He could have just followed the teleprompter.
“Just think of the amazing moments in history you will witness during your lifetime…” he started saying during his address to the kids in the crowd. But then, he interrupted himself, and looked away from the telemprompter to say, “well, you saw one on November 8th, right?”
He paused so the crowd could mindlessly clap. (They applauded and smiled for everything, including the mention of Bill Clinton as a former teenaged member of their organization.)
Then, he continued, “that was a pretty amazing moment we have. And we’re doing a good job. Our country is doing so well now. You all happy?”
Obviously, everyone again cheered and clapped like kids do.
On Wednesday, the Boys and Girls Nation organization, run by the American Legion brought representative “Senators” from 49 states to the Capital to hear an address from the president. Scores of children come each year, as has been the tradition for over 70 years.
But, just two days after the president gave a woefully profane and politicized speech to the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree in West Virginia, he again couldn’t avoid going off-script to politicize the moment and brag about his own awesomeness.
It was frustrating, because as he stayed with the words on the teleprompter, it was a genuinely motivational speech. A wonderful encouragement, and one that would bring praise from any American watching the President encourage young men and women of their future. But, it was consistently diluted by his inability to just say what the screen said, and begin to make it something more fit for his campaign staff than a group of young people.
Hopefully someday, the President can start being “more presidential than anyone other than the late, great President Lincoln.” Any day now would work for me.
The full text of the speech, and off-script interruptions:
“I want to congratulate you on the job you have all done. Basically, on all you’ve achieved at a very young age. It’s incredible.
For decades, the American Legion has brought the best and the brightest to the White House. This has taken place for many years. Each of you were chosen out of many thousands of people that, you know, they’re all calling in, they want to get into the White House. Is anyone upset that you’re here?
But, you’re all really happy that you’re here, right?
But, you represent your state. And that’s a very, very important I wanted to, and an important factor in getting air. You all share incredible talent and drive. Most importantly, you have each other to really work with, and to help. And you help each other, you’re teammates, you love your country. That’s something we have in common, we love our country, right?
While you come from all four corners of our great landscape, you are all united by your devotion, total devotion, to our great American flag, our freedom and our principles that bind us together as one people and one nation.
For more than a century, the American Legion has Todd young citizens about the importance of patriotism, and loyalty to our country. And, through it all, there’s nothing like what you are doing today, and what you’ve achieved over a very, very short period of time. We want to thank you, and we want to thank the national chapters, and everybody else. We have I really give a special thanks to commander Charles Schmidt. Where is Charles?
C’mere. C’mere Charles. Come on up here Charles. What a great job. See? He wants to give you all the credit…
… Who served in the Air Force 28 years, and now advances the legions proud legacy. Thank you, Charles.
Today, we are joined by the president of the American legion, and auxiliary Mary Davis. Where is Mary? Do you want to come up here, Mary? Come up. And executive director, who I know, Verna Jones. Come on up. Come on up, Mary. I want to thank you for your commitment to these incredible students, and to our country.
I also want to honor, former national commander Bob Turner, who everyone really knows.
Wow, that’s pretty good Bob. That’s as good as I’ve ever heard. That’s fantastic. That’s fantastic, Bob. Be careful. We don’t want to see Bob go down, do you agree with that? Because he will never forget that.
This year, Bob is celebrating his 35th year helping to lead boys nation, all as a volunteer. Thank you very much, Bob.
And Bob, I know everyone here today agrees when I say thousands of young Americans are better patriots because of your incredible and steadfast service. Through this program, young people like you have been inspired to protect American interests, and to promote American values. Right? Many of those who have been in your place have gone on to become governors, members of congress, generals, and one even became president. Do you know who that was?
That’s true, see?
The American Legion has held this meeting for seven decades. Just think of the history that has occurred during that time. When the first group of students met in 1946… Well that’s an important day. You know why? That’s when I was born. I hate to admit it. I hate to admit it. 1946. Oh wow. I shouldn’t have said that, Bob. Our nation had just welcomed home our brave heroes, whose spirit and courage achieve victory over tyranny in World War II. Just over 20 years later, men and women like you watched a man land on the moon, and dreamed of new frontiers in space. In 1987, Americans from all across this nation joined their hearts with President Ronald Reagan, in the hope and prayer and the conviction that the Berlin Wall would crumble, in the face of truth, justice, and freedom. You know all about that.
In each of these moments, and so many others, America triumph. We win, we know how to win. Right? And we win because of the spirit of our people. Believe me, that’s a big part of it.
Just think of the amazing moments in history you will witness during your lifetime – Well, you saw one on November 8th, right? \waits for some applause* That was a pretty amazing moment we have. And we’re doing a good job. Our country is doing so well now. We’re doing a good job. You all happy?*
Because, you have what it takes to be the leaders that will shape this future. Some of you may want to come back to the capital. Someday, you’re going to be back. Many of you. And help make the laws that will guide of this nation, and govern our land. Others may choose to answer the call of duty. Put on the uniform, and risk everything for our nation, and our nations people. Still others may become business leaders, teachers, artists, and inventors. We have them all. We have them here today. And some of you don’t even know what it might be. But we have people who are going to be so successful, so incredible in their lives.
And you’re going to be happy. Do what you love. Follow what you love.
So, I just want to tell as you pour your whole heart into everything you do, really, you’re doing it for your family, you’re doing it for your country, but you’re also doing it for yourselves. Because, ultimately, you’re going to have to do it for yourself. It’s better for your country. And your country wants you to succeed so much. But there’s no country like the United States of America. And there’s no country that can give you the kind of opportunity that we give you in the United States.
Being successful is about finding your purpose in life. And you never, ever giving up. Do you ever give up? No. Does anyone here ever give up?
What about here?
You’re right. And I think they mean it. You were chosen for this program because you believe in America’s future. And because you have the ambition and the heart to a sure that America will always be victorious, and will always prevail.
Through boys and girls nation, you were learning values that are necessary for our nation to endure, and for our nation to thrive. Pride in our history, loyalty to our citizens, and allegiance to a great American flag. In the decades to come, you will help our nation reach new heights. Will be so proud of you. To discover new front tears, and strengthen the bonds of loyalty between our country and its people.
It is my honor to meet with you all today, and it was my greater honor to come out here early before the press got here, to take all of those pictures that we took. And I hope they send you the right pictures. And they will.
As I look out on the audience, I see the next generation of American leaders. I see the promise of our future. I see the strength and love of the American spirit. And, because of young people like you I am more confident than ever in the future of the United States. Together, we will make America greater than ever before. I mean that. You’re going to make America greater than ever before.
And we’re on our way. You see what’s going on. We’re going out military. We’re getting the best job numbers in 17 years. Best job numbers in 17 years. The enthusiasm for a manufactures and businesses is at just about the highest point since they started taking those tests.
So, I just want to tell you to go out there, get them. I have no doubt that everyone of you will be successful. Never quit, never give up, always do what you love, take great care of your family and your parents… Because we love your parents. You probably wouldn’t be here without your parents, right? So thank you again, to the American Legion. And congratulations to you all. God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you for being at the White House.