By RUSTY MARKS
The State Journal
GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — President Donald Trump talked to about 30,000 Scouts at the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Fayette County on Monday, July 24, in a presentation that was part commencement-style address and part stump speech.
“The United States has no better citizens than its Boy Scouts,” Trump said at the beginning of a roughly hour-long speech at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, a sprawling mountaintop facility built specifically for the use of the Scouts.
Trump was the first United States president to attend a Boy Scout Jamboree since former President George W. Bush visited the national event in 2005.
His remarks frequently greeted with cheers of, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!,” Trump first praised the Scouts for their ideals and service to their country.
“As president, I rely on former Boy Scouts every day,” Trump said, adding that 10 members of his cabinet are former Scouts. The president said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a former national Boy Scout president and said Vice President Mike Pence was a Boy Scout.
Trump then called out Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price onstage, all of whom are former Scouts.
The president told the Scouts in attendance that he had just come from the commissioning of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford, named in honor of another former president and former Boy Scout.
Interspersed with his praise and fatherly advice, however, Trump did not miss the opportunity to use the speech to attack the media, criticize his opponents or push for his agenda. Trump tasked Price with killing Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, and told those in the crowd, “You’d better get Sen. (Shelley Moore) Capito to vote for it.”
Trump also told the crowd he was thinking of changing the term “swamp,” which he had used during the campaign to criticize the workings of Washington, D.C. to “cesspool” or “sewer.” “I’d much rather be with you, that I can tell you,” the president said.
“Under the Trump administration, you’ll be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again when you go shopping,” he said at one point.
Trump criticized the press several times during his presentation, at one point saying the “fake media” would report that he had spoken before a “small group” of Scouts. A spokesman for the West Virginia National Guard said there were about 30,000 Scouts and between 10,000 to 15,000 visitors at the Jamboree on Monday.
Trump told the Scouts to find something they are passionate about and to use that passion to build “momentum.”
“As much as you can, do something that you love,” he said. “Work hard, and you’re going to be tremendously successful.”
The president also reminded the Scouts in attendance that the country relies on Scouts to help in times of crisis. “You pledge to help other people at all times,” he said. He said the Scouts’ oath requires Scouts to do their duty to God and to country.
“Just like you know you can count on me, we know we can count on you, because we know the values that you live by,” Trump said.
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