The chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America apologized Thursday night for political remarks that President Donald Trump made while addressing a large audience of former and current Scouts.
It was “never our intent” for the national jamboree to become a venue for Trump to attack the news media and criticize former President Barack Obama, Michael Surbaugh, the organization’s chief, said in a statement. Trump repeatedly brought up his presidential election victory during the jamboree 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,” Surbaugh wrote. “We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.”
The president was met with applause and a “USA” chant upon arriving at the jamboree — sitting U.S. presidents serve as the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. Several people in the audience could be heard booing Trump’s Democratic predecessor.
His appearance and political messaging at the Scouts’ national meeting was perhaps an effort to place pressure on Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia to vote in favor of the health care measure Tuesday.
Trump also spoke in Ohio the day after Monday’s scout’s meeting. The rally was likely targeting Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican who remains noncommittal on the current iteration of the health care bill.
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