Trump had, in fact, been nominated before the deadline ended — twice, according to Olav Njolstad, who is director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute and secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. But, mysteriously, there was a problem: Both nominations appeared to have been faked, and they were subsequently withdrawn by the committee.
Exactly who was behind these alleged forgeries is not publicly known; it now appears it may never be known. On Tuesday, a Norwegian law enforcement official told Agence France-Presse that a criminal investigation into the suspected fraud had been closed because "police lack information about the culprit."
The nomination process for the Nobel Peace Prize is notoriously opaque. Nominations are allowed by a limited but varied group of people, including lawmakers, legal experts, academics and previous recipients. The nominations, which can be awarded to an individual or a group, are supposed to be kept secret for 50 years.
Those offering the nominations can opt to disclose their picks, however. In February, the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), a body that monitors nominations that have been publicly revealed, said that Trump had been nominated for "his peace through strength ideology, and for restarting President Reagan’s SDI-BHB secret weapons system, to neutralize nuclear weapons and make them obsolete."
PRIO said the nomination had been confirmed by a "U.S. nominator." The language used to describe the nomination was the same as that used the year prior, when Trump was also nominated, according to PRIO.
But details soon emerged that suggested all was not as it seemed. The next month, Njolstad told AFP that "we have good reason to believe that a nomination we received concerning Trump has been falsified." Njolstad later told the New York Times that the nomination the prior year appeared to have been faked, too, and that the discovery had been confirmed after the alleged nominator said he or she had not nominated the U.S. president.
Norwegian police had been in contact with the FBI since fall 2017, the Times reported, suggesting that there was suspicion the fraud had originated in the United States. However, this week, Norwegian police suggested that although the nomination was "openly fraudulent," a lack of progress in the investigation meant the case was closed.
"We haven't been able to find the [real] identity" of the person, Oslo police's Tone Bysting told AFP.
Trump is still a contender for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. Last week, a number of his allies in the U.S. House of Representatives announced that they had formally nominated him for the prize next year. Foreign politicians, including South Korean President Moon Jae-in and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, also have suggested publicly that Trump could merit the prize.
A total of 329 candidates, including 217 individuals and 112 organizations, are being considered by the committee for this year's prize, which will be announced in October. Four U.S. presidents have received the award, including Barack Obama in 2009.
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