August 2, 2017; New York Times
“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.”
Yesterday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, confirmed that the “head of the Boy Scouts” had not, in fact, called President Trump to tell him that his partisan and vaguely risqué rant to the Boy Scouts annual jamboree was the best speech ever given to that gathering. The president had, earlier in the week, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that he had received such a call, but the Boy Scouts said that they were entirely unaware of such a call being made, pointing once again to a statement issued by Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh last week.
“I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree,” Surbaugh said. “That was never our intent.”
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The Boy Scouts have been hosting presidents for the past 36 years with the expectation—almost always fulfilled—that the addresses be nonpartisan.
As with a prior alleged phone call, one the president claimed he received from the President of Mexico to congratulate him on his border enforcement efforts, the party line from the White House is that the conversations did happen, just not on the phone.
“Multiple members of the Boy Scouts leadership” praised Mr. Trump’s speech on July 24th, Sanders said. That may be true, but there is quite a chasm between that and a grateful phone call from the “head of the Boy Scouts” following a fiasco for which they had already issued an apology. For its part, Mexico denied the communication attributed to its president altogether, saying in a statement, “President Enrique Peña Nieto has not had any recent telephone communication with President Donald Trump.”
Michael D’Antonio, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who also wrote a biography of Mr. Trump, says, “He’s been lying his whole life, almost reflexively, and it’s almost as if he finds it more satisfying and easier than to speak with precision. When he was a kid, he lied about whether he hit a home run or not, and when he was a young man, he lied about how tall Trump Tower is—how many floors it is and the actual floors in feet—and he lied about which beautiful women were interested in him.”—Ruth McCambridge