Scott Walker likes to talk about how he is an Eagle Scout, but perhaps he should revisit the pledge he took before suggesting gays are pedophiles.
Scott Walker declared his candidacy for president this week and ever since he's owned a good portion of the media spotlight. The 15th Republican to enter the race for the White House, Walker has either veered dramatically to the right – especially the religious right – or had hidden his extremist views from most of the public. Take your pick.
On Monday, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced that they are working toward removing their decades-old ban on gay adult Scout leaders, something sorely needed in Scouting. That decision and movement came from former U.S Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who served under both President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush. Gates is now the head of the BSA.
Of course, to anti-gay religious extremists like Governor Walker, the news was not welcome.
Walker told one right wing news outlet that he is against the move, because boy scouts need to be "protected" from gay people, and allowing gay Scout leaders is bad for the "values" that Boy Scouts should be exposed to.
“I was an Eagle Scout, my kids have been involved, Tonette (Walker) was a den mother," Walker told IJReview.
“I have had a lifelong commitment to the Scouts and support the previous membership policy because it protected children and advanced Scout values.”
Walker's comments were also not welcomed by many on the left.
Almost immediately, the Democratic National Committee issued a statement, classifying the Wisconsin Republican governor's comments as un-presidential.
"Last night Scott Walker told Sean Hannity that he’s ‘not going to change to fit the times.’ He’s proven that over and over, especially when it comes to his attitudes toward women and LGBT people," TJ Helmstetter, DNC Midwest Press Secretary & Director of LGBT Media said via a statement. "His view that children were somehow more ‘protected’ when the Boy Scouts excluded gay leaders is offensive, outrageous, and out of touch. His comment is not worthy of someone running for president in this country."
The Human Rights Campaign also unleashed its anger.
"Scott Walker's suggestion that the Boy Scouts of America's current discriminatory policy somehow 'protects' children from gay adults is offensive, outrageous, and absolutely unacceptable," HRC President Chad Griffin said, also in a statement. "His comments imply that we represent a threat to the safety and well-being of young people. For a sitting governor and presidential candidate to make such a disgraceful claim is unconscionable. If Scott Walker is trying to get his merit badge in being shamefully irresponsible, he just earned it with flying colors."
But Walker's comments were also not embraced by at least some on the (center) right, like Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin, who called it a "classless slap at gay men," and accusing Walker of "pandering to the far right today."
"Walker is making himself into a traditionally divisive Republican," Rubin decided, scolding him with this:
Does he think children need “protection” from gay men? His wife’s cousin and his sons might want to explain how ludicrous and insulting that is.
Meanwhile, the fireworks on Twitter were even more spectacular:
What exactly did the previous policy "protect" Boy Scouts from, @ScottWalker? Please elaborate on what you meant.— ¡Gabe Ortíz! (@TUSK81) July 14, 2015
.@ScottWalker you're aware gay people don't like, show up as adults, right? we start as children. some of whom are Boy Scouts.— Jane Coaston (@cjane87) July 14, 2015
Scott Walker: The Boy Scouts' Ban On Gay Troop Leaders ‘Protected Children’ Yes. Because gay = pedophile as we all well know. Dickbag.— la galerie darachide (@yotekay) July 14, 2015
The thing is Scott Walker probably didn't even think about that Boy Scouts "protects children" line. He just reflexively thinks that way.— NorthernMNer (@NorthernMNer) July 14, 2015
Is the point that gay = pedophile? Or was that a statement drafting error? http://t.co/bnV7mktAX0— Liz Mair (@LizMair) July 14, 2015
Call me crazy, but I don't want a president who thinks that a ban on gay troop leaders is "protecting children" http://t.co/GEL0aLGU6C— Sara Lang (@SaraLang) July 14, 2015
Scott Walker saying a ban on gay scout leaders "protected children" is really offensive, you guys. http://t.co/WJxHl71TQR— Adam Smith (@asmith83) July 14, 2015
Scott Walker thinks that banning gay Boy Scout leaders protects children. Because, you know, gays are pedophiles. http://t.co/vyIt8TUVlq— Carol Fitzpatrick (@crl_fitzpatrick) July 14, 2015