White House declines to apologize to Boy Scouts

The White House on Thursday declined to apologize to the Boy Scouts after criticism about the political tone of President Trump’s speech at the group’s National Jamboree earlier this week.

When asked if Trump would apologize after the head of the Scouts penned his own letter apologizing for the president’s tone, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders deflected.

“I was at that event and I saw nothing but roughly 40 to 45,000 Boy Scouts cheering the president on throughout his remarks,” she said Thursday at a press briefing.

“I think they were pretty excited that he was there and happy to hear him speak to them," she said.

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Trump’s remarks at the annual event at times resembled his political rallies rather than a nonpartisan event.

He lambasted his favorite targets — 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP rushes to cut ties to Moore Papadopoulos was in regular contact with Stephen Miller, helped edit Trump speech: report Bannon jokes Clinton got her ‘ass kicked’ in 2016 election MORE, former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOvernight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Russian social media is the modern-day Trojan horse Trump records robo-call for Gillespie: He'll help 'make America great again' MORE and the press — rehashed his Electoral College victory, and joked that his Health and Human Services secretary could be fired if Congress fails to pass a plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. The subsequent criticism prompted Michael Surbaugh, the Boy Scouts’s chief scout executive, to release an apology letter on Thursday.

"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,” he said.

"That was never our intent. The invitation for the sitting U.S. president to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition. ... We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program," he said.

Sanders told reporters that she had not seen the statement and that she “can’t comment any further than what I saw first hand.”