US President Donald Trump hit the road on Saturday to celebrate his first 100 days in the White House with cheering supporters at a campaign-style rally in Pennsylvania, touting his initial achievements and lashing out at critics, who have given his tenure poor marks.
Trump told the crowd that he was just getting started on meeting his campaign promises. He repeatedly attacked an "incompetent, dishonest" media, saying they were not telling the truth about his administration's accomplishments.
Donald TrumpMy administration has been delivering every single day for the great citizens of our country. We are keeping one promise after another, and frankly the people are really happy about it.
The ‘Washington Swamp’
The rally occurred on the same day as a climate march, at which thousands of protesters surrounded the White House, and it also coincided with the annual black-tie White House press dinner in Washington. Trump and his staff chose to skip the press dinner because of what he said was unfair treatment by the press. Trump said he was thrilled to be away from the "Washington swamp".
Donald TrumpA large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now. If the media’s job is to be honest and to tell the truth, the media deserves a very, very big fat-failing grade.
He continued to needle the media, dismissing news channels CNN and MSNBC as "fake news". Trump decried what he again called "the totally failing New York Times" falsely claiming that the organisation was "forced to apologise" for its coverage of the 2016 election, a claim he has made before. He also took a shot at the daily's headquarters, which he called an "ugly office building in a crummy location".
Trump made clear that he was trying to draw a direct contrast with the news media, saying that they deserved "a very, very big fat-failing grade" for their coverage, before shifting to a discussion of his administration's actions, reports The Washington Post.
Trump Highlights His Achievements
Trump listed what he said were some of his key early accomplishments, including the successful confirmation to the US Supreme Court of Justice Neil Gorsuch and clearing away many regulations on the environment and business. He also listed his approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, killing a pending Asian trade pact, and enhanced security measures that have led to a sharp decline in illegal border crossings at the southern border.
“The world is getting the message: if you try to illegally enter the United States, you will be caught, detained, deported or put in prison,” Trump said.
He shrugged off his failure to score major legislative victories on his core campaign promises, such as repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act and construction of a Mexican border wall. Trump's ban on visitors from some Muslim nations was blocked in court.
He blamed Democrats for the legislative failures so far and said all of his promises would be kept eventually. "We'll build the wall people, don't even worry about it," he said.
Trump said he reversed course on promises to name China a currency manipulator because he wanted China's help in trying to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile development. Trump has said all options are on the table if Pyongyang persists in its nuclear development.
In an excerpt of an interview with Face the Nation of CBS, set to air on Sunday and Monday and conducted during the trip to Pennsylvania, Trump said he would "not be happy" if North Korea conducted a nuclear test. Asked if that would mean military action, Trump said "I don't know, I mean we'll see."
What Did the Crowd Think?
Some supporters in the crowd said they were willing to give Trump more time.
Michael Casciaro, 54, civilian contractor for the militaryI voted for him and I’ll give him a year. That’s enough time to whip Congress into shape and get some deals done.
Revelling in the cheers, Trump made reference again to his upset victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania, which he said "carried us to a big, beautiful win on 8 November."
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Democratic and liberal protest groups turned out for an opposition rally and march in Harrisburg on Saturday to protest against Trump, who chose to host his event in the same city he referred to as “a war zone” during the campaign. Chants included cries of “Hey hey, ho ho! Donald Trump has got to go!” and “No Trump! No KKK (Ku Klux Klan)! No fascist USA!”, The Washington Post reported. Anti-Trump protests and events were planned in other cities across the country as well, including Utica and Syracuse, New York, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago.
Trump left Washington as another in a series of protests against his administration was winding up. Thousands of marchers made their way through Washington's streets during the People's Climate March, a protest against Trump's moves to roll back environmental regulations during his first 100 days.
Trump's 100 days, Harrisburg, PA pic.twitter.com/yoBFLZdgCz— maura quint (@behindyourback) April 29, 2017
Asked by reporters accompanying him to Pennsylvania what he had to say to the climate change protesters, Trump said: "Enjoy the day, enjoy the weather."
(With inputs from Reuters and IANS)