On Sunday, September 13, President Donald Trump attended a Latinos for Trump round table in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event was a low-key affair, relative to Trump’s rallies, but Trump’s claim to have won the “Bay of Pigs award” from “the Cuban-Americans in Miami” raised some eyebrows.
The claim was fact-checked, counter-fact checked and mocked widely on Twitter.
But, is there a Bay of Pigs Award?
The short answer is no. However, Trump did receive an endorsement in 2016 that is, according to reports, relatively rare, from a Cuban-American veterans group out of Miami.
Here’s what you need to know:
At the Latinos for Trump Event, Trump Told the Audience He Won the Award, Which ‘They Don’t Give Out Easily’
During his opening remarks at the event, Trump told the audience that he wanted to talk about his “administration’s unwavering devotion to our nation’s Latino and Hispanic communities.”
Trump added that the media is “very disturbed by the poll numbers, because we’re very high, and leading, with Latinos, and that’s a very tremendous thing; I’m honored by it.”
Then came the remark that left many puzzled.
“As you know, a little while ago I received the Bay of Pigs Award from the Cuban-Americans in Miami,” he said. “That’s a big honor, and they don’t give it out easily.”
It was the second time on Sunday that Trump mentioned the supposed award. He first made the claim on Twitter, likely just before the event.
Sleepy Joe Biden has spent 47 years in politics being terrible to Hispanics. Now he is relying on Castro lover Bernie Sanders to help him out. That won’t work! Remember, Miami Cubans gave me the highly honored Bay of Pigs Award for all I have done for our great Cuban Population!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2020
“Remember, Miami Cubans gave me the highly honored Bay of Pigs Award for all I have done for our great Cuban Population,” Trump tweeted.
After presumably searching online for the award, many journalists and comedians had a little fun with the claim.
I also have a Bay of Pigs Award, which I keep next to my Little Big Horn medallion, my Titanic Prize, my Hindenburg commendation, and my Trump Covid-19 Trophy. https://t.co/KANGVBGnax
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) September 13, 2020
“I also have a Bay of Pigs Award, which I keep next to my Little Big Horn medallion, my Titanic Prize, my Hindenburg commendation and my Trump Covid-19 Trophy,” the Nation correspondent Jeet Heer said.
“Bay of Pigs Award”!!!!! Oh Donald NO… 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 https://t.co/2jRqWHSKwU
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) September 13, 2020
Patton Oswalt reacted largely with a litany of crying-laughing emoji.
This is not an award that exists. The president is a madman. https://t.co/3vx89Z8TgL
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 13, 2020
And Vox journalist Aaron Rupar, who live-tweets and fact-checks most of Trump’s public events, went so far as to call Trump a “madman.”
There Is No Bay of Pigs Award; However, Trump Was Endorsed by the Cuban-American Veterans Group Bay of Pigs Brigade 2506
CNN’s resident Trump fact-checker Daniel Dale was among the first to point out that the Bay of Pigs Award does not exist. He did note that Trump won the endorsement of Bay of Pigs Brigade 2506 in Miami, however.
For those confused by Trump’s claim he got the “highly honored Bay of Pigs Award”:
He got an endorsement in 2016 from the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association. It’s not an award. He has a long history of turning endorsements and other non-awards into awards.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 13, 2020
The Brigade is a group of Cuban veterans of the failed C.I.A. backed invasion of Cuba’s southern coast, the Miami Herald reported after the group endorsed Trump in 2016.
The Herald noted that the brigade traditionally stayed out of politics, so its endorsement of Trump was unusual.
The Trump campaign’s rapid-response team took to Twitter to defend the claim on Sunday evening, posting a photo of Trump being handed a “hand-painted brigade shield” by two of the veterans, which they claimed was the “award” Trump was speaking of.
Here's the award. It's a hand-painted Brigade 2506 shield.
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) September 13, 2020
“The media will say anything to dismiss President Trump’s Hispanic supporters,” the campaign said.
Further, the campaign posted a press release quickly released by Bay of Pigs brigade 2506 confirming that they had given Trump the emblem as a “recognition award.”
“It is with great satisfaction that we read President Donald J. Trump’s twitter mentioning the event in which the Veterans Association-Brigade 2506 presented a recognition award”
“We strongly support and endorse President Trump” pic.twitter.com/9IyOMTTaKi
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) September 14, 2020
The Cuban-American veterans group also endorsed Trump for a second term. Juan López de la Cruz, president of the brigade, said in the letter that Trump’s beliefs were in line with the organization’s conservative principles.
We know what it is to live under socialism and we reject the efforts and the terrorist tactics that the extreme left is using to transform this country, out adopted country, into a socialist state. We know that President Trump will restore unity and law and order to the streets of our cities.
We strongly support and endorse President Trump and his campaign for the Presidency of the United States of America. His many accomplishments fully justify his reelection and the continuation of his efforts to Make America Great Again.
Dale noted that it was not the first time Trump had turned an endorsement or other recognition of some sort into a non-existent official award.
“Trump could accurately boast about it,” Dale said. “But he often seems to prefer wrongness to even impressive-sounding correctness — no truth too good not to embellish.”
The thing is that it was, according to local news coverage, an unprecedented endorsement from the Bay of Pigs Veterans. So Trump could accurately boast about it. But he often seems to prefer wrongness to even impressive-sounding correctness – no truth too good not to embellish.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 13, 2020
On September 10, Trump similarly claimed, at a rally in Detroit, to have been named “Man of the Year in Michigan.
The "Michigan Man of the Year" award Trump brags about winning in this clip doesn't exist. He totally made this story up. pic.twitter.com/S5L3vBvWlX
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 11, 2020
Fact Check rated the claim, which Trump has made more than seven times, as “dubious.”
Trump in fact was given gifts from a county Republican organization in 2013, according to Fact Check. An organizer of the event, however, told the outlet, “We weren’t handing out Man of the Year awards and never have.”