-A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.
"Their Yearly Jamboree": another fact-free Chiron from Fox News
He bellowed and jabbered, and they cheered and booed on cue. He called them "an incredible gathering of young patriots," which rang a bell with a former acting CIA director:
Trump's Boy Scout speech had the feel of a third world authoritarian's youth rally.— john mclaughlin (@jmclaughlinSAIS) July 25, 2017
The transcript makes clear the speech reached a level of crassness, self-absorption, vulgarity, bullying, and self-pity not seen since his Coast Guard Academy graduation speech 67 days ago.
The full text is here.
Esquire's Jack Holmes is gobsmacked:
If you're looking for a crystalizing moment in this presidency, look no further than the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Speech that President Trump delivered at the Boy Scout Jamboree last night. There is no more definitive evidence that we've gone ass-first down the rabbit hole than the footage that came out of West Virginia, where the president spoke to 40,000 people—many of whom were boys under the age of 18—and deviated, shall we say, from his prepared remarks about the values of scouting. This made last week's New York Times interview look like the Lincoln-Douglas debates...CNN's Chris Cillizza, this morning, isn't the only one pointing out
The 29 most cringe-worthy lines from Donald Trump's hyper-political speech to the Boy Scouts
Washington (CNN)On Monday night, President Donald Trump jetted to West Virginia to address the annual Boy Scout Jamboree. And oh what a speech it was!
Trump ranged from the current health care bill to stories of a bygone time in New York history to his Electoral College victory in 2016. It was a Trumpian tour de force -- one sure to cheer his supporters but leave the rest of the country wondering what, exactly, he is doing and thinking.
I went through the speech and picked out the 29 oddest, cringiest lines -- no easy task given the sheer strangeness of Trump's speech.
Here they are -- in the rough order Trump said them.
1. "Boy, you have a lot of people here. The press will say it's about 200 people. It looks like about 45,000 people. You set a record today. You set a record."
The Charleston Gazette estimated 40,000 people in the crowd -- which is a lot! Not sure there is a "record" for attendance at a Boy Scout Jamboree. Also worth noting from the Gazette: "Press staff handling the event did not allow local media to bring film equipment into the amphitheater."
2. "I said, 'Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?' Right?"
Trump, apparently. He spent the VAST majority of this speech jabbing at his political foes and recounting his 2016 successes.
3. "Today, I said we ought to change it from the word 'swamp' to the word 'cesspool' or, perhaps, to the word 'sewer.'"
Remember: "Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?"
4. "Many of my top advisers in the White House were Scouts. Ten members of my Cabinet were Scouts. Can you believe that? Ten."
One of them is Eagle Scout and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who Trump neither brought along on the trip or mentioned in his speech.
5. "Some of you here tonight might even have camped out in this yard when Mike was the governor of Indiana, but the scouting was very, very important."
Your guess is as good as mine.
6. "We're doing a lot with energy."
This was part of Trump's introduction of Boy Scout and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who was in attendance. Apparently, we are "doing a lot" with energy.
7. "He better get them. Oh, he better -- otherwise, I'll say, 'Tom, you're fired.' I'll get somebody."
This "joke" was directed at Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price who was, awkwardly, standing on stage next to Trump. It came amid Trump's public effort to force Sessions to resign and less than a week after Trump threatened Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, on health care.
8. "As the Scout Law says: 'A Scout is trustworthy, loyal' -- we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that."
Is this about Sessions? Republicans in the Senate on health care? Staffers leaking to reporters? All of the above?
9. "I'm waving to people back there so small I can't even see them. Man, this is a lot of people."
This has to be a record, right?
10. "By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible, massive crowd, record-setting is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero?"
As Trump was saying this, CNN was showing shots of the crowd. Also, that crowd was "massive" and "record setting."
11. "By the way, just a question, did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?"
"Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?"
12. "I'll tell you a story that's very interesting for me when I was young. There was a man named William Levitt -- Levittowns, you have some here, you have some in different states."
This is my favorite part of the entire Trump speech. He regales a crowd of kids -- most of whom are teenagers -- about life in New York in the post-World War II age. Nothing like knowing your audience!
13. "Oh, you're Boy Scouts, but you know life. You know life. So -- look at you."
14. "He so badly wanted it, he got bored with this life of yachts and sailing and all of the things he did in the south of France and other places."
15. "And in the end he failed, and he failed badly. Lost all of his money."
Aim for the stars, kids!
16. "I saw him at a cocktail party, and it was very sad because the hottest people in New York were at this party."
Again, Trump is speaking to a crowd of teenagers. And recounting his glory days in New York City high society -- decades before they were even born.
17. "You have to know whether or not you continue to have the momentum, and if you don't have it, that's OK. Because you're going to go on and you're going to learn and you're going to do things that are great."
Momentum is the key. Having it is everything. If you don't have it, though, everything is still going to be great.
18. "I have to tell you our economy is doing great."
For the 80th time: Trump is speaking to tens of thousands of teenagers.
19. "Do we remember that date? Was that a beautiful date? What a date."
He's talking about Election Day 2016. Because of course he is.
20. "But do you remember that incredible night with the maps and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue, and that map was so red, it was unbelievable, and they didn't know what to say?"
ICYMI: Donald Trump won the 2016 election, winning 304 out of a possible 538 electoral votes. That election was 260 days ago.
21. "And you know we have a tremendous disadvantage in the Electoral College -- popular vote is much easier."
"Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?"
22. "I went to Maine four times because it's one vote, and we won. But we won -- one vote. I went there because I kept hearing we're at 269."
He's speaking to teenagers gathered for their annual Jamboree in West Virginia. And he's talking about how Maine splits its two electoral votes by congressional district.
23. "But then Wisconsin came in. Many, many years -- Michigan came in."
"Many, many years."
24. "Wisconsin hadn't been won in many, many years by a Republican. But we go to Wisconsin, and we had tremendous crowds. And I'd leave these massive crowds. I'd say, 'Why are we going to lose this state?'"
Not sure if you've heard but Trump won Wisconsin. He was the first Republican presidential candidate to win the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
25. "So I have to tell you what we did, in all fairness, is 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."
Most of the people who were in the audience weren't 18 in 2016 and, therefore, did not vote to Make America Great Again.
26. "And by the way, under the Trump administration, you'll be saying 'Merry Christmas' again when you go shopping. Believe me. 'Merry Christmas.'"
Trump gave this speech on July 24.
27. "They've been downplaying that little, beautiful phrase. You're going to be saying 'Merry Christmas' again, folks."
First of all, "they." Second of all, Merry damn Christmas.
28. "I promise you that you will live scouting's adventure every single day of your life, and you will win, win, win and help people in doing so."
So much winning. You will be bored by all of the winning.
29. "I've known so many great people."
The best people. Believe me.In fairness, I must also report New York Magazine's Margaret Hartman only cringed fourteen times. The Toronto Star, seventeen.
The Daily Mail reports,
President Trump threatened to fire his Health and Human Services secretary, Dr. Tom Price, during a speech to the Boy Scouts, which he promised wouldn't be political and would be about finding personal success.
Trump pulled Price onstage, saying that he 'lives the Scout oath' by keeping 'millions of Americans strong and healthy' in his role, before bringing up an important Senate Obamacare repeal vote tomorrow, and suggesting it would be the cabinet member's head that would roll if Congressional Republicans came up short.
'By the way, are you going to get the votes?' Trump asked Price. 'He better get them,' Trump told the crowd. 'He better get them. Otherwise, I'll say "Tom, you're fired."'In other excerpts,
'We're going to put that aside,' he said. 'Instead we are going to talk about success, about how all of you amazing young Scouts can achieve your dreams.'
He went on: 'Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?'
That didn't last for long.
'The Scouts believe in putting America First,' Trump said, suggested the Boy Scouts abided by one of his campaign slogans.
'You'll be saying Merry Christmas again when you go shopping,' Trump, at one point, pledged.
...Eventually he made his way to Price, for what would turn into a much more awkward moment. 'He's doing a great job and hopefully he's going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known was Obamacare, that's really hurting us,' Trump said.
The mention of doing away with his predecessor's health care plan earned his a rousing U-S-A chant.
Then he threatened to fire Price if a health care reform bill didn't get passed.
'I'll get somebody,' Trump muttered, seemingly meaning he'd find someone else to get the job done.CNN picks up with one of the more bizarre moments of many in a bigly bizarre outing:
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.Though flanked by three Eagle Scouts in his cabinet- Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and HHS Secretary Price, and claiming credit for nearly dozen Scouts and Scout leaders in his cabinet, the President pointedly left Eagle Scout and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Washington and did not mention him.
Norman Rockwell, A Great Moment (1965)
In one extended tangent that surely confused many Scouts, Trump described a long-ago cocktail party conversation with pioneering real estate developer William Levitt. Levitt was "a very successful man," Trump told the Scouts, but sold his business and "lost his momentum." Although Levitt is considered the architect of postwar American suburbia, he was also known for ensuring that properties were sold only to whites and non-Jews.CNN continues,
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."Time ran another passing thought:
"You remember that incredible night with the maps," Trump said, noting that the maps were "so red" that the pundits who had expected a Clinton victory were speechless.
He continued to recount his electoral college victories, explaining he decided to visit Maine, a state that splits its electoral votes, in an effort to pick one up because he thought it would help him win.
"But then Wisconsin came in," he said of election night. "Many many years. Michigan came in. And we worked hard there. You know, my opponent didn't work hard there. She [Clinton] was told she was gonna win Michigan and I said, wait a minute the car industry is going to move to Mexico."
"We'd go to Wisconsin, and we had these massive crowds," Trump continued. "What we did in all fairness is an unbelievable tribute to you and all the millions and millions that came out to Make America Great Again."The President reverted to another familiar lie:
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.During his harangue, the President put one particularly provocative question:
The Hill reports,Trump taunts his predecessor while addressing thousands of kids at the Boy Scouts Jamboree: “Did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?”— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 24, 2017
“The answer is no, but we’ll be back,” Trump added.The boys booed the mention of the former president. Although Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (an Eagle Scout and former BSA president who addressed the Jamboree Friday) guided the BSA to a grudging, opt-out plan for accepting gay Scouts, the American movement remains dominated by churches in the LDS and Southern Baptist denominations- no friends, in the main, of less-than-conservative, non-white, or LGBT folk.
So in that way, the President knew his audience. They are at the age when their initial political socialization is that of their parents, and they showed it. And BSA leadership knew it, too, posting on the Jamboree blog this alert:
Chants of certain phrases heard during the campaign (e.g. 'build the wall', 'lock her up') are considered divisive by many members of our audience, and may cause unnecessary friction.But even the hyper-conservative Weekly Standard editor William Kristol found the tirade squirmy:
And as the President said elsewhere in his rant, "The answer is no." Business Insider reports thatAre the other members of the Cabinet fine with the humiliating treatment of Jeff Sessions? https://t.co/z3PXyRMseV— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) July 25, 2017
When Trump declared he would "kill" Obamacare, boy scouts in the audience began chanting "U-S-A." When Trump asked the crowd if President Barack Obama had ever attended the jamboree, they booed Obama — who was a boy scout himself, as a child — while Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Price, who were standing behind Trump on stage, laughed and clapped.Perry, of course, is a highly successful pol but an aggressively stupid man whose 2008 book, On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For, is a long screed against change as embodied by gay Scouts and their ACLU lawyers; he donated his royalties to the BSA legal defense fund to support its twin twenty-year fights to bar gay kids and leaders and keep its archives on heterosexual child molester leaders secret.
Old Scouts tend to cling to their most valued experiences, so it was no surprise to find a National Jamboree fan who has down to the last detail which presidents attended the events, and which didn't, and shared it on the Internets.
As it happens, the first 27 presidents in a row didn't go because the BSA didn't exist, and the next four didn't because the National Jamboree wasn't created until 1937. With the onset of war, it was 1950 before the next one happened.
Seven of thirteen presidents to hold office since 1937 have attended the event in person.
President Kennedy, Star Scout rank, 1930
Lots of variables go into that number. Two didn't because they didn't have time. President Kennedy was unable to attend the 1961 Jamboree because it was shifted back to 1960 for the BSA's 50th anniversary (allowing President Eisenhower to appear after missing the two preceding ones) and died before the next one in 1964.
President Ford, Eagle Scout Class of 1929
The only Eagle Scout President, Gerald Ford, was unable to attend a Jamboree during his truncated term of office in the middle of a sixteen-year run (1969-1985) when four presidents in a row- including Nixon, Carter, and Reagan- did not attend, either.
Reagan skipped both Jamborees in his eight years but sent his wife to the 1985 event.
President Bush 1 went. President Clinton and Bush 2 made one each of two. President Obama did not attend the 2010 or 2013 events, though- as the blogger MiddletownScouter doesn't credit- he did address the 100th-anniversary Jamboree by video in 2010.
Presidents Kennedy, Ford, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama were, or are, Scouts.
President Trump wrote in his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal,
I actually gave a teacher a black eye. I punched my music teacher because I didn’t think he knew anything about music and I almost got expelled.He was in the second grade. He was sent to military school at thirteen.
Donald Trump is no Boy Scout.
For those who are, the disgust of the moment will pass. The values of the Scoutin program are things the President can tarnish only indirectly, fleetingly, and forgettably.
Parental blowback has been swift to Monday's presidential mooning of the BSA. A #MAGA merit badge seems less likely after Monday. Tuesday morning, perhaps someone realized just how badly the President shamed and coarsened his role as BSA honorary president, and pushed him to rest the appearance with more home movies from Communicator Mooch:
#2017Jambo- Remember your duty. Honor your history. Take care of the people God puts into your life – and LOVE & CHERISH your country! pic.twitter.com/DnNYxGJm4I— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017
C-SPAN has the whole tawdry business here:
-That the electorate has, in its plurality, decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, arrogance, untruth, and recklessness, his disdain for democratic norms, is a fact that will lead, inevitably, to all manner of national decline and suffering.
David Remnick, The New Yorker, November 9, 2016