Rep. Conor Lamb dismisses Trump's attacks as 'the latest effort to distract'

WASHINGTON — Rep. Conor Lamb on Wednesday dismissed President Donald Trump’s attacks on him as just the latest effort by the president to distract from issues affecting the country.

In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the Pennsylvania Democrat was asked to state for the record whether he voted for Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to be House speaker, which the president falsely claimed on Monday.

“No, I voted for my good friend Joe Kennedy," Lamb said. "But that isn't what this is about."

"I think that's the latest effort to distract from what the real issues are in parts of country like mine,” Lamb said.

Noting that Trump had called Lamb an American fraud, co-host Willie Geist pointed out that the congressman attended the Marine Corps' Officer Candidate School after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Asked why he decided to pursue that path, Lamb said, “You know, we were a country at war at the time — still are, obviously — and I had a lot of friends that served. So I thought I could do my part and, you know, joining the Marines. It seemed like the toughest test and the chance to serve with the best. So, yeah, really fortunate to have gotten to serve with those guys and, you know, the Marines know what service is, and it's not about attention or recognition — although I did serve under this commander-in-chief as a reservist, and I'm proud of that service, too.”

Lamb’s comments come after Trump falsely claimed on Twitter that Lamb voted to elect Pelosi as House speaker while endorsing his GOP opponent.

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“Sean Parnell is an American Hero. Conor Lamb has proven to be an American fraud, and a puppet for Crazy Nancy Pelosi," Trump tweeted. "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!”

The tweet was nearly identical to one Trump posted Monday, but correctly spelled Lamb’s surname.

Lamb, who was first elected to Congress in a 2018 special election, did not vote to elect Pelosi as speaker in the formal floor vote held in January 2019. Instead, he kept a campaign promise and was among more than a dozen Democratic defectors to oppose Pelosi's bid, voting instead to elect his Democratic colleague, Rep. Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts, as speaker, although Kennedy was not running for the leadership role.

Lamb ran for Congress on a pledge to support new leadership in the House and won in an upset in a district long-held by Republicans.

When Trump attacked Lamb on Monday, the congressman 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.”

In his tweet Tuesday, Trump called Parnell, a military veteran who was wounded in Afghanistan in 2006, “an American Hero.” In his endorsement, Trump retweeted of a post from Parnell in which he said after he was wounded, “I was medically retired from the Army in 2010 & left the military with next to nothing. I was in rough shape. 10 yrs later the President of the United States is giving me shoutouts. Democrat or Republican this is damn cool! God Bless America!”

Lamb is 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.