President Donald Trump was caught lying about a call with the Boy Scouts, and Twitter took him to task.
But first... some backstory:
You might recall that he bragged about the “record” crowd size––hearkening back to comments he made about his inauguration––slammed former President Barack Obama, railed against the “fake media,” and denigrated Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in a 35-minute speech at the Boy Scouts of America’s National Jamboree in West Virginia.
The president even threatened to fire Dr. Thomas E. Price, his Health and Human Services Secretary, if he couldn’t convince members of Congress to vote for the Republican health care measure. There were roughly 40,000 Boy Scouts between the ages of 12 and 18 in attendance.
If you don't remember this, here's his full speech for good measure:
Reactions to the president’s speech were swift and harsh, and angry parents criticized the Boy Scouts of America for giving a campaign-style speech despite promising he wouldn’t speak about politics.
“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,” said Michael Surbaugh, the chief scout executive for the Boy Scouts of America. “That was never our intent.”
Trump deflected, however, and claimed that the leader of the youth organization called him to personally thank him for making the speech.
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,” Trump said. “So there was — there was no mix.”
Except... that call never actually took place.
“We are not aware of any call from national BSA leadership to the White House,” a source for the Scouts said.
The news prompted Daniel Dale, a Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star, to call out the president for (yet another) bold faced lie in a message to his Twitter followers.
Twitter users immediately slammed the president's behavior.
He lied about the size of his inauguration crowd, which we could all plainly see. Makes sense he'd lie even more about what we can't see.— shauna (@goldengateblond) August 1, 2017
i'm not qualified to diagnose but that particular behavior - lying when there's zero profit in the lie - distinguishes "pathological" lying— Dan Harmon (@danharmon) August 2, 2017
Not that he's incapable of straight up lying, as he clearly is very capable of lying. But he is surrounded by enablers and sycophants.— Annabelle, Esq. (@lawgoat) August 2, 2017
Verifiable lies. Not even subtle! How will history view those (WhiteHouse staff, and the Republican Party) who enable and support the lies?— DC C (@CoeD1972) August 2, 2017
Congratulations Trump. You just earned another Badge for Delusional Hyperbole.— Sheba Lane (@ShebaLane) August 2, 2017
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president never received a call from the Boy Scouts of America congratulating him on his speech and that he never received a call from Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto applauding his initiative to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Multiple members of the Boy Scouts leadership, following his speech that day congratulated him, praised him and offered quite powerful compliments following his speech,” Sanders said, adding that despite the kudos, these calls never took place.
Trump's claims about Nieto are odd, given that Nieto has publicly disputed Trump’s assertion that they did not discuss Trump’s plan for Mexico to pay for the wall outright. In a Twitter post last summer, Nieto said he "made it clear" at the start of a conference with Trump that Mexico would bear no financial responsibility for the proposal.
Al inicio de la conversación con Donald Trump dejé claro que México no pagará por el muro.— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) August 31, 2016
Nevertheless, Sanders said Trump did speak to Nieto, just not via phone. She insisted the two leaders had a conversation at last month's G20 summit in Germany.
“I wouldn’t say it was a lie, that’s a pretty bold accusation,” Sanders said. “The conversations took place, they just simply didn’t take place over a phone call. He had them in-person.”
Mexico’s foreign relations department said Peña Nieto “has not had any recent telephone communication with President Donald Trump."