President Trump on Wednesday joked that he "wanted" to award himself the Medal of Honor, but said his aides told him he didn't "qualify" for the nation's highest military decoration.
While addressing thousands of military veterans gathered at the AMVETS's 75th annual convention in Louisville, Ky., Trump praised Medal of Honor recipient and World War II veteran Woody Williams while also telling the room he wished he was eligible for the prestigious award himself.
"Thank you, Woody. You're looking good, Woody," the president said. "That was a big day, Medal of Honor. Nothing like the Medal of Honor."
"I wanted one, but they told me I don't qualify, Woody," Trump continued. "I said, 'Can I give it to myself anyway?' They said, 'I don't think that's a good idea.'"
The remarks, which can be viewed below starting at 5:04, were greeted by laughter from the audience.
The Medal of Honor is America's highest and most prestigious military decoration and is awarded to the nation's military service members who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor.
Trump is not eligible for the award because he never served in the military. Although the president was drafted during the Vietnam War, he received four deferments during his college education and one additional medical deferment for bone spurs in his feet.
The fifth and final deferment proved to be a hotly contested issue during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, with some accusing him of faking a disability to dodge military service.
Trump himself has even said he considered the diagnosis to be somewhat lucky.
"I had a minor medical deferment for feet, for a bone spur of the foot, which was minor ... I was fortunate, in a sense, because I was not a believer in the Vietnam War," then presidential candidate Trump told ABC News in 2015.
In December 2018, the daughters of New York podiatrist Dr. Larry Braunstein, who allegedly diagnosed Trump with the condition that exempted him from service, claimed their father may have done so as a favor to Fred Trump, Donald Trump's father, who owned the Queens building that housed Braunstein's medical practice.
"I know it was a favor," Dr. Elysa Braunstein, 56, told the New York Times. "It was family lore. It was something we would always discuss."
Following the bombshell claims, Trump historian Michael D'Antonio, who examined the president's feet while interviewing him for his 2015 book "Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success," said regardless of the validity of the diagnosis, he thinks Trump truly believes he suffers from the medical condition.
"I'm not even sure actually that the president knows the truth about this," D'Antonio told CNN. "The irony here is that Fred Trump was trying to do something for his son. Donald was not a conscientious objector but he really did not want to serve, and he was like millions of other young men during the Vietnam War who tried whatever they could do to get out of their service."