(CN) — President Donald Trump marked his 100th day in office on Saturday with a campaign-style rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he gave himself high marks for performance and lambasted the news media for what he described as its misleading agenda and trafficking in dishonesty.
Prior to his arrival the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, a rodeo arena in Harrisburg, Trump’s and his entourage stopped at Ames Companies in Pennsylvania’s Cumberland County, a corporation that makes wheelbarrows and landscaping and gardening tools. Ames has been in business since 1774.
Moving inside the facility, Trump spoke with assembly line workers and posed for pictures. As he did so, chants of “USA! USA! broke out among the workers. Meanwhile Steve Bannon, Peter Navarro, Vice President Mike Pence and Wilbur Ross mingled with factory management.
As Trump moved on Ames CEO Ron Kramer was heard to say, “We’ll do just fine if there’s a level playing field.”
The president then spoke briefly with the traveling White House press pool. Asked about the White House Correspondents Dinner, which was also occurring Saturday night, Trump said, “I hope they have a good dinner. But ours is going to be much more exciting, I think. We have a big crowd. We sold thousands and thousands of tickets.”
Asked by another reporter about the climate protest that occurred in Washington, D.C. Saturday afternoon, Trump said he hoped the protesters enjoyed the day. “And the weather,” he added. The last comment was a bit of a jab at the thousands who assembled along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington as the temperatures soared to a sweltering 91 degrees, tying a record set in 1974.
The president then say behind a large wooden desk, with a row of shovels behind him, and signed two executive orders, one creating a White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing; the other directing a review of all existing trade agreements.
The goal, the White House said, is to determine whether America is being treated fairly by its trading partners and the 164-nation World Trade Organization.
“We believe in Made in the USA and it’s coming back faster and faster,” Trump said as he handed the pen he used to sign the orders to Navarro, who will head the new trade office. “We’ve taken unprecedented steps to bring back
American wealth, American jobs and American dreams.”
With that, it was on to the Expo Center, where people in the crowd waves signs saying “promises made, promises kept,” “Drain the swap,” and “Women for Trump,” as Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “My Way” played on the sound system.
A group of young girls could be heard chanting “We want Trump” as the introductions droned on, and several people in the crowd word t-shirts that read, “Let’s all make America great again.”
Finally on stage, and greeted by rapturous applause, Trump opened with an extended attack on the media, which he called “incompetent” and “dishonest.”
“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 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.”
On Sunday morning the Trump administration doubled down on the president’s remarks about the media, with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus telling ABC’s Jonathan Karl that the president wants to make it easier to sue media outlets who publish stories unfavorable to him.
“I think it’s something we have looked at, and how that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story,” Priebus said. “But when you have articles out there that have no basis or fact, and we’re sitting here on 24/7 cable companies, writing stories about constant contacts with Russia, and all these other matters.”
On Saturday night, Trump sought to counter those stories with his own narrative of his first 100 days in office.
“My administration has been delivering every single day for the great citizens of our country,” Trump said. “We are keeping one promise after another, and frankly the people are really happy about it.”
Among the accomplishments of which he said he was most proud: the successful confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, his Cabinet choices, the approval of construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and his pulling out of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
He called the latter, “a turning point for our nation.”
“I have to tell you, I don’t think anybody has done what we’ve been able to do in 100 days, so we’re very happy,” the president said.
But Trump later indirectly conceded he’s seen his share of frustration in his first 100 days in office.
Despite having a Republican-controlled Congress, his efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and to temporarily ban immigration from some Muslim nations went nowhere.
“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles way from Washington’s swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people, right?” he said.
He then turned to trade, vowing not “to let other countries take advantage of us anymore.”
As the cheering reached a crescendo, the president added, “From now on, it’s going to be America first.”
Pennsylvania was obvious choice for the location of a celebratory event. Trump won the state with 48 percent of the vote, and it was critical to his victory in the Electoral College. His victory in Pennsylvania was also the first time the state had voted for a Republican presidential candidate since George H.W. Bush in 1988.
Recent polls suggest Trump has lost none of his luster to the majority of people who voted for him in November. The response from the crowd in Harrisburg confirmed it.
In his weekly radio address, also broadcast Saturday, Trump said “together we are seeing that great achievements are possible when we put American people first … In just 14 weeks, my administration has brought profound change to Washington.”