President Donald Trump was the first incumbent president to skip the usually celebrity-filled black-tie event since Ronald Regan, who was recovering from an assassination attempt, in 1981. To mark his first 100 days in office, President Donald Trump traveled to HARRISBURG ,Pennsylvania — a state that helped him to victory in November.
Rather than attending the annual dinner — where the president traditionally is the opening act for a well-known Hollywood comedian and is also the butt of many of the event’s jokes — Trump opted to take a short trip from Washington to Pennsylvania where he visited a tool manufacturing company in Harrisburg and signed two executive orders focused on trade. One of the orders directed the Commerce Department and the U.S. trade representative to conduct a review of existing U.S. international trade and investment agreements and another created a new White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing to be led by Trump adviser Peter Navarro. Then Trump held a rally in the Pennsylvania city and gave a nearly hourlong stump speech.
Trump pointedly told the scores of backers in attendance that he would rather be there with them than at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which he had previously announced he would be skipping.
“A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now,” “I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles way from Washington’s swamp,” he said, “spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people, right?”
Mr Trump said the dinner would be “very, very boring”.
“But next year maybe we will make it exciting for them in Washington and we will show up,” he said.
Most of Mr Trump’s administration also skipped the dinner in solidarity with the President.
The event had all the hallmarks of the high-profile rallies Trump was known for throughout his White House candidacy, including riffs on attendees in the audience and directing security to handle protesters and “get them out.”
Trump reiterated his commitment to various campaign pledges such as repealing ObamaCare and building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, while accusing media of dishonest coverage and Democrats of obstructing his agenda.
He also sought to push back on coverage of his first 100 days in office, which did not see any major legislative victories and a number of controversies surrounding executive orders blocked in court.
“If the media’s job is to be honest and to tell the truth, then I think we would all agree the media deserves a very, very big, fat failing grade,” he said.
In his first 100 days in office, Trump boasted, his administration had driven down the number of undocumented immigrants trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border; he had begun the process of rebuilding the country’s military; and he had freed an Egyptian-American aid worker trapped in a Cairo prison – something former President Obama hadn’t been able to do for several years, he said.
“We are keeping one promise after another, and frankly the people are really happy about it,” President Trump said.
Trump ended his speech with the rousing promise: “We will make America strong again, we will make American wealthy again, we will make America prosper again, we will make America safe again we will make American great again.”