Lawrence O’Donnell took a couple of minutes during Thursday night’s episode of “The Last Word” for a segment he calls “Republicans don’t mean what they say,” in which he castigated Republicans who say they are concerned about serial liar George Santos but still enthusiastically support Donald Trump.
Specifically, he called out New York Republican Congressman Mike Lawler, noting how the specific reason Lawler has given for wanting Santos expelled from congress also applies to Trump. Santos of course faces his third expulsion vote on Friday, but this time may actually be booted thanks to a congressional ethics report that concluded he used campaign funds to enrich himself.
Among the Republicans who’ve already said they’ll vote is Lawler, who gave a somber speech on the House floor in which he said, “Of all the lies that George Santos told, two are the most jarring: That his mother perished in 9/11, was in the building, got cancer from 9/11,or that his grandparents fled the Holocaust. In both instances. Mr. Santos used tragic events in history to try and propel himself to public office.”
After playing a clip of that speech, O’Donnell bluntly declared, “He’s lying. And I don’t mean George Santos I mean, Republican Congressman Mike Waller, who you just heard expressing his outrage that George Santos would claim to have suffered a tragic loss on 9/11, when he didn’t suffer anything.”
But then, O’Donnell noted, Lawler voted for Donald Trump, at which point he rolled a clip of a similar lie Trump told in 2016.
“I lost hundreds of friends,” Trump claimed about the 9/11 attacks.
“That was in the Republican primary debate in 2016,” O’Donnell explained. “I immediately said, publicly, that Donald Trump was lying, that he did not lose hundreds of friends on 91. No one else in the news media at the time picked up on it. The next day on ‘Meet the Press.’ Donald Trump changed the number of friends he claimed he lost.”
O’Donnell then played another clip of Trump saying, “I was there I lost many, many friends in that tragedy.”
“And I immediately said that that reduction was a lie,” O’Donnell continued. “That it was a lie when Donald Trump reduced his claim from hundreds and hundreds of friends to many friends. Donald Trump stopped telling that lie after I said it was a lie the second time. The only time we ever stopped telling a lie. The truth? Donald Trump was zero friends on 9/11. None. Donald Trump attended zero 9/11 funerals. Not one 9/11 funeral in New York or anywhere else.”
“After Donald Trump told literally hundreds of lies in one sentence by claiming to have lost hundreds of friends on 9/11, Congressman Mike Lawler voted for Donald Trump for president, and then he voted for Donald Trump again to reelect Donald Trump for President. Donald Trump, who had lied about 9/11. Congressman Lawler voted for Donald Trump for president in 2016. And he voted for Donald Trump again in 2020,” O’Donnell said.
“Congressman Lawler, who now pretends to be deeply offended by lies about 9/11, voted for a presidential candidate who told worse lies about 9/11 than George Santos could ever dream of, and nothing will stop Congressman Lawler from voting for Donald Trump for President again if Trump is the Republican nominee. So thanks to Congressman Mike Lawler for tonight’s episode of Republicans don’t mean what they say,” O’Donnell concluded.