World martial arts body says it was non-political as former US president touts ‘self defence’ benefits of sport
A picture of Mr Trump and WTH president Lee Dong-sup appeared on the sports body’s Facebook to honour the Florida homeowner, who said he was a fan of the martial art.
Mr Trump allegedly told Mr Dong-sup: “It is my honour to receive Honorary Dan Certificate and I think Taekwondo is magnificent martial art for self-defence.”
On Twitter, the 75-year-old was both mocked and accused of being “not worthy” of the ninth degree black belt.
It is typically awarded only to experienced teachers of the martial art, and requires years of training and teaching in taekwondo.
“As someone who actually earned their blackbelt in taekwondo, I’m not happy about this,” a Twitter user wrote of WTH’s award. “Ninth degree is grandmaster rank. Unbelievable.”
The Twitter user continued by asking why Asian-Americans would “give any award to Trump after what he’s done to vilify the Asian community”.
The remarks were an apparent reference to Mr Trump facing accusations of anti-Asian rhetoric around Covid, which he referred to as the “Wuhan flu”, the “China flu” and other nicknames.
Another tweeted: “Trump got a black belt from perfecting the art of Kung-Flu, not Taekwondo. It was inspired by his racist rhetoric surrounding Covid-19”.
“Honorary titles are so tacky,” argued another Twitter user. “Remember, this is the same guy who holds his glass or bottle of water with both hands, [and] now he will tout that he is ‘the best in martial arts’”.
“Not only did he not earn it or deserve it,” wrote another on Twitter,” but as soon as he got it he demanded to see its birth certificate.”
The remarks appeared to take aim at Mr Trump for being photographed holding a glass of water with two hands, and for falsely accusing Barack Obama of not having a US birth certificate – alternatively known as the “birther” conspiracy.
On Facebook, WTH said the awarding of an honorary title to Mr Trump was “not political”, although it remains unclear why he received the black belt.