Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build the wall" and "lock her up."
But from the moment he took stage, Trump - who was never a scout himself but touted his role as the "honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America" - started leading them down a very different path.
Over the next 35 minutes, the president threatened to fire one of his cabinet members, attacked former President Barack Obama, dissed his former rival Hillary Clinton, marveled at the size of the crowd, warned the boys about the "fake media," mocked pollsters and pundits and said more people would say "Merry Christmas" under his presidency. He also told a rambling tale about a famous, now-deceased homebuilder that meandered from a Manhattan cocktail party to a yacht and then to places that the president would only allow the boys' imaginations to go.
The speech was, in fact, very much like the rally speeches that Trump gave across the country last year, although he sprinkled some pieces of inspirational advice ("Do something you love") and reflections on Boy Scout values ("We could really use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.").
Trump was joined by former scouts who serve in his cabinet, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke - the latter wore a scouting outfit for the occasion. "Ryan is an Eagle Scout from Big Sky country in Montana," Trump relayed.
As the president's speech grew long, Perry appeared to grow bored as he stood behind Trump, chatting with others, flipping through a book and then filming a video of the crowd. Not invited on the adventure: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an Eagle Scout whose day job appears in jeopardy in Washington.
Trump began the official address, delivered from a podium with the presidential seal, by pledging to talk about things loftier than politics.
"Tonight we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C., you've been hearing about with the fake news," the president told the crowd of scouts and volunteers gathered in Glen Jean, West Virginia. "Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?"
But before long, Trump dove into the politics of the Republican health-care bill, which could die if it doesn't clear a key procedural vote on Tuesday. Trump pointed to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who's been tasked with selling the legislation.
"Hopefully he's going to get the votes tomorrow," Trump said, stressing the importance of overhauling the Affordable Care Act, which he called "this horrible thing that's really hurting us."
As chants of "USA! USA!" broke out, Trump asked Price: "By the way, are you going to get the votes? You better get the votes. Otherwise, I'll say, 'Tom, you're fired.'"
Trump also slipped in a reference to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., one of the Republican holdouts on moving forward with the bill, which would leave up to 22 million fewer Americans with health insurance by 2026, according to estimates.
"You better get Senator Capito to vote for it," the president told Price.
Seemingly returning to the teleprompters, Trump pivoted to another subject.
2018 Point-In-Time Homeless Census Highlights
2,996 homeless individuals counted, up 6 percent from 2017
5 percent cited October fires as the primary cause of homelessness
64 percent sleeping on the streets; 36 percent in shelters
747 chronically homeless, a 25 percent jump from last year
34 unaccompanied children under age 18, 71 percent of them unsheltered
481 homeless transition-age youth, aged 18-24, 88 percent of them unsheltered
104 homeless people in families with children, down from 111 in 2017
1,157 homeless women, up 35 percent from 2017
409 homeless adults aged 55 and older
207 homeless veterans, down 2 percent from 2017
22 percent employed full-time, part-time or seasonally/sporadically
19 percent reported a history of foster care
64 percent reported one or more health condition
44 percent reported a disabling condition: 35 percent psychiatric or emotional, 33 percent drug or alcohol abuse, 28 percent PTSD, 27 percent physical disability, 27 percent chronic health problems
90 percent wanted safe, affordable housing
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