President Donald Trump’s contentious speech to tens of thousands of Boy Scouts this week, in which he encouraged children to boo at former President Barack Obama, was widely seen as inappropriate and distasteful by former scouts, parents and leaders of the organization. But it wasn’t the president’s first controversy involving the Boy Scouts of America.
In October of 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign season, journalists were busy looking into the finances of the Trump Foundation, which controversially spent a lot of money on items that were less than charitable (among them, a $20,000 portrait of Trump himself). Many of his promises to donate to other charities through his own organization also went unfulfilled.
But one expense that caught the eyes of journalist David Fahrentold involved a $7 purchase to enroll one of his sons in the Boy Scouts in the late 1980s — an expenditure that Trump probably could have spent out of his own pocket rather than out of the coffers of his charitable organization.
— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) October 14, 2016
The enrollee was reportedly Donald Trump Jr., who was 11-years-old at the time.
Trump Sr. took heat this week for his comments made during a speech at the Boy Scouts annual National Jamboree. Trump commented on the War on Christmas and so-called “fake news” headlines he didn’t appreciate. He also encouraged children to voice their disapproval of former President Barack Obama for not attending a Jamboree in person while as president.
“Did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?” Trump asked the crowd, which booed in response to his rhetorical question. “The answer is no.”
Obama did send a video message to the Jamboree in 2010. He wasn’t the only president to have done so: Dwight Eisenhower, for example, never attended the Boy Scouts National Jamboree in person either, and sent his own video message in 1953.
Former President Obama was also a member of the Scouts while he lived abroad in Indonesia as a youth. Donald Trump Sr. was never a Boy Scout or a Cub Scout.