Trump told the Wall Street Journal last week, “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,” referring to his speech to some 40,000 Boy Scouts and troop leaders at their quadrennial “jamboree” in West Virginia.
On Tuesday the Boy Scouts say they have no knowledge of any such call. Instead, they referred back to the statement by chief executive Mike Surbaugh apologizing for Trump’s speech as inappropriately political. While addressing a crowd largely made up of 12- to 18-year-olds, the president boasted about his election win, ridiculed Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton and called the news media dishonest.
“I 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. That was never our intent,” Surbaugh wrote in a statement released July 27. “We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.”
One Republican consultant said the episode should serve as a warning to other groups that might want to invite Trump to their events.
“If he’s willing to lie about the Boy Scouts, what won’t he lie about?” said the consultant, who asked to remain anonymous in order to be able to speak candidly about his party’s leader. “It’s another reminder that any organization that associates with President Trump risks damage to their reputation.”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway recently said on CNN that Trump is not technically lying when he says false things because he often isn’t aware that what he’s saying is not true. Trump “doesn’t think he’s lying about those issues,” she said.
That is maybe even more worrisome.