Sen. Marsha Blackburn slammed for repeated attacks on Purple Heart recipient
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) this week continued her smear campaign against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top National Security Council adviser who testified before Congress during the House impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump.
"Adam Schiff is hailing Alexander Vindman as an American patriot," Blackburn tweeted Thursday. "How patriotic is it to badmouth and ridicule our great nation in front of Russia, America's greatest enemy?"
Blackburn later accused Vindman, who served under both President Obama and Trump, of being a liberal who worked for Obama who wanted to "take out Trump."
According to the Washington Post, allegations that Vindman said negative things about the United States to Russians are based on unverified reports from an individual who also spreads QAnon conspiracy theories.
Blowback over Blackburn's comments was swift.
"Marsha Blackburn is a disgrace to the United States Senate," Will Goodwin, a veteran and director of government relations for the group VoteVets, tweeted in response to the Tennessee senator.
If Blackburn believes what she said about Vindman, he added, "she doesn't deserve to represent the thousands of veterans who call Tennessee home."
Vindman's attorney, David Pressman, also slammed Blackburn's statements.
"That a member of the Senate — at a moment when the Senate is undertaking its most solemn responsibility — would choose to take to Twitter to spread slander about a member of the military is a testament to cowardice," Pressman said on Thursday.
As a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Blackburn writes on her official Senate website that "veterans rank as the bravest among us," and that she "takes seriously her duty to fight for them and their families, who have sacrificed so much in the defense of our nation."
Vindman was awarded a Purple Heart after he was injured in 2004 by an IED while serving in Iraq.
Blackburn made similar attacks against Vindman in November 2019, calling him names shortly after he testified before Congress.
Vindman testified as a top expert on Ukraine, and he told congressional investigators about his reaction listening to Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy. On that call, Trump asked Zelenskiy for a political "favor," which included opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and a long-debunked conspiracy involving the Democratic National Committee.
Vindman was concerned about the call, and brought his concerns to a top National Security Council lawyer.
When reached for comment on Friday, Blackburn's senate office declined to elaborate on her accusations against Vindman; instead, the office pointed to Blackburn's Thursday evening appearance on Fox News where the senator made similar accusations against Vindman.
In that interview, Blackburn said she "honor[s] the service of every man and woman in uniform," before launching into a broadside attack against Vindman.
Blackburn made news earlier in the week when it appeared that she broke Senate rules by skipping out on the impeachment trial in order to do an interview on Fox News, Newsweek reported. Official rules require all senators to "be in attendance at all times during the proceedings."
Other Republican senators have been accused of skipping out on parts of the impeachment trial as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and other House managers presented their case for removing Trump from office.
Some Republicans "leave the chamber for extended periods of time," Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said on Wednesday.
"I guess they've had enough and they just don't want to listen to the rest of the testimony," he said.
Trump's defense team will present their case beginning on Saturday.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. Attribution: Dan Desai Martin.