ASHBURN, Virginia — A military veteran supporting Donald Trump gifted the Republican nominee his Purple Heart Tuesday, prompting Trump to say he “always wanted to get the Purple Heart” and this was “much easier” than serving in combat.
Purple Hearts are awarded to service members who suffer wounds in combat.
“Something very nice just happened to me. A man came up to me and handed me his Purple Heart,” Trump told supporters at a campaign event here. “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.'”
Trump received the veteran on stage at the start of the rally to receive the decoration.
“I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier,” Trump said.
Trump then pocketed the decoration after the veteran left the stage.
The New York Times reported Monday that Trump received multiple student deferments and a medical deferment for a bone spur during the Vietnam War, successfully avoiding getting drafted into service.
Trump’s comments come as his military deferments during the Vietnam War’s military draft have been scrutinized following his criticism of the family of Humayun Khan, a Muslim US soldier who was killed in the Iraq War.
Khizir Khan, Humayun’s father, declared at last week’s Democratic National Convention that Trump had “sacrificed nothing,” prompting the Republican nominee to claim he’d been “viciously attacked” and questioning why Khan’s wife, Ghazala, didn’t make her own remarks.
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama called Trump “unfit” for the presidency following the Republican nominee’s criticism of the Khan family.
“The Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president,” Obama said at a White House news conference with the Prime Minister of Singapore. “He keeps on proving it.”
Obama himself described his feelings as unprecedented, recalling disagreements with previous GOP presidential nominees Sen. John McCain and Mitt Romney — but never an outright sense they were unfit to serve.
“The notion that he would attack a Gold Star family that made such extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our country, the fact that he doesn’t appear to have basic knowledge of critical issues in Europe, the Middle East, in Asia, means that he’s woefully unprepared to do this job,” Obama said.