One of the joys of being away – in France – is getting a break from Donald Trump and his undignified wittering and social media muppetry (very clever, like the real Muppets, but not what you want in a leader of the free world.)

For us, he intruded a bit in Provence whenever an email containing US headlines popped up. And when I sat in a bar and broke the staying off Twitter to relax rule. Even a proud news addict, who believes, as I do, that news makes the world go round (always has, always will) tries to get a few days away from news. But Trump popping back into the brain lowers the spirits, wherever you are and no matter how sunny the weather.

Incidentally, could we ever go back to holidays being as isolating and relaxing as holidays of old. Mobile phones didn’t exist. And even when they did you put your Nokia phone in the safe in your hotel room. There might be CNN on your TV, but probably not. I remember in the mid-1990s leaping on a copy of the Sunday Times on a day trip to Venice, from the Italian Lakes, and paying many, many lira for the privilege of a dose of British news after a week of rest.

But let’s face it. These days, tuning back in is much worse in the Age of Trump. You are reminded the moment you hear his name again that he sucks out all the oxygen. And he’s weirdly omnipresent because of his tweets and his look-at-me antics. In that spirit, my heart sank when I saw a headline first thing this morning reporting that Trump had spoken at the Boys Scouts of America jamboree in front of 40,000 young Americans. Oh no, he’ll have said something crass or unsuitable, I thought.

And yes, despite a promise to avoid politics, and a standard section on hard work and duty, he cannot help himself. Off he went on a stupid riff about the awesomeness of his victory in the election, leading into other nonsense. Everything, but everything, gets turned into a Trump boast or a ritual blaming of others. Even the Scout focus on loyalty was turned into a complaint that people – in Washington – should be more loyal to him, Trump.

The Scouts are a great organisation. As a parent of a scout I can testify to that. All the Boy Scouts of America needed from the President – after Obama staying away, in a row over gay scout leaders – was a statesmanlike and simple speech praising the organisation and celebrating collective endeavour.

Yet Trump can’t do that, because he ruins or defiles almost everything he touches. And so, with crushing inevitability, his performance has divided parents of Scouts in the US and leaders and volunteers. Some of the children at the speech started chanting USA, (it doesn’t take much to get an audience in the US chanting that) but others were furious at Trump’s tone and behaviour. Some parents are furiously demanding on social media that the high command of the Scouts condemn Trump’s speech, as he set a bad example to their children. Others say he is their president and he can say what he likes. But of course. Division is what Trump does. Always. Even to the Scouts. He somehow gets the Scouts fighting with each other.‎ The Scouts. A good-willed and nice organisation rooted in volunteering and respect for others. Now at war with itself thanks to the vain and self-obsessed Trump.

‎It is humiliating for America – a great country – and it is downright depressing for the rest of us. And there are still three and a half years left of the Trump presidency – or seven and a half years if the Republicans and Democrats fail to get their act together and he wins re-election. If you are reading this on the way to the beach, turn off your phone.