In a speech to the Boy Scouts of America’s National Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, President Donald Trump called on rhetoric from his 2016 presidential campaign rallies while addressing thousands of attendees.
“Boy, you have a lot of people here,” Trump said at the beginning of the rally. “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 D.C. you’ve been hearing with the fake news and all of that. We’re going to put that aside,” Trump said.
“I said, ‘Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts,'” Trump said.
However, Trump took the stage to fire several political shots toward his opponents, including his predecessor, Barack Obama, who previously turned down an invitation to speak at the Jamboree in protest of the Boy Scouts’ policy of disallowing gay members and leaders from joining their ranks in 2013.
“By the way, just a question,” Trump asked. “Did President Obama ever come to a Jamboree?”
The event has been held every four years since 1910. Trump was the eighth president to attend, following George W. Bush’s appearance in 2005.
Obama delivered a video address to the event for the organisation’s 100th anniversary in 2010.
Trump continued his speech, harking back to a position on a highly debated topic amongst conservative evangelical leaders and businesses.
“Under the Trump administration, you’ll be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again when you go shopping, believe me,” Trump said, reviving an old campaign-trail yarn. “They have been downplaying that little beautiful phrase.”
“Boy Scout values are American values,” Trump continued. “And great Boy Scouts become great, great Americans.” “As the Scout law says, a Scout is trustworthy, loyal, we can use some more loyalty I can tell you that.”
Trump also interjected portions of his speech with comments about the crowd size, a typical refrain for Trump on the 2016 campaign trail and, more recently, in reference to his January inauguration.
“I’m waving to people back there so small, I can’t even see them,” Trump said. “By the way what do you think the chances are that this incredible, massive crowd, record-setting, is going to be shown on television tonight. One per cent or zero?”
The contentious 2016 presidential election was also a talking point in Trump’s boy scout speech. The president took a swing at his rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign that was widely believed to win Michigan.
“Do you remember that famous night on television, November 8, where they said, these dishonest people, where they said ‘There is no path to victory for Donald Trump,'” Trump said while pointing at what appeared to be media members. “Do you remember that incredible night with the maps, and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue, and that map was so red it was unbelievable, and they didn’t know what to say.”
“We worked hard [in Michigan],” Trump said. “You know, my opponent didn’t work hard there because she was told she was gonna win Michigan.”
But the message to the thousands of attendees didn’t merely center on politics. Trump gave what ostensibly was a motivational speech amid cheers and chants of “U-S-A,” and appeared to receive support from many in attendance.
“So I have to tell you, what we did, in all fairness, is an unbelievable tribute to you and all of the other millions and millions of people that came out and voted for ‘Make America Great Again.'”