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Trump goes after Dem in wake of Gorsuch comments

Posted: 4:33 AM, Feb 09, 2017
Updated: 2017-02-09 15:00:03Z

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Donald Trump on Thursday accused Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of misrepresenting Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's criticism of Trump, even though Gorsuch's own White House-appointed spokesman confirmed the criticism on Wednesday.

"Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie), now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?" Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

Blumenthal on Wednesday said Gorsuch told him he found Trump's attack on a federal judge on Twitter "disheartening" and "demoralizing."

 

 

And within 30 minutes, Gorsuch spokesman Ron Bonjean, who was tapped by the White House to head communications for Gorsuch, confirmed that Gorsuch used those words in his meeting with Blumenthal.

Trump's dig at Blumenthal's military service is a reference to Blumenthal's past misrepresentations about his service during the Vietnam era.

Blumenthal obtained multiple military deferments to avoid getting drafted into the Vietnam War and ultimately landed in the Marine Corps Reserve and never deployed to Vietnam, though he claimed multiple times he had served in Vietnam. Blumenthal apologized for misrepresenting his service in 2010.

While Blumenthal enlisted in the Marine Reserve after multiple deferments, Trump -- who was also eligible for the draft during the Vietnam War -- never enlisted, instead obtaining multiple student deferments and ultimately a medical deferment for a bone spur to avoid the military draft.

Gorsuch's comments came in reference to Trump's recent criticism of federal judges who have ruled against his immigration ban or appear poised to do so, in particular in response to one of the President's tweets slamming one of those judges as a "so-called judge."

"The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!" Trump tweeted last Saturday.

On Wednesday, Trump pressed forward with his criticism, arguing that the judiciary has become too political and suggesting that judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals might rule against his appeal to reverse a temporary stay on implementing his travel ban because of political considerations, instead of the law.

Sen. Chris Coons said in his personal meeting with Gorsuch, he plans to ask the nominee about his commitment to judicial independence given some of the President's recent comments about judges.

"I don't think it's constructive for President Trump to weigh in on this and to level accusations against sitting senators," the Delaware Democrat told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day." "I frankly think the more he stays out of this the better for his judicial nominee."

"But this simply highlights why judicial independence is going to be so important for me and for other Senators as we go through the process of meeting Judge Gorsuch and considering whether or not he should serve on the Supreme Court," he added.

Trump's Thursday tweet could complicate the upcoming hearings for Gorsuch, who is certain to face questions about Trump's tweets from Democrats. Liberals, already concerned with Gorsuch's record, have also asked how he will demonstrate independence from the President.

The President is also set to meet with red state Democrats for lunch, in hopes of wooing their support for Gorsuch.