Those Calls to Trump? They Didn’t Really Occur

In Misleading Information On
- Updated

WASHINGTON — Has President Trump told you about the time the head of the Boy Scouts called to say his was the best speech ever delivered to the more than century-old organization? What about when the president of Mexico picked up the telephone to let him know that his tough enforcement efforts at the border were paying off handsomely?

The anecdotes, both of which Mr. Trump told over the last week, were similar in that they appeared to be efforts to showcase broad support for the president when his White House has been mired in turmoil. But they also had another thing in common, the White House conceded on Wednesday: Neither was true.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, confirmed at her daily briefing what the Boy Scouts and the Mexican government had already asserted publicly, which is that neither phone call that Mr. Trump referred to had occurred.

The stories were not fabrications, Ms. Sanders insisted. “Multiple members of the Boy Scouts leadership” had praised Mr. Trump’s speech in Glen Jean, W.Va., after he finished last week, she said. And Mr. Trump and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico had discussed border enforcement last month on the sideline of the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany, she added. “I wouldn’t say it was a lie — that’s a pretty bold accusation,” Ms. Sanders said. “The conversations took place, they just simply didn’t take place over a phone call, they happened in person.”

. . .

“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,” said Michael D’Antonio, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who later wrote a biography of Mr. Trump, “The Truth About Trump.” “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.”

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Donald Trump Just Keeps Lying

The broader point here is that these misstatements, while minor as compared to something like, say, what role Trump played in the crafting of his eldest son’s statement responding to the reporting of a meeting with a Russian lawyer, still matter.
They matter because they reveal — or maybe re-reveal — that Trump views the truth as a very subjective thing. On matters small and large, he bends reality to fit how he wants it to be. The Boy Scouts DID love him and so he said the head of the group called him to tell him he was the best ever. Whether it actually happened or not is, to Trump, not all that important. It felt like it happened. He was telling the truth as he sees it.
Of course, the truth as you might see it isn’t the same thing as the plain, old truth. And if Trump is willing to lie about something so minor as phone calls, what else is he willing to stretch — or break — the truth about?
That’s why the deceptions revealed Wednesday matter. And they (should) matter a lot.

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