US President Donald Trump marked his 100th day in office in a rally in Pennsylvania, where he focused on his long-running antagonism with the news media and also touted his administration’s “historic progress”.
In his opening remarks, Trump mentioned the “big gathering” in Washington – the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner, which he declined to attend and dismissed the event as “a large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media” who were “consoling each other in a hotel ballroom”.
“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 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, right?” Trump said at his event.
In February, Trump had announced that he will not appear at the WHCA dinner this year, a break with past presidents, adding his absence from the event is for the best.
Trump then went on to needle the media, touching on familiar themes and picking on his standard targets.
He dismissed news channels CNN and MSNBC as “fake news”.
Trump decried what he again called “the totally failing New York Times”, falsely claiming that the organisation was “forced to apologise” for its coverage of the 2016 election, a claim he has made before.
Trump also vowed that he would make “a big decision” on the historic Paris climate agreement in the next two weeks.
“I will be making a big decision on the Paris Agreement in the next two weeks. We will see what happens,” media agencies quoted Trump as saying in the rally.
The First Lady of United States arrived at the White House with President Donald Trump on Inauguration Day but has been mostly absent ever since and continues to live in New York with her only child.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Democratic and liberal protest groups turned out for an opposition rally and march in Harrisburg on Saturday to protest Trump, who chose to host his event in the same city he referred to as “a war zone” during the campaign.
Chants included cries of “Hey hey, ho ho! Donald Trump has got to go!” and “No Trump! No KKK (Ku Klux Klan)! No fascist USA!”, The Washington Post reported.
The last time Trump attended the dinner was in 2011, when he was a New York real estate mogul and reality-TV star who had just jumped into politics by getting involved in the ‘birther’ movement, calling for President Barack Obama to release his birth certificate.