Without setting foot on a battlefield, Donald Trump said he received a Purple Heart medal on Tuesday at his rally in Ashburn, Virginia, from a retired lieutenant colonel and supporter.
“I said to him, ‘Is that like the real one, or is that a copy?” the Republican nominee said moments after taking the stage at a local high school.
Trump recounted the exchange, remarking that the man, who he identified as retired Lt. Col. Louis Dorfman said, “That’s my real Purple Heart. I have such confidence in you.”
“And I said, ‘Man, that’s like big stuff. I always wanted to get the Purple Heart,” Trump said. “This was much easier.”
Trump then invited Dorfman to appear onstage with him on camera, as the two posed for photographs and Trump flashed a thumbs-up before placing the Purple Heart back in his suit jacket pocket.
Trump then told his audience that he had asked Dorfman to speak, but that the man had told him, “No, sir. I’d just like you to keep saying what you’ve been saying.”
The Republican nominee has been under fire in recent days for his attacks on the Gold Star family of a fallen Muslim U.S. Army captain who spoke at last week’s Democratic National Convention to denounce Trump’s comments on immigration.
Following Trump’s statement, NBC reporter Katy Tur tweeted that she had spoken with Dorfman and that he said the medal he gave to Trump was a copy of the one awarded to him.
Dorfman was awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded in action in Iraq in 2007.