- The president of Kukkiwon awarded Trump the black belt and a set of traditional taekwondo garb
- A South Korean living in the US arranged the meetup
- Trump is the second world leader to receive the honorary black belt in taekwondo
The president of a South Korean taekwondo governing body on Saturday awarded former President Donald Trump an honorary ninth dan black belt in taekwondo, an item he plans to wear to Congress if he is reelected as president.
Lee Dong Seop, the president of South Korea-based world taekwondo headquarters Kukkiwon, presented Trump with the honor at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Aside from the black belt, Lee also gifted the former head of state a set of traditional taekwondo garb.
“I heard that Donald Trump is highly interested in Taekwondo,” said Lee, according to Korean newspaper Dong-A-Ilbo.
The publication also revealed that a South Korean individual residing in the United States organized the meetup.
Photos of the meetup were later posted on Kukkiwon’s Facebook page. The images showed the 45th president posing with Lee while wearing the taekwondo uniform and the black belt. The post’s caption contained a disclaimer saying the ceremony was “not related to political issues.”
The photo also captured picture frames hanging in the background, including one that showed Trump shaking hands with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un in June 2019.
During the meeting, the former president thanked Kukkiwon for the gift, adding that taekwondo helps protect oneself amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He also hinted at plans to wear the suit in the U.S. Congress should he be reelected as the president.
Trump is not the first world leader to receive the coveted black belt. In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin was awarded a ninth-degree belt as well. While both world leaders never practiced taekwondo, Putin did receive a black belt in judo.
It is still unclear whether Trump plans to run for the presidency in 2024. However, he has repeatedly teased plans to announce his official decision following the 2022 midterms, adding that “a lot of people will be very happy.”
“I am certainly thinking about it and we’ll see, I think a lot of people will be very happy, frankly, with the decision, and probably will announce that after the midterms,” he said during a Fox News interview.
Several experts, including American political commentator Bill Maher, predicted that Trump will “absolutely” run for the presidency again in 2024. However, Maher warned that the former president may have already “put people in place” to help him secure the seat should he lose the election again.