Donald Trump celebrated his 100 days in office yesterday at a campaign-style rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, blasting the media for unfair treatment and propping up achievements of his executive team in their 100 days in office. Trump lashed out at critics who have called to question the efficacy of his team with a list of achievements, including the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, clearing away many regulations on the environment and business. He also recounted the clearing of decks for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, killing a pending Asian trade pact, and enhanced security measures that have led to a sharp decline in illegal border crossings at the southern border as major achievements before the crowd of supporters. He also reassured supporters that some of the major campaign promises, which have been blocked in the legislature and the judiciary, would eventually be implemented, including the infamous wall whose budget has become stuck in the Congress, with moderate and hard line Republicans refusing to agree on budget priorities for the federal government. Interestingly, Trump blamed Democrats for the mess that almost led to a shutdown reminiscent of the Obama era, even though both the Senate and the House of Representatives are controlled by GOP.
The rally happened the same day as the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, the annual gathering organised by a group of journalists who cover the White House and the President. This marks another chapter in the already tumultuous relationship between the press and the President, after the President’s repeated accusations of ‘fake news’ and Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s banning of major outlets from White House briefings. “A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now,” Trump said to loud boos from the Pennsylvania crowd. “If the media’s job is to be honest and to tell the truth, the media deserves a very, very big fat failing grade.”
Trump also touched upon the subject of China and North Korea during the rally, saying that the about-turn on his promise of naming China a currency manipulator was in order to enlist China’s help in reigning in the rogue communist nation North Korea, and that he would be very disturbed if North Korea conducted another nuclear test. He reiterated that all options were on the table, hinting at possible unilateral military action which he had first stated in an interview last month. The comments had caused a storm, with North Korea issuing a statement cautioning that such reckless statements may lead to “thermonuclear war”.