Lawrence O’Donnell said Monday he singlehandedly caught Donald Trump in a lie he started telling in 2016 about losing “hundreds of friends” in the 9/11 terror attacks — adding that his tweets stopped the former president from making the claim ever again.
The MSNBC host was reflecting on Sept. 11, 2001, on Monday — the 22-year anniversary of the attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers. His thoughts soon turned to the serial Manhattan real estate developer.
“Donald Trump has been lying about 9/11 since 9/11,” O’Donnell said grimly. “Here is Donald Trump’s most vile lie about 9/11.”
From there, he threw to a clip from a heated exchange during a 2016 GOP primary debate, in which then-candidate Trump said, “How did he keep us safe when the world — I lost hundreds of friends!”
“The moment Donald Trump said that he lost ‘hundreds of friends’ on 9/11 during a 2016 Republican primary debate I publicly called that a lie,” O’Donnell said. “I knew it was impossible that Donald Trump lost hundreds of friends on 9/11. The next morning on ‘Meet the Press,’ Donald Trump changed his lie about losing ‘hundreds of friends’ on 9/11.”
Back on Trump, from the interview: “I was there. I lost many, many friends in that tragedy.”
“‘Hundreds’ became ‘many, many,’ and once again, I knew that that was a lie and immediately called it a lie on Twitter,” O’Donnell continued. “Donald Trump followed my tweets very closely in those days, and so he knew that he was caught in that lie, but he also knew that I was the only one who caught him and so he never said it again.”
While it seems almost impossible that someone who spent as much time around New York City construction sites and financial institutions as Trump didn’t know anyone who perished in the towers on Sept. 11, 2001, O’Donnell has his standards:
“Donald Trump lost zero friends on 9/11,” O’Donnell said. “Donald Trump attended zero funerals of 9/11 victims. Zero. But Donald Trump tried to steal the grief of all of the families who lost someone on 9/11. He tried to steal the grief of all of the thousands and thousands of people who lost loved ones and dear friends and coworkers on 9/11.”
Watch the entire exchange in the video above, starting around the eight-minute mark.