Trump citing phone calls with Boy Scouts and Mexico they say never happened
Trump drew fire for his comments to the Boy Scouts.
August 2, 2017, 10:10 PM
• 3 min read
-- For the second time this week, President Trump is coming under fire for claiming to have had a phone call with individuals who insist the conversations never happened, as both the Boy Scouts of America and Mexican officials are disputing that their leaders recently had phone conversations with the president.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week Trump challenged a reporter who characterized reaction to his speech as “mixed.” The president boasted to the news outlet that the “head” of the organization called him to say it was the “greatest speech that was ever made to them.”
Today, an official with the Boy Scouts of America told ABC News that they are not aware of any such phone call that took place with Michael Surbaugh, the chief scout executive.
“The chief scout executive’s message to the scouting community speaks for itself," the official said.
During his speech at the event in West Virginia, Trump blasted the Affordable Care Act, and was later criticized by some for delivering a partisan stump-style speech to an audience of scouts. Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh apologized for the president’s message in a statement to scouts after the event, offering his "sincere apologies to those… who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree."
Despite the apology, the White House maintains the Boy Scouts congratulated the president.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, however, did not corroborate the claim that the “head” of the organization had a phone conversation with Trump. Sanders said on Wednesday that “multiple members of the leadership following his speech there that day congratulated him, praised him and offered quite… powerful compliments following his speech.”
Also this week, Mexico’s foreign affairs body was forced to issue a statement in correcting a claim from President Trump earlier in the day that he had a phone conversation with President Enrique Peña. They say no such phone call took place.
During his Monday cabinet meeting with new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Trump claimed that the Mexican president had called him to compliment his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border.
"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,” Trump said.
Mexico’s Secretariat of Foreign Affairs issued a statement Monday saying that Nieto “has not had recent communication via telephone with President Donald Trump."
The statement from Mexico does acknowledge that the two leaders met during the July G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. In their conversation, the leaders addressed the topic of immigration. In the past year, Nieto told Trump, immigration from Central and South America had decreased by 47 percent.
Sanders said that Trump did not lie about his conversation with Nieto. However, she did say Wednesday that their discussion happened in person, not over the phone.
“It wasn’t a lie. That’s a pretty bold accusation…the conversations took place,” she said.