US President Donald Trump insisted Saturday that the White House is running smoothly, and used a campaign-style rally in Florida to bring his message to supporters “without the filter of the fake news.”
Trump employed a loud and muscular delivery -- one which won over millions of voters on the campaign trail last year -- to assure Americans he is fulfilling his promises to shrink government, rebuild the military, and repeal and replace health care reforms enacted by predecessor Barack Obama.
“This will be change for the ages,” the new president told several thousand supporters in an airport hangar in Melbourne, a sun-bleached city on Florida’s Space Coast.
But Trump was completing his first month in office with his administration under a cloud back in Washington, where lawmakers pledge to further investigate his possible pre-election ties to Russia, his national security advisor was forced to resign in disgrace, and a cabinet nominee withdrew amid controversy.
“The White House is running so smoothly, so smoothly,” Trump stressed, before going on an extended rant about the US media.
“I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news,” Trump said.
“The dishonest media, which has published one false story after another, with no sources... they just don’t want to report the truth,” he said.
“They’ve become a big part of the problem. They are part of the corrupt system.”
Trump, who relishes campaigning perhaps like no other US politician, arrived to a thunderous cheer when Air Force One, the presidential jet, rolled up to the hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport.
Aside from the fact that the billionaire businessman is now leader of the free world, the feel was extremely similar to that of a Trump campaign event from last year -- from the speakers, to the recorded music, to the president’s brash, largely impromptu delivery.
“We’re going to start producing jobs like you’ve never seen before,” Trump said, highlighting how his pro-growth agenda has already led some US firms to commit to domestic investments.
He reiterated his pledge to crack down on terrorism, saying he has asked Defense Secretary James Mattis to draft a “plan to totally destroy ISIS,” the Islamic State extremist group.
“I’ve ordered decisive action to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country,” he said, drawing loud cheers.
At one point Trump broke security protocol by inviting a supporter to hop a barrier and join him onstage.
“I wouldn’t say that the Secret Service was thrilled with that,” he said.