In another campaign-style rally, President Donald Trump traveled to Harrisburg, Pa., to find a friendlier crowd than the one assembling in Washington for the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from the Washington swamp, spending my evening with all of you,” he told the crowd.
Trump is the first president since Nixon to skip the dinner completely; Ronald Reagan, recovering from an assassination attempt, called in to the event in 1981. The dinner is an annual celebration of journalists and media members and is sometimes jokingly called “Nerd Prom” by attendees.
On Saturday, Trump again assailed the media assigned to cover him and his administration, calling them “fake news” and “dishonest media.”
“If the media’s job is to be honest and tell the truth,” said the president, “then I think we would all agree that the media deserves a very very big fat failing grade.”
The crowd assembled for the evening nearly filled Harrisburg’s Farm Show Complex and Expo Center. At one point, the crowd revived the campaign-era “Lock her up,” chant, though the election was almost six months ago, and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has largely bowed out of the public eye.
“Buy American and hire American!” said Trump, whose resorts and apparel brands do not.
Trump also used the event to point out the successes of his first 100 days in office, including a drop in illegal border crossings, the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
It’s not clear whether the first 100 days is of particular importance to the president.
Trump has previously called the first 100 days a “ridiculous standard” and said it “doesn’t matter,” but he’s also asked the Washington Post to run the electoral map from Election Day on the front page to celebrate the milestone date.
Back in Washington, members of the press convened at both the White House Correspondent’s Association Dinner hosted by “Daily Show” comedian Hasan Minhaj and an event called “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” hosted by late-night host Samantha Bee.
“The president usually performs at the Correspondents’ Dinner, but I think I speak for all of us when I say he’s done far too much bombing this month,” quipped Minhaj.
He added: “I would say it is an honor to do this, but that would be an alternative fact. It is not. No one one wanted to do this, so of course it falls in the hands of an immigrant. That’s how it always goes down.”