White House admits Trump ‘lied’ when bragging about phone calls

President Trump came under fire today over allegations that he bragged about telephone conversations with people who insist that they never took place.

In an embarrassing climbdown, the White House was forced to admit that the president’s boasts about calls from the head of the Boy Scouts and the president of Mexico were not true.

Mr Trump’s Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president actually chatted in person with Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto at the recent G20 Summit in Germany.

And she said Mr Trump spoke with individual Boy Scout leaders after his controversial speech at their US national jamboree.

The president – who has been fiercely critical of ‘fake news’ in the media – claimed in a Cabinet meeting earlier this week that Mr Nieto had called him to say fewer people were crossing the border between the US and Mexico.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he claimed the head of the Boy Scouts called to congratulate him on the ‘greatest speech that was ever made to them.’

Both the Boy Scouts of America and Mexico denied the claims.

‘It wasn’t a lie,’ said Ms Sanders. ‘That’s a pretty bold accusation. The conversations took place.’

She added that ‘multiple members’ of the Boy Scouts leadership offered ‘powerful compliments following his speech.’

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The Boy Scouts of America issued a statement from Chief Executive Michael Surbaugh apologising for the president’s political rhetoric in the jamboree speech and an official confirmed there was no subsequent phone call with Mr Trump.

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Mexico’s Secretariat of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying that Mr Nieto ‘has not had recent communication via telephone with President Donald Trump.’

The White House admission came after another row blew up between a senior administration adviser and a member of the media.

The clash came as policy aide Stephen Miller detailed Mr Trump’s new ‘merit-based’ immigration plan, that favours English speakers and skilled workers.

He maintained immigrants should be able to support themselves financially and know English, among other requirements.

Taking issue with the proposals, CNN reporter Jim Acosta said: ‘What you’re proposing or what the president’s proposing here does not sound like it’s in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration.’

He went on to quote words engraved on the Statue of Liberty: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,’ and asked if the president intends to change the definition of what it means to be an immigrant.

‘Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you’re telling them you have to speak English?’ he added. ‘This whole notion that they have to learn English before they get to the United States, are we just going to bring in people from the United Kingdom and Australia?’

In a heated exchange, Mr Miller claimed those words were added to the Statue of Liberty after it was erected, and accused the reporter of having a ‘cosmopolitan bias.’

‘It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree,’ he replied. ‘That you think only people from Great Britain and Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hard working immigrants who do speak English from all over the world.’

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At one point, he accused Mr Acosta of being ‘outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish.’