On Thursday, Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America, issued an apology to the scouting community in response to President Trump’s controversial speech at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Beaver, West Virginia.

The initial statement

The apology comes after a statement issued Tuesday by the Boy Scouts of America, which many have criticized for not being a sincere apology or a denouncement of the president’s speech. In the statement, the organization said that it is “wholly non-partisan and does not promote any one political position, candidate or philosophy.” The statement continues by claiming that inviting Trump to speak was simply the BSA sticking to an 80-year-old tradition that began with Franklin D.

Roosevelt. As such, invitations for the sitting president to speak at the Jamboree are not endorsements of any particular party or policies. The statement closes by acknowledging that the BSA is an organization consisting of an array of different viewpoints, and that the Boy Scouts of America will continue to be respectful of that wide assortment of viewpoints.

The formal apology

However, as public outrage mounted and support for the Boy Scouts waned, Michael Surbaugh released a formal apology: "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. That was never our intent."

When asked about the BSA’s statement and whether or not President Trump should issue an apology, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that she was at the Jamboree, and had not seen anything inappropriate for which an apology was necessary.

Randall Stephenson, president of the Boy Scouts and CEO of AT&T, echoed this sentiment in a phone call with the Associated Press. When asked if the BSA would invite President Trump back to the Jamboree if he won re-election, Stephenson stated that there would be no reason to discontinue the eight-decade tradition of inviting the sitting president to speak at the Jamboree.

In regard to the content of Trump's speech, Stephenson continued that the BSA won't edit or censor any president, regardless of who it might be.

It has been suggested that Stephenson has not taken a firmer stance on the issue because he needs the approval of the Trump administration for AT&T’s $85 billion merger with Time Warner, but this has not been confirmed.