Some within the scouting community are urging the organization to disavow comments made by President Donald Trump before thousands of Boy Scouts Monday at their 2017 Jamboree.
The president told the kids about “fake polls” and “fake news” and the “tremendous crowds” he drew at his campaign rallies during the 2016 election. Almost immediately Trump’s remarks mobilized America’s scouting community against the organization online.
“As the Scout law says, a scout is trustworthy, loyal—we could use some more loyalty I will tell that you that,” the president said during his speech.
On Twitter earlier Monday, Trump called his Attorney General Jeff Sessions “beleaguered” after suggesting he should have never hired Sessions during a New York Times interview last week. Trump suggested Sessions was disloyal to him for recusing himself from the Russian investigation.
Sessions, an Eagle Scout who wasn't present at the Western Virginia event, was one of Trump’s earliest and biggest boosters during his campaign.
Yet the president said a few other things that people found out of place in a speech to a youth group meant to inspire the 10- to 14 year-olds to future achievements.
Christmas is back
For years, Fox News and right-wing Republicans have said there is a war on Christmas and that the phrase is being replaced by liberals in favor of “Happy Holidays.” Trump told the scouts he’s going to bring Christmas back.
Trump: And by the way, under the Trump administration you'll be saying “Merry Christmas” again when you go shopping, believe me.
They've been downplaying that little beautiful phrase. You're going to be saying “Merry Christmas” again, folks."
A New York real estate developer’s yacht and failure
The president launched into a story about one of his idols, New York City real estate developer William Levitt, and how he built a successful company by picking up nails, keeping his construction sites spotless and then selling to a conglomerate at a big profit. Trump told them that Levitt had an interesting life afterward in the south of France.
Trump: He went out and bought a big yacht, and he had a very interesting life. I won't go any more than that, because you're Boy Scouts so I'm not going to tell you what he did.
Should I tell you? Should I tell you?
You're Boy Scouts, but you know life. You know life.
The president went on to tell them how Levitt eventually bought back his company and then lost everything because he had lost his “momentum.”
Kids supported the vote for Trump
The president seemed to forget he was talking to thousands of kids who are under voting age and said his presidency was a tribute to all their support during the campaign.
Trump: The polls, that's also fake news. They're fake polls. But the polls are saying—but we won Wisconsin.
So I have to tell you, what we did, in all fairness, is an unbelievable tribute to you and all of the other millions and millions of people that came out and voted for make America great again.
And I'll tell you what, we are indeed making America great again.
Crowd: USA! USA! USA!
Trump: And I'll tell you what, we are indeed making America great again. What's going on is incredible.
Trump says he will fire Secretary of Health Tom Price if Obamacare isn't repealed
Trump: 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 (Shelley Moore) Capito to vote for it. He better get the other senators to vote for it. It's time.
Seven presidents have addressed the jamboree—the biggest national gathering of scouting groups—in the past. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both spoke there, but President Barack Obama declined two offers to speak at the gathering.
However, not long after Trump’s speech the youth organization began drawing fire from former scouts and members of the scouting community across the country.
“There must be a total disavowing of what took place today to maintain scouting integrity," wrote Brent Rich on the Boy Scouts of America Facebook page. Rich said he has been involved with the scouts for 27 years. He said efforts to attract minority groups were dealt a blow by the president’s speech.
“My son and I, along with others I am sure, will be dropping out of scouts due to supporting behavior that is contrary to the following mission statement,” wrote Michael Christopher Stafford, referencing Trump's speech.
The president is “not trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, or reverent,” wrote Andrew Richard Dropik, citing the words that make up the scouting code of conduct. “What kind of message does this send to scouts?”