Trump gets partisan at Boy Scout Jamboree

GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — At the start of his 38 minute long speech Monday evening at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, President Donald Trump said it was a night to put aside “all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C. you’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that.”

“Instead, we’re going to talk about success,” Trump told the 40,000 Scouts, leaders and volunteers taking part in the 2017 National Jamboree in Fayette County.

“Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?” he added to the audience’s approval.

It took less than four minutes before Trump shifted from his message of success and hard work to the themes of his rallies held before and after his inauguration. This included mentioning his message of “draining the swamp,” pushing to repeal and replacing “Obamacare” and taking jabs at former President Barack Obama and Trump’s Democratic challenger to the White House, Hillary Clinton.

Trump serves as honorary president of the national youth organization, much like his predecessors have dating back to the Boy Scouts of America’s founding in 1910. He was the eighth president to speak at a National Jamboree and the first since former President George W. Bush spoke at the 2005 National Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Bowling Green, Virginia.

“Just a question: did President Obama ever come to a Jamboree?” Trump asked, resulting in thousands of Scouts booing the former president.

Obama addressed the attendees of the 2010 National Jamboree in a video message.

Trump was joined on stage by two Eagle Scouts in his cabinet: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price also was on stage.

Two other Eagle Scouts in the Trump administration are Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was national president of the organization from May 2010 to April 2012, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Tillerson was recognized last Friday with a bronze statue honoring his contributions to Scouting.

When not talking about policy or his political achievements, Trump discussed the importance of Scouting’s values and how it helped his cabinet secretaries become leaders.

“Someday, many years from now, when you look back at all the adventures in your lives, you will be able to say the same: ‘I got my start as a Scout,'” the president noted.

Trump even mentioned the Scout Law, the 12 character traits Scouts strive live by to improve themselves and their community.

“As the Scout Law says, a Scout is trustworthy, loyal — we can use some more loyalty, I’ll tell you that —” Trump said before the crowd chanted the other 10 points.

However, the president’s address ended up going back to politics as he continued. This included joking Price would be fired if there were not enough votes to repeal and replace Obama’s health care law.

“You better get Sen. (Shelley Moore) Capito to vote for it,” Trump said. “You got to 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.”

Boy Scouts walking around the Summit Bechtel Reserve before Trump’s speech Monday.

Capito said July 18 she would not vote to repeal “Obamacare” without replacement legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday afternoon the Senate would vote on a motion Tuesday to proceed with a vote on health care legislation. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is expected to return to the Senate for the vote, six days after his office announced he had been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Trump also touted his surprise election win on Nov. 8, more than eight months ago.

“Do we remember our day? Wasn’t that a beautiful day?” Trump said to the cheering audience. “What a day.”

Trump said he kept visiting states in hopes of capturing votes, and jabbed Clinton and her campaign for losing the electoral college vote and the election overall.

“Michigan came in,” the president said. “And we worked hard there. You know, my opponent didn’t work hard there because she was told —”

The audience began booing after Trump mentioned Clinton, though not by name.

“She was told she was going to win Michigan, and I said, ‘Wait a minute. The car industry is moving to Mexico,'” Trump continued.

The president also told the Scouts they would be “saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again when you go shopping,” despite the organization not being a Christian-based group.

Throughout the speech, the crowd chanted “U-S-A!” and “We love Trump!”

The president concluded his speech by recognizing how important the event was, adding how the people he knows that were involved in Scouting are “winners.”

“I’ve known so many great people,” he said. “They’ve been taught so well and they love their heritage, but this is very special for me.”

When asked about the president’s political comments, the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement the organization is “wholly non-partisan and does not promote any one position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy.”

“The invitation for the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition and is in no way an endorsement of any political party or specific policies,” the statement continued.

The 2017 National Jamboree concludes Friday.

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