Dozens of former Boy Scouts condemned President Donald Trump’s address Monday to nearly 40,000 young men gathered at the group’s 2017 National Scout Jamboree, saying efforts to politicize his speech were “embarrassing,” “mortifying” and a “disgusting display.”
Trump, speaking in Glen Jean, West Virginia, began his remarks with a pledge that he wouldn’t talk about the current climate in Washington, D.C., commenting, “Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?”
However, he quickly veered from his prepared remarks and proceeded to hit many of his favorite rallying points to press his own agenda. The president railed against former presidential rival Hillary Clinton, drawing ebullient boos from onlookers, and spent time speaking about ongoing efforts to repeal Obamacare. He even joked that he would fire Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price if the repeal effort failed.
The Boy Scouts of America released a statement late Monday to a reporter who asked about its political stance, saying the organization was “wholly non-partisan and does not promote any one position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy.”
“The sitting president serves as the BSA’s honorary president,” the statement, obtained by BuzzFeed’s Michelle B. Van Dyke, read. “It is our long-standing custom to invite the U.S. president to the National Jamboree.”
That explanation, however, didn’t seem to appease many former Boy Scouts, Scout leaders and Eagle Scouts who watched Trump’s remarks: