Kushner: Trump ‘very, very honored’ to be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
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Kushner: Trump ‘very, very honored’ to be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Conservative-leaning Norwegian lawmaker recommends US president following Israel-UAE normalization deal, says Trump has done ‘much’ more than Obama to receive award

US President Donald Trump speaks during an event on judicial appointments, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Donald Trump speaks during an event on judicial appointments, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

US President Donald Trump was “very, very honored” to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for brokering the landmark normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said Wednesday.

“President Trump was very, very honored to be nominated this morning for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in bringing the Middle East closer together and the peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates,” Kushner, who is also Trump’s son-in-law, told reporters.

Earlier Wednesday, A Norwegian lawmaker said he had nominated the US president for the award.

“For his merit, I think he has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other Peace Prize nominees,” Christian Tybring-Gjedde, who heads Norway’s delegation to NATO, told Fox News.

Tybring-Gjedde wrote in his nomination letter to the Nobel Committee that “as it is expected other Middle Eastern countries will follow in the footsteps of the UAE, this agreement could be a game changer that will turn the Middle East into a region of cooperation and prosperity,” the report said.

Trump himself retweeted dozens of news stories announcing his nomination, replying “thank you” to one of them.

Kushner also hailed Trump’s efforts to change the Middle East.

From left, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Trump Administration Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash and Israel’s National Security Advisder Meir Ben Shabbat meeting in Abu Dhabi on August 31, 2020. (Israeli Prime Minister’s Office)

“Every day we’re seeing new and new announcements, which is showing the progress that this peace is bringing to the Middle East,” Kushner said. “And obviously, this morning, they announced that President Trump has been formally nominated for the Nobel Prize. And I think that it really is just a tremendous thing.

“And all of America’s allies feel much closer to America, and now they’re becoming closer to each other and breaking barriers that people thought previously were not breakable. So it really is a very hopeful time in the Middle East,” he said, also noting Trumps efforts to reduce the number of US troops in the region.

Tybring-Gjedde also praised Trump’s “key role in facilitating contact between conflicting parties and… creating new dynamics in other protracted conflicts, such as the Kashmir border dispute between India and Pakistan, and the conflict between North and South Korea, as well as dealing with the nuclear capabilities of North Korea.”

Hailing the fact the the US president withdrew many troops from the Middle East, he added: “Trump has broken a 39-year-old streak of American presidents either starting a war or bringing the United States into an international armed conflict. The last president to avoid doing so was Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter.”

Israel and the UAE announced on August 13 that they were establishing full diplomatic relations. The UAE is just the third Arab country to agree to official relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan. Israeli and American officials have expressed hope that other Gulf Arab countries will soon follow suit, with relations based on mutual commercial and security interests, and shared enmity toward Iran.

The deal infuriated the Palestinians and eroded a longstanding Arab position that normalization with Israel will only come after the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved. However, some Arab states, including Egypt, Oman and Bahrain, have issued praise for the normalization agreement.

Oman, Bahrain, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia are among the countries that Israel and the US hope could follow the UAE in forging diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. But Saudi Arabia has said it will not normalize relations until Israel agrees to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, in keeping with the decades-old stance of most Arab nations.

National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat elbow bumps with an Emirati official ahead of boarding the plane before leaving Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, September 1, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool/AFP)

Tybring-Gjedde already nominated Trump for the same prize in 2018 after the US president held a summit with North Korean dictator Kin Jong Un.

The lawmaker, who belongs to a conservative-leaning populist party, denied trying to curry favor with Trump through the nomination.

“I’m not a big Trump supporter. The committee should look at the facts and judge him on the facts – not on the way he behaves sometimes,” he told Fox News. “The people who have received the Peace Prize in recent years have done much less than Donald Trump. For example, Barack Obama did nothing.”

Trump’s predecessor got the prize in 2009 in a controversial decision, for what the Nobel Committee described as his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

The winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize — selected by a five-member committee appointed by the Norwegian parliament — will not be announced until October of next year.

Nominations must be sent to the Norwegian Nobel Committee by Feb. 1, meaning the deadline to nominate people for this year’s peace prize has passed.

Nominations can be made by a select group of people and organizations, including national lawmakers, heads of state and certain international institutions. In 2020, the committee received 318 nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, of which 211 are individuals and 107 are organizations.

Last year, Trump predicted he would win the Nobel Prize “for a lot of things if they gave it out fairly, which they don’t.”

The Norwegian Nobel Committee doesn’t publicly comment on nominees. Under its rules, the information is required to be kept secret for 50 years.

Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland presents Then-US president Barack Obama with the Nobel Prize medal and diploma during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Raadhuset Main Hall at Oslo City Hall in Oslo, Norway, December 10, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Tybring-Gjedde has been a member of the Storting, the Norwegian parliament, since 2005. He is known for being pro-Israel and for opposing immigration policies that he thinks have been too welcoming.

The lawmaker has often demanded that immigrants adjust to Norwegian society. He called Muslim headscarves an “Islamic uniform” and compared them to robes worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

In 2006, he nominated Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Dutch-American activist, writer and politician critical of Islam, for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The process of considering candidates and awarding the Nobel Peace Prize is done in Norway, in contrast to the other Nobel Prizes, which are awarded in neighboring Sweden.

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