‘Phony Vietnam Con Artist!’: Trump’s Twitter War with Dem Senator Behind ‘Russian Payouts’ Smear

'Phony Vietnam Con Artist!': Trump's Twitter War with Dem Senator Behind ‘Russian Payouts' Smear

In a series of tweets, US President Donald Trump accused Senator Richard Blumenthal of lying about his service in the Vietnam War, after Blumenthal accused the Trump campaign of taking “payouts” from Moscow.

Trump, who is currently working from his golf resort in New Jersey while the White House is under renovation, lambasted the Democrat from Connecticut by bringing up a controversy about Blumenthal’s military service in Vietnam.

“Never in US history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like Senator Richard Blumenthal,” Trump tweeted Monday, dubbing his critic “a phony Vietnam con artist” who is now a leading advocate of “hoax Russian collusion” charges.

Blumenthal was elected to the Senate in 2010, defeating a Republican challenger for the seat vacated by the retiring Democrat Chris Dodd. During his campaign, it emerged that he had spoken about being “in Vietnam,” but never actually saw combat during that war. Blumenthal served in the US Marine Corps Reserve from 1970 to 1976, and was discharged with the rank of sergeant.

For those who aren’t familiar with Blumenthal’s loose relationship with the facts concerning his Vietnam military service, the following was exposed by The New York Times in 2010:

At a ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers overseas, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut rose and spoke of an earlier time in his life.
“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008.
“And you exemplify it.
Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”

There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.

The deferments allowed Mr. Blumenthal to complete his studies at Harvard; pursue a graduate fellowship in England; serve as a special assistant to The Washington Post’s publisher, Katharine Graham; and ultimately take a job in the Nixon White House.

In 1970, with his last deferment in jeopardy, he landed a coveted spot in the Marine Reserve, which virtually guaranteed that he would not be sent to Vietnam. He joined a unit in Washington that conducted drills and other exercises and focused on local projects, like fixing a campground and organizing a Toys for Tots drive.

The senator responded on Monday morning, accusing Trump of “bullying” and saying that this was not about him, but about the integrity of the special counsel.

Meanwhile, the whole scuffle was apparently triggered by the following appearance by Blumenthal on CNN this morning in which he accused the Trump administration of “weaponizing” the Justice Department for “personal ends.”

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