The greatest bromance ever told got even sweeter Thursday when President Barack Obama shocked Vice President Joe Biden by awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Biden and the president had gathered with others for what was described as a final tribute to the vice president, the Washington Post reports.
Obama began by delivering a heartfelt tribute to his friend, confidant and partner in meme-crime, and as he finished his remarks, he called one of his military aides to the stage.
A Marine officer bearing the medal stood by as Obama began, “For the final time as president, I am pleased to award our nation’s highest civilian honor ... ”
An emotional Joe Biden immediately turned his back to the crowd and wiped his face and eyes with a handkerchief.
The president bestowed the medal “with distinction,” the Post reports, an honor that his three immediate predecessors had reserved for only three others: Pope John Paul II, former President Ronald Reagan and Gen. Colin Powell.
“I had no inkling,” Biden said after receiving the medal. “I thought we were going … to toast one another and say what an incredible journey it has been.
“I don’t deserve this,” the vice president said repeatedly.
Obama praised Biden’s long service in the Senate and called him a “lion of American history.” He spoke of their friendship and how it had been forged through tough times and tragedy, including the 2015 death of Biden’s son Beau of brain cancer.
“When Joe talks about hope and opportunity for our children, we hear the father who rode the rails home there every night so he could be there to tuck his kids into bed,” Obama said. “When Joe talks to Gold Star families who have lost a hero, we hear a kindred spirit, another father of an American veteran, somebody whose faith has been tested and has been forced to wander through the darkness himself and who knows who to lean on to find the light.”
At the close of the events, Biden lifted the medal off his chest and said, “This honor is not only well beyond what I deserve, but it is a reflection of the extent and generosity of your spirit,” he said to the president. “I don’t deserve this, but I know it came from the president’s heart.”
Read more at the Washington Post.