- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump got another chance Wednesday to connect with young people after a widely panned political speech to Boy Scouts this week. But he couldn’t part company without bringing up his victory in the presidential election nearly nine months ago.

It was Trump’s decision to add similar political touches to his remarks to the scouts that led to the blowback.

“Think of the amazing moments in history you will witness during your lifetime,” Trump told scores of high school juniors participating in the American Legion Boys Nation and American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation leadership programs.

“But you saw one on Nov. 8, right? That was a pretty amazing moment,” he said, referring to his electoral upset over Hillary Clinton.

Then Trump shifted to dispensing advice, telling the students who represent all 50 states they have “what it takes.” Students who participated in the past have gone on to become governors, U.S. senators and even a president: Bill Clinton.

“We have them all, and we have them all here today,” Trump said. “And some of you don’t even really know what it might be, but we have people that are going to be so successful, so incredible in their lives. And you’re going to be happy. Do what you love. Do what you love. Follow what you love.

“Pour your whole heart into everything you do,” he continued. “Being successful is about finding your purpose in life and never, ever giving up.”

Both American Legion programs were started in the 1940s to teach students about the federal government.

Those gathered in the sunny Rose Garden saw firsthand Wednesday how the White House press corps works. As Trump posed for photos with them at the end of his remarks, a journalist shouted for the president to comment on the ban on transgender troops that he announced that morning.

The president paused and said: “She’s very rude.” Earlier in the week, he told a different reporter who asked questions on other topics to be “quiet.”

Trump’s speech to a massive gathering of Boy Scouts in West Virginia on Monday was panned for its overtly political tone. The president called Washington a “cesspool” and spoke negatively about his predecessor, Hillary Clinton and the news media.

Trump also told the scouts to follow their passion.

The Boy Scouts of America and the American Legion are nonpartisan organizations.

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Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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