Donald Trump’s speech to the Boy Scouts, and my letter to the BSA leaders 12

In case you missed it, President Trump spoke at the Boy Scout Jamboree, and managed, as he often does, to turn an innocuous public appearance into an political rally.

Politicizing the Boy Scout Jamboree runs counter to the BSA Code of Conduct and the BSA Rules and Regulations, as detailed at this link.

As someone who was once involved in Scouting, I was angry enough to write a letter to the national leadership of the BSA, which I am sharing here because the cheap politicization of an ostensibly apolitical youth group is both amoral and dangerous.


This is addressed to the national leadership of the BSA:

I was mortified today to hear President Trump’s remarks to the Scouts attending the Jamboree. He turned what should have been a once-in-a-lifetime moment to hear wisdom from the Chief Executive into a political rally.

Mr Trump encouraged the Scouts to boo former President Barack Obama and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He encouraged them to contact their Congressmen and women and tell them to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

I shouldn’t need to remind you that the Scouters’ Code of Conduct and the Rules and Regulations of the BSA strictly prohibit participation in political and partisan activities. Mr Trump encouraged the Scouters to violate both the Code and the R&R, as booing members of any political party is obviously partisan, and used a captive audience to further his own political agenda.

Moreover, I shouldn’t need to remind you that the BSA is a 501(c)(3) organization, and is prohibited by US law to involve itself in political or partisan activities.

Perhaps it would have been impossible at the time to prevent the President of the United States from speaking as he did, but it is not impossible now for the national leadership to remind itself and the families involved in Scouting of the Code and the Rules. It is not impossible now for the national leadership to disavow any attempt to politicize the BSA and thereby subvert the very essence of Scouting.

When my oldest boys were youngsters back in the 1980s, I was an assistant scout leader. While I had some misgivings about the BSA, misgivings I still have today, I recognized that Scouting provides boys important skills and knowledge, and a chance to associate with other boys their age. I understood then, as now, that Scouts are to be patriotic and to love their country.

But to be patriotic means to respect all of our leaders, not just the ones favored by the sitting President. The boys should have been taught to respect President Obama, who served our country eight years and his own state of Illinois for several more, and Secretary Clinton, who has served in public office even longer than Mr Obama. They should have been taught to respect the complexities of the legislative process, and not just obey the directives of one political party’s representative.

They should have been allowed to enjoy the Jamboree for what it is — an apolitical Scouting event loved by every Scout who has ever attended — and not been sucked into an acrimonious feud between Mr Trump and his political opponents.

The blame for politicizing the Jamboree lies squarely with Mr Trump and whomever wrote his speech. But if the BSA leadership cannot and will not disavow this egregious — and cheap — attempt to politicize a public appearance before hundreds of boys and young men, then it must share in the blame, as well.

I am going to share this letter online, because I believe this matter is important. Should you respond, I will keep the reply private, unless you give me permission to publish it. I hope you do. The apolitical nature of the BSA must be preserved at all costs.

Thanking you for your time and patience, I am

Sincerely yours,
John Wheaton
Louisville, Kentucky


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12 thoughts on “Donald Trump’s speech to the Boy Scouts, and my letter to the BSA leaders

  1. Reply Lara Jul 25,2017 10:11 am

    Thank you for sharing your letter. I’m so glad my son wasn’t there today. I’ll be writing a letter too. I still expect integrity and accountability. We deserve better.

  2. Reply Jason Fernando Jul 25,2017 11:39 am

    Hey I’m Jason Fernando from Far East council and was personally there today at national jamboree and it’s great but after scouring google for anything good about trumps speech and unfortunately I found nothing good but I wanna tell you that his son speech was an great one this is for the fact that at the beginning he decided to forget politics and the few times he did bring up politics was to prove a point ie; the map being completely red was to prove that momentum was what got him there soo I think the real reason you wrote this letter is because you’re just a salty democrat that’s pissed off that trump won and Hilary didn’t also he said he would replace Obamacare with something better so don’t say that he was just going to destroy Obamacare for no reason REPEAL AND REPLACE remember? Anyway it was a great speech and you forget to mention his great story about William Levit. Also don’t try to tell me that I’m just a stupid teenager and has no idea about politics so don’t use that as an excuse you attention seeker.

  3. Reply eljefe Jul 25,2017 11:43 am

    The 17 most jaw-dropping excerpts from Trump’s speech to the Boy Scouts.

  4. Reply Jason Fernando Jul 25,2017 11:44 am

    Hey Lara stop hopping on the bandwagon and have some sense because I bet u that if your son got a picture with Donald Trump then you would have showed all you friends and family so don’t even. Also the real reason your son wasn’t there today is because you couldn’t afford it. Back off

  5. Reply eljefe Jul 25,2017 12:20 pm

    Dear Jason,

    Punctuation is your friend.

    So far, Trump and the GOP have not presented any kind of health care plan that would be any better that the ACA. Repeal without replace means millions will lose coverage, maybe even people you know. Doctors, hospitals, insurers and the AARP all say the GOP replacement plan sucks. So, it’s not just liberals who say it’s bad.

    Don’t believe everything Trump says. I’m from New York, where he has a long history. He lies, constantly. Even his lawyers don’t trust him. There’s no reason you should either.

  6. Reply eljefe Jul 25,2017 12:21 pm

    Cheap shot, Jason. Cut it out. Remember you’re a Boy Scout, right?

  7. Reply Jordan Schleider Jul 25,2017 2:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing the news and video.

  8. Reply Suzanne Ryan Jul 25,2017 10:25 pm

    Thank you for your letter. I, too, believe everything you wrote. The President turned this speaking engagement into a political event. In doing so, he further splits our country, by way of our young boys and young men, into polarized, politicized sides. That is what autocrats and dictators do. We can not stand idly by and watch this happen.

    As a mother of former Scouts, I will be contacting the national level to express my displeasure. At the very least, there should be a public letter of apology to all, and a letter to the President himself, admonishing him fur such an abuse of power.

    Thank you again for your letter.

  9. Reply KJ2010 Jul 25,2017 10:39 pm

    Jason, remember what organization you represent.

  10. Reply John Jul 26,2017 12:38 am

    Sound like that idiot in the White House is using another nom de guerre “Jason”. His statements are about as grammatically correct and illiterate as that child in the oval office.

  11. Reply Dan Jul 26,2017 3:23 am

    This is the problem with today’s technology. You are already writing letters and sharing I with the some pupose to piss off as many people as you can. You have not even given the BSA time to respond. I get a week later but the day after? Not that I disagree with you. But I have parents already pulling out Cub Scouts because of crap like this. Give the bsa time to formulate a response before bashing them.

  12. Reply eljefe Jul 26,2017 5:13 am

    Did you read the part where I say it is an open letter to the BSA leadership? I was inviting a response from them.

    And I doubt people are pulling their kids out because people like me are protesting the speech. They’re pulling their kids out BECAUSE of the speech. So, don’t blame me, blame Trump.

    The BSA has offered a public response to the criticism, and I found it completely inadequate. YMMV

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