MELBOURNE, US: President Donald Trump turned back the clock on Saturday with a bold and aggressive Florida speech straight out of his 2016 campaign playbook, enthralling fans while insisting all is well in the White House despite weeks of turbulence.
He also took aim at his favourite foil, the “dishonest” news media that he said has become “part of the corrupt system.”
At the end of a stormy first month in office, the billionaire took the power of the presidency on the road, revisiting the style and substance of the campaign trail.
After stepping down from Air Force One to a deafening cheer, he was drawn into the collective bosom of several thousand of his dearest followers — mostly white, mostly male middle-class Americans who feel they have been left behind by the country’s shifting economy.
“I’m here because I want to be among my friends and among the people,” he said.
Trump employed a loud and muscular delivery — one which won over millions of voters on the campaign trail last year — to assure Americans he is fulfilling promises to shrink government, rebuild the military, restrict immigration, and tear up health care reforms enacted by predecessor Barack Obama.
“This will be change for the ages,” the president said at the event in Melbourne, a sun-bleached city on Florida’s Space Coast.
“The White House is running so smoothly, so smoothly,” Trump stressed, before going on an extended rant about the US media.
“I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news,” Trump said.
“They’ve become a big part of the problem. They are part of the corrupt system,” he said, continuing the open warfare with the media that has marked his young presidency.
Aside from the fact that Trump is now leader of the free world, the event was eerily similar in style to his campaign — from the layout, to the recorded music, to the president’s largely impromptu delivery.
About the only thing missing was attacks on his 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Trump acknowledged that he is always in campaign mode.
“Life is a campaign,” he told reporters on Air Force One ahead of the rally. “To make America great again is absolutely a campaign. It’s not easy, especially when we’re also fighting the press.”
During his speech, Trump reiterated his pledge to crack down on terrorism, saying he has “ordered decisive action to keep terrorists the hell out of our country.”
And he said his administration would submit “in a couple of weeks” a plan to repeal and replace “the disaster known as Obamacare.” — AFP