President Donald Trump joked about giving himself the Congressional Medal of Honor in a speech to a veterans group in Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday.
“There’s nothing like the Medal of Honor,” Trump said after acknowledging Medal of Honor recipient and World War II veteran Cpl. Hershel “Woody” Williams in the crowd. “I wanted one, but they told me I don’t qualify, Woody.”
Trump was speaking at the AMVETS 75th Annual National Convention in Louisville when he cracked the joke, eliciting laughter from the crowd.
“I said, ‘Can I give it to myself anyway?'” Trump said to laughter in the room. “They said, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.'”
Watch the video below, via ABC News:
President Trump jokes with Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Cpl. Hershel "Woody" Williams while speaking at the American Veterans convention: "There's nothing like the Medal of Honor. I wanted one but they told me I don't qualify, Woody." https://t.co/AfEIFrfeM5 pic.twitter.com/m7gqQcH5d8
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 21, 2019
VoteVets, a progressive veterans group, noted that Trump “actively avoided military service,” when he was younger. The president received five draft deferments, including one for bone spurs in his heels, during the Vietnam War.
“Can I give myself the Medal of Honor?” – Donald Trump, at AMVETS, seeming to forget that he actively avoided military service
— VoteVets (@votevets) August 21, 2019
Former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, who is flirting with a potential primary challenge against the president, questioned whether Trump would actually end up giving himself a Medal of Honor.
How much you wanna bet tomorrow Donald Trump actually gives himself the Medal of Honor?
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) August 22, 2019
Though the president appeared to be joking on Wednesday, it’s not the first time he’s coveted a military decoration. Amid a spat with the family of a fallen soldier during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump responded to a supporter gifting him a Purple Heart medal by saying he “always wanted” one.
“I said to him, ‘Is that, like, the real one or is that a copy?’” Trump said of his conversation with the supporter who gifted him the medal given to service members who are wounded or killed while serving.
“I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier,” he said. “But I tell you, it was such an honor.”