President Donald Trump early Thursday attacked Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Twitter, saying he mischaracterized comments made by Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and pointing out the senator told a "major lie" about serving in Vietnam.
The Connecticut Democrat said Wednesday that during a meeting with Gorsuch, the federal judge told him that Trump's comments about a Seattle judge who blocked his orders on immigration were "disheartening" and "demoralizing," according to a CNN report.
"He said very specifically that they were demoralizing and disheartening, and he characterized them very specifically that way," Blumenthal said Wednesday.
"I said they were more than disheartening, and I said to him that he has an obligation to make his views clear to the American people, so they understand how abhorrent or unacceptable President Trump's attacks on the judiciary are."
Ron Bonjean, who is handling Gorsuch's communications duties during the confirmation proceedings, confirmed the comments to CNN, saying Gorsuch had used the words "disheartening" and "demoralizing" during the conversation, the network reported.
CNN reports that in another meeting earlier this week with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Gorsuch also said an attack on one judge is an attack on all, and that he was disheartened when that happens.
According to a source familiar with the discussion, which paraphrased the comments, Gorsuch said judges are accustomed to criticism.
Trump's comments on Blumenthal's military service stem from reports from several years ago, when the Connecticut senator was running for office. According to a report in The New York Times from 2010, Blumenthal had often referred to his service in Vietnam while making speeches, but he had never served in Vietnam.
Instead, he obtained at least five military deferments between 1965 and 1970, landing a spot in the Marine Reserves in 1970.
He was stationed in a unit in Washington D.C., where he had been working at first as a special assistant to Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham and then in the administration of then-President Richard Nixon.
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