In his 1987 book "The Art of the Deal," Donald Trump explained how sometimes he bends the truth for professional reasons.
"People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular," he wrote in the book, as quoted by The New York Times. "I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration -- and a very effective form of promotion," he added.
On Aug. 2, the White House admitted that President Trump's recent claims about receiving phone calls from the Boy Scouts of America and from Mexican President Pena Nieto were not true.
"I wouldn’t say it was a lie -- that’s a pretty bold accusation," said White House Press Secretary Sara Huckabee Sanders in a statement. “The conversations took place, they just simply didn’t take place over a phone call, they happened in person."
It was presumably an example of the "truthful hyperbole" that Trump wrote about in his book -- or "alternative facts," in Kellyanne Conway's infamous words.
It all began on July 31, when President Trump was praising his immigration policy. "Even 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.”
Two days later, the Mexican government announced that no such telephone call took place, but rather that Peña Nieto spoke to Trump during the Group of 20 summit in early July, notes The Inquisitr.
On Aug. 1, The Wall Street Journal leaked a transcript of an interview with President Trump, which quoted him saying that the head of the Boy Scouts had called him on the phone, praising his July 24 speech at the National Scout Jamboree.
"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," said the president to The Journal.
The following day, the Boy Scouts of America said it was not aware of any call from its leadership to President Trump.
What the Boy Scouts did do was issue a public statement on July 27 apologizing for Trump's speech. Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive for the Boy Scouts of America, wrote:
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. That was never our intent. The invitation for the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition that has been extended to the leader of our nation that has had a Jamboree during his term since 1937. It is in no way an endorsement of any person, party or policies. For years, people have called upon us to take a position on political issues, and we have steadfastly remained non-partisan and refused to comment on political matters. We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.
The president began his speech promising to keep politics out of it. "Tonight, we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C. -- you’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that," he said, as quoted in the official White House transcript. But instead of putting it aside, he said: "The polls -- that's also fake news. They're fake polls."
He went on to speak at length about his successful presidential campaign, claiming his "opponent didn't work hard," referring of course to Hillary Clinton.
"You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp," he told the audience of young scouts, echoing the tone of his ominous inauguration address. "And it’s not a good place. In fact today I said we ought to change it from the word swamp to the word cesspool or, perhaps, to the word sewer. But it's not good. Not good."