Parents are indicating their displeasure with the Boy Scouts of America after President Donald Trump gave a campaign-style speech on Monday to a group of young scouts after promising he wouldn’t speak about politics.
Some parents vented on Twitter, calling Trump’s comments to the crowd of mostly teenage boys at the National Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia inappropriate.
While Trump at times encouraged the scouts to follow their dreams and work hard, he frequently fell back on his campaign-rally-style rhetoric, which included attacks on journalists and media outlets.
When Trump said he would “kill” Obamacare, the healthcare law officially called the Affordable Care Act, scouts in the audience began chanting “U-S-A.”
When Trump asked the crowd whether President Barack Obama, who was a Boy Scout, had ever attended the Jamboree, they booed, while Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, standing behind Trump on stage, laughed and clapped.
Obama addressed the Jamboree via video in 2010 for the organization’s 100th anniversary.
Trump leaned further into his campaign posture at the Jamboree, saying that “under the Trump administration, you will be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” a declaration he routinely made on the campaign trail. The president also railed against his general-election rival, Hillary Clinton, eliciting more jeers from the crowd.
Parents and others appeared to be outraged by Trump’s speech.
After being involved with the Boy Scouts for years, this person said they “would never want to be associated” with the organization.
My son is saying the same. We were involved with boy scouts for years. I would never want to be associated with organization now.
— Kate (@Mamaofthreebear) July 25, 2017
One Twitter user said she would contact her district’s Boy Scout troop representatives.
Politics do not belong in the jamboree. Citizenship does. I'm the charter organization rep for my son's Troop.
Will be contacting district
— Ann ???????? (@GeekTalk51) July 25, 2017
This parent wasn’t happy with Trump’s standing by while the boys booed Clinton.
My son's were boy scouts & I would have never tried to get them to behave like this. https://t.co/67ySFF4KmS
— Eric Foster (@efoster_eric) July 25, 2017
One parent said they were happy their son was at camp instead and that they were horrified at what happened at the Jamboree.
My son is a Boy Scout, too. I am glad he is at camp in CA and not at Jamboree. That was horrifying.
— Mirren (@newhall89) July 25, 2017
One father indicated he was not surprised by Trump’s rhetoric and said he had a “rotten experience” with Boy Scouts, adding that he wouldn’t allow his son to be involved.
I have a really rotten experience with the Boy Scouts when I was young. My son isn't involved, after today, he will NEVER be involved.
— Furious Buddha (@KofiJamal) July 25, 2017
This man said he was a former senior patrol leader for the Boy Scouts and wouldn’t let his son join now.
Right & left in agreement that Trump hijacked Boy Scouts for political rally.
— Nathan Newman (@nathansnewman) July 25, 2017
Some parents expressed concern about their sons being “indoctrinated” at Boy Scouts events.
You have made me ill, @boyscouts! Do I now have to worry my son will be indoctrinated into a Trump youth org when he attends a BSA event??!
— Leila Rice (@Leila_A_Rice) July 25, 2017
Parents were also “horrified” to see their sons’ hard-earned achievements be “politicized.”
My son worked hard to become an Eagle Scout and I am horrified to see the org allow itself to be politicized.
— Deb Bakes (@BakesDeb) July 25, 2017
I am so sad right now. My son is 15. He became a scout in 1st grade. Don't take away something he worked so hard for
— Pardon Me Ellen (@ellensweeps) July 25, 2017
One parent said they would be withdrawing their son over the “disgusting” Trump speech.
@boyscouts that was a disgusting display tonight. I am withdrawing my son from your organization next year. You should all be ashamed.
— Matt Cunningham (@MattC03) July 25, 2017
— SphynxCatsRule (@SphynxCatsRule) July 25, 2017
However, some parents said their sons had great experiences as Boy Scouts.
My son's BSA experience was wonderful!!! A lot of diversity of troops near me, and my son's troop wasn't church sponsored.
— Benny (@BenBoo2000) July 25, 2017
Parents seemed to agree that Trump’s speech crossed a line.
My son is an Eagle Scout. Today was an abomination of the Scout law. #BoyScouts
— Lynne Perednia (@Perednia) July 25, 2017
But their response was equally disturbing. Complete violation of the @boyscouts oath. My son, a life scout, is disgusted.
— Caren Baker (@Caren_CO_Now) July 25, 2017
In an emailed statement to Business Insider, the Boy Scouts of America said:
“The Boy Scouts of America is wholly nonpartisan and does not promote any one position, product, service, political candidate, or philosophy. The invitation for the sitting US 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 US president serves as the BSA’s honorary president. It is our long-standing custom to invite the US president to the National Jamboree.”
The organization did not immediately respond to follow-up questions about Trump’s remarks at the Monday rally.
Here’s the full speech: