Trump told The Wall Street Journal, ‘I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful.’
On Wednesday, the Scouts responded, ‘We are unaware of any such call.’ Neither of the organization’s two top leaders – President Randall Stephenson and Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh – had placed such a call, the Scouts said.
Surbaugh apologized last week to members of the scouting community who were offended by the political rhetoric in Trump’s July 24 speech in West Virginia.
‘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 Michael Surbaugh, the chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America. ‘We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.’
On Monday last week, Trump traveled to West Virginia to speak before the Jamboree, bringing along with him several of his Eagle Scout cabinet secretaries – Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke – along with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
‘Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?’ he asked.
But then Trump got political and also over-shared.
He talked about the awfulness of Obamacare and vouched for the repeal.
Then he threatened to fire Price if the Senate didn’t get it done.
‘By the way, are you going to get the votes?’ Trump asked the cabinet secretary.
‘He better get them,’ Trump told the crowd. ‘He better get them. Otherwise, I’ll say “Tom, you’re fired.”
Trump brought up president Obama – and got the audience to boo – and took time to knock his former opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, too.
The president told a strange tale about a New York cocktail party and running into billionaire William Levitt who had sold his company and bought a yacht, leading what Trump called a ‘very interesting life.’
‘I won’t go any more than that, because you’re Boy Scouts, so I’m not going to tell you what he did,’ Trump said.
When Levitt bought back his business he couldn’t make it work, with Trump saying the takeaway was that he’d ‘lost momentum,’ something those Scouts should never do.
The speech didn’t go over well with many who considered the non-profit Boy Scouts a non-partisan cause.