Trump rages against media at Pennsylvania rally as White House Correspondents Dinner kicks off

U.S. President Donald Trump leads a rally marking his first 100 days in office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. April 29, 2017.
Reuters/Carlos Barria

President Donald Trump railed against the media at a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, just as the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner was set to begin in Washington, DC.

“A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now,” he said. “They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner without the president.”

He continued: “And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be 100 miles away from Washington’s swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people.”

Although presidents typically attend the White House Correspondents Dinner and deliver a monologue, Trump had announced in February he wouldn’t participate.

To raucous booing from the crowd, Trump trashed outlets such as CNN and MSNBC as “fake news” and called the wider Washington media elite “a disgrace.” He ripped the “totally failing New York Times,” which he said was getting gradually smaller and would soon “look like a comic book.”

Saturday marked Trump’s 100th day in office, and in his speech he proposed rating the media’s first 100 days as well.

“Here’s the story: if the media’s job is to be honest and tell the truth, I think we can all agree the media deserves a very big fat failing grade,” Trump said. “Very dishonest people.”

Trump also slammed the media for being critical in its coverage of his recent meeting with China’s president, Xi Jinping. Although Trump had repeatedly in his campaign called the country a currency manipulator, he backed off the claim upon meeting Xi, saying it was important that China help the US in dealing with North Korea.

“China is helping us possibly or probably with the North Korean situation. Which is a great thing,” Trump said. “I think it’s not exactly the right time to call China a currency manipulator right now – do we agree with that?”

Trump also used the rally to boast of his successes during his first 100 days in office, which he said were “100 days of action.”

He said his administration has begun ending the “offshoring” of American jobs, and is eradicating criminal gangs and cartels by cracking down on border security.

Trump said in order to understand the progress his administration has made, the public should look at the situation he inherited. He went on to slam several global agreements he has either criticized or pulled out of – including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he withdrew the US from, and the Iran nuclear deal, which is under review.

“I’ll be making a big decision on the Paris accord over the next two weeks and we will see what happens,” Trump said, referring to the multinational climate agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

“They’re all part of a broken system,” he said.