A day after the New York Times published a bombshell review of Donald Trump’s checkered military deferment record, the Republican nominee held up a Purple Heart medal in front of a crowd in Ashburn, Virginia, on Tuesday. He told the audience that a veteran had approached him earlier in the day and offered up his own war decoration for the real estate magnate to keep. “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart,” Trump said. “This was much easier.”
Video: Trump after getting Purple Heart from vet: “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier” pic.twitter.com/kU73qWybw9
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) August 2, 2016
According to Trump, the man handed over the Purple Heart and urged him to continue “saying what you’ve been saying”—an apparent vote of support for the presidential hopeful’s inflammatory rhetoric.
The bizarre comments come on the heels of a Times report that revealed Trump secured a total of five military deferments that helped him escape service during the Vietnam War. While avoiding service, Trump apparently slept with numerous women and never contracted any sexually transmitted diseases—an experience that he described to Howard Stern in 1997 as his “personal Vietnam.”
In recent days, Trump has come under intense fire for his ongoing feud with Khizr Khan, the father of a war hero who was killed in the line of duty. Last week, Khan delivered one of the most powerful speeches at the Democratic National Convention, in which he excoriated Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States.