During a freewheeling press conference in the Rose Garden to declare a national state of emergency in an effort to build a wall at the southern border, President Donald Trump revived his obsession with winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
He insisted that he'd been nominated by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
"Prime Minister Abe of Japan gave me the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the Nobel Prize. He said 'I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan. I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize.' You know why? Because he had rocket ships and he had missiles flying over Japan. They feel safe. I did that."
Trump also bemoaned that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. In the Rose Garden, Trump claimed that Obama didn't know why he'd received it.
"They gave it to Obama - he didn't even know what he got it for." President Trump says Japan's Shinzo Abe nominate… https://t.co/ozzU0trD7o— Sky News (@Sky News) 1550248670.0
Prime Minister Abe was later asked about his nomination of Trump and gave a slightly awkward answer. The Prime Minister insisted that the nominations had to be kept secret for 50 years, so he refused to tell anyone, but clarified:
"I'm not saying it's not true."
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reiterated the same statement at a press conference:
"The Nobel Committee has doesn't reveal the identity of those recommending or those recommended for the award for 50 years. And so based on this, I would like to refrain from making comments on this."
Did Japan's PM Shinzo Abe nominate Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize? More on @business: https://t.co/r3XGFpnAec https://t.co/WG9MvTDsns— Bloomberg TicToc (@Bloomberg TicToc) 1550478647.0
However, multiple sources confirmed to newspaper Asahi Shimbun that the White House had "informally" asked Abe to nominate Trump.
Many speculated on whether or not Abe actually nominated Trump.
@AP Abe like https://t.co/SFZWgzU73d— A Snarky Cat Lady (@A Snarky Cat Lady) 1550469170.0
@AP Overheard in Tokyo: "Hey what could it hurt? If I nominate him maybe he won't start a trade war with us."— David Goodson (@David Goodson) 1550471687.0
@AP https://t.co/dsOpZjM9OQ— Jim (@Jim) 1550467636.0
@AP Thas a yes— Dennis Ey (@Dennis Ey) 1550467879.0
@AP If Abe won’t say anything then it means it didn’t happen. He just doesn’t want to embarrass trump.— mona berrier (@mona berrier) 1550468813.0
The process for nominating someone for a Nobel Prize may surprise some.
Any upstanding citizen belonging to a national government, employed as professor at a university, or a limited number of other positions can submit a letter to the nomination committee in Norway.
Abe would have simply had to write a letter endorsing Trump's character and actions, similar to the one Trump described during the speech.
@ShingetsuNews The U.S. government ASKED for this??? lol lol... when the committee awards a Nobel for Chaos, that's… https://t.co/QGiCCvYB2d— Art Projex pB (@Art Projex pB) 1550492487.0
@NBCNews Sad.— Doctor Ticklebaum - Humor Therapist/Public Speaker (@Doctor Ticklebaum - Humor Therapist/Public Speaker) 1550457775.0
Many saw the White House's reported request as another indication of Trump's obsession with besting former President Barack Obama.
Trump’s need to compete with Obama is so weird. Can you imagine shamelessness of asking a foreign leader to nominat… https://t.co/S01r4m5DMe— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@Ana Navarro-Cárdenas) 1550500835.0
@NBCNews Just sad, trump will go to any ends to best President Obama. I’m surprised he has not been caught trying to buy one.— Martha Reichold (@Martha Reichold) 1550494292.0
@NBCNews Living in the shadow of @BarackObama ain't easy— gregory m.hall sr (@gregory m.hall sr) 1550461604.0
Looks like we'll have to wait til after 50 years to get official confirmation from Abe.