Obama: No mechanism to revoke Cosby’s Medal of Freedom

Entertainer Bill Cosby gestures during a November 2014 interview at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington. President Barack Obama rejected the idea of revoking Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom because of sexual misconduct allegations.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Wednesday rejected the idea of revoking Bill Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Freedom because of sexual misconduct allegations.

“There’s no precedent for revoking a medal,” Obama said. “We don’t have that mechanism.”

Obama was asked about Cosby and his medal at a presidential news conference in the East Room.

The president declined to address the specific allegations against Cosby because there are pending legal matters. But he left no question about his position on the larger issue of drugs, consent and rape.

“If you give a woman, or a man, for that matter, without his or her knowledge a drug, and then have sex with that person without consent, that’s rape,” he said. “And I think this country, any civilized country, should have no tolerance for rape.”

Court documents obtained by The Associated Press have revealed that Cosby acknowledged under oath that he obtained Quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex.

A sexual assault awareness group has petitioned the White House to revoke Cosby’s presidential medal. It was awarded to him in 2002 by President George W. Bush.