President Donald Trump on Monday attacked Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal over his military service record minutes after the Democratic lawmaker criticized the Trump administration on CNN.
“Interesting to watch Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talking about hoax Russian collusion when he was a phony Vietnam con artist!,” Trump tweeted just before 8 a.m. while on a “working vacation” in New Jersey.
Trump continued his line of attack minutes later, writing that “never in U.S. history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like Senator Richard Blumenthal. He told stories about his Vietnam battles and . . . conquests, how brave he was, and it was all a lie. He cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness like a child. Now he judges collusion?”
Monday afternoon, Trump sent yet another tweet about Blumenthal, suggesting he take a vacation in Vietnam to verify his claims he had been there.
Trump’s tweets reference a 2010 New York Times report that landed Blumenthal in hot water over his military record. While Blumenthal had alluded to serving in Vietnam, he never saw active combat there. Instead, he served domestically in the Marine Corps Reserve. At the time, Blumenthal told the newspaper that he had “misspoken” about his service.
President Trump has also been criticized by some over his history with the military. In 2011, website TheSmokingGun obtained records showing Trump received four deferments in college during the Vietnam War, and a medical deferment after he graduated.
Trump’s morning tweets came just minutes after Blumenthal lambasted the White House on CNN. During his appearance, Blumenthal emphasized the need to preserve the independence of Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading an investigation into Russian election meddling and potential ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Blumenthal also expressed concerns over the Trump Administration’s promised crackdown on leaks, accusing the White House of “weaponizing” the law for its political benefit.
“Mr. President: Your bullying hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now. No one is above the law,” Blumenthal wrote in response to Trump’s tweets. “This issue isn’t about me — it’s about the Special Counsel’s independence and integrity.”
A representative from Blumenthal’s office initially said the tweets were standing as the Senator’s response, but he appeared on CNN after Trump’s afternoon tweet.
“All I would say is, lets the protect the independence and integrity of the special counsel who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election,” he told Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s The Situation Room. “That work is paramount in importance. It really is not about me.”
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