19 Feb 2017

Donald Trump savages media at Florida rally

1:34 pm on 19 February 2017

US President Donald Trump has launched another fierce attack on the media at a "campaign rally for America" event in Florida.

Donald Trump and Melania Trump during a campaign rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport.

Donald Trump and Melania Trump during a campaign rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport. Photo: AFP

He told the crowd the media did not want "to report the truth" and had their own agenda.

The gathering in Melbourne was similar in style to those Mr Trump held during the election campaign.

It came off the back of a week in which Mr Trump attacked the media in an aggressive press conference.

His national security adviser Michael Flynn also quit earlier in the week. Mr Trump is to interview candidates for the role on Sunday.

On Saturday, President Trump and his wife Melania were greeted by thousands of supporters at the rally in a state he won in November's election. Protesters have also promised to line the route to the venue.

In his speech, Mr Trump said he wanted to speak to Americans "without the filter of fake news".

Describing the media as "dishonest", he repeated his assertion that some outlets "don't want to report the truth" and were making up their stories about him.

"We will continue to expose them," he said, pledging to "win, win, win".

In his speech, the president also:

  • Repeated his campaign pledge to keep America "safe" and said the country would "have strong borders again"
  • Said Americans would have "a great healthcare plan" and Obama reforms would be repealed
  • Stressed that the White House was running "so smoothly", dismissing claims that his administration was in disarray
  • Promised to "downsize the bloated bureaucracy" and "drain the swamp" in Washington
  • Said a plan would be developed to "totally destroy" so-called Islamic State
  • Promised to create more jobs in the US and rebuild the country's military

It is unusual for a sitting president to hold a rally in the style of those held during election campaigns.

One supporter, Gene Huber from West Palm Beach, said the decision to hold a rally was not a concern. "No jitters at all," he told the AFP news agency. "This is a world leader now who's taking control."

Throughout the week, Mr Trump launched attacks on the media while indicating his excitement at facing crowds in Florida again.

On Thursday, he held a 76-minute press conference where he told reporters their level of dishonesty was out of control, citing coverage of his campaign's alleged contacts with Moscow.

Michael Flynn, Mr Trump's national security adviser, resigned on Monday after he misled Vice-President Mike Pence about whether he had discussed US sanctions with Russia's ambassador before his own appointment.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported earlier this week that members of Mr Trump's campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.

While in Florida, Mr Trump is staying at his Mar-a-Lago resort for the third weekend in succession. In a tweet, he referred to the property as the "Southern White House", although the private club is part of Mr Trump's portfolio and is not government property.

While there, he will interview four candidates for the role of national security adviser. They are:

  • Acting adviser Keith Kellogg
  • Former US envoy to the UN John Bolton
  • Lt Gen HR McMaster
  • Lt Gen Robert Caslen


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