Former general John Kelly was hired as Donald Trump’s new chief of staff on July 28 to “restore order” to a chaotic White House.
Trump’s Twitter didn’t get the memo. On Monday morning, the first day of his August vacation, the president tweeted a series of rambling personal attacks against Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) from his private club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Interesting to watch Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talking about hoax Russian collusion when he was a phony Vietnam con artist!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2017
Never in U.S.history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like Senator Richard Blumenthal. He told stories about his Vietnam battles and....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2017
...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?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2017
Trump is referencing a story broken by the New York Times in 2010 about the Connecticut Democrat's service record. Though he suggested he fought in Vietnam, Blumenthal actually took several deferments and served in the Marine Corps Reserve without leaving the US. (He later admitted he had "misspoken" about his record.) Last week, Blumenthal urged for US senators to pass legislation to “protect the integrity and independence” of the special counsel investigating the Trump-Russia scandal.
Throughout the two weeks, multiple media outlets have heralded the new era of stability Kelly was expected to bring to the White House. Kelly, Trump’s original Department of Homeland Security secretary, was imposing “military discipline” on the White House, the New York Times said. “Kelly already bringing order to White House,” the Washington Examiner reported.
“Kelly, the new White House chief of staff, has taken control in dramatic fashion, and is already imposing unmistakable signs of order after just a few days on the job,” wrote Axios’s Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan. “Even POTUS appears to be trying to impress his four-star handler, picking up his game by acting sharper in meetings and even rattling off stats.”
Of course, perhaps Kelly will still manage to tame Trump’s Twitter fingers, or improve the internal discord rife within the executive branch. But the president’s rambling morning invective against Blumenthal — a member of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee — is probably not a great sign.