Former President Donald Trump admitted Saturday that after he flew to Iraq aboard Air Force One that he wanted to give himself the Medal of Honor — the country’s highest award for military valor in action — but was told he wasn’t allowed to.
“As president, I wanted to give myself the Congressional Medal of Honor, but they wouldn’t let me do it…they said that would be inappropriate,” Trump said on July 23 at the Turning Point USA summit, whose “mission is to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.”
The Congressional Medal of Honor, which is typically presented by the president in the name of Congress, represents values of “bravery, courage, sacrifice [and] integrity,” and is only awarded for military valor in action.
Living recipients of the Medal of Honor include Florent A. Groberg, who was honored for “acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty” during combat operations in Afghanistan in 2012, and Gary George Wetzel, who “displayed extraordinary heroism in his efforts to aid his fellow crewmen” during the Vietnam War.
Many expressed their frustration of Trump’s statement on Twitter, pointing out his disregard for the award’s legacy for honoring “military valor in action” and his lack of knowledge for how the award is given. One user noted that Trump avoided the military draft for the Vietnam War five times.
Here are just a few of the many reactions from Twitter users:
Trump arranged five deferments to avoid serving in the Vietnam War. https://t.co/C2cCbqR5vv
— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) July 24, 2022
Of 40 million Americans who have served in the Armed Forces since the Civil War, 3,530 have been awarded the Medal of Honor. There are currently 65 living recipients.
Knowing a few of them, I suspect they know even thinking this is “inappropriate.” https://t.co/48eHWSp1XH https://t.co/9bmFscaHnU
— Mark Hertling (@MarkHertling) July 24, 2022
Trump wanting to give himself the Congressional Medal of Honor is the GOP in a nutshell.
— Mr. Newberger (@jeremynewberger) July 24, 2022
That’s…not the way the Medal of Honor works.
— Kai Ryssdal (@kairyssdal) July 24, 2022
Is it possible he doesn't know that the Medal of Honor is a military award?
And that he, sadly, is not eligible because he had those ouchies on his heels that kept him from serving? https://t.co/Spboxjm42E
— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) July 24, 2022
Dungbrain here doesn't know which group gives out the CONGRESSIONAL Medal of Honor https://t.co/guKbZnP8qH
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) July 24, 2022
Trump just told the crowd at @TPUSA he wanted to give himself the Congressional Medal of Honor but "was told it would be inappropriate."
That medal is given for acts of military bravery and valor in action. Trump has never served. But he has attacked those who have.
— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) July 24, 2022