By DAVID CRARY,
AP National Writer
YORK (AP) — The Boy Scouts denied Wednesday that the head of the youth
organization called President Donald Trump to praise his recent, politically
aggressive speech to its national jamboree.
Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Wednesday, "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." Politico published
the transcript of the interview.
are unaware of any such call," the Boy Scouts responded in a statement. It
specified that neither of the organization's two top leaders — President
Randall Stephenson and Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh — had placed such
The White House had no immediate response to the Boy Scouts' denial.
Surbaugh apologized last week to members of the scouting community who were
offended by the political rhetoric in Trump's July 24 speech in West
Other U.S. presidents have delivered nonpolitical speeches at past
jamborees. To the dismay of many parents and former scouts, Trump promoted
his political agenda and derided his rivals, inducing some of the scouts in
attendance to boo at the mention of former President Barack Obama.
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 said. "That was never our intent."
Surbaugh noted that every sitting president since 1937 has been invited to
visit the jamboree.
Stephenson told The Associated Press two days after the speech that Boy
Scout leaders anticipated Trump would spark controversy with politically
tinged remarks, yet felt obliged to invite him out of respect for his
Hoping to minimize friction, the Boy Scouts issued guidelines to adult staff
members for how the audience should react to the speech. Any type of
political chanting was specifically discouraged.
Stephenson, who did not attend Trump's speech, said the guidance wasn't