Alan Blinder and Mitch Smith, reporting for the New York Times:
The plan seemed mutually beneficial: President Trump would bask in an adulatory slice of Americana, and the Boy Scouts of America would host yet another sitting president at its national jamboree.
But Mr. Trump’s decision to mix a barrage of political remarks into a speech that has traditionally been an uncontroversial stream of upbeat oratory has enraged many parents and former Scouts, thrust the Scouts once again into the middle of the nation’s culture wars and provided yet another example of the unusual and polarizing nature of the Trump presidency.
The Scouts, plainly sensing a new threat that supporters feared could undermine a movement whose membership is already sagging, said in a statement that the group was “wholly nonpartisan and does not promote any one political position, candidate or philosophy.” The group added that its traditional speaking invitation to the president was “in no way an endorsement of any person, party or policies.”
The Greater New York Councils of the Boy Scouts was somewhat blunter, saying Scouting is an apolitical organization, and “it is inappropriate for any president to use the Jamboree as a backdrop for political statements.”
It was far from clear that Tuesday’s efforts by the Scouts would calm an uproar that began even before Mr. Trump concluded his address on Monday night. Although Scouting offices and social media accounts were besieged with messages condemning the president’s appearance, others celebrated Mr. Trump’s speech in West Virginia. “Trump gave a great speech to the Boy Scouts and they chanted back, “We love Trump!,” read a Twitter post in the name of Shaun Hough (“Philosopher, conservative, libertarian”). “I love it!!”
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Either way, the firestorm was unwelcome, and unexpected, during one of Scouting’s most important events, a gathering that attracts people from around the world and, very often, presidents, who have typically spoken about service, values and citizenship, not partisan politics.
Reaction to the speech, delivered to an enthusiastic audience of saluting and cheering Scouts, was immediate and visceral.
Glenn Elvig, a Minnesota artist who fondly recalled receiving a letter from Richard M. Nixon congratulating him on achieving the Eagle rank decades ago, said he called a Scouting office for hours on Tuesday to express his dismay. He kept getting a busy signal.
“I would like a public denouncement of what happened yesterday and reaffirmation of the values I think I learned in Scouts,” Mr. Elvig said. “If they can’t do that, I will be returning my medal.”
Brian Alexander, who earned the Eagle rank as a teenager in Ohio, said he was also outraged after seeing clips of Mr. Trump’s speech. Mr. Alexander sent several messages to Boy Scout officials on Twitter, calling the address “a disgrace.”
“Based on my experience with Scouting, the point is you’re supposed to grow up to be someone not like Donald Trump,” Mr. Alexander, 32, said in an interview. “You’re supposed to grow up to be someone like John McCain or Barack Obama.”
Mr. Alexander’s complaint, echoed by many other veterans of Scouting, was not that Mr. Trump had been invited to the jamboree, but that he had opted to use his appearance as he did.