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.
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 political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty MORE, former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBill Maher, Isiah Thomas score over the NFL's playing of 'Black national anthem' Democrats confront 'Rubik's cube on steroids' White House debates vaccines for air travel 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.”