A representative for Boy Scouts of America apologized Thursday for the overt political rhetoric from Pres. Donald Trump at the National Scout Jamboree earlier this week.
“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,” said Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh. “That was never our intent.”
“Fake news” and slamming Pres. Barack Obama were among the featured speech by Trump. Presidential speeches from past presidents to the Boy Scouts have largely focused on values and service, rather than partisan topics.
Surbaugh noted that since 1937, sitting U.S. presidents have been invited to speak at the jamboree.
“It is in no way an endorsement of any person, party or policies,” Surbaugh said. “For years, people have called upon us to take a position on political issues, and we have steadfastly remained nonpartisan and refused to comment on political matters. We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.
“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,” he said.
The Girl Scouts of America faced backlash from the left and feminist groups for marching in the Inauguration Day parade in January. The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are continuously used as political pawns by both sides.
The Scouts are attempting to weather the changing culture of American life and politics. Continuing to invite the sitting president is the right thing to do, but apologizing for the embarrassment that was the president’s partisan speech to a group that welcomes Americans of all political ideologies is also right.