President Donald Trump’s speech on Monday at the Boy Scout Jamboree targeted his political opponents, breaking the 80-year-old tradition of the nonpartisan organization. Trump used harsh language to criticize his administration and boast about past victories. He ultimately ignored the civic duties past presidents used to speak about during the event.
Boy Scout Jamboree Was Turned Into A Trump Rally
The Boy Scout Jamboree took place in Mount Hope, West Virginia on Monday. It is a tradition for the organization to invite the sitting president to address the scouts and reinforce ideas of honesty and civic service. However, Trump did not spend too long talking about these virtues. His speech veered into criticizing Hillary Clinton and seemingly joking about firing Health Secretary Tom Price due to the failure of the lawmakers to repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump went on to tell a story about a billionaire friend who held parties on his yacht and “led a very interesting life.” He also called Washington a “cesspool” and a “swap” and reminded the audience of his relationship with the media.
Robert Birkby, a former Eagle Scout, and author of three editions of the Boy Scout Handbook said:
It pivoted to essentially a typical Trump rally. And it was not a campaign-rally audience. It was an audience of young boys and young men, who’ve come from around the country to celebrate Scouting.
Trump’s Speech Disrupted the Organization’s Efforts to be More Inclusive
The Facebook page of the organization was flooded with messages. Concerned parents commented about pulling out of Scouting, and former Scouts condemned the speech. The speech comes after the organization struggled to appeal to more liberal members by allowing gay and transgender scouts to join. As a result, Boy Scout representatives hurried to state that the organization does not endorse any political candidate. They simply honored the tradition of inviting the president to hold a speech. However, Trump’s remarks did not help in the effort to avoid any cultural wars and promote equality.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons