POLITICS

Girl Scouts push back against attacks over Trump inauguration participation

Girl Scouts at a White House event in 2015 with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The Girl Scouts are coming under fire by some critics for plans to participate in the inauguration on January 20 of Donald Trump.

Girl Scouts at a White House event in 2015 with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The Girl Scouts are coming under fire by some critics for plans to participate in the inauguration on January 20 of Donald Trump.  (Reuters)

Some 75 Girl Scouts said they wanted to participate in the organization’s tradition of being at the presidential inauguration.

But unlike any other time, they are coming under fire.

On social media and in essays published online, many women are denouncing the Girl Scouts of the USA for its plans to continue its tradition and take part in the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump on Friday.

The critics say that an organization like the Girl Scouts, which seeks to empower young females, should boycott Trump’s inauguration because of the scandals surrounding alleged sexual harassment by the president-elect years ago as well as an audio recording of him using salacious language to refer to women.

Some also cited Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s anti-abortion views as a reason that the Girl Scouts should skip the ceremonies.

But the Girl Scouts organization, which notes that it is non-political, says it will not make an exception to a tradition it has observed for decades, regardless of which party and which candidate wins the presidential election.

In a statement sent to FoxNews.com, the organization stressed that it is accommodating the desire of 75 girls from the Girl Scouts of Nation's Capital Council. The girls were among hundreds responding to a message posted in August on the council's website, well before the election. The council conducted surveys and selected the finalists. 

We can no more turn our backs on 75 girls who have chosen to participate in the peaceful transition of power any more than we can on the thousands of girls participating in Women's Marches the next day.

- Girl Scouts of the USA

“Being truly non-partisan means that we keep our focus on the girls. It means that we go where they lead,” the statement said. “It means we can no more turn our back on 75 girls who have chosen to participate in the peaceful transition of power any more than we can on the thousands of girls participating in Women’s Marches the next day.”

“The fact is, people often use Girl Scouts as an outlet to try to make a political statement,” it continued.

 “We are girl-led and girl-driven, and our job, our mission, is to empower them to make their own choices, and express their own views.”

Some of the critics have been former Girl Scouts, such as Jean Hannah Edelstein, who made her objection known in an essay in The Guardian.

“The news that the Girl Scouts are sending a contingent to participate in Donald Trump’s inauguration filled me with real rage,” Edelstein wrote. “Yes, it’s a tradition: they’ve marched at inauguration for decades. But does tradition justify collaboration with an administration that promises to oppress the young women it’s supposed to serve?”

Many published reports noted that never before has the organization’s participation in the presidential election created such an outcry, even when other presidents, such as Bill Clinton, were trailed by scandals involving the treatment of women.

“Our legacy is one of uniting, not dividing, and our mission is fundamentally about bringing girls of all backgrounds together to discover their talents,” the organization said, “and unlock their leadership potential, so that they can lead all of us to the promise of a better day.”

Elizabeth Llorente is Senior Reporter for FoxNews.com, and can be reached at Elizabeth.Llorente@Foxnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Llorente.