President Donald Trump described his first 100 days in office as an “incredible journey” during a speech on Saturday in Pennsylvania which he also used to slam the media and tout his accomplishments.
Delivering the speech at a campaign-style rally in Harrisburg, which he had chosen to attend over the black-tie gala White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, Trump began by launching a fresh attack on the media.
“A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling themselves in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now,” Trump said. “Media outlets like CNN and MSNBC are fake news … and they would love to be with us here tonight, but they’re trapped at the (White House Correspondents’) dinner which will be very very boring,” Trump added as some members of the audience chanted “CNN sucks.”
Trump is the first president in 36 years not to attend the annual tradition at which White House officials mingle with members of the press corps and Hollywood celebrities. The President however said he was “thrilled to be more than 100 miles from Washington” to discuss the “great journey” of his first 100 days in office. Trump said some of his achievements in his first 100 days of office were the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and ending offshoring to “bring back American jobs.”
“The TPP would have been a tremendous disaster for our country,” he said.
Trump also used the speech to hint that the US was planning to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement.
“I’ll be making a big decision on the Paris accord over the next two weeks, and we’ll see what happens,” Trump said. The Correspondents’ Dinner is expected to be much less star-studded this year, with few Hollywood celebrities in attendance, and organizers say they hope to focus on the main purpose of the dinner, honouring journalists for their work and awarding scholarships to students. Traditionally the US president holds a humorous speech at the event in which he pokes fun at the media, politicians and even himself, and a hired comedian also skewers the president.
“We will celebrate the First Amendment on April 29 and look forward to acknowledging the important work of our terrific members and awarding scholarships to students who represent the next generation of our profession,” White House Correspondents’ Association President Jeff Mason said ahead of the event. Earlier, spokesman Sean Spicer denied that the rally was being held in order to take away from the correspondent’s dinner.
“I respectfully suggest that it’s not just about the Correspondents’ Dinner, it’s rather an opportunity for him to talk to voters that elected him and what he’s been able to accomplish in the first 100 days,” Spicer said.