Senator Richard Blumenthal caught the rough edge of the President’s social media feed yesterday, as the President tore into his military record.
He accused Blumenthal of being a “con artist”, and that “never in US history has anyone lied or defrauded voters” like him.
He later returned to attack Blumenthal again, suggesting he “should take a nice long vacation in Vietnam, where he lied about his service, so he can at least say he was there.”
And it’s not the first time he’s attacked this particular senator – he also attacked him on Twitter in both February and May.
But might Trump have a particular motive for his furious – and misleading – attack? Here’s what we know.
Who is Senator Richard Blumenthal?
He’s the Senior Senator from Connecticut, and has been in office since 2011.
The “lies” Trump talked about in his string of tweets refer to a 2010 scandal when the New York Times reported that he had on at least one occasion misrepresented his service during the Vietnam war.
A video emerged of him speaking in March 2008 and discussing the return of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
During his speech, Blumenthal said: “We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam.”
There were also reports that Blumenthal had, in 2003, referenced “returning home” from Vietnam in a speech.
The thing is, Blumenthal never served in Vietnam. He served during the Vietnam war, enlisting in the United States Marine Corps Reserve units in Washington DC and Connecticut from 1970 to 1976, after receiving at least five draft deferments during the conflict.
Blumenthal says he “misspoke” on a few occasions about his service, but never intentionally lied.
He said he was “unaware of those misplaced words when they were spoken.”
Trump’s claim he “defrauded” voters, however, is untrue. The scandal broke before the election and was reflected in his lead shrinking in the polls. He still won the election easily.
So why did Trump attack him so vigorously?
Well, we can think of three reasons.
1. He beat an old friend
First of all, Richard Blumenthal’s opponent in the 2010 election was Linda McMahon.
Yes, WWE Linda McMahon. Wife of Vince McMahon.
This Linda McMahon.
Aside from being a world famous wrestling magnate, McMahon has long harbored designs on political office.
She’s also a friend of the Donald. She and husband Vince donated $4 million to the Trump Foundation in 2007 – Trump’s now defunct charitable organization, which faced heavy scrutiny during his election campaign. It’s the highest value donation the McMahons have ever made, and the highest value donation ever made to the Trump Foundation. Shortly after, Trump made a cameo on WWE, in a special called “Battle of the Billionaires.”
Linda McMahon also donated more than $7million to Trump’s election campaign.
After winning the election, Trump appointed her to head up his Small Business Administration.
2. The lawsuit
Richard Blumenthal is the lead plaintiff in a Federal Lawsuit alleging Donald Trump has breached the ‘emoluments clause’ in the US Constitution.
It’s a section of the US Constitution that bans office holders from using their position to enjoy benefits, accept gifts or make profit from overseas nations.
While some legal experts say the President is exempt from the clause, others suggest Trump’s Worldwide property and hotel empire – not to mention his luxury hotel just a few minutes’ walk from the White House, which has already seen an influx of foreign dignitaries paying top dollar for accommodation – is just asking for trouble.
The suit has been brought by 30 senators and 166 members of the House of Representatives. The deadline for action is August 14 – next Monday – although there is a pending motion to allow the deadline to be pushed back by a month.
3. He just saw him on TV
— New Day (@NewDay) 7 August 2017
Trump has a habit of tweeting about whatever he just saw on TV.
Richard Blumenthal appeared on CNN shortly before Trump started tweeting, discussing Trump’s crackdown on leakers.