At a campaign rally in Ohio on Monday night, President Donald Trump went on an extended attack of the media for not adequately covering the fact that he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“I said let’s turn on the evening news. Let’s watch it. This is gonna be a big show tonight. Get ready. And NBC, which is one of the most crooked, one of the worst newscasts. [crowd boos]
“And I’m talking about normal NBC, not MSDNC, MSDNC is the worst, but so I turn on NBC with Lester Holt, another beauty, and they start with a hurricane, and then they went to something, and something else, and I’m saying, ‘First Lady, this is getting a little embarrassing, with 20 minutes into a half hour show, they haven’t mentioned the Nobel Peace Prize.’
“And then it went through the whole show and they never mentioned. And then I got nominated for a second one and they never mentioned. And when Barack Obama, Barack Hussein Obama, got nominated, no when Barack Hussein Obama got nominated, he didn’t know why he was nominated. It was like right at the very beginning. He didn’t do anything. He did nothing! And he got nominated. It was the biggest story I’ve ever seen. But that’s OK. In the meantime, we’re president, and they’re not, right? We, we.”
What’s obvious from that rant is that Trump doesn’t seem to grasp that he hasn’t WON the Nobel Peace Prize. He’s just been nominated for it. He and 210 other people. And 107 organizations.
See, being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize is a LOT different than actually winning it. Mostly because a whole lot of people can nominate you to be in the running.
Here’s who can put forward someone for the Peace Prize, according to the Nobel website:
“These nominations will be submitted by members of national assemblies, governments, and international courts of law; university chancellors, professors of social science, history, philosophy, law and theology; leaders of peace research institutes and institutes of foreign affairs; previous Nobel Peace Prize Laureates; board members of organizations that have received the Nobel Peace Prize; present and past members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; and former advisers of the Norwegian Nobel Institute.”
Which is a lot of different people!
In Trump’s case, he was nominated by Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a far-right Norwegian lawmaker, for his “groundbreaking cooperation agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.” It’s the second time Tybring-Gjedde has nominated Trump for the prize. The first time was in 2018 for the “huge and important step in the direction of the disarmament, peace and reconciliation between North and South Korea.” And it’s the third time Trump has been nominated; he was nominated in 2016 by a person who preferred to remain anonymous for “vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, ISIS, nuclear Iran and Communist China.”
So then, the comparison between someone who has won the Nobel Peace Prize (as Obama did in 2009) and someone who has been nominated for the prize is an apples and oranges sort of thing. (That fact is separate from the debate as to whether President Obama, who had just begun his first term in office, was a deserving recipient of the prize. That’s a worthwhile conversation!)
The news coverage of an American president winning the Peace Prize would then, obviously, be different than the coverage of an American president merely being nominated for the prize. (Remember that there is one winner and, in the case of the 2021 award, 318 nominees.)
Trump seems to not understand the distinction, or chooses not to understand because either a) in his mind he has already won or b) it simply fits his convenient – though oft-disproven – narrative that the media is biased against him.
This is not the first time Trump has expressed confusion about how the Peace Prize works or suspicion about how they decide who wins.
“I think I’m going to get a Nobel Prize for a lot of things, if they gave it out fairly, which they don’t,” Trump said at the United Nations in 2019.
Which, well, OK.
CNN’s Allison Gordon contributed to this report.