The Girl Scouts of the USA defended their decision to uphold their 100-year tradition of marching in the presidential inauguration parade amid overwhelming criticism regarding their involvement in the ceremony.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) first announced the youth organization's involvement in the parade on Tuesday morning in a press release detailing inauguration events.
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The Boy Scouts of America will also participate in the event, but the Girl Scouts' decision drew greater scrutiny among those who have questioned the president-elect's behavior and comments about women.
But the organization made it clear in a statement that it would not backing down from their decision.
"At Girl Scouts, our movement is made up of individuals who hold political beliefs and convictions as varied as our nation itself. And because every girl has a home at Girl Scouts, every girl in our movement is allowed her own ideas, opinions, beliefs and political ideology," the group said in a statement to AOL News.
"Of course, we are a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that by law cannot take positions on political candidates or parties — and we take this very seriously," the group added. "Advocating for change on issues one cares about isn't at odds with participating in a century-long tradition that represents the peaceful exchange of power."
Still, despite the Girl Scouts largely apolitical history, the organization's stance has not quieted criticism from progressive parents, anti-Trump protesters and others who view the organization's participation in the parade as a means of endorsing Trump's values and rhetoric:
I'm the mother of a Girl Scout and I hope you reconsider your participation. Trump does *not* honor your values, as shown below pic.twitter.com/ozT3Qm3ZrN
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) January 17, 2017
— Natalie Boero (@natalieboero) January 18, 2017
— 🎃 Imani Gandy Corn 🎃 (@AngryBlackLady) January 17, 2017
My mom was a troop leader and I grew up in Girl Scouts. I never thought GS would support a pussy grabber. His words, not mine.
— Encrypto Nite (@encryptonites) January 18, 2017
Trump bragged abt sexually assaulting women on tape. I was a Girl Scout, and Girl Scouts taught me to be brave and fight
— Sox Morgan (@sox_morgan) January 17, 2017