Trump Touts Achievements, Savages Media in 100-Day Rally

  • President signs executive order on trade in Pennsylvania
  • Administration ‘just getting started’ on bringing back jobs

Trump's Biggest Successes and Failures Thus Far

Donald Trump touted the achievements of his administration, saying he’s made good on promises to voters, but on his 100th day in office couldn’t let go of his animosity toward the news media during a raucous campaign-style rally in Pennsylvania.

“Their priorities are not my priorities, and not your priorities,” Trump told a crowd of several thousand at a farm expo center in Harrisburg, many of whom wore red “Make America Great Again” caps. “If the media’s job is to be honest and tell the truth, the media deserves a very, very big fat failing grade.” he said.

Donald Trump on April 29.

Photographer: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Before attending the rally, Trump signed an executive order while visiting an agricultural tool factory in Camp Hill,  Pennsylvania, on Saturday that directs the Commerce Secretary to identify trade-deal violations and establish an Office of Trade and Manufacturing policy at the White House.

“We believe in ‘Made in the USA’ and it’s coming back stronger and better and faster than we thought,” Trump said at the signing. His administration has “taken unprecedented action” to keep and bring back jobs to U.S. and “we’re just getting started.”

In Harrisburg, Trump promised to fulfill his pledge to build a wall on the Mexican border. “If the Democrats knew what the hell they were doing, they would approve it,” he said. “Obviously they don’t mind the illegals pouring in, the drugs pouring in. They don’t mind.”

China Currency

He was more circumspect about China. Citing the support of President Xi Jinping in pressuring North Korea, he said “I don’t think right now is the best time to call China a currency manipulator.”

Earlier Saturday, Trump posted a commentary on the Washington Post’s website that cataloged many of the actions taken by the White House since January. “Issue by issue, department by department, we are giving the people their country back,” he wrote.

Trump laid out a 10-point plan for his first 100 days in office during a speech in Gettysburg during his election campaign. 

Work on many of those priorities remains incomplete, with funding for construction of the border wall with Mexico and legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare stalled on Capitol Hill. Just 44 percent of Americans say they approve of Trump, the lowest for this phase of the presidency for anyone in post-World War II history, according to a CNN/ORC poll released this week.

List of Achievements

But the president on Friday called the 100-day marker a “false standard” and told reporters he was “very happy” with the progress his administration has made.

White House officials pointed to the successful nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, efforts to roll back regulations implemented under former President Barack Obama, and the president’s missile strike against Syria’s Assad regime in retaliation for its use of chemical weapons as accomplishments over the administration’s opening months.

“What we’ve accomplished on immigration and criminal enforcement is nothing short of historic,” Trump wrote in the Washington Post. “The change on defense has been profound as well.”

“After decades of a shrinking middle class, open borders and the mass offshoring of American jobs and wealth, this government is working for the citizens of our country and no one else,” Trump wrote. “The same establishment media that concealed these problems -- and profited from them -- is obviously not going to tell this story. That is why we are taking our message directly to America.”

Trade Rhetoric

Trump’s early weeks in office have also been marked by tough new rhetoric on trade deals, including threats to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement if the U.S. isn’t able to gain new concessions, and warnings to countries from South Korea to Germany that the president is seeking more favorable terms. The Commerce Department said Monday it would impose tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber.

He told the rally in Harrisburg he will make a decision over the next two weeks on whether U.S. should pull out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate pact. His administration has been split on the climate agreement, with Environmental Protection Authority Administrator Scott Pruitt and top strategist Steve Bannon pushing for a pullout while White House adviser Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson advocate sticking with the deal.

Trump’s comments came as tens of thousands of people across the U.S. marched to demand action on climate change. The biggest protest was in Washington, where demonstrators made their way down Pennsylvania Avenue on their way to encircle the White House. An estimated 300 such gatherings were held around the country, including in Seattle, Boston and San Francisco.

The president scheduled his Pennsylvania rally for the same night as the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner, which the president and his staff skipped. Trump is the first commander in chief to miss the annual black-tie gala, billed as a celebration of the First Amendment and fundraiser for journalism scholarships, since Ronald Reagan in 1981. Reagan, recuperating from a gunshot wound to the chest sustained during an assassination attempt, still delivered remarks by phone.

“I could not possibly be more thrilled to be more than 100 miles away from the Washington swamp,” he told the Harrisburg crowd, which responded with a chorus of boos and jeers.

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