Trump Campaign Touts Nobel Peace Prize Nominations as Big Thing, History Suggests Otherwise

Trump Campaign Touts Nobel Peace Prize Nominations as ‘Big Thing,’ History Suggests Otherwise -BULL SHIT. # via @snopes

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In September 2020, two members of parliament, in Sweden and Norway respectively, said they had nominated the U.S. government and President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021. Trump, his reelection campaign, and his supporters, cited the nominations as major accomplishments and points of pride. However, the rules and history of the nomination process suggest that simply having one’s name put forward for a Nobel Peace Prize is not necessarily the honor or achievement that Trump and his backers have claimed.

On Sept. 9, 2020, Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a member of the Stortinget (Norway’s national legislative assembly) from the right-wing Fremskrittspartiet (Progress Party), conducted an interview with Fox News in which he said he had nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize on the basis of a U.S.-brokered agreement, signed in August 2020, to establish full diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. 

On Sept. 11, 2020, Magnus Jacobsson, a Kristdemokraterna (Christian Democrat) member of the Riksdag, Sweden’s national legislative assembly, published a letter in which he proposed that the governments of the United States, Serbia, and Kosovo should jointly be awarded the next Nobel Peace Prize on the basis of a U.S.-brokered agreement to normalize economic relations between the two countries.

I have nominated the US Gov. and the governments of Kosovo and Serbia for the Nobel Peace Prize for their joint work for peace and economic development, through the cooperation agreement signed in the White House. Trade and communications are important building blocks for peace.

Kosovo had been internationally recognized as a province of Yugoslavia and later Serbia for many years but declared its independence in 2008. It is now recognized as a sovereign state by more than 100 other nations, including the United States but not Serbia.

Trump, his campaign, and his supporters touted the nominations in the days that followed. On Sept. 9, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany opened her press briefing with the announcement of Tybring-Gjedde’s nomination, calling it “a hard-earned and well-deserved honor.” The White House touted the nomination on Twitter and on its website, falsely describing Tybring-Gjedde as “chairman of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly” (that body doesn’t have a chairman, but its president is Attila Mesterházy of Hungary. Tybring-Gjedde is chairman of Norway’s delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly). 

At a rally in Minden, Nevada, on Sept. 12, Trump called the nominations “a big thing,” saying that on Sept. 11 he had been “nominated a second time for another Nobel prize,” a confusing formulation of words that muddled the fact that he was only nominated for one award, albeit by two different individuals. He touted the nomination again at a rally in Las Vegas on the following day, telling the crowd, “They nominated your president, twice last week, on two different subjects, for a Nobel prize.” 

Sean Hannity, Fox News host and one of the president’s most prominent supporters, tweeted that in the space of “only one week,” Trump had been “nominated for not one, but two Nobel Peace Prizes,” the same oddly inaccurate phrasing used by the president himself.

Between Sept. 10 and Sept. 14, Trump and his campaign ran a combined total of 48 Facebook and Instagram ads touting the nominations as part of his reelection pitch to voters. Half of those ads contained a graphic with an unfortunate spelling error that read “President Trump was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize”:

Despite Trump’s characterization of the nominations as a “big thing,” the bar for being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize is lower than many American voters might imagine, and the list of nominees is typically neither a short nor exclusive one. It has in the past even contained the names of some of the most reviled and controversial figures in 20th century history. 

It should also be noted that the Nobel Foundation does not reveal the names of nominees or nominators for 50 years, so formally speaking, we can’t yet say for certain that Tybring-Gjedde and Jacobsson did, in fact, nominate Trump for the prize for 2021. Tybring-Gjedde also claimed to have nominated Trump for the prize in 2018, and 2016 saw unconfirmed reports that an unnamed person had nominated the incoming president for that year’s prize, as well.

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