Following his controversial speech to the Boy Scouts of America’s national Jamboree last month, President Trump said received a phone call from the Boy Scouts of America to praise him for “the best speech” ever delivered to the more than century-old organization. Well, he lied, the White House conceded Thursday.
But that wasn’t the only time Trump has lied about getting flattering phone calls. Trump also claimed that the president of Mexico picked up the telephone to let him know that his tough enforcement efforts at the border were paying off handsomely.
Mr. Trump’s latest push of ‘alternative facts’ began on Monday when he said at a cabinet meeting that Mr. Peña Nieto had been on the phone to him. “Even the president of Mexico called me,” Mr. Trump said, touting his success in cracking down on illegal immigration. “They said their southern border — very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get through our border, which is the ultimate compliment.”
The Mexican government said on Wednesday that no such telephone call took place, The New York Times reported.
On Tuesday, it was the Boy Scouts’ turn: A leaked transcript of an interview the president had with The Wall Street Journal quoted him saying that the head of the Boy Scouts had called him full of praise for a highly political speech Mr. Trump had delivered at the National Scout Jamboree.
“I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful,” Mr. Trump told reporters.
On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts of America said it was not aware of any call from its leadership to Mr. Trump. Instead, they released a statement apologizing to scouts for Mr. Trump’s “inappropriate” speech.
The anecdotes, both of which Mr. Trump told over the last week, were similar in that they appeared to be efforts to showcase broad support for the president when his White House has been mired in turmoil. But they also had another thing in common, the White House conceded on Wednesday: Neither was true.
During her daily briefing Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted publicly that neither the Boy Scouts nor the Mexican government had called Mr. Trump.
The nonexistent phone calls added to questions about Mr. Trump’s credibility and that of his White House, already in doubt given shifting explanations on matters large and small, including the size of the crowd at Mr. Trump’s inauguration and his involvement in drafting a statement about why his son Donald J. Trump Jr. had met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer during the campaign.
Mr. Trump’s latest tangle with the truth is the latest evidence that the president is willing to shade or even manufacture events to suit his preferred narrative — even when the story is easily disprovable and of little consequence.