President Donald Trump claimed that head of the Boy Scouts called his July 24 speech at the National Jamboree in West Virginia “the greatest speech” the group has ever received.
“And 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,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal in a wide-ranging interview Thursday.
“They loved it. It wasn’t – it was no mix,” the president told the interviewer about the crowd’s response to the highly politicized speech. “That was a standing ovation … from the time I walked out on the stage.”
The crowd seemed favorable to the speech, even going so far as to boo former President Barack Obama when his name was mentioned. Former boy scouts and Democratic lawmakers alike slammed the political speech as uncalled for.
“I’m an eagle scout. Trump using the 30,000 Boy Scouts as his props tonight was a scene out of Triumph of the Will. Shocking abuse of children,” progressive filmmaker Michael Moore posted on Twitter.
The backlash was so severe that the Boy Scouts of America published an official response, defending their invitation of the president as tradition.
“The Boy Scouts of America is wholly non-partisan and does not promote any one position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy,” the group said. “The invitation for the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition and is in no way an endorsement of any political party or specific policies.”
The president claimed that he would be the first person in line to say if there was any negative reaction to his speech but indicated that in his opinion, there were only positive reviews about his performance.
“I’d be the first to admit mixed. I’m a guy that will tell you mixed. There was no mix there. That was a standing ovation from the time I walked out to the time I left, and for five minutes after I had already gone. There was no mix,” the president concluded.
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