CBS News Logo Trump swipes at Obama, jokes about HHS Sec. Price at Boy Scouts national summit

Last Updated Jul 25, 2017 12:45 PM EDT In his address to the National Boy Scout Jamboree, President Trump delivered a speech that strayed into partisan politics several times, which is unusual for the venue. Presidents who have addressed the venue going back 80 years, to Franklin Roosevelt avoided politics in their speeches, the Washington Post observed. And at the beginning of the speech, it seemed as though Mr. Trump, too, would eschew a partisan message when he said to the 40,000 attendees in West Virginia that he would "put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, DC," because "who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts, right?"But he went on to talk about the vote to "repeal and replace Obamacare," joking that he would fire Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price if he is unable to get enough votes on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act."By the way, you're going to get the votes?" Mr. Trump said, turning to Price, who stood near him during the remarks. "He better get 'em. He better get 'em. Oh, he better. Otherwise I'll say, 'Tom, you're fired.' I'll get somebody."He complained about the "swamp" of Washington.  "I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp," he told the scouts. "And it's not a good place.  In fact today I said we ought to change it from the word swamp to the word cesspool or, perhaps, to the word sewer.  But it's not good.  Not good."And he swiped at the media, which he predicted would say his crowd at the Jamboree was smaller than it was."The fake media will say:  President Trump -- and you know what this is -- President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today," he said. The president also recalled winning the presidential election, talking about the states he won -- "We won Florida.  We won South Carolina.  We won North Carolina.  We won Pennsylvania," and deriding opponent Hillary Clinton for not Continue Reading

Carly Rae Jepsen drops out of Boy Scouts of America’s national Jamboree to protest ban on gays

Don’t call her... and she doesn’t mean maybe. Pop star Carly Rae Jepsen has dropped out of a planned performance at the Boy Scouts of America’s National Jamboree to protest the group’s ban on gays. “As an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer," Jepsen tweeted Tuesday morning. The 27-year-old singer, whose song “Call Me Maybe” dominated radio last summer, joins the rock group Train in dropping out of the jamboree, which is set for July 15 to 24 at Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. Train announced its decision Friday. The Boy Scouts have an official national ban on admitting openly gay scouts or leaders, but the issue is coming up for a national vote this May. Train said in a statement it would play the show if the ban is struck down during that vote. "We appreciate everyone's right to express an opinion and remain focused on delivering a great jamboree program for our scouts," Boy Scouts spokesman Derron Smith said in a statement to the Daily News. An online petition launched by an openly gay former Eagle Scout Derek Nance had called on Jepsen to ditch the jamboree, which is held only once every four years. Nance’s petition drew more than 62,000 signatures. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said in a statement, “Carly Rae Jepsen and Train's decisions not only send the right message to the BSA, but remind LGBT young people that they are supported and accepted.” Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Montini: Boy Scout chief apologizes (finally) for Trump

Michael Surbaugh, the Chief Scout Executive for the Boy Scouts of America, did something on Thursday that President Donald Trump would never do.He apologized.On behalf of the Boy Scouts.For Trump.The president's rambling, occasionally rude and incoherent, completely political speech to 40,000 scouts at their annual Jamboree was a self-serving insult to the longstanding invitation the scouts make to sitting presidents. Instead of offering a message of service, self-sacrifice and the public good, Trump railed against his perceived enemies and acted as if he were speaking to a campaign rally rather than to a big bunch of kids, most of them between 10 and 14.The adults who run the scouts didn’t know what to do, and have taken too long to respond. But at least, now, they have sent a clear message.In his statement Surbaugh writes in part:"We know the past few days have been overshadowed by the remarks offered by the President of the United States."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. That was never our intent."The invitation for the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition that has been extended to the leader of our nation that has had a Jamboree during his term since 1937. It is in no way an endorsement of any person, party or policies. For years, people have called upon us to take a position on political issues, and we have steadfastly remained non-partisan and refused to comment on political matters. We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program."Surbaugh mentions in his statement that he hopes the young people who participate in scouting will "develop leadership skills and become people of character." Issuing a sincere expression of disappointment and apology, as he did in his statement, will serve as a valuable learning moment for scouts.Too bad it won’t for the Continue Reading

Montini: Why didn’t 40,000 Boy Scouts walk out on Trump?

It would have made a great picture, and would have honored their oaths, if the adult leaders of the Boy Scouts had turned their backs on President Donald Trump and marched all 40,000 or so scouts away from the stage Monday at the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W. Va.Trump was using his invitation to the jamboree to deliver a highly political, occasionally bizarre, rambling speech in which he trashed Hillary Clinton, his own attorney general, former President Obama and the news media. And delivered a partisan rant on his ideals about health care reform, and his personal analysis of his win in the Electoral College, all as if it was a campaign rally.And instead of doing the right thing, the scout leaders appeared to be leading the cheers.The “policy on Scout participation in political events” is pretty clear.It reads: Uniformed unit members or leaders may participate in flag ceremonies at political events and may lead Pledge of Allegiance; however, they should retire after the ceremony and NOT remain on the speakers' platform or in a conspicuous location where television viewers could construe their presence as an endorsement or symbol of support. In addition, photos of candidates or Scouts in uniform or BSA marks and logos are NOT allowed in political materials of any kind. The Boy Scouts of America does not endorse any political candidate. Care must be taken to not make implications that we do.Meantime, there was Trump, railing about the last election, complaining about the process. Saying, “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."Not recognizing – or not caring – that the crowd is made up of kids who are way too young to vote.“You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp,” he Continue Reading

Trump is unteachable. His Boy Scouts speech proved it.

The American presidency is a peculiar institution. Its occupant is supposed to be simultaneously head of government and head of state, performing the functions that in most other countries are separated between a prime minister and a monarch or ceremonial president. As head of government, the president can, and sometimes must, be nakedly partisan. But as head of state he is supposed to rise above the muck of politics, serving as a symbol of unity to bring Americans of all political persuasions together.That is something Ronald Reagan did after the Challenger disaster, Bill Clinton did after the Oklahoma City bombing, George W. Bush did after 9/11, and Barack Obama did after the Charleston church shooting. Perhaps Donald Trump will rise to the occasion after, God forbid, some future tragedy. But so far it’s safe to say that while he doesn’t know how to be an effective president in general, he is especially bad at the ceremonial, non-partisan part of the job. He is always in campaign mode — even when it is highly inappropriate.Exhibit A was his speech on Monday to the Boy Scouts of America. Instead of using the National Scout Jamboree to offer the assembled adolescents some inspirational rhetoric about the passage to manhood, he instead went after his favorite targets — Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, the “fake media” — while extolling the size of his crowds and his impressive achievements in winning the election. At one point he actually had the boys booing Clinton, a former secretary of State, former first lady and the first female major-party presidential nominee in U.S. history. This is an offense not only against good taste but also against the Boy Scout rule forbidding any political activities in uniform.But it is part of a pattern with Trump. Recall that the day after he was inaugurated, Trump went to speak at CIA headquarters. Good idea, coming after his vicious attacks on the CIA for reporting Continue Reading

Boy Scouts refute President Trump’s claim that chief said he gave ‘greatest speech’

President Trump said he was commended by the Boy Scouts of America for the speech he gave to its national jamboree last week, but the group said this never happened, according to reports. In a released transcript of Trump's interview with the Wall Street Journal, the president disputed that there had been any negative reaction to his speech: "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. So there was – there was no mix."But the Boy Scouts organization said such a call never took place, according to reports from Time magazine and the Toronto Star.Instead, the organization stood behind the public statement made by chief executive Michael Surbaugh , in which he apologized and said, "We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program."Trump's speech at the Boy Scouts' national jamboree was filled with political rhetoric and attacks on the press, polls and predecessor Barack Obama.The organization told Time, "The Chief Scout Executive's message to the Scouting community speaks for itself." Read more:  Continue Reading

The Boy Scouts respond after President Trump’s speech: We are ‘wholly non-partisan’

After President Trump gave a fiery political speech before a huge crowd of Boy Scouts, the Boy Scouts of America insisted that it doesn't promote politics.Here's the full statement: The Boy Scouts of America is wholly non-partisan and does not promote anyone position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy. 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 sitting U.S. president serves as the BSA's honorary president. It is our long-standing custom to invite the U.S. president to the National Jamboree.Boy Scout policy does indeed specify that scouts in uniform should not appear in places where people "could construe their presence as an endorsement of symbol or support."The president's speech, which included lashing out at his predecessor and complaining of his political opponents, has drawn much backlash.  Continue Reading

After controversial Boy Scouts speech, Trump takes more traditional tone in remarks to young people

WASHINGTON – Two days after a controversial speech to a group of Boy Scouts, President Trump took a more traditional, inspirational tone Wednesday to another group of young people."I see the next generation of American leaders," Trump said in Rose Garden remarks to the American Legion Boys Nation and the American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation.Still, Trump being Trump, he did inject a little bit of politics – namely, about his election win last year.“Just think of the amazing moments in history you will witness in your lifetime," he told the youngsters. "You saw one on November 8, right?”Trump drew criticism from many parents, and current and former scouts, for a Monday speech to Boy Scouts that at times sounded more like a political pep rally. Trump mixed life lessons, demanded a repeal of Obamacare, and attacked predecessor Barack Obama for never having attended the jamboree.  Related: After the speech, the Boy Scouts of America issued a statement clarifying, "the group "is wholly non-partisan and does not promote anyone position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy."Yet in the Rose Garden, Trump pretty much stuck to the script for presidents addressing young people, telling the Boys and Girls Nation delegates: “Never quit. Never give up. Take care of your family and your parents."The programs "play a critical role in educating the next generation of leaders on the importance of being engaged citizens and carrying on our Nation’s traditions," the White House said in a statement."As part of 'American Heroes Week,' this event focuses on fostering the heroes of the future, and the commitment the Trump Administration has toward providing a better future for all Americans." Continue Reading

Speaking to Boy Scouts, Trump attacks media and demands Obamacare repeal

President Trump first told a huge crowd of Boy Scouts at a national jamboree Monday that he didn't want to talk politics. "Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm front of the Boy Scouts?" he roared.But he couldn't help himself.As he extolled the life lessons offered by scouting, Trump also called for the repeal of Obamacare, praised the stock market — and mixed in familiar attacks on "fake news," inaccurate polls, and mocked his predecessor, Barack Obama."By the way, just a question: Did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?" he asked as the crowd of scouts, scoutmasters, and various other adults gathered in West Virginia yelled the word "no." "The answer is no," Trump continued. "But we'll be back." (Obama did address a 100th anniversary scouting event in 2010 by video.)Addressing the 2017 National Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve, Trump complained about his political opponents and echoed one of his tweets earlier in the day by saying that he couldn't decide whether Washington is "a swamp," a "cesspool," or a "sewer."The president repeatedly bashed the news media for under-counting the size of his crowds and underestimating his election chances.He dwelt at length on his November victory, even giving a state-by-state by analysis of his Electoral College triumph over Democrat Hillary Clinton.Meanwhile, with the Senate planning a vote Tuesday on repealing Obamacare, Trump pointed to one of his traveling companions, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. "By the way, are you going to get the votes?" the former host of television's The Apprentice asked Price. "He better get 'em... otherwise I'll say, 'Tom, you're fired!'" It is still not clear what will be in the bill or whether it has enough votes to pass. The president also talked up the economy and the stock market, and said prosperity is "just the beginning." Trump did periodically work Continue Reading

Trump’s Boy Scout speech may have set kids on the right path

Much of the media was shocked and horrified by President Trump’s Boy Scout Jamboree speech on Monday. Many commentators are talking as if Trump’s raucous, free-wheeling spiel exposed underage children to political pornography. Instead of railing against Hillary Clinton and boasting of his victory in last year’s election, Trump supposedly should have delivered the usual “our wonderful political system” speech.Some people will never forgive Trump for telling Scouts thatWashington is a “sewer.” Actually, that message could be an antidote to much of what Scouts hear. Trump’s speech, insofar as it spurs doubts about political authority, could be far more salutary than prior presidential Jamboree speeches.When I attended the 1969 Scout Jamboree in Idaho, President Richard Nixon sent us a message praising our idealism. But the type of idealism that Nixon and the Scouts often glorified was more likely to produce servility than liberty. Before being accepted into the Jamboree troop, I was interviewed by adult Scout leaders in a nearby town. The most memorable question was: “What do you think of the Vietnam situation?” Even 12-year-olds had to be screened for dissident tendencies.The Idaho Jamboree occurred one month before the Woodstock music festival. Instead of tens of thousands of people chanting antiwar slogans, the Jamboree exalted the military in all its forms. Instead of acres of half-naked hippies, the Scouts were protected by “uniform police” who assured that every boy wore a proper neckerchief at all times. Instead of Joan Baez belting out “We Shall Overcome,” the Scouts listened to “Up with People,” a 125-member singing group created as an antidote to “student unrest and complaining about America.”The motto for the 1969 Jamboree was “Building to Serve.” But I later wondered: Building to Serve whom? The Jamboree put one government official Continue Reading