Boy Scouts apologize for Donald Trump's "political rhetoric" at the Jamboree

The head of the Boy Scouts wants people to know they didn't intend for President Trump to go off the rails

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published July 27, 2017 2:23PM (EDT)

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

President Donald Trump's political speech at the Boy Scouts Jamboree has now prompted an apology from Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh.

"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," Surbaugh writes in his statement. "That was never our intent. 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. It is in no way an endorsement of any person, party or policies."

He added, "For years, people have called upon us to take a position on political issues, and we have steadfastly remained non-partisan and refused to comment on political matters. We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program."

During his controversial speech, Trump bragged about defying expectations in his 2016 presidential election victory. He described that win 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."

Later, he described a friend of his who had "sold his company for a tremendous amount of money" and then went on to lead a very "interesting" life.

In case the implication behind the word "interesting" wasn't clear, Trump added that "I won’t go into any more than that cause you’re Boy Scouts. So I’m not going to tell you what he did."

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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