The past thirty days haven’t exactly been stellar for President Donald Trump. There have been several replacements in his administration, and then there are the allegations of his eldest son’s collusion with Russia. Now it appears he might have fibbed about the phone calls he claimed to have received from Mexico’s president and the president of Boy Scouts.
Trump, never one to be shy about tooting his own horn, said the Mexican president had called him to say that there were fewer people crossing the border thanks to his immigration efforts.
“The president of Mexico called me,” Trump said. “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.”
But according to a statement from Mexico’s Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, that phone call never happened. “President Enrique Peña Nieto has not been in recent communication via telephone with President Donald Trump.” Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the phone call did not happen, but that the two presidents did discuss the issue at the July G20 Summit held in Hamburg, Germany, which the statement from Mexico confirmed. “In the past year, Nieto told Trump, immigration from Central and South America had decreased by 47%.”
Trump also claimed that the president of the Boy Scouts called him to say the speech he gave during its annual Jamboree was “the best speech” ever given. The Wall Street Journal reports that the president told them, “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.” In fact, a representative of the youth organization stated there were not any calls to the president to thank him for the speech. This is the same speech that was dubbed too political and for which the Boy Scouts sent out an apology afterward. The Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts, Michael Surbaugh, wrote that he regretted the politics the president used to go after Hillary Clinton and the media during the event.
Sanders was called out on the president’s apparently erroneous claims and told reporters that while the phone calls never happened, the meetings did take place with the reported conversation. When asked why the president lied about the phone calls, the press secretary was quick to defend her boss.
“I wouldn’t say it was a lie. That’s a pretty bold accusation. The conversations took place, they just simply didn’t take place over a phone call.” Regarding the Boy Scouts, she said, “Multiple members of the Boy Scouts leadership following his speech there that day congratulated him, praised him and offered quite powerful compliments following his speech.”
Although we rarely back up CNN, perhaps anchorman Anderson Cooper was on to something when he said: “Everyone who works for the president knows never, ever admit the boss is wrong.” Anderson went on to bash everything he said Trump had made up or exaggerated. This includes the sources who told him former President Obama wasn’t born in the U.S., bragging about the size of his inaugural crowd, the millions of people who voted illegally, and his friend Jim who won’t go to Paris because it isn’t Paris anymore.
“There is evidence that Donald Trump likes to make things up,” Cooper said. Well, that may be stretching it a bit too far, but we should all be able to agree that our president loves the spotlight and is fond of embellishing. Like a preening peacock, Trump makes sure everyone knows what he’s done – when he thinks it is a positive thing.
The problem with these exaggerations is they make an already distrustful nation even more skeptical. The White House claims these talks did take place, just not in the format the president specified. What may just be an honest mistake is blown up and reverberates across the nation. Even avid Trump supporters are bothered by this. That’s not to say the president isn’t keeping to most of his campaign promises or isn’t getting things accomplished, but any good thing he does could be dimmed by bad press and bad attitudes. On the other hand, we all know Trump was never elected because of his social graces, tact, or ability to charm people.
But perhaps the lack of these character qualities is actually part of his charm to voters.