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Trump attacks media, renews old promises at 'campaign' rally

Donald Trump appeared at a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday where he continued his tirade against dishonest media and renewed the old promises.

India TV News Desk, Washington [Updated:19 Feb 2017, 8:12 AM IST]
Donald Trump at 'campaign' rally in Florida
Photo: AP Donald Trump at 'campaign' rally in Florida

Less than a month into his tumultuous presidency, Donald Trump appeared at a "campaign rally" in Florida on Saturday where he continued his tirade against "dishonest media" and renewed the old promises and insisted that his administration was running "so smoothly". 

Cheered on by a 9,000-strong crowd packed into an airport hangar in Melbourne, Florida, the President said he wanted speak to his supporters without the filter of "fake news". 

"I want to be among my friends and among the people," Trump told a cheering crowd packed into an airport hangar in central Florida, praising his "truly great movement."

A visibly frustrated and agitated Trump also vowed to never let the media "get away with lies". 

"I will do whatever I can that they don't get away with it," he said, alleging that media has its own agenda. "And their agenda is not your agenda." 

Trump promised anew to build a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, reduce regulations and create jobs. He also pledged to "do something over the next couple of days" to address the immigration order that has been blocked in the courts. Said Trump: "We don't give up, we never give up."

The rally, similar in style to the ones during his presidential bid, came on the back of an aggressive press conference on Thursday in which Trump embarked on a lengthy tongue-lashing of the news media. 

Though it wasn't clear what exactly Trump was "campaigning" for, he sought to assure his supporters that all was well with his administration, rebutting allegations that there were differences within the White House. 

"You've seen what we've accomplished in a very short period of time. The White House is running so smoothly. So smoothly," he said, repeating his claim that he had inherited "one big mess". 

"The dishonest media, which has published one false story after another, with no sources, even though they pretend they have them. They make them up in many cases," he said. 

"They (media) just don't want to report the truth. And they've been calling us wrong now for two years. They don't get it. But they're starting to get it," he said. "They have become a big part of the problem. They are part of the corrupt system." 

But despite "all the lies, misrepresentations and false stories", the media could not defeat him in the election, he said. "We will continue to expose them for what they are. And most importantly, we will continue to win, win, win." 

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One before the rally, Trump said he was holding a campaign rally because "life is a campaign."

"To make America great again is absolutely a campaign," he said. "It's not easy, especially when we're also fighting the press."

It has been a chaotic four weeks for Trump. The tenure began with a controversy over the size of his inauguration crowd, which was followed by US federal courts halting his executive order that imposed a travel ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. 

The past week also saw a furore over national security adviser Michael Flynn's alleged ties with Russia, culminating in his resignation from the post. 

Reports have suggested that there are problems within his White House with sharp differences among his key team members. 

And he's also had to contend with crowds of protesters. Thousands of them were out on the streets of Dallas and Los Angeles to oppose immigration enforcement raids and to support immigrants and refugees generally. In Los Angeles, an organizer urged local authorities not to spend money on immigration enforcement.

In his first major rally after being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, Trump said he wanted to be among friends and the people. 

"I want to be in a room filled with hardworking American patriots who love their country, who salute their flag, and who pray for a better future. I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news," he said. 

He also repeated some of his major campaign promises like keeping the US safe by strengthening its borders. He vowed to rebuild the country's military and develop a plan to "totally destroy" ISIS. 

Trump also said he has started taking steps to bring back jobs to the country and "revive" the economy. 

The event had the familiar trappings of a Trump campaign rally, including red Trump caps, "Make America Great Again" and "Trump/Pence" signs and at least one sign reading "Hillary for Prison." Some of the speakers ahead of Trump's appearance called for repealing and replacing President Barack Obama's health care law, criticized the news media or lobbed barbs at Clinton, other constants of last year's rallies.

Earlier, talking to reporters travelling with him on Air Force One on his way to Melbourne, Trump said he was likely to make an announcement on the new national security advisor within a couple of days. 

"I have many, many that want the job that want to be a part of it, I'll make a decision in the couple of days, but we're meeting with actually four of them tomorrow, all of whom want it," Trump said. 

"I've been thinking about someone for the last three or four days, we'll see what happens. I'm meeting with that person. They're all good, they're all great people," he said. 

Asked if it was too early to be holding a campaign event, Trump said, "For me, it's a campaign. To make America great again is absolutely a campaign. It's not easy, especially when we're also fighting the press," he said. 

"Life is a campaign. Making our country great again is a campaign," he said.

(With agencies) 

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