Trump to Boy Scouts: ‘We could use some more loyalty’
(CNN) — President Donald Trump turned a Boy Scouts event into a campaign-style rally Monday, starting off by saying he’d put aside the “fake news” and other issues in Washington while addressing the Boy Scouts of America 2017 National Scout Jamboree.
“I said, who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?” Trump said.
Trump went on to dive into politics anyway — blasting the media, pushing for the repeal of Obamacare and making a pointed remark about “loyalty.”
Listing off the virtues of Boy Scouts at the West Virginia speech, Trump said: “As the scout law says, a scout is trustworthy, loyal,” Trump said, before adding, “We could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.”
Trump’s comments came the same day he called Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was in the Boy Scouts, “beleaguered” in a tweet expressing his frustration over the ongoing Russia investigations.
At the event, Trump also warmly recalled his victory against Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.
“Do you remember that famous night on television, November 8?” Trump asked.
He told the Scouts that Republicans had a tremendous disadvantage in the Electoral College and that the popular vote, which he lost to Clinton, “is much easier.” He went on to tell the Scouts his victory was “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.”
The Boy Scouts of America released the following statement regarding Monday night’s Jamboree:
“The Boy Scouts of America 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 in no way an endorsement of any political party or specific policies. The sitting U.S. President serves at the BSA’s honorary president. It is a long-standing custom to invite the U.S. president to the National Jamboree.”
Trump said many of his advisers were Boy Scouts, as were 10 of his Cabinet members. “Can you believe that? 10,” Trump said.
Two of those former Boy Scouts and now-Cabinet members, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, joined Trump onstage. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who made it to Eagle Scout and was the group’s president from 2010-2012, addressed the jamboree Friday.
Trump said several times the media would downplay the size of the audience at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, which the Boy Scouts in a news release prior to the event said they anticipated would be more than 40,000 people.
Including more traditional fare, Trump spoke at length on the importance of scouting and the values one needs to live a successful life.
“As much as you can,” Trump said, “do something that you love, work hard and never, ever give up and you’re going to be tremendously successful, tremendously successful.”
CNN contributed to this report.