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Were Trump Tweets on Blumenthal Petty?

by | Aug 8, 2017 | Politics

 President Trump fired a barrage of tweets at Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) on Monday after the Senator demonstrated support for the continued investigation into alleged collusion with, and meddling by, the Russians in the 2016 Presidential Election. President Trump’s Twitter attack may prove a tactical error, however, as neither he nor Sen. Blumenthal really have a leg to stand on in this fight. On the morning of August 7, 2017, the President fired the first volley:

Interesting to watch Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talk about hoax Russian collusion when he was a phony Vietnam con artist!

This was in reference to Senator Blumenthal’s 2010 Senate campaign when the disparity between the then Connecticut Attorney General’s military service and his comments regarding said service became somewhat of a scandal. Having acquired his target, President Trump continued the assault.

Never in U.S. history has anyone lied or defrauded votes 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?

Senator Blumenthal took a more measured response, stating that the President’s “bullying hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now.” Senator Blumenthal’s attempt to assume the moral high ground is an interesting one. Senator Blumenthal’s record of “misspeaking” about his military service is worthy of criticism. Still, President Trump’s admonishment carries with it his signature exaggeration. While Senator Blumenthal has stated that he misspoke on earlier occasions and has clarified the nature of his service, he still has a history of portraying his military record with enough ambiguity as to allow incorrect assumptions about his service (assumptions neither he nor his office ever worked to correct).

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

As the Attorney General of Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal spoke at a March 2008 ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens who supported American troops overseas. “We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” he said as he went on to praise the audience for their support of the Armed Forces. Several years prior, at a rally in 2003, Senator Blumenthal addressed the crowd by saying, “When we returned, we saw nothing like this. Let us do better by this generation of men and women.” The problem with these statements, primarily, is that Senator neither served in Vietnam nor, obviously, did he “come back.” Senator Blumenthal received two student deferments during his undergraduate studies at Harvard. After graduating in 1967, he attended a graduate fellowship at Trinity College in Cambridge under yet another deferment. In 1968, when the Johnson administration began reining in student deferments, Blumenthal received a rare occupational deferment while teaching inner-city schoolchildren and later went to work for the Nixon administration. In December 1969, he received a low number in the draft lottery and was eligible for the draft. Two months later, he obtained another occupational deferment and, yet again, avoided the draft.  That is a total of five deferments.

In April 1970, as the status of those with occupational deferments was under question, Mr. Blumenthal enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves. The Marine Reserves were not activated for Vietnam, and it was considered a haven for those wishing to avoid the war. Blumenthal served in the Fourth Civil Affairs Group in D.C. and the Sixth Motor Transport Battalion in Connecticut.

We at Liberty Nation will never impugn the service of those who have put on the uniform and served honorably. While Senator Blumenthal did not serve in combat, he still served. However, characterizing your service in such a way as to imply that you were somewhere you were not deserves criticism. President Trump’s recent attack, however, misses the mark. According to our research, Senator Blumenthal never bragged about battle or wartime conquest, and he never cried when amending his previous comments. While we chalk this up to the familiar bombastic exaggeration of President Trump, it should still be noted that Blumenthal served. President Trump did not.

President Trump received multiple draft deferments during Vietnam. When he was a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party (lest we forget), many of his detractors called him a dodger. The same questions were even raised during the Republican primaries. President Trump’s history of avoiding service (even through legitimate means) chips away at the credibility of his admonishment. Pots are not generally taken seriously when they call the kettle black. While President Trump never “misspoke” about the nature of his service (as there was none), many will simply see this series of tweets as one draft dodger calling out another, and make Trump simply look petty.

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