President Donald Trump delivered a predominately political speech to tens of thousands of boy scouts at the annual Boy Scout Jamboree on Monday night. And in the wake of some audible reactions from the audience — which included boos at the mention of former President Barack Obama — the Boy Scouts of America released a statement declaring it is a nonpartisan organization.
“The Boy Scouts of America is wholly non-partisan and does not promote any one position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy,” the group said. “The invitation for the sitting U.S. 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 U.S. President serves as the BSA’s honorary president,” the Boy Scouts added. “It is our long-standing custom to invite the U.S. President to the National Jamboree.”
During his speech, Trump bragged about his election victory over his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. He also criticized Obama for never speaking at a Boy Scout Jamboree during his tenure in the White House, which was met with “boos” from the crowd. (Obama did send a video message for the 2010 jamboree, which at the time marked the 100th anniversary of the organization.)
The event, which took place this year at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Mount Hope, West Virginia, is held every four years and began in the 1930s. The jamboree brings together tens of thousands of members of the Boy Scouts of America from around the country for several days of activities.
A number of former and current Boy Scouts criticized Trump’s speech, calling it to a “political rally.” And Pete Souza, the official White House photographer under Obama who often posts old pictures of his boss to in response to Trump, posted an image of Obama shaking the hand of a young Cub Scout.
“I can assure you, POTUS was not telling this Cub Scout and the Boy Scouts who followed about his electoral college victory,” he wrote.