A former Michigan congressman believes he knows the source of President Donald Trump’s apparently baseless claim that he was once honored with a Michigan “man of the year” award, CNN and news group Michigan Live report.
Extensive investigations by HuffPost and CNN have been unable to find any evidence whatsoever of the award that Trump has boasted about repeatedly — most recently at his campaign rally Thursday in New Hampshire.
But former GOP Rep. Dave Trott told Michigan Live and CNN on Friday that he thinks he knows what Trump is talking about. He had invited Trump in 2013 to be the keynote speaker at the Oakland County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner in Michigan. At the event, Trott presented Trump with a tie, a statuette of Abraham Lincoln and a framed copy of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. But Trott says there was no man of the year award
Trump gave a “rambling speech touching every topic under the sun” but didn’t receive any awards, Trott, who was chairman of the event, told Michigan Live.
“There was no Michigan man of the year award,” Trott said, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. “There was certainly nothing like that bestowed upon him.”
At a 2017 roundtable discussion in Ypsilanti with auto industry executives, Cabinet members and Trott, Trump referred to his imagined man of the year award.
“And I want to thank you, Dave,” Trump said, nodding at Trott. “It’s true, about five or six years ago I was given the man of the year in Michigan. And I made a speech ... , and I said, ‘Your car industry is being stolen from you.’ Is that right?” he said, looking at Trott.
Trott responded: “Great speech.”
Trott told The Detroit News he knew there was no such award, but “I sure wasn’t comfortable correcting him in front of a group of automotive CEOs. It ... would’ve been embarrassing to him.”
Trott said he “just kind of nodded.” He told CNN: “Now that I’m out of Congress, I feel comfortable correcting the story.”
Even Trump has appeared to be confounded by the award he apparently concocted. If any such award existed, it would likely be given to someone from Michigan.
“Five or six years before I even thought about running, for whatever reason, they named me man of the year in Michigan,” Trump said in New Hampshire on Thursday. “I said, ‘How come?’ I didn’t even understand it myself, but I was named man of the year. I wasn’t even political ... but I was always complaining that our car business is being stolen.”
Here’s a tape of the Ypsilanti meeting. Trump asked Trott, “Is that right?” at 26:06.