Eagle Scout Letters in the Age of Trump



Recently, the U.S. State Department announced that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson–a Distinguished Eagle Scout and former BSA national president–will send out hand-signed congratulatory letters to new Eagle Scouts (as well as recipients of Girl Scouting’s Gold Award). In case you missed the announcement, you can learn more on Bryan’s Blog and on the State Department website.

Of course, depending on how you voted last November and your position on the oil and gas industry–Tillerson is former CEO of Exxon Mobil–and maybe even whether you like Texans, you may view this news as terrific or terrible. Similarly (or maybe the right adverb is oppositely), many people had strong opinions about receiving congratulatory cards from President Obama over the last eight years.

So here’s my opinion.


When we express visceral reactions to a congratulatory letter or card from Rex Tillerson or Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Donald Trump (once the White House Greetings Office starts sending out Eagle Scout congratulations over his signature), we get our politics mixed up with our patriotism, and we forget that the BSA is a nonpartisan organization. Just as we shouldn’t show up at campaign rallies in our Scout uniforms, we shouldn’t turn Eagle courts of honor into opportunities to promote our political views, which may or may not align with those of the Scout we’re there to honor.

And in the midst of making political statements that are as impactful as Facebook shares–not very, in other words–we obscure a more important point: that it’s a pretty big deal that government officials and business leaders of all political leanings agree that becoming an Eagle Scout is something worth celebrating.

Years ago, I heard a great saying: “If it’s not for the boys, it’s for the birds.” Perhaps that saying should guide you as you request, receive, and read Eagle Scout congratulatory letters.

For more great ideas, check out my ebook, Showtime: 45 Top Tips from EagleBook.com and The Eagle Court of Honor Book; it costs just $2.99 and is available for immediate download from both EagleBook.com and Amazon.com.

7 thoughts on “Eagle Scout Letters in the Age of Trump

  1. William F. Troskey

    Amen, Mark! It’s about the office, not the political party. It didn’t matter to me which party the President who signed my Eagle certificate belonged to; It was Gerald Ford, for cryin’ out loud! THAT’S all that mattered!

  2. Doug and Fonda Dickens

    Our son Pryce recently completed his Eagle Scout requirements and earned his Eagle Rank. Would it be possible to receive a congratulations letter from President Trump? His Eagle celebration will he held on June 3rd, We would so thrilled to share this with our son.

  3. I used the online email form to request letters Trump/White House letters for three Eagle Scouts in early April. I am still waiting for them in mid-July, as well as for many of his cabinet members and our vice president (those were mostly sent via snail mail). I do realize that there should be a delay during the transition period, but we are now at 12+ weeks and counting. About to start sending another round of requests for three more Eagles and looking for advice from others. What if anything is working with this administration??

  4. Shannon Thole

    FYI: I went online through the white house website and also sent a written request to Trump because I was getting mixed messages on the proper way to get a response from Trump. My son got TWO responses back so I found that both ways work written letter and online request. This was Spring of 2019 that he received his letters back. It took 4-6 weeks approximately.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.