Former President Donald Trump was given the honor to receive a ninth dan black belt in taekwondo over the weekend by the head of one of the sport’s governing groups at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.
A South Korean living in the US prepared the meeting, the Korean newspaper Dong-A-Ilbo reported on Monday.
“I heard that Donald Trump is highly interested in Taekwondo,” Lee was quoted as stating by the outlet.
The 45th president posed with Lee while wearing traditional taekwondo garb in many photos that were posted on Kukkiwon’s Facebook page. The images were followed by a disclaimer stating that the ceremony was “not related [to] any other political issues.”
“It is my pleasure and honor to receive this honorary certificate. Taekwondo is a great martial art for protecting oneself in these times (when COVID-19 prevails),” Dong-A-Ilbo quoted Trump as stating.
The former president reportedly continued that he would wear the taekwondo outfit to Congress if he is elected president again and invited the Kukkiwon demonstration team to the United States to perform.
After the ceremony, Trump and Lee posed in front of a picture at Mar-a-Lago showing the former president shaking hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un throughout their meeting at the Korean demilitarized zone in 2019.
Like Trump, Putin never practiced taekwondo. Although, the Russian leader does hold a black belt in judo.
A ninth dan black belt is the highest level that can be obtained by professional martial artists. Trump and Putin outrank martial arts expert and “Walker, Texas Ranger” star Chuck Norris, who only has an eighth-degree taekwondo black belt.
Although, of course, on Twitter, the 75-year-old was both mocked and accused of being “not worthy” of the ninth-degree black belt.
It is typically given just to experienced teachers of the martial art, and takes 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.”