Trump Said Conor Lamb Won After Running on Tax Cuts—the Opposite of the Truth

President Donald Trump on Wednesday night said Democrat Conor Lamb defeated the Republican candidate, whom Trump campaigned for, in Pennsylvania in part because he supported the Republican tax cuts. That's false. Lamb ran against the tax cuts.

"The young man last night that ran, he said, 'Oh, I'm like Trump,'" the president told attendees at a private fundraising event for Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley, according to an audio recording obtained by The Atlantic. "'Second Amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything.' He ran on that basis."

Lamb did not love the tax cuts. He campaigned against the tax law that Republicans pushed through Congress without a single Democratic vote.

The 33-year-old Congressman-elect called the tax cuts a "giveaway" to the richest 1 percent and corporations and criticized it as a "betrayal" to middle-class households, according to the Associated Press.

Speaking to supporters at a campaign rally, Lamb said Republicans had to "give tax relief to their donors, to the 1 percent and big corporations," the AP reported in February.

President Donald Trump told attendees of a fundraising event for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley that Democrat Conor Lamb defeated Republican Rick Saccone, whom Trump campaigned for, in part because he supported the Republican tax cuts. That's false. Lamb ran against the tax cuts. Eric Thayer-Pool/Getty Images

Trump himself also tweeted about Lamb's opposition to the tax law, a signature piece of legislation for his administration, one day before the election. "Lamb will always vote for [House Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi and Dems.... Will raise taxes, weak on Crime and Border," he wrote on Monday.

Two days later, after Lamb's narrow victory over Republican candidate Rick Saccone, Trump struck a more conciliatory tone. "He ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me. I said, 'Is he a Republican? He sounds like a Republican to me,'" Trump said of Lamb, according to The Atlantic.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, also branded Lamb a "conservative," at his weekly news conference on Tuesday.

"Both of these people, both of these candidates, the Republican and the Democrat, ran as conservatives, ran as pro-gun, pro-life, anti-Nancy Pelosi conservatives, and I think that's the takeaway you see here," he said.

Lamb, a Marine veteran and former federal prosecutor, has expressed his support for gun rights. His first television ad featured a photo of him shooting what appeared to be an AR-15-style rifle as the narrator said he "served four years in the Marines. Still loves to shoot." Lamb has also opposed an assault weapons ban, though he did endorsed "universal background checks."

In a rebuttal to Lamb's "conservative" labeling, Jon Favreau—former chief speechwriter for President Barack Obama and co-founder of Crooked Media—enumerated his left-leaning policy positions in a tweet on Wednesday.

Conor Lamb campaigned:
1. For universal health care
2. Against Trump’s tax cut
3. For expanded background checks
4. For stronger unions
5. Against cuts to Social Security
6. For a woman’s right to choose
7. For medical marijuana

“Conservative Democrat.” Ok. Cool.

— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) March 14, 2018

Lamb edged out Saccone in the special election for Pennsylvania's 18th District, receiving 49.8 percent of votes to his challenger's 49.6 percent with 100 percent of districts reporting—a difference of just 627 votes. Trump won that district by nearly 20 percentage points in 2016.