While the big names of top media organisations in the country attended the White House Correspondent's Dinner at the Washington Hilton on Saturday, the United States President Donald Trump decided to give the event a miss, breaking almost a century-old tradition.
Trump, instead, attended a celebration rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, toasting his completion of 100 days of presidency. Although Trump mainly focused on touting his administration's "historic progress" so far, he wasted no time in launching a scathing attack on his long time foe -- news media.
Trump referred to the "huge gathering" in Washington, and dismissed the event as "a large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media", who he said were "consoling each other in a hotel ballroom," at a "very boring" meet.
The Republican told his supporters at the rally that he was keeping "one promise after another," and deemed the criticism he has faced so far as "fake news," presented by "out of touch" journalists.
The president said that the media should be given "a big, fat, failing grade" over their coverage of his administration's achievement so far. He even told his supporters that he was "thrilled to be more than 100 miles from Washington," where the press event was happening.
"I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington's swamp, spending my evening with all of you, and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people, right?" Trump said at the rally.
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Trump is the first US President to have missed the White House Correspondents' Dinner ever since an injured Ronald Reagan did in 1981. Trump's approval ratings have dived to 40 percent, which is believed to be lower than any other president at the 100-day marker, according to BBC reports.
Protests across US
As he held the rally in Pennsylvania, many Democrats and liberal protest groups in the state turned out for an opposition rally and march in Harrisburg on Saturday to protest Trump.
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"This rally and march is to send a message to the president that he needs to be more moderate and more inclusive," said Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse (D). "I hope he will look around and understand that he needs to do more than rally his supporters. He needs to listen to and speak with those who didn't vote for him," according to Washington Post reports.
There were several other protests organised across the country too, including New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Utica and Syracuse. Many people gathered in Washington as well for the People's Climate March, in support for environmental protection efforts. Trump has rolled back many of the environmental protection initiatives in his first 100 days.
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