Like with every other thing that he does, President Donald Trump drew fire earlier this week for delivering a highly politicized speech at the Boy Scouts of America 2017 National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia.
In typical Trump style, he forgot all about giving tribute to the value of scouting and instead made his speech to the crowd of 40,000 Boy Scouts, volunteers and parents all about himself and his make-believe problems.
The president used the opportunity to berate the media, brag about his victory over former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, slammed former President Barack Obama, discussed Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, talked about the political “cesspool” and went on a five-minute rant about New York-based real estate developer William Levitt.
Naturally, the speech angered the scouts’ parents and prompted intense criticism from former scouts, politicians, celebrities and the public. In fact, the entire thing caused enough of a stir that the Boy Scouts chief had to issue an apology.
Yes, you read that right. The Boy Scouts wrote a letter to express regret over the president’s inappropriate behavior.
“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,” Chief Scout Michael Surbaugh wrote in a statement. “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.”
Surbaugh also clarified inviting the sitting president to the event, which draws thousands of boy scouts between the ages 12 and 18 every four years, is a long-standing tradition instead of an endorsement of a person or party.
“While we live in a challenging time in a country divided along political lines, the focus of Scouting remains the same today as every day. Trustworthiness, loyalty, kindness and bravery are just a few of the admirable traits Scouts aspire to develop — in fact, they make up the Scout Oath and Scout Law,” he continued. “In a time when differences seem to separate our country, we hope the true spirit of Scouting will empower our next generation of leaders to bring people together to do good in the world.”
When White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about Surbaugh’s letter, she said she was present at the jamboree and that it was “one of the most energetic crowds” she has seen for the commander-in-chief.
WH's Sanders on Trump speech for which Boy Scouts apologized: "I was at that event. I saw nothing but 40-45,000 Boy Scouts cheering him on"— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) July 27, 2017
Social media users had a lot to say about this.
The Boy Scouts have apologized for the president. There is no more need for comedians.— Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs) July 28, 2017
The Boy Scouts had to apologize for Trump. That's a real sentence.— Scott Dworkin (@funder) July 28, 2017
Boyscouts statement reads like a letter to a parents listserv, after a birthday party for kids where the magician showed up dead drunk.— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) July 27, 2017
The Boy Scouts apologize for the president's behavior. His supporters accept behavior they would never tolerate from their young children.— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) July 27, 2017
What a sad day for our country when the President of the Boy Scouts of America has to apologize for the President of America.— Ashley Byrd (@Ashylynwil) July 28, 2017
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Carlos Barria