I have to ask Dan, why, why Dan?
Dan Gable: (04:35)
Because they’re all moves that in the match and you get your hand raised.
President Trump: (04:39)
Dan Gable: (04:40)
That was going through my head.
President Trump: (04:41)
That’s pretty good.
Dan Gable: (04:43)
I wasn’t worried about his moves. I was only worried about my moves.
President Trump: (04:46)
Wow. Well, you did the … Whatever it was. You did the right thing. He had only two things in mind, scoring and dominating. In the midst of the Cold War, he was selected to represent team USA at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The leader of the Soviet wrestling team proclaimed that he would search the USSR and find a wrestler that would defeat Dan Gable. That was his big ambition, and they found somebody that was considered one of the greatest anywhere in the world, but they failed. Dan won every match and did not give up a single point. How many matches in the Olympics, Dan?\.
Dan Gable: (05:25)
President Trump: (05:25)
You won every match and you didn’t give up a point?
Dan Gable: (05:28)
President Trump: (05:28)
That’s a record. That’s a record I think that still stands. To do that, did the Russian in the final did not get a point?
Dan Gable: (05:36)
Russian did not get a point.
President Trump: (05:38)
What did you win that one by?
Dan Gable: (05:39)
Only won at 3-0, but-
President Trump: (05:41)
That’s okay. That’s pretty good. What do you think, Jim? Have you ever heard of when you go six matches and don’t give up a point against great talent?
President Trump: (05:52)
You watched it, right?
Watched his final match against Russia.
President Trump: (05:53)
That’s amazing. To me, that’s amazing. Not giving up a single point. He toppled Soviet preeminence in the sport at that time. Russia’s, they had the greatest wrestlers in the world they thought, except for Dan. They sort of felt they couldn’t beat him. Defeated their wrestler in that final match and took home the Olympic gold medal. As a wrestler, Dan said a pin streak record of 25 consecutive pins. Now, I’m larger than you a little bit. You think I could take you in wrestling? Huh? Would I have a big advantage?
Dan Gable: (06:26)
You would have no chance.
President Trump: (06:29)
What do you think? I agree. Do you agree with that, John? I do. I agree.
He’s the expert.
President Trump: (06:34)
He’s the expert. That is held to this day, 25 consecutive pins. He was also the first American to win consecutive world at Olympic titles. Dan went on to coach at the University of Iowa where he secured 355 victories and 15 NCAA team titles. Jim Jordan told me that he was the greatest wrestler ever, but he may have been a better coach, right Jim? Now, has any team in any sport ever won 15 NCAA team titles because I don’t know. I mean, I think that’s a lot that’s more than UCLA in basketball, right?
Dan Gable: (07:12)
President Trump: (07:13)
I don’t know if it has any … Jim? I don’t think so.
I think it may be the most.
President Trump: (07:16)
I think it’s incredible. His team scored an average of 17 victories for every loss and he was named the University of Iowa’s all-time winning winningest coach. I think probably … You look all over the country. It would be the all-time winningest coach, so that’s incredible, 15 NCAA titles. As a coach, Dan has trained, guided and mentored 152 All-American athletes, 106 Big 10 champions, 45 national champions and 12 Olympians. He was also the head coach of three US Olympic teams. Dan has said, quote, “I never jumped for joy as a player, but I always jumped for joy as a coach.” Other words, he did his job, but he was really rooting for those other people to do theirs. That’s great, Dan. It’s a great statement. Dan has been inducted into the USA Wrestling Hall of Fame, the United States Olympic Hall of Fame, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the United World Wrestling Hall of Fame.
President Trump: (08:15)
In 2013, he helped ensure that wrestling remained a very important top Olympic sport. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame has built a Dan Gable Museum in Dan’s hometown. A permanent reminder of the incredible journey that started in the great state Iowa. I love Iowa. I love Iowa and I knew those polls were wrong. They had me losing Iowa, Dan, and we won Iowa by a lot. There were a lot of polls that were wrong. I love that state. No one has done more to promote wrestling in America than Dan Gable. He’s an athletic giant who conquered one the most difficult in ancient sports in the world. He’s the greatest wrestler probably ever. We’ve never had anybody like him. He’s made our country very proud and he is a true goat. You know what goat is, goat? Greatest of all time, right? He’s the greatest of all time. Today, in recognition of his really exceptional achievements, Dan will become the first wrestler in history to receive this, our most important award, along with the Congressional Medal of Honor.
President Trump: (09:29)
I would now like to ask the military aid to step forward to present Coach Dan Gable with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but before doing that, I’d like to have Dan say a few words, please. Thank you, Dan, please.
Dan Gable: (09:50)
Get this down here. Wrestlers are all sizes and shapes, so I asked how much time I had up here because I’m not used to a short talk.They said I had three minutes and I’m used to speaking to groups for 45 minutes and so on. I had one company actually bring me in for four hours straight, a talk. I did it and they brought me back four more years after that, so must’ve did a good job. I learned to become an assistant coach under a good mentor, a good head coach at the University of Iowa. They sent me out into the community to promote the sport that they really weren’t excelling at and wanted to do more. Yeah, I learned to talk because I didn’t do it well, and talk helped. Yet talk didn’t win me over.
Dan Gable: (10:50)
Performance and lifestyle did. It wasn’t perfect because nothing’s perfect, but no place on this earth is perfect and there’s always room for improvement. The success one has with others, as he mentioned, is more important than the success you have as yourself. I wouldn’t be here on this podium if I just had won this Olympic gold medal. It has been a lifetime of work, learning from many others to be an outstanding competitor and person then taking that knowledge and applying it to many, many others in different ways to have them perform at their highest so they can be real successful. That group of individuals become team members and because of their individual great performances, great historic teams and family performances are the results. Proof is in the results. The proof is here today. My immediate family of 23, who are all right here, led by my wife, Kathy of 46 years, they are living it.
Dan Gable: (11:57)
Because of this, they all have better chances of success. They are witnessing this historic moment of someone quite ordinary, mostly, going to the highest level as an athlete, and then helping others do the same to the professional level of coaching. Did so for years, showing others that are just watching, reading or listening who really strive to do the same. It works, it works. Living proof right there. For those that couldn’t be here because of limitations or have passed, especially my mother, Kate, my dad, Mack, my sister, Diane, whom he referenced was murdered in our own home as a teenager because she fought for her life and didn’t give in. I know they are here and they’re all proud. I thank you very much for giving this kid here the opportunity to reach this level of the highest award, a civilian can get. The Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Dan Gable: (12:57)
Of course, for all those that push the authority, President Donald J. Trump, I thank you for that. Including his family, because yes, I know this family has wrestled on and off the mat every day. To the sport of wrestling being the first to win this award, it becomes a higher challenge to all that participate. By the way, wrestling isn’t for everyone, but it should be. Now, females are strongly participating across the world. I’m so honored to be here. Three minutes, what they gave me, maybe a little overtime, not much.
President Trump: (13:41)
You take your time.
Dan Gable: (13:43)
Remember, I’ve never left practice as an athlete or a coach when it was over either. Thank you.
President Trump: (13:57)
Thank you. Come on over here and we’ll do it over here. Congratulations, everybody.
President Trump: (14:10)
Here we go.
Speaker 6: (14:23)
Danny Mack Gable is one of the greatest collegiate athletes and coaches of the 20th century. As a wrestler, he was a three-time All-American winning two NCAA national championships and a gold medal at the 1972 Olympic games. He followed his career on the mat with an even more celebrated coaching career at the University of Iowa leading the Hawkeyes to 21 Big 10 championships and 15 national championships. The United States is proud to honor Danny Mack Gable for his remarkable contributions to the sports world and to our great American story.
President Trump: (14:54)
Put that here. Thank you very much. I’m very proud of you, as a nation, and thank you for doing such a great job. We appreciate it.
Speaker 7: (15:38)
We aren’t done yet.
President Trump: (15:50)
Do you have any questions for Dan?
Speaker 8: (15:51)
President Trump: (15:51)
John, for Dan.
For Dan, so many times college wrestling, isn’t appreciated in a way that other forms of wrestling are. Do you feel that this lifetime achievement award for you fully recognizes the sport of collegiate wrestling?
Dan Gable: (16:09)
I look at it as an inspiration and that others will have something that’s beyond just winning on the mat, that they’ll be able to want to do something like this. It’ll enhance our sport because it isn’t just like right now, me and him wrestling and whoever wins, the match gets a medal. It’s more than that, and that opens the door right now for a lot of people.
Speaker 9: (16:39)
How does it feel to be in the Oval Office for this today?
Dan Gable: (16:44)
How does it feel? The one time I didn’t focus on what I needed to do, I lost, so you’ll have to ask all of them. I don’t know. Where am I?
President Trump: (16:56)
Yeah, we’re very proud of you, Dan. Thank you very much. Thank you very much everybody, we appreciate it.
Speaker 10: (17:00)
[crosstalk 00:16:59]. Question for you, Mr. President.
Speaker 11: (17:02)
How’s Rudy Giuliani doing?
President Trump: (17:04)
I heard he is doing well. I just spoke to him. He is doing very well, no temperature. He actually called me early this morning. He was the first call I got. Now, he’s doing very well. That’s another champion, greatest mayor in the history of New York. What he’s doing now is more important. He will admit that. He was the greatest mayor, did a fantastic job, especially when you see what’s going on nowadays, Dan. Rudy Giuliani was a great, great mayor and what he’s doing now, and he will say it is even more important.
Speaker 10: (17:32)
A week from now, Mr. President, the electors will meet to cast their vote. There’s not a lot of time between now and then to make your case to overturn the vote. At this point, are you looking to change the outcome of the election or try to make a case the American people that it wasn’t fixed?
President Trump: (17:49)
Well, I think the case already been made. If you look at the polls, it was a rigged election. You look at the different states, the election was totally rigged. It’s a disgrace to our country. It’s like a third world country. These ballots pouring in from everywhere using machinery that nobody knows, ownership nobody knows anything about. They have glitches as they call them. Glitches, with glitches, who aren’t glitches. They got caught sending out thousands of votes all against me, by the way. Now, this was like from a third world nation. I think the case has been made and now we find out what we can do about it, but you’ll see a lot of big things happening over the next couple of days. Very importantly, we’re here for a different reason. We’re here to present our highest achievement, really something that really speaks to such incredible achievement to a man who really is a great man and a great figure in sports, not just wrestling, in sports, one of our greatest athletes of all time. I just want to say it’s an honor to be with you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you everybody. Appreciate it.
Speaker 10: (18:53)
Mr. President, one more question about the inauguration.
President Trump: (18:54)
Thank you very much, Dan.
Speaker 12: (18:58)
Anything on Bill Barr, sir?