Donald Trump Wanted To Give Himself The Medal Of Honor, He Told A Group Of Veterans

Donald Trump told a group of veterans on Wednesday that he wanted to give himself the Medal of Honor, but was talked out of it, Politico reports. The “joke,” if indeed it was a joke, got a few tepid chuckles from the crowd.

Trump was addressing the annual convention of American Veterans (AMVETS), a service organization composed of and dedicated to causes related to veterans as well as community service at large, in Louisville, Kentucky. There, he singled out Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams, the only surviving man to have received that honor for action in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

“Nothing like the Medal of Honor,” he said.

Trump then went on to suggest that he wanted to give the Medal of Honor to himself, but was talked out of it.

“I wanted one, but they told me I don’t qualify, Woody. I said, ‘Can I give it to myself anyway?’ They said, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.'”

The remark got a few scattered chuckles from the audience.

It’s unclear whom Trump was referring to when he said “they” talked him out of it. Also unclear is whether or not he was joking — indeed, that would be known only to him.

What is clear, however, is that Trump cannot receive the Medal of Honor, for a variety of reasons.

The Medal of Honor, sometimes colloquially (and erroneously) referred to as the “Congressional Medal of Honor,” is bestowed ceremonially by the president, but it’s Congress that passes the resolution to award it, on the advice of military commanders.

The honor is reserved for military members who showed great valor on the field of battle. For example, Woody Williams, who was in attendance at the AMVETS convention and who got a special nod from Trump, battled Japanese combatants armed with only a flamethrower, while under heavy enemy fire, during the battle of Iwo Jima, according to Marine Corps University.

Donald Trump never served in the military, and instead got five draft deferments: four for college, and one for bone spurs.

As a civilian, Trump could theoretically qualify for the Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor, instituted during the Kennedy administration. The recipients of that honor are determined solely by the president, with or without input from Congress or military commanders (though a civilian honor, it can be given to military members as well). As of this writing, no president has awarded the Medal of Freedom to himself.