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President Trump in front of 40,000 boy scouts. Source: The Washington Post
President Trump in front of 40,000 boy scouts. Source: The Washington Post

How grave was Trump’s speech to the Boy Scouts?

President Trump attended the largest Scout community event, the Jamboree, at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, West Virginia, to ask the 40,000 children and youth…

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May 27th, 2022

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The dream of every young scout is to be able to attend a Jamboree one day. A global or national camp that brings together the most organized groups to share around the principles of scout life: being trustworthy, being loyal, being helpful and helping others, being a friend to everyone, being polite, befriend animals, be obedient, smile and sing before their difficulties, save and be clean in thought, word and deed.

But to President Trump, the only thing that seems to be important from a model of citizen shaping, with more than a hundred years of history, is loyalty.

"As the Scout Law says, a Scout is trustworthy, loyal," Trump said. "We could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that”.

Thus began his speech of more than 40 minutes in front of the young Americans, in an attempt to appear more sympathetic and close to the population than he has demonstrated during his months in office. Let's say he "sweetened" his campaign speech, to try to convince 40,000 individuals of the new generation of his success as a politician.

"Boy, you have a lot of people. The press will say it’s about 200 people. It looks like about 45.000 people. Tonight we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington DC that you have been hearing about with the fake news and all of that… Who the hell wants to talk about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?”

Well, it seems that he himself transformed a traditional event, in which the speeches are usually addressed to the youth and to the promise of the future, in a political rally.

And perhaps the new president does not understand the whole issue of Scouting and the movement founded by Baden Powell more than a century ago. Unlike presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton, Ford and Kennedy, Trump was never part of the movement.

The president went through all his key points in his speech: fake news, putting America first, the success of his campaign and his presidential victory (thanking even younger minors for voting), money and celebrities from New York and, obviously, his health care project.

"Secretary Tom Price is also here … And hopefully he’s going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this thing known as Obamacare that’s really hurting us, folks. By the way, are you going to get the votes? He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better – otherwise I’ll say, Tom, you’re fired. I’ll get somebody.”

The American Scout Association was due to hand over a statement to the media stating that its organization "is not partisan and does not promote any position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy," according to The Daily Beast. According to the handle, the invitation to President Trump is part of "a long tradition and does not represent in any way support for any political party or specific policies."

The staging of Donald Trump should not surprise anyone, but this time the context transformed the images into an uncomfortable time for anyone with a minimum of historical awareness. It looked like an unedited shot of a Dennis Gansel movie, a scene in which you wonder if this is really happening and you thank God that, so far, the American political system remains experiment-proof.

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