The Boy Scouts are stunned by Donald Trump's jaw-dropping speech

Donald Trump uses his speech in front of the Boy Scouts to score political points at a decidedly nonpolitical event

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 25, 2017 10:21AM (EDT)

 (Getty/Saul Loeb)
(Getty/Saul Loeb)

President Donald Trump is in the hot seat for delivering an overtly political speech at the Boy Scouts of America's National Jamboree.

In addition to denouncing the mainstream news media, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Trump used his speech to brag about his 2016 election victory.

"We won and won. So when they said, there is no way to victory, there is no way to 270. I went to Maine four times because it’s one vote, and we won. But we won – one vote. I went there because I kept hearing we’re at 269. But then Wisconsin came in. Many, many years – Michigan came in," Trump said.

He also described his victory as "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, in a stunning moment, Trump insinuated that a friend of his made a lot of money, then bought a yacht and had orgies. Via Death and Taxes:

“[My friend] sold his company for a tremendous amount of money,” Trump told the kids. “And he went out and bought a big yacht. And he had a very … interesting life.”

Trump really leaned into the “interesting” in “interesting life.”

“I won’t go into any more than that cause you’re Boy Scouts,” Trump said. “So I’m not going to tell you what he did.”

Not surprisingly, both leaders and ordinary members of the Boy Scouts are furious.

The criticisms on the Boy Scouts' Facebook page range from calling for "a total disavowing of what took place today" and complaining that Trump tried "to turn the BSA into the Trump Youth" to simply stating that "the display at the rally in WVA today was appalling."

Nor were they alone.

The Boy Scouts of America have released a statement that, while refraining from condemning Trump for his partisan remarks, clearly establishes that it is not endorsing his political agenda.

As the group explains in its statement, "the Boy Scouts of America is wholly non-partisan and does not promote any one position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy."

It's notable that Trump did not invite Attorney General Jeff Sessions to the event, even though Sessions was a scout in his youth. This is perhaps analogous to the president's decision not to invite former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on his trip to the Vatican, although Spicer is a devout Catholic.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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