On Monday, President Trump ripped the Nobel Peace Prize Committee for their decision to give former President Barack Obama the Peace Prize in 2009. Trump noted of Obama, “He had no idea why he got it.”
Trump was meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan when he told reporters, “I would get a Nobel prize for a lot of things, if they give it out fairly, which they don’t. They gave one to Obama immediately upon his assent to the presidency and he had no idea why he got it. You know what? That was the only thing I agreed with him on.”
When Obama was awarded the Noble Peace, the committee wrote in October 2009:
Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.
Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.
For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama’s appeal that “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.”
Oddly, even hard-leftists thought the idea of giving Obama the Peace Prize after only nine months in office was ridiculous; Alexander Cockburn wrote in CounterPunch, “… it represents a radical break in tradition, since he’s only had slightly less than nine months to discharge his imperial duties.” Noam Chomsky echoed, “In defense of the committee, we might say that the achievement of doing nothing to advance peace places Obama on a considerably higher moral plane than some of the earlier recipients.”
As The Daily Mail noted, “Geir Lundestad, the former secretary of the prize committee, admitted in his 2015 memoir that giving the prize to the newly-elected president did not have the effect hoped for. ‘Even many of Obama’s supporters believed that the prize was a mistake,’ he wrote. ‘In that sense the committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for.'”
Late-night host Stephen Colbert asked Obama in 2016 why he got the award; Obama answered, “To be honest, I still don’t know.”
Trump was nominated for the Peace Prize by 18 Republicans in 2018 for his dealings with North Korea.