- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 18, 2017

At a campaign rally Saturday, President Trump excoriated the news media for being part of the problem in Washington and received responding applause of agreement from the thousands of supporters in the crowd.

“They are part of the problem. They are part of the corrupt system,” Mr. Trump said at the rally in an airplane hangar at the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida.

The speech continued a crusade Mr. Trump launched at a White House press conference two days earlier, railing against what he called the “dishonest” news media.

Pushing back against critics in the press who accused him of waging war on the First Amendment, Mr. Trump said that he was following a proud tradition of presidents battling unfair news coverage that dates back to Thomas Jefferson.

Accusing the news media of ignoring his accomplishments and repeatedly publishing false stories to discredit him, Mr. Trump said record highs in the stock market showed that he was succeeding.

“A great spirit of optimism is sweeping — and you see it — sweeping all across the country,” he said.

He said the campaign event, which was paid for by the Trump campaign, was organized for him to reconnect with the grassroots movement that unexpectedly carried him to the White House.

“I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news,” Mr. Trump said to rousing applause.

“We will continue to expose them for what they are and most importantly we will continue to win, win, win,” said the president. “We are not going to let the fake news tell us what to do, how to live or what to believe.”

A month after taking the oath of office, Mr. Trump appeared to be back in his element in front of the boisterous crowd.

“I am here because I want to be among my friends and among the people,” said Mr. Trump.

The president invited a man from the crowd onto the stage, saying he had seen him interviewed on TV after showing up very early Saturday morning for the rally.

Mr. Trump turned the microphone over to the supporter, Gene Huber, who was wearing a Trump t-shirt.

“We the people — our movement is the reason why our president of the United States is standing here today,” said Mr. Huber. “When President Trump during the election promised all these things he’s going to do for us, I knew he was going to do this for us.”

“A star is born,” said the president.

Mr. Trump said that he had already made good on many campaign promises, including bringing jobs back to the United States with help from Ford, General Motors, Chrysler/Fiat and Intel.

The president insisted that he was fighting for the causes Americans care most about, such as wanting to live in safe neighborhoods that are not terrorized by gang members. Those gang members, he said, “right now are being thrown out of the county.”

“We will have strong borders again,” he said.

Mr. Trump also promised to deliver great schools, high paying jobs and a better health care system, adding that he would unveil a health care plan in a couple weeks.

He insisted that his agenda was America’s agenda.

“You want lower taxes, less regulations, better jobs and more products stamped with those beautiful words: ‘Made in the USA,’” he said. “You want a government that keeps its promises.”

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