On 2 August 2016, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told a crowd gathered a campaign event in Virginia that a military veteran had just given him his Purple Heart medal:
You know something very nice just happened to me. A man came up to me and he handed me his purple heart. Now I said to him is that a 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 like big stuff. I’ve always wanted to have a purple heart. This was much easier. But I tell you it was such an honor. Maybe I can bring him up on stage. Louis Dorfman.
The Purple Heart is awarded to U.S. military members who sustain wounds in service, such as Louis Edward Dorfman III, a veteran who received the medal after he was wounded in November 2007 while serving in Iraq. While the situation described by Trump in the video above appears to be largely accurate, at least one reporter disputed the claim that the Purple Heart Dorfman handed to Trump was a “real one”:
The man who gave Trump his purple heart told me earlier today, it was a copy of his purple heart.
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) August 2, 2016
As Donald Trump was gifted a Purple Heart (either a real medal or a replica) from a veteran in August 2016, the Republican Presidential nominee was also criticized for saying that he had “always wanted” a Purple Heart, an award that is only bestowed upon those wounded while serving in the U.S. military.
Democratic congressional candidate Sean Barney, himself a Purple Heart recipient took to Facebook to blast Trump for being “flippant and repugnant,” writing that “no one should ever ‘want’ to get a Purple Heart”:
Today, a Donald Trump supporter handed him a Purple Heart. Trump’s flippant and repugnant reply: “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.”
As someone who fought for our country in Iraq, was injured, and was awarded a Purple Heart, I can tell you, no one should ever “want” to get a Purple Heart.
Again and again, Donald Trump has proven that he is unfit to be the Commander in Chief of our armed forces. As Khizr Khan poignantly argued, Donald Trump has not sacrificed for this country and he does not understand duty to any cause other than himself.