In the late 70s a "teacher" at the traveling Nikon School said wide angles don't have distortion but exaggerated perspective. He followed with a sensible proof using the ratio of distance to foreground objects and distance to background objects. Whether or not this was provided to explain away true distortion in WA Nikkors versus WAs by Leitz I don't know but 1) It made perfect sense, and 2) I've never had much problem with "distortion" if I framed the image correctly.
"Distortion" is a lens defect. Some people use the term "geometric distortion" to express the typical wide-angle perspective. Some other people call that wide-angle perspective "distortion" but that really is incorrect IMO. The teacher was probably explaining them that that is not "distortion" but has a geometrical - optical explanation and is, therefore, unavoidable and perfectly normal.
That said, wide angles have distortion proper just like any other lenses.