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The head of the Boy Scouts of America issued an apology to the group’s members on Thursday after President Donald Trump delivered a controversial speech at the organization’s 20th annual National Jamboree earlier this week.
“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,” Michael Surbaugh, chief scout executive for the Boy Scouts, said in a statement. “That was never our intent.”
Surbaugh added: “We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.”
Trump began his speech in West Virginia on Monday by saying, “Who the hell wants to speak about politics in front of Boy Scouts?” The president then began a 35-minute political rant that included blasting cabinet members, fake news, the war on Christmas, his electoral defeat of Hillary Clinton, and a group ‘boo’ for former President Barack Obama.
As a result of the speech, the Boy Scouts has taken heat from every corner of the internet and beyond. Since the Jamboree, former White House photographer Pete Souza has trolled the president’s campaign-like speech, and scouts’ parents have voiced their anger over politics being injected into an event attended by some 40,000 12- to 18-year-olds.
The Boy Scouts traditionally invite sitting U.S. presidents to speak at the jamboree. However, asSurbaugh said in his statement, the Boy Scouts “have steadfastly remained non-partisan and refused to comment on political matters.”
The Jamboree brought together scouts from across the U.S. and 59 countries. Surbaugh said, in the last two weeks, scouts have learned new skills, shared stories, and created lasting friendships. They have also, it turns out, learned a thing or two about politics in 2017.
Vanna Vasquez is a former intern at the Daily Dot whose work focused on viral news, politics, and YouTube. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, she has also published bylines with BuzzFeed.