US President Donald Trump launched a bilstering attack on the media during a rally to mark 100 days in office.
He told supporters in Pennsylvania that he was keeping “one promise after another”, dismissing criticism as “fake news” by “out of touch” journalists The President claimed historic action on his agenda, renewing promises on health care and taxes and attacking the news media for misleading Americans.
In his morning radio address, Mr Trump issued an assurance: “My only allegiance is to you, our wonderful citizens.” To supporters he promoted American power and patriotism while emphasising such priorities as American manufacturing, better trade deals, a border wall with Mexico and a still-to-be defined tax cut plan.
“We are not going to let other countries take advantage of us anymore,” he said in Harrisburg at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Centre. “From now on it’s going to be America first.”
Mr Trump’s 100th day events were set in a politically important state that he won with 48 per cent of the vote. It was the first time Pennsylvania had voted for a Republican presidential candidate since George HW Bush in 1988.
Mr Trump visited the AMES Companies in Pennsylvania’s Cumberland County, a shovel manufacturer since 1774. With that backdrop he signed an executive order directing the Commerce Department and the US trade representative to conduct a study of US trade agreements. The goal is to determine whether America is being treated fairly by its trading partners and the 164-nation World Trade Organisation.
Mr Trump’s rally on Saturday night in Harrisburg offered a familiar recapitulation of what he and aides have argued for days are administration successes, including the successful nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, his Cabinet choices and the approval of construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
But the president began the rally on a sour note, pointing out that he was not attending that night’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner and issuing a scathing attack on the news media. To cheers, he accused the news media of “fake news” and said if their job was to be honest and tell the truth, then they deserved “a big, fat failing grade”.
“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles way from Washington’s swamp,” he said, “spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people, right?”
Meanwhile, North Korea’s missile launch Saturday signalled its continued defiance against the US, China and other nations, on which Mr Trump tweeted: “Bad!” Asked during an interview for CBS’ Face The Nation if military action would follow a nuclear test by the North, Mr Trump responded: “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.”
At the 100-day mark, polls show that Mr Trump’s supporters during the campaign remain largely in his corner. Though the White House created a website touting its accomplishments of the first 100 days, Mr Trump has tried to downplay the importance of the marker, perhaps out of recognition that many of his campaign promises have gone unfulfilled.
“It’s a false standard, 100 days,” Mr Trump said while signing an executive order on Friday, “but I have to tell you, I don’t think anybody has done what we’ve been able to do in 100 days, so we’re very happy.”
A failed effort to overhaul President Barack Obama’s health care law behind him, Mr Trump is turning to what he has billed as the nation’s biggest tax cut. It apparently falls short of Reagan’s in 1981, and tax experts are sceptical that the plan would pay for itself, as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has claimed.