Boy Scouts Leader Apologizes For Trump Speech’s ‘political Rhetoric’


A leader of the Boy Scouts of America apologized Thursday for a speech that President Donald Trump gave to thousands of teenage Scouts earlier this week – in which Trump broke with the Scouts’ earnest traditions by criticizing his political opponents, recounting his election victory and talking about parties on yachts.

“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,” Michael Surbaugh, whose title is chief Scout executive, wrote in a message posted online.

That was a break from the Boy Scouts’ earlier statements about Trump’s speech, issued the day afterward. Those merely noted that the Scouts were “respectful of the wide variety of viewpoints in this country” but made no mention of what Trump actually said.

On Thursday, Surbaugh wrote, “We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.”

“I was at that event, and I saw nothing but roughly 40 to 45,000 Boy Scouts cheering the president on throughout his remarks, and I think that they were pretty excited that he was there and happy to hear him speak to them,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the incoming White House press secretary, said when asked about the statement at the news briefing on Thursday afternoon.

When pressed again on the topic and asked whether the president also needed to apologize, Sanders said: “Again, I was at that event and heard nothing but a lot of cheering and probably one of the most energetic crowds I’ve seen in front of the president, and so I don’t have anything to add. I haven’t seen the statement from the Boy Scouts, so I can’t comment any further than what I saw firsthand, and that was a lot of individuals, roughly 40 to 45,000, as reported, cheering the president on.”

Presidents are usually invited to address the National Scout Jamboree, a gathering that draws tens of thousands every four years. In the past, those presidential speeches dealt with broad themes such as service, cooperation and the evils of drug use.

Trump’s talk in Mount Hope, West Virginia, began with a similar message – “Never quit. Persevere. Never, ever quit” – but then it veered away toward other themes.

Trump said he wouldn’t talk about politics: “I said, who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts? Right?”

But he did.

Trump called the news media “fake news” and said the media would underplay the size of this crowd – as if the Boy Scouts were a crowd at a political rally. Trump told the Scouts about watching the U.S. map turn red on election night and blasted President Barack Obama for never attending a jamboree. Some in the crowd booed.

Trump also told stories about events rarely discussed from the rostrum at a Scout Jamboree, such as a New York cocktail party – “the hottest people in New York were at this party,” he said – and a friend who got rich in real estate.

“He went out and bought a big yacht, and he had a very interesting life,” Trump said. “I won’t go any more than that, because you’re Boy Scouts, so I’m not going to tell you what he did.”

In his statement, Surbaugh said that – outside of Trump’s talk – this year’s jamboree was the same as in past years, with Scouts trading patches, climbing rockwalls and making new friends.

But, he said, “we know the past few days have been overshadowed by the remarks offered by the President of the United States.”

(c) 2017, The Washington Post · David A. Fahrenthold



  1. The liberals want Trump to apologize for the horrible things he said at the Boy Scouts. Here it is:

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much. (Applause.) I am thrilled to be here. Thrilled. (Applause.) And if you think that was an easy trip, you’re wrong, but I am thrilled — 19th Boy Scout Jamboree — wow — and to address such a tremendous group. Boy, you have a lot of people here. The press will say it’s about 200 people. (Laughter.) It looks like about 45,000 people. You set a record today. (Applause.) You set a record. That’s a great honor, believe me.

    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. (Applause.) We’re going to put that aside. And instead we’re going to talk about success, about how all of you amazing young Scouts can achieve your dreams. What to think of — what I’ve been thinking about — you want to achieve your dreams. I said, who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts? Right? (Applause.)

    There are many great honors that come with the job of being President of the United States, but looking out at this incredible gathering of mostly young patriots — mostly young — I’m especially proud to speak to you as the honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America. (Applause.)


    THE PRESIDENT: You are the young people of character and integrity who will serve as leaders in our communities, and uphold the sacred values of our nation.

    I want to thank Boy Scouts President Randall Stephenson, Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh, Jamboree Chairman Ralph de la Vega, and the thousands of volunteers who have made this a life-changing experience for all of you, and when they asked me to be here I said absolutely, yes. (Applause.)

    Finally, and we can’t forget these people, I especially want to salute the moms and the dads and troop leaders who are here tonight. (Applause.) Thank you for making scouting possible. Thank you, mom and dad — troop leaders.

    When you volunteer for the Boy Scouts, you are not only shaping young lives, you are shaping the future of America. (Applause.) The United States has no better citizens than its Boy Scouts. (Applause.) No better. The values, traditions, and skills you learn here will serve you throughout your lives, and just as importantly they will serve your families, your cities, and in the future and in the present, will serve your country. (Applause.) The Scouts believe in putting America first. (Applause.)

    But here you learn the rewards of hard work and perseverance. Never ever give up, never quit. Persevere. Never, ever quit.

    You learn the satisfaction of building a roaring campfire, reaching a mountain summit, or earning a merit badge after mastering a certain skill. There’s no better feeling than an achievement that you’ve earned with your own sweat, tears, resolve, hard work. There’s nothing like it. Do you agree with that?

    AUDIENCE: Yes!

    THE PRESIDENT: I’m waving to people back there so small I can’t even see them. Man, this is a lot of people. Turn those cameras back there, please. That is so incredible.

    By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible, massive crowd, record-setting is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero? (Applause.)

    The fake media will say: President Trump — and you know what this is — President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today.

    That’s some — that is some crowd. (Applause.)

    Fake media. Fake news. Thank you. And I’m honored by that, by the way, all of you people they can’t even see you. So thank you. I hope you can hear.

    Through scouting you also learn to believe in yourselves — so important — to have confidence in your ability, and to take responsibility for your own life. When you face down new challenges, and you will have plenty of them, develop talents you never thought possible, and lead your teammates through daring trials, you discover that you can handle anything. And you learn it by being a scout. It’s great. (Applause.)

    You can do anything. You can be anything you want to be. But in order to succeed, you must find out what you love to do. You have to find your passion. No matter what they tell you — if you don’t — I love you, too. I don’t know. It’s a nice guy. (Applause.) Hey, what am I going to do? He sounds like a nice person. He, he, he, he. Thank you. I do. I do love you.

    AUDIENCE: We love Trump! We love Trump! We love Trump!

    There’s more of Trump’s horrible speech at the jamboree online that the liberals are going berserk over.

  2. How dare President Trump allow 50,000 Boy Scout Troops allow them to proclaim “We love you President Trump! We love you President Trump!” when Obama never got such affection from anyone. They better apologize for this political rhetoric.

  3. who is he to apologize for what the President said? How about apologizing for not supporting the President? how about saying that there was nothing objectionable in his speech and that it reflected the scouts’ values _much more than those who insisted on toeiva leaders being accepted into the scouts, which Pres. Trump probably would not have allowed.


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