Dan Rather is among those taking issue with President Donald Trump’s address this week to the Boy Scout Jamboree. Rather took to Facebook to blast “a man who can’t control himself to act in a manner befitting the setting.”
CNN was the only cable news network to carry live coverage of the address, in which Trump told the boys their government was a “cesspool” or “sewer,” regaled them with a story about a pal of his who made a lot of money and bought a yacht on which he led “a very interesting life”. Trump said he would not tell them details about it because they’re boy scouts. He also told the scouts the press will lie about how many of them were attending the jamboree because he is present. Rather’s remarks:
Donald Trump’s speech last night in front of the Boy Scouts of America was not only highly inappropriate. It was disgusting.
I would like to hope it is a nadir in our country’s political discourse, but it seems like the slide downward only accelerates. So it stands as a sad encapsulation of our current age.
No doubt many in the crowd were riled up by Mr. Trump’s stale rhetoric of “fake news” and lies about his “massive” electoral victory. But the Boy Scouts is a diverse organization with chapters in every corner of this nation. And today, many are no doubt wondering whether they belong in a group that is supposed to be built on community and service. Many of these boys may be wondering more broadly whether they belong in a country led by a man like this.
Scouts learn the importance of being “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” How few of those adjectives apply to our current Commander in Chief. A man who can’t control himself to act in a manner befitting the setting, is a man without the steadiness of character to run a nation. A grown man who is so insecure as to seek affirmation in a group of teenagers is not a man with the maturity to lead a nation. A man who is so self-absorbed as to make every utterance about himself and his needs is not a man with the vision to elevate a nation.
Part of being president is to be the leader of the entire country. And every president I can remember (and that’s a lot of them) revelled in moments when they had a venue to shake off the partisanship of Washington and speak in exalted tones to the people. But whether it’s dedicating an aircraft carrier or talking to Boy Scouts, Mr. Trump so far has seemed incapable of performing that simple task.
Bluntly put – and there is no joy in having to say this – he is tearing apart the norms of our nation. So it is incumbent on those who recognize the damage being done to stitch back the bonds that unite us and work hard to muffle the echoes of his divisiveness.