The Chief Scout Executive for Boy Scouts of America has apologized for President Trump’s politically-tinged speech made during the Scouts’ 20th annual National Jamboree on Tuesday.
Though Trump opened his speech with, “Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?” he then talked a lot about politics, including dissing Obama (“Did President Obama ever come to a Jamboree?”), bragging about his presidential victory (“Do you remember that incredible night … and that map was so red, it was unbelievable …”), and references to “the swamp.”
According to Time, may people — including former Scouts — found Trump’s speech “shocking,” “nauseating” and “downright icky.”
Chief Michael Surbaugh penned an open letter to Scouting Wire Thursday in which he wrote, “[We] know the past few days have been overshadowed by the remarks offered by the President of the United States. 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.”
Surbaugh said that Trump’s invitation to speak at the event was in no way an endorsement of his policies, and that previous presidents have been invited to speak since the 1930s.
“The invitation for the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition that has been extended to the leader of our nation that has had a Jamboree during his term since 1937,” he explained.
Surbaugh closed the letter with an optimistic statement: “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.”
And finally, “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.”
Surbaugh’s apology letter comes three days after Trump delivered his speech at the National Jamboree.