President Donald Trump blasted Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Monday, calling the Connecticut Democrat “a phony Vietnam con artist” who should take an extended vacation in Vietnam “so he can at least say he was there.”
“I think Senator Blumenthal should take a nice long vacation in Vietnam, where he lied about his service, so he can at least say he was there,” the president tweeted Monday afternoon.
Trump began teeing off on Blumenthal on Monday morning, suggesting that the senator’s past misstatements about his military service should disqualify him from commenting on the ongoing Russia investigations.
“Interesting to watch Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talking about hoax Russian collusion when he was a phony Vietnam con artist!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“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,” Trump wrote in a pair of subsequent posts. “He cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness like a child. Now he judges collusion?”
Blumenthal had appeared on CNN’s “New Day” minutes before Trump began his online critique of the lawmaker, telling anchor Brianna Keilar that “there is no minimizing or underestimating that attack by the Russians” on the U.S. presidential election last year.
“It was purposeful and relentless, and it involved propaganda and hacking into our voting machines or at least an attempt to do it and potential collusion by the Trump campaign and then obstruction of justice,” he said.
“Mr. President: Your bullying hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now. No one is above the law,” Blumenthal wrote on Twitter on Monday morning in response to the president’s attacks. “This issue isn’t about me – it’s about the Special Counsel’s independence and integrity.”
The president’s attack against Blumenthal’s military record refers to a controversy during the Connecticut senator’s 2010 campaign, when he held a news conference to explain that while he had repeatedly stated that he served “in” the Vietnam War, he had in fact only served during the war. Blumenthal was in the Marine Corps Reserve for six years during the war and did not serve overseas during that time.
The president, who received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War for educational purposes and because of bone spurs in his heels, has previously called Blumenthal’s misstatements about his military service a “major lie.”
Trump, members of his administration and outside allies have consistently denied that there was collusion between the Russian government and the president’s campaign, allegations of which are the focus of separate ongoing investigations by the House and Senate intelligence committees as well as one led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
Diamond Naga Siu and Nolan D. McCaskill contributed to this report.
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