President Donald Trump on Monday degraded Sen. Richard Blumenthal, sending a series of tweets that accuse the Democratic senator of lying about his military service in the Vietnam War and calling him a “phony Vietnam con artist.”
“Interesting to watch Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talking about a hoax Russian collusion when he was a phony Vietnam con artist,” Trump explained early Monday morning.
He continued: “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 said. “He cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness like a child. Now he judges collusion?”
Blumenthal appeared on CNN on Monday and talked about Trump’s speculated ties to Russia, and Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 Presidential campaign hacking.
“I think [it is] very important to protect and safeguard the independence and integrity of that investigation,” Blumenthal told CNN.
Later in the day, Trump tweeted: “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.”
Blumenthal has misrepresented his military service in the past – that he was in the Marine Reserves in Washington, D.C., and allowed the narrative that he is a Vietnam War veteran to continue.
Blumenthal has said: “When we returned, we saw nothing like this,” at a troop rally in 2003.
And, in 2008, he said that “We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” NBC reported. Additionally, at that time, he said: “I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even physical abuse.”
A 2010 New York Times expose revealed that the senator had at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970, and that he had “sometimes falsely claimed to have served in Vietnam,” NBC said.
He enlisted in 1970 and was in the U.S. Marine Reserves, where he participated in Washington, D.C., drills and local projects.
Blumenthal has apologized in the past for misrepresenting his service, pointing out that he regretted saying he served “in” Vietnam rather than “during” Vietnam, NBC reported.
Blumenthal also tweeted on Monday, saying: “Mr. President: Your bullying hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now. No one is above the law.”
The senator added that his issue is with the Special Counsel’s “independence and integrity” as it investigates the alleged Russia collusion.