WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday used a false claim to attack Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb in a tweet endorsing the Pennsylvania lawmaker's Republican challenger.
“Sean Parnell is an American Hero. Conor Lamb has proven to be an American fraud, and a puppet for Crazy Nancy Pelosi. He said he would NOT vote for her for Speaker, and did. Will kill 2A. Voted to impeach (on nothing). A TOTAL & COMPLETE Sean Parnell Endorsement!” Trump said Tuesday in a tweet nearly identical to a post from Monday that incorrectly spelled the Pennsylvania lawmaker's name.
In fact, Lamb, who was elected to the House in a 2018 special election, did not vote for Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as speaker of the House in the formal floor vote held in January 2019. Instead, he kept a campaign promise and was among the 15 Democratic defectors to oppose Pelosi's bid.
Lamb ran for Congress on a pledge to support new leadership in the House. After he won in an upset — the district was one long-held by Republicans — he reiterated that he wanted to see new leadership and ultimately voted accordingly.
“It's nothing personal. I just think the leadership of both parties has presided over a time when we've had more and more gridlock and fewer and fewer important things getting done, and I always learned that leadership starts at the top," Lamb told MSNBC in 2018, prior to the election for the speaker.
After Trump posted his first attack Monday, Lamb tweeted a screenshot of the president’s comments and wrote, “These people have been lying about my record since the day I became a candidate. It hasn't stopped, and it won't stop, until we beat them at the ballot box in November.”
Sean Parnell, his GOP challenger, responded to Lamb, tweeting, "You didn’t have a record when you first became a candidate. Which is why you could lie about being a moderate."
"Thing is, you have a record now & it aligns with The Sqaud 90% of the time," Parnell continued, misspelling "squad," the nickname for four Democratic congresswomen of color who are frequently targeted by Trump. "Maybe if you’re nice they’ll let you be the 5th member for the next couple months.”
In his tweet Tuesday, Trump called Parnell, a military veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan in 2006, “an American Hero.”
Lamb is also a military veteran. He served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, completing active duty service in 2013. He continued to serve in the Marine Corps Reserve and was eventually promoted to major.
Parnell's campaign manager, asked for comment on Trump's tweet, said that the president first publicly backed Parnell more than five months ago.
"Regarding yesterday's tweet: Nancy Pelosi gave Lamb a pass on the vote for speakership, but since that day he has been one of her most reliable votes. It is understandable that President Trump thought Lamb voted for Pelosi for Speaker, given that he votes with her 92% of the time," Andrew Brey said.
According to a ProPublica comparison, the voting records of Pelosi and Lamb shows the two agreed on 92 percent of votes in 2019 and 2020. The comparison, however, is only based on just a portion of all of the votes cast in the current Congress. As speaker, Pelosi only votes on major pieces of legislation.
Brey argued that Lamb broke a number of other campaign promises.
"It's important to recognize that Conor Lamb is a case study in saying one thing in district to get elected, but doing another in Washington," he said.