MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell did not mince words in his criticism of President Donald Trump Tuesday, accusing the president of lying during his campaign about losing friends in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
The MSNBC host claimed the president had told an “evil lie” when he claimed during the 2016 presidential election race that he had lost “hundreds” of friends in the twin towers, changing that figure to “many, many people” in an appearance on Meet the Press just one day later.
“As soon as Trump said that in the campaign debate in South Carolina that he lost hundreds of friends on 9/11, I said that he was lying," O'Donnell said on Tuesday night. "I didn’t know how many friends he lost on 9/11 but I knew it wasn’t hundreds."
“Knowing the way Donald Trump lies as I do, I suspected then that the real number was zero, and then I checked, and the real number was zero. Donald Trump did not attend a single 9/11 funeral, not one,” he added.
The host said one way to tell when Trump is lying is that he stops making the claim after he has been called out on its veracity:
“There has been much debate in the news media about how do you know when a Trump lie is a lie and not just a falsehood,” he said. "One way of knowing is that he stops saying it. And when I held that lie up to Donald Trump’s face, even he could see how evil that lie was. And even Donald Trump knew he could never try to tell that lie again."
O’Donnell also said he doesn’t believe Trump felt an iota of grief over the attacks, which as president he participated in commemorating on Tuesday.
“America's future is not written by our enemies. America's future is written by our heroes," the BBC reported Trump saying in Shanksville.
"As long as this monument stands, as long as this memorial endures, brave patriots will rise up in America's hours of need and they, too, will fight back,” he added.
But O’Donnell took issue with Trump’s attendance at the Flight 93 memorial, saying his behavior as he exited Air Force One — pumping his fists as he approached supporters on the tarmac — was inappropriate.
“It wasn’t grief that the president felt today when he got off Air Force One in Pennsylvania to attend the 9/11 commemoration of Flight 93 that takes place there every year. There is only one president in our history who could arrive at such a solemn and tragic commemoration and behave as if he was arriving at a rally,” O’Donnell said.