Trump campaign calls Nobel Peace Prize nominations a ‘big thing’, history suggests otherwise


In September 2020, two parliamentarians, respectively in Sweden and Norway, said they had nominated the US government and President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021. Trump, his re-election campaign and his supporters cited the nominations as major achievements and points of pride. However, the rules and history of the nomination process suggest that just putting your name forward for a Nobel Peace Prize is not necessarily the honor or achievement that Trump and his supporters have claimed.On September 9, 2020, Christian Tybring-Gjedde, member of the Stortinget (Norwegian national legislative assembly) from the right-wing Fremskrittspartiet (Progress Party), conducted an interview with Fox News in which he said he nominated Trump for the Nobel Prize peace on the basis of a US-brokered agreement, signed in August 2020, to establish full diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

On September 11, 2020, Magnus Jacobsson, a Kristdemokraterna (Christian Democrat) member of the Riksdag, the Swedish national legislature, published a letter in which he proposed that the governments of the United States, Serbia and Kosovo be jointly awarded the next Nobel Peace Prize on the basis of an agreement negotiated by the United States to normalize economic relations between the two countries.

Kosovo was internationally recognized as a province of Yugoslavia and later Serbia for many years, but declared independence in 2008. It is now recognized as a sovereign state by over 100 other nations, including the United States. but not Serbia.

‘A great thing’

Trump, his campaign and his supporters touted the appointments in the days that followed. On September 9, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany opened her press briefing with the announcement of Tybring-Gjedde’s appointment, calling it a “hard-earned and well-deserved honor.” The White House touted the appointment on Twitter and on its website, mistakenly calling Tybring-Gjedde “President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly” (this body has no president, but its president is Attila Mesterházy from Hungary Tybring-Gjedde is Chairman of the Norwegian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly).

At a rally in Minden, Nevada on September 12, Trump called the nominations a “big thing,” saying on September 11 he was “nominated a second time for another Nobel Prize,” a confusing phrase words that confused the fact that he was only nominated for an award, albeit by two different people. He again touted the nomination at a rally in Las Vegas the next day, telling the crowd, “They nominated your president, twice last week, on two different subjects, for a Nobel Prize.”

Fox News host Sean Hannity and one of the president’s most prominent supporters tweeted that in the space of “just one week,” Trump had been “nominated not for one, but for two Nobel laureates. peace, ”the same strangely inaccurate phrasing used by the president himself.

Between September 10 and September 14, Trump and his campaign ran a combined total of 48 Facebook and Instagram ads touting the nominations as part of his re-election speech to voters. Half of those ads contained a graphic with an unfortunate misspelling that read, “President Trump has been nominated for the noble Peace Prize “:

Despite Trump’s characterization of the nominations as a “big thing,” the bar for nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize is lower than many American voters might imagine, and the list of nominees is generally neither short nor short. exclusive. It has even contained the names of some of the most vilified and controversial figures in 20th century history in the past.

It should also be noted that the Nobel Foundation has not revealed the names of nominees or nominators for 50 years, so formally, we cannot yet say for sure that Tybring-Gjedde and Jacobsson in fact nominated Trump for the award. for 2021. Tybring-Gjedde also claimed to have nominated Trump for the award in 2018, and 2016 saw unconfirmed reports that an unnamed person also nominated the new president for this year’s award.

In 2018, a senior official of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the five-member body that makes the final decision on who to win the Peace Prize, confirmed that two separate nominations for Trump in 2017 and 2018 appeared to have been forged and that the the case was referred to the Oslo police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“It’s quite easy to be nominated”

According to the Nobel Foundation, the Swedish institution that administers the Nobel Prizes, a person cannot run for the Peace Prize, and only living people and active organizations are valid candidates. The following categories of individuals are qualified to nominate a person or entity at the cost of peace:

  • Current Heads of State
  • Members of governments and national assemblies in sovereign states
  • Members of the Institute of International Law (167 in number)
  • Members of the International Council of the International Women’s League for Peace and Freedom (17 in number)
  • University professors, emeritus professors and associate professors of history, social sciences, law, philosophy, theology and religion; university rectors and university directors (or their equivalents); directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes
  • People who have received the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Members of the main board or its equivalent of organizations that have received the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Current and former members of the Norwegian Nobel committee (proposals from current committee members to be submitted at the latest at the first committee meeting after February 1)
  • Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee

Based on data collected by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, more than 46,000 people sit in national legislative assemblies around the world. Assuming approximately an average cabinet size of 20 members (based on existing research) and the 193 member states of the United Nations, the number of government ministers worldwide would be around 3,800.

According to statistics from the United States Bureau of Labor, there are approximately 170,000 post-secondary professors in the academic fields specified by the Nobel Foundation in the United States alone. The world figure is probably a multiple of that. In 2017, the higher education analysis firm Quacquarelli Symonds estimated that the number of universities in the world would probably be over 40,000, so the “directors, rectors and equivalents” of these institutions can also be added to the candidate pool.

The total number of individuals eligible to nominate someone else for the Nobel Peace Prize will therefore likely be over half a million, although this is only a rough estimate.

The number of nominations in a typical year is obviously only a small fraction of that number, but even larger than many readers might have guessed. According to the organizers, 318 candidates were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 (including 211 individuals and 107 entities). The highest number of applicants came in 2016, when 376 people and organizations received applications.

The Nobel Prizes were funded and implemented in accordance with the wishes of Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist and inventor of dynamite. He wanted the Peace Prize to be awarded to “the person who has done the most or the best to advance brotherhood among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the creation and promotion of congresses of peace”.

However, due to the very large pool of potential nominators, representing a wide range of views and expertise, the list of Peace Prize nominees is not always made up of worthy individuals. In the past, even some of the most controversial and vilified historical figures of the 20th century have managed to secure nominations, including:

  • Joseph stalin – Responsible for the death of several million Soviet subjects, by political purges, famines and forced famines and mass executions. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 1945 and 1948.
  • Benito Mussolini – Brutal Italian fascist dictator. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by two nominators in 1935.
  • Josip Broz Tito ” ) – Controversial Yugoslav dictator who was declared “president for life” towards the end of his nearly three decades of rule. Its secret police violently suppressed dissent and opposition to its leaders. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1963.
  • Rafael Trujillo – The Dominican dictator whose 31-year reign, from 1930 to 1961, was characterized by exceptionally brutal and violent repressions against dissenters and suspected opponents, as well as the parsley massacre of October 1937, in which Trujillo ordered the execution of thousands of Haitians, many of them executed with machetes. Received seven nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1936.

In 2019, Olav Njolstad, secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, summed up the dynamics of the nomination process by telling the AFP news agency: “There are so many people who have the right to nominate a candidate that there are is not very complicated to be nominated. . Geir Lundestad, Njolstad’s predecessor on the committee, added: “It is quite easy to get nominated. It’s much more difficult to win.


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