A man Donald Trump introduced as retired Lt. Col. Louis Dorfman presented the Republican presidential nominee with his Purple Heart before a rally Tuesday in Virginia.
“I said to him, ‘Is that like the real one, or is that a copy?” Mr. Trump recalled in his speech at a high school in Ashburn. He said the veteran assured him that the medal was real, saying, “I have such confidence in you.”
“Man, that’s like big stuff,” Mr. Trump said. “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart — this was much easier. But I’ll tell you, it was such an honor.”
Mr. Trump then invited the U.S. Army veteran onstage to pose for photographs. The nominee told audience members that he asked Mr. Dorfman to speak, but he responded, “No, sir, I’d like you to just keep saying what you’ve been saying.”
NBC News correspondent Katy Tur tweeted that the veteran told her before the rally that the Purple Heart was actually a duplicate, The Hill reported.
“The man who gave Trump his purple heart told me earlier today, it was a copy of his purple heart,” she wrote.
Mr. Dorfman was awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded in action in Iraq in 2007, Politico reported.
U.S. House candidate Sean Barney, a Marine veteran and Purple Heart recipient, blasted Mr. Trump for his “flippant and repugnant” comment about always wanting to receive the medal.
“As someone who fought for our country in Iraq, was injured, and was awarded a Purple Heart, I can tell you, no one should ever ‘want’ to get a Purple Heart,” Mr. Barney, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Again and again, Donald Trump has proven that he is unfit to be the Commander in Chief of our armed forces. As Khizr Khan poignantly argued, Donald Trump has not sacrificed for this country and he does not understand duty to any cause other than himself.”
The development comes as Mr. Trump continues to face backlash for his criticism of Khizr Khan and Ghazala Khan, the Muslim parents of a fallen U.S. soldier who spoke out against the Republican nominee during the Democratic National Convention last week.