President Trump on Monday said during a spirited exchange with Pakistani reporters that he would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “if they gave it out fairly.”
The president appeared to revel in questions from members of the Pakistani press who praised him and pontificated about the conflict in Kashmir shortly before a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
“I do appreciate the tremendous spirit of the press,” Trump said. “I don’t see that with us – ours always tear our country down. With your press they want to see something positive in the country.”
One reporter suggested to Trump that he would “definitely” be deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize if he’s able to mediate a solution to the tensions in the disputed Kashmir region.
“I think I’m gonna get a Nobel Prize for a lot of things, if they gave it out fairly, which they don’t,” Trump said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year at the request of the U.S. government.
“They gave one to [former President] Obama immediately upon his ascent to the presidency, and he had no idea why he got it,” Trump said. “And you know what? That was the only thing I agreed with him on.”
Khan, who was seated next to Trump, laughed as the president shared his thoughts on the Nobel process.
Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his “efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
The same reporter who raised the Nobel possibility, credited Trump for being an “honest” leader, and reporters spoke openly about how they felt the Kashmir dispute might play out.
“This is the kind of reporter I like. I like this reporter. Are you a member of his team?” Trump said, motioning to Khan.
The conflict between India and Pakistan over the disputed territory has persisted for decades, but tensions flared earlier this year after a February suicide attack that killed more than 40 Indian soldiers in the part of Kashmir that is controlled by India.
Senators have urged Trump to take immediate action to help address the worsening humanitarian crisis in the region.
Trump on Monday said he would be happy to mediate if both Khan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the request. India has previously denied asking Trump to get involved in the discussions.
“I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Modi, I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Khan. And if at any time they say you know we have some points that we think we can maybe iron out, I think I’d be an extremely good arbitrator,” Trump said.
“I’ve never failed as an arbitrator,” he added. “I’ve been asked to arbitrate disputes, pretty big ones, from friends. And I’ve done it in a good successful fashion.”