Trump attacks Blumenthal over Vietnam service

August 17, 2018

The Tweeter in Chief has dredged up an eight-year-old issue against U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal that state voters thoroughly ignored in 2010, when he defeated Linda McMahon, and again in 2016, when the senator was re-elected with a million votes.

President Trump, whose Vietnam-era service was precluded by a doctor’s diagnosis of bone spurs, late Thursday attacked Blumenthal in a tweet that contained at least three factual errors and - arguably - a spelling mistake:

“How can “Senator” Richard Blumenthal, who went around for twenty years as a Connecticut politician bragging that he was a great Marine war hero in Vietnam (then got caught and sobbingly admitted he was neither a Marine nor ever in Vietnam), pass judgement on anyone? Loser!”

Blumenthal, whose resistance - along with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy - to many of Trump’s political ploys and policies, from immigration to gun-safety policy, has helped lead Democrats in Congress, replied to the president with criticism of his own.

In an interview Friday with Hearst Connecticut Media, Blumenthal, who served with the Marine Corps Reserve during 1974 and 1975, when the war in Vietnam was winding down, dismissed the president’s charge.

“He’s not going to silence me with his ridiculous attacks,” said Blumenthal who before reaching the Senate was a state senator and longtime state attorney general. “He’s not going to silence former CIA director) John Brennan or silence the press. This is a democracy. I will continue to speak out. The tweet itself is inaccurate and irrelevant and unworthy of any additional comment.”

During the 2010 campaign, Blumenthal apologized for saying in 2008 that he served in Vietnam. Later, his commanding office came to Blumenthal’s defence, saying that the slip was minor and that Blumenthal served honorably in the reserves.

So factually, Trump’s tweet is wrong about Blumenthal’s “bragging that he was a great war hero in Vietnam.” He did not tout “for 20 years” that proposition. He was indeed a Marine Corps reservist and thus, was in the Marines.

Finally, “judgment” is not usually spelled with an ‘e’ in the middle. The Oxford English Dictionary says it’s wrong: “In British English the normal spelling in general contexts is judgement. However, the spelling judgment is conventional in legal contexts, and in North American English.”

But misspellings are common in the president’s Twitter-verse.

kdixon@ctpost.com Twitter: @KenDixonCT

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