Trump Assailed for Response to War Medal Gift: 'I Always Wanted a Purple Heart'
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump was given a Purple Heart medal by a veteran this week, and the backlash has been swift.
"I always wanted to get the Purple Heart,” Trump said at a campaign stop Tuesday in Virginia after a World War II hero gave him the medal. "This was much easier, but I tell you it was such an honor."
Now, after his odd response to the gift and his ongoing war of words with the Muslim parents of a fallen soldier, war heroes and civilians alike are calling for him to give the medal back.
The medal is given by the U.S. government to soldiers who are wounded in combat. Some are upset Trump accepted it, in part because he received five deferments to avoid the Vietnam War.
In reaction to Trump's acceptance of the gift, Illinois congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat, tweeted a photo from the moment she received her Purple Heart after losing both her legs in Iraq in 2004.
"This is how one usually looks when you are awarded the Purple Heart. Nothing easy about it," Duckworth tweeted at Trump along with the photo that was taken while she still lay in a hospital bed.
Purple Heart recipient Sean Barney, who hopes to join Duckworth in Congress as a representative of Delaware after November's election, also assailed the billionaire candidate for accepting 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," Barney wrote in a Facebook post.
Also demanding Trump give back the medal is Khizr Khan, the father of a fallen soldier whose DNC speech and subsequent back-and-forth with Trump have resulted in major blowback for the candidate.
"You should have pinned that back to that veteran's chest and should have hugged him and thanked him," Khan told Anderson Cooper. "If he would have been sensible, he would have known what it takes to earn that Purple Heart."