Tuesday night, Lawrence O'Donnell took The New York Times to task for its continued omission of one of the worst Trump lies about our nation's worst terrorist attack suffered on U.S. soil. The Times may think it's hard-hitting, but it has long been thought as complicit as Morning Joe in helping elect our authoritarian-in-chief. Part of the reason is its having to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to the realization that many of those things that come out of Trump's @sshole-shaped mouth are actually best described as "lies." Not "factual inaccuracies" or "demonstrable falsehoods."
The lie O'Donnell considers most egregious of all has never even merited a passing mention in The Gray Lady.
Even worse, yesterday the NYT made an effort to compile a list of Trump's lies about 9/11, in response to his awful targeting of Rep. Ilhan Omar, and left this lie off the list.
It is as vile a lie as Donald Trump has ever told. And even Donald Trump knows how bad a lie this is because he stopped telling it. He told it twice. Once at the debate and the next morning on tv, and I called him on it both times as soon as he said it, and he never said it again. Because even Donald Trump knows just how sacrilegious this lie is. Here's the way he said it the first time.
(VIDEO): TRUMP: How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center -- the World Trade Center -- excuse me, I lost hundreds of friends. The World Trade Center came down during the raid. He kept us safe? That's not safe.
"I lost hundreds of friends." The next morning, he didn't lose hundreds of friends on 9/11. He had time to read my tweet overnight saying, "Of course Donald Trump lies about how many friends he lost on 9/11. 'hundreds of friends.' Proving there's nothing he won't lie about." Donald Trump was actively responding to my tweets in those days and attacking me and threatening me on Twitter and threatening to sue me on Twitter, and so it's very likely he saw that tweet. And so the next morning "hundreds of friends" became "many friends."
(VIDEO): TRUMP: How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center during his time in office came down? I was there. I lost, many, many friends in that tragedy.
Many, many friends. I immediately tweeted that Donald Trump was lying again and Donald Trump never said that again. He never said he lost a friend on 9/11 again, not one. Now, full disclosure, I did not fact-check how many friends Donald Trump lost on 9/11 before tweeting he was lying about that. I just knew he was lying because i'd been watching Donald Trump long enough to know how he operates....Michael Daly did the homework and fact checking for an article in The Daily Beast. Michael Daly did not find any proof Donald Trump attended a single 9/11 funeral, not one. Donald Trump did not lose a single friend on 9/11. Donald Trump didn't go to a single 9/11 funeral, and he told that lie to gain political advantage on a debate stage in South Carolina where he was the only one from New York City, and no one there was smart enough to know he was lying. And because this instantly became Trump's lost lie, he got away with it. And what he got away with was stealing the grief of the 9/11 families, stealing the grief of the thousands of people who lost fathers and brothers and sisters and grandmothers and dear friends on 9/11. Donald Trump stole their grief and wrapped himself in it on a debate stage. He use it as a weapon on a debate stage to score points against ignorant Republican presidential candidates who didn't know he was lying. He stole other people's grief, 9/11 grief. And the campaign news media let him get away with it as they let him get away with so much. And he got away with it again today when The New York Times once again failed in its coverage of Donald Trump by leaving out the sickest most perverse lie that Donald Trump has ever told. The man who doesn't have hundreds of friends, who might not even have any real friends at all, lied about losing hundreds of friends on 9/11 and got away with it. The news media isn't up to this job keeping up with the lies of Donald Trump, so you're going to have to hold onto this one yourself if you don't want it to be trump's lost lie. When your children and grandchildren ask you what is the worst lie that Donald Trump told, you can send them to The New York Times archives, but you might also want to have your personal list, the list that includes the time the man who apparently has no idea what human suffering is stole all of the suffering of 9/11 for himself. He became a thief of grief. We owe it to history to not let that remain Trump's lost lie.
I have one quibble only with O'Donnell's analysis. He claimed the news media isn't up to the job of keeping up with the lies of Donald Trump. I disagree. If the media would spend less time fixating on things that don't matter, like Jack Dorsey's diet, or hit pieces on Neera Tanden and Hillary Clinton supporters (I'm looking at you again, Gray Lady,) perhaps they could keep up with his lies. If they spent less time in drooling worship over the white men running for the Democratic nomination (and those who have not even declared,) they might have a chance at keeping up with Trump's lies. If the media might spend less time trying to gin up the notion that the Democrats are in disarray, being torn apart from within, or incapable of dealing with the complexity of its coalition, it might — just maybe — be able to keep up with Trump's lies.
Give it a shot, media.