GLEN JEAN — President Donald Trump spoke Monday at the Boy Scouts of America’s 2017 National Jamboree, weaving between offering life advice to the troops, forwarding his Affordable Care Act repeal effort, taking shots at the media and touting his 2016 election win.
Speaking at an outdoor pavilion at the Summit Becthel Family National Scout Reserve and flanked by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Trump said a Senate vote scheduled for Tuesday to proceed on a repeal of the law known as Obamacare will pass.
He called out U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., by name regarding the Senate vote. Capito has stated publicly she does not support an Obamacare repeal without a working replacement.
“Hopefully, [Price] is going to get the votes tomorrow toward our path of killing the horrible thing known as Obamacare,” Trump said. “You better get Senator Capito to vote for it, you better get the other Senators to vote for it. It’s time. After seven years of saying ‘repeal and replace Obamacare,’ we have a chance to now do it. They better do it. Hopefully, we’ll do it.”
Capito voted to repeal Obamacare in 2015 in a vote that passed through Congress, though then-President Barack Obama struck it down with a veto. Before Trump spoke, the White House also issued a news release calling on Senators to vote for the motion to proceed on the repeal bill.
Along with health care, Trump mentioned America’s position in global energy markets, and West Virginia’s domestic role in the sector. He said soon, the U.S. will be an energy exporter, selling off more than it imports.
“I’ll tell you what, the folks in West Virginia who were so nice to me, boy have we kept our promise,” he said.
Throughout his speech, Trump lobbed insults at the media, stating they would lie about the number of troops in attendance at the event, are dishonest, and would not show footage of the crowd of roughly 40,000. Press staff handling the event did not allow local media to bring film equipment into the amphitheater.
Trump also made also made note of his Electoral College victory in 2016, to resounding cheers, and fellow candidate Hillary Clinton, to a wave of jeers. He said although he lost the popular vote, “we” have a structural disadvantage on election day that caused it.
“We have a tremendous disadvantage in the electoral college, the popular vote is much easier,” he said. “New York, California, Illinois, you have to practically run the east coast, and we did. We won Florida, we won South Carolina, we won North Carolina, we won Pennsylvania, we won and won and won.”
He did not specify who is included in “we.” Boy Scouts and most of those in attendance were below the voting age. He continued the campaign rhetoric, giving an aura reminiscent of his sometimes-boisterous election rallies.
“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 to make America great again,” he said.
Along with his political and legislative pushes, Trump offered nuggets of advice to the troops and made a list of his cabinet members, staffers and former presidents who were scouts.
He said those in attendance Monday should find what they love to do in life, start doing it, and not lose momentum as they go. If they find what they love to do, he said, it won’t feel like work when they find their success.
“Never quit, never give up, do something you love,” he said. “When you do something that you love, you’ll never fail, what you’re going to do is give it a shot, again and again and again. You’re ultimately going to be successful. And remember this, you’re not working. When you’re doing something that you love, like I do ... remember this, it’s not work.”
Though most Scouts dressed in uniform with their troops, several “Make America Great Again” bucket hats and baseball hats could be spotted throughout the crowd.
Trump is the eighth U.S. president to speak at the event. President George W. Bush is the last to have visited in 2005, when the event was held at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia.
According to figures provided by the Boy Scouts, 40,000 Scouts, Venturers, Explorers, volunteers and staff attended this year’s Jamboree, representing all 50 states, and international scouts representing 60 nations at the Fayette County reserve.