[By Bruce Hennes, Hennes Communications]
Since the 1920’s, the president of the United States has had a standing invitation to attend and address the Boy Scout Jamboree, held every four years. And most presidents have accepted that invitation, using the occasion to deliver similar messages about God, apple pie and reflect on the Scout’s Code of Honor.
That was until last week, when President Trump came to the Jamboree and departed from his prepared remarks with political attacks never-before heard at this always-apolitical event. Furor ensued.
Within days, apologies were issued, creating even more controversy. Some said the Boy Scouts should have distanced themselves from the president’s remarks; others felt that it wouldn’t be appropriate for the scouts to criticize the remarks of a president.
Rather than reacting in crisis mode after the speech, the Boy Scout organization should have approached this early-on as an issue to be managed, anticipating this would happen and game-playing out all the likely scenarios in order to be ready with the appropriate statement at a moment’s notice.
For more details about how the situation unfolded, check out this Washington Post piece.
In this case, the Boy Scouts violated their own code: they weren’t prepared.
Whether it’s preparing for a visit from President Trump or simply thinking about mission-critical what-ifs, you need a plan to deal with the Court of Public Opinion, a courtroom with no written rules, open 24 hours a day.