The man who popularized the term “many people are saying” has developed a new way to concoct support for his dubious claims. But this one is even easier to debunk.
In the past week, President Trump has apparently made up two phone calls during which he claims officials called the White House to offer him praise.
The most recent incident occurred while Trump was introducing his new Chief of Staff John Kelly on Tuesday. During a White House event, Trump discussed a call he recently received from Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto during which Nieto praised his work to curb illegal immigration.
“As you know, the border was a tremendous problem and they’re close to 80 percent stoppage,” Trump said. “And even the president of Mexico called me — 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.”
There’s just one problem — that call apparently never happened. The Mexican Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that Nieto “has not recently spoken to President Donald Trump over the telephone,” CBS reports.
That wasn’t the only time Trump made up a phone call over the previous week. The first instance occurred during Trump’s July 25 interview with the Wall Street Journal, the full transcript of which was published Tuesday by Politico.
During the interview, the stunningly political speech Trump delivered to the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia on July 24 came up, and Trump pushed back hard an interviewer’s claim that reaction to it “seemed mixed.”
“There was no mix there,” Trump said. “That was a standing ovation from the time I walked out to the time I left, and for five minutes after I had already gone. There was no mix.”
As evidence of how enthusiastic the Boy Scouts were about his speech, Trump claimed he “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. So there was — there was no mix.”
But that call also never happened. Time reports that a representative of the Boy Scouts of America said they’re unaware of any call recently made by national leadership to the White House.
Three days after Trump’s speech, Michael Surbaugh, chief scout executive for the Boy Scouts of America, released a statement apologizing to scouts for Trump’s “political rhetoric” at the Jamboree, adding that he “sincerely regret[s] that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.”
A Boy Scouts representative told Time that Surbaugh’s statement “speaks for itself.”