A veteran gave Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump a Purple Heart medal before his Tuesday morning rally in Ashburn, Virginia, prompting Trump to comment that “this was much easier” than earning it himself.
The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces when they have been wounded or killed in war.
Trump told the audience during his rally that “something very nice just happened to me. A man came up to me and he handed me his Purple Heart.”
As the audience aahed, Trump continued: “I said to him, ‘Is that like the real one or is that a copy? And he said, ‘That’s my real Purple Heart. I have such confidence in you.’”
“And I said, ‘Man that’s big stuff.’ I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier, but I tell you it was such an honor.”
Trump, who identified the veteran as retired Lt. Col. Louis Dorfman, then brought him up on stage and shook hands, holding the award up again for the crowd. According to records, Dorfman was wounded in action in November 2007 in Iraq.
The giving of the Purple Heart followed a days-long feud in the press between Trump and the family of Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2004. After Khan’s parents spoke at the Democratic National Convention Thursday, questioning what sacrifices Trump made for his country, Trump insisted that he had in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
“I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices,” Trump said Sunday, citing how he “created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs.” “I work very, very hard.”
The New York Times reported Monday that Trump, who was a young man at the time of the Vietnam war, received five deferments from military service: four for his college education and a fifth for a diagnosis of heel spurs. The last made him medically exempt from the draft, unlike 300,000 men who joined the military that year, the Times reported.
Contrary to Trump’s comments on stage Tuesday, NBC reporter Katy Tur said the veteran in question told her he had made a copy of his original Purple Heart to give to the presidential candidate:
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also responded to Trump’s comments on Twitter, referencing his conflict with the Khans: