Even the Boy Scouts of America

Donald Trump gave a speech to the 2017 National Scout Jamboree, a once in four years major event for tens of thousands of Scouts, Venturers and their leaders.

On this, the 19th ever National Scout Jamboree, the eighth one that a sitting president attended became another political game for Trump. His speech, which lasted 38 minutes, was an equation of laborious teleprompter reading (and misreading)  of a speech he didn’t write and doesn’t believe plus his off-the-cuff remarks in his infamous political campaign rally style.

After slamming the press twice in the first minute and taking credit for the Scouts’ record-breaking crowd (“That’s a great honor, believe me.”), he then introduced his speech saying he was happy to leave politics behind and talk to the Scouts about success:

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. 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?

I was intrigued, so I kept listening. I thought I would give him a chance to give that speech. However, in two years of listening to too many of his speeches, I have never heard that speech–that speech about anything but himself, fake news and politics.

It turns out everyone who was listening for that speech was disappointed, as I was. Besides mentioning the fake news media or the cameras that won’t show his crowd size at least a half dozen times, here are just a few of his comments to the BOYS SCOUTS OF AMERICA:

And very soon, Rick (Perry), we will be an energy exporter. Isn’t that nice? An energy exporter. In other words, we’ll be selling our energy instead of buying it from everybody all over the globe. So that’s good.  We will be energy dominant.

Thank you, Mr. Trump, for defining this second grade vocabulary word for these young people (12-18 years old). I’m sure they wouldn’t have understood the concept of energy exporting had you not taken time to teach them.

  • You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp, and it’s not a good place. In fact, today, I said we ought to change it from the word “swamp” to the word “cesspool” or perhaps to the word “sewer.”
  • And I’ll tell you what, the folks in West Virginia who were so nice to me, boy, have we kept our promise. We are going on and on. So we love West Virginia. We want to thank you.
  • Secretary Tom Price is also here today. Dr. Price still lives the Scout oath, helping to keep millions of Americans strong and healthy as our secretary of Health and Human Services. And he’s doing a great job. And hopefully he’s going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that’s really hurting us. By the way, are you going to get the votes? He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better. Otherwise I’ll say, “Tom, you’re fired.” I’ll get somebody. He better get Senator Capito (West Virginia senator who accompanied Trump to this speech and one of the senators who said no to repealing Obamacare) to vote for it. He better get the other senators to vote for it. It’s time. You know, after seven years of saying repeal and replace Obamacare we have a chance to now do it. They better do it. Hopefully they’ll do it.

Yes, I see you left the politics behind in Washington to talk to the Boy Scouts about success.

As the Scout law says, a scout is trustworthy, loyal — we could use some more loyalty I will tell you that.

Yes, you’ve been telling us and people in the Executive Branch about loyalty.

He spent about 20% of his speech telling stories about William Levitt, thrice-married, adultering, racist landlord, yacht-owning real estate guy who lived an “interesting” life after selling the business. Those stories on the yacht in the seas off the south of France, though, Trump wasn’t able to elaborate on because he was talking to “Boy Scouts,” you know. (Yeah, we know. You are talking to young people who are not yet of voting age, thus the puzzle about why you still can’t keep yourself from doing campaign rallies wherever you speak.) William Levitt was the one bit of humanity’s story he chose to share with the Boy Scouts of America’s 19th National Scout Jamboree. He was an interesting role model choice.

He spent another five minutes or so reminding the Boy Scouts that he won the election (“that map was so red it was unbelievable”), the economy is going better than ever, and they will be saying Merry Christmas again.  So much winning.

He finally, haltingly read some more of the prepared speech addressing the Scouts.

The crowd as a whole loved this speech and acted like they were at a campaign rally. That’s frightening. Clearly many of them were tickled that he didn’t just read the copious words off the screen, but he did animate his speech with policy fights. However, I know there were people in the crowd who were not applauding and shouting U-S-A at the anti-American and anti-Scouting values of this speech. There were many young people and adults who long to Live Scouting’s Adventure to be Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

I am sickened that he politicized the National Scout Jamboree.

Full transcript of this speech from Time.

Trump’s Jamboree speech from CNN.

A Complete History of Presidential Visits to the National Jamboree – Note: they all managed to give an apolitical speech to boys.

George W. Bush’s Jamboree speech –  Breathe in this: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
“Love a neighbor just like you’d like to be loved yourself.”

Disclaimer: Before 2015, I had never been very political. I am moderate and a registered independent. I vote faithfully for the best candidate in all elections–either D or R. I never thought President Obama was perfect, but the longer he’s gone the more I miss him. Since Trump came on the scene, I have been against what he stands for and the damage he is doing to our country. We are not the people we thought we were because we nominated him, elected him and now continue to allow him to serve with impunity. Hopefully the latter will change soon and we will learn our much-needed lessons.

15 thoughts on “Even the Boy Scouts of America

  1. Thank you so much for this. I have been trying to give myself a break from this president’s rants, so missed news coverage of his talk to the Boy Scouts. He is at best an embarrassment, at worst dangerous in his legitimizing “hitting back ten times harder” whenever he is criticized (those are the words he used when he was interviewed by Megyn Kelly a year ago). That is surely not a Boy Scout value. I appreciate your account and commentary, which is so much to the point. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for your post. I was appalled – as a Boy Scout parent – to read about this rant. It was not a speech. What a shame that BSA had to report that they have no political affiliations. An “un-invite” might have been more appropriate!

  3. I am also appalled and sickened. This is one more thing from #45 that demonstrates hate. Certainly not a Boy Scout value.

    1. Thank you, Becky, for stopping by. Yes, it was a distasteful thing to have to write today, but write and speak out we must. Thanks.

  4. I found this speech as inappropriate as the rest of you. It was certainly not the forum for a political speech. I have friends with sons at the jamboree and I would like to hear what those young men have to say. I know their parents are appalled.

  5. Wow. Just wow. My husband is at the Jamboree as a volunteer. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet, but he was in the crowd there. I’m sure his thoughts will be similar to your own. How disappointing.

  6. Adrienne and Jennifer, I didn’t have anyone close to me who is there this year. I would be curious to hear what they thought. God bless them.

  7. Every day this nightmare gets worse and worse. I just don’t even have the words but I appreciated every bit of your post.

  8. Thanks for this, Denise. I was not a fan of George W. during his time in office, but now that I have the opportunity to consider him beside Trump, I find that there was at least some core decency in him. I can’t find that in the current pres.

    1. Yes, it’s true for me too. All the previous living presidents are stepping up to show their leadership, hopefully protecting the presidency itself.

  9. I have mixed feelings about this speech. I think it is terrible that he would make it about himself. But at the same time I’m not that worried about it. I wonder how hot it was, because I know it has been hot on the East Coast this week, and I imagine a bunch of 12-18 year old boys tuning out pretty early on when they realized it was not going to be a speech aimed at them. I do wish I was teaching going to be teaching children around that age come September. What a great mentor text for a unit about giving speeches. He clearly didn’t take his audience into account, had no point, gave examples that didn’t support anything, didn’t know his speech well enough, etc., etc., etc. The opposite of a great Ted talk example!

    1. Wow, such a great idea, Lisa. I’d love to see that lesson with a group of high school students in a unit on speeches. It’s interesting that in spite of all the weaknesses, the Scouts responded positively. It reminds me of the need for an emphasis on teaching critical thinking skills, as well. (The survival of our Republic may depend on it.)

      I realized I made a mistake in my post about the ages–the boys were 12-17. The rule is they could not have reached their 18th birthday by the last day of the Jamboree.

Comments are closed.