Trump touts 100-day record, slams media

Supporters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where US President Donald Trump held a rally on Saturday. He said under his administration, more than 600,000 new jobs had been created and illegal immigration across the country's southern border has been redu
Supporters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where US President Donald Trump held a rally on Saturday. He said under his administration, more than 600,000 new jobs had been created and illegal immigration across the country's southern border has been reduced by 73 per cent.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

US President skips media dinner to hold rally, while thousands protest against his policies

His support base intact despite a controversial first 100 days, United States President Donald Trump touted his achievements at a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and slammed the media for being a "disgrace".

The rally was vintage Trump in a key state that had helped deliver him the White House.

"For the last 100 days, my administration has been delivering every single day... whether putting our coal miners back to work, protecting America's steel and aluminium workers," he told the crowd of around 10,000 people.

He said under his administration, more than 600,000 new jobs have been created and illegal immigration across the US' southern border has been reduced by 73 per cent.

He also touted the appointment of conservative Supreme Court judge Neil Gorsuch and withdrawal from the "disastrous" Trans Pacific Partnership.

ACHIEVEMENTS

For the last 100 days, my administration has been delivering every single day... whether putting our coal miners back to work, protecting America's steel and aluminium workers.

'' MR DONALD TRUMP, on how he has made a difference to the country with his policies since taking office in January.

Mr Trump, who skipped the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington the same evening, reserved his most scathing remarks for the media, calling it a "disgrace" for not reporting on his achievements.

He named several organisations, including The New York Times, calling it "incompetent and dishonest".

"I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles from the Washington swamp spending my evening with all of you," he told his supporters.

Minutes later at the black-tie dinner in the capital, the association's president, Mr Jeff Mason, told the packed ballroom: "An attack on any of us is an attack on all of us... There are threats to press freedoms here in the United States; we must remain vigilant, the world is watching." 

While Mr Trump's supporters cheered wildly at the rally, there was evidence of America's deep divisions as tens of thousands marched in Washington and other cities to protest his policies on the environment. A defiant Mr Trump, however, sent his clearest signal yet that he may pull the US out of the Paris Climate Accord, saying:"I'll be making a big decision over the Paris Accord over the next two weeks."

He emphasised coming tax cuts and insisted that his promised wall on the Mexico border would be built. He also pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to take the fight against crime to "sanctuary cities" to crack down on illegal immigrants and gangs.

On the foreign front, he spoke of plans to beef up the military, and praised Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying China was "really trying" to help with the North Korea crisis. He added that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria was on the run and the US would smash it.

Hours before the rally, Mr Trump had signed a flurry of executive orders, including two asking for a review of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade pacts. In all, he has signed 32 executive orders in his first 100 days, more than any new president since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Top aide Kellyanne Conway, in a USA Today article last Saturday, cited April figures showing the number of people collecting unemployment benefits at a 17-year low. Mr Trump has started to chip away at a burdensome regulatory framework, and shown strength and resolve by military action in Syria and Afghanistan, she wrote.

But Mr Trump's overall popularity rating is the lowest of any president in modern American history, though it runs over 90 per cent among his supporters. "To some extent, his rhetoric and his largely symbolic executive orders have played rather well in some quarters," Cornell University professor Glenn Altschuler told The Straits Times.

"Support among those who voted for him remains much as it has been. And Wall Street has reacted very, very favourably to his executive order that for every regulation added, two must be eliminated - and to his proposals to dramatically reduce corporate taxes," he said.

"There is an anti-regulatory environment that I think is satisfying to many conservative Republicans."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2017, with the headline 'Trump touts 100-day record, slams media'. Print Edition | Subscribe