President Donald Trump said Friday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize because Trump said he made Japan “feel safe” after his negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
He “gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the Nobel Prize,” Trump said during his announcement that he was declaring a national emergency at the southern border. “I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan, I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize,” he added, apparently quoting the prime minister.
Trump complained that he didn’t expect to win the award — even though Barack Obama was granted the Peace Prize in 2009. But “that’s OK,” he said.
“They gave it to Obama. He didn’t even know what he got it for. He was there for about 15 seconds and he got the Nobel Prize,” Trump groused in the Rose Garden. “He said, ‘Oh, what did I get it for?’ With me, I probably will never get it.”
The president was nominated for the prize in 2017 and 2018, but the Nobel Committee determined that both nominations were “forged.” Olav Njolstad, secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said last year that investigators believe the same person assumed the identity of the same qualified nominator in both instances. The information was turned over to local police, Njolstad told The New York Times, and investigators reached out to the FBI. No other details were provided.
HuffPost reached out to the Japanese Embassy in Washington and the consulate in New York, but officials had not responded by late Friday.
An official from the Japanese Embassy in Washington told Kyodo News that there would be no comment, The Japan Times reported. Another embassy official told Japan Today that he had no knowledge of such a letter from Abe.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry told The Associated Press that it was aware of Trump’s remark but could not comment on details of conversations between Trump and Abe.
A Japanese nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize has not been announced.
Trump said last year that “everybody thinks” he should get the Nobel Peace Prize.
There are 304 candidates for this year’s prize, according to the Nobel Committee. Nominees’ names and sponsors are kept secret for 50 years.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said last year that he believed Trump should win a Nobel for his negotiations with Kim. “It is possible that Trump confused Abe and Moon in the retelling,” the Nikkei Asian Review noted.
Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet Feb. 27-28 in Hanoi.