Trump Touts Achievements, Blames Dems For Disappointments, Blasts Media In 100-Day Rally

It was back to “campaign Trump” last night in Harrisburg, PA.

Donald Trump celebrated his 100th day in office on Saturday by holding a “freewheeling campaign-style rally“, touting the accomplishments of his first three plus months in office, ignoring the disappointments, and once again slamming the media. Trump held the rally with supporters as a contrast to the annual White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner, an annual star-studded gala in Washington that presidents typically attend.

“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington’s swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people,” Trump said, calling out The New York Times, CNN and MSNBC by name.

Speaking shortly after his WaPo op-ed hit, touting what in his own words were his biggest accomplishments, Trump said “my administration has been delivering every single day for the great citizens of our country. We are keeping one promise after another, and frankly the people are really happy about it.”

While Trump told the Pennsylvania crowd he was just getting started on meeting his campaign promises, he repeatedly attacked an “incompetent, dishonest” media, saying they were not telling the truth about his administration’s accomplishments. “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.

“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.”

Trump and his staff chose to skip the press dinner because of what he said was unfair treatment by the press. Trump said he was thrilled to be away from the “Washington swamp”.

Focusing on his tenure in the White House, Trump listed what he said were some of his key early accomplishments, including the successful confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court of Justice Neil Gorsuch and clearing away many regulations on the environment and business according to Reuters. He also listed his approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, killing a pending Asian trade pact, and enhanced security measures that have led to a sharp decline in illegal border crossings at the southern border.

“The world is getting the message: if you try to illegally enter the United States, you will be caught, detained, deported or put in prison,” Trump said.

At the same time, he shrugged off his more prominent failures on his core campaign promises, such as repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act and construction of a Mexican border wall. Trump’s ban on visitors from some Muslim nations was blocked in court.

He blamed Democrats for the legislative failures so far and said all of his promises would be kept eventually. “We’ll build the wall, people, don’t even worry about it,” he said.

Trump also took direct aim at Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, accusing him of leading the Democratic Party “to doom.” 

“Sen. Schumer is bad leader,” Trump said. “I’ve known him a long time. Sen. Schumer is a bad leader. Not a natural leader at all. He works hard to study leadership. When you have to study leadership, you’ve got problems…. Sen. Schumer is weak on crime and wants to raise your taxes through the roof. He is a poor leader – known him a long time – and he’s leading the Democrats to doom.”

On Sunday morning, Trump continued his assault on Democrats tweeting “The Democrats, without a leader, have become the party of obstruction.They are only interested in themselves and not in what’s best for U.S”

He also said Obamacare, while seemingly stuck in Congress due to the Republican failure to get enough votes to repeal it, “is dead.”

Trump also said he floped on his promise to name China a currency manipulator because he wanted its help in trying to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.  In an excerpt of an interview with “Face the Nation” of CBS, set to air on Sunday and Monday and conducted during the trip to Pennsylvania, Trump said he would “not be happy” if North Korea conducted a nuclear test. Asked if that would mean military action, Trump said “I don’t know, I mean we’ll see.”

Trump left Washington as another in a series of protests against his administration was winding up. Thousands of marchers made their way through Washington’s streets during the People’s Climate March, a protest against Trump’s moves to roll back environmental regulations. Asked by reporters accompanying him to Pennsylvania what he had to say to the climate change protesters, Trump said: “Enjoy the day, enjoy the weather.”

* * * 

Meanwhile, back in DC, the White House press corps gathered for its annual black-tie dinner, a toned-down affair this year after Donald Trump snubbed the event, becoming the first incumbent U.S. president to bow out in 36 years, according to Reuters.

Without Trump, who scheduled a rally instead to mark his 100th day in office, the usually celebrity-filled soiree hosted by the White House Correspondents’ Association took a more sober turn, even as it pulled in top journalists and Washington insiders.

 

Most of Trump’s administration also skipped the event in solidarity with the president, who has repeatedly accused the press of mistreatment. The president used his campaign-style gathering to again lambaste the media.

While Trump was bashing the press in Harrisburg, in Washington, WHCA President Jeff Mason defended press freedom even as he acknowledged this year’s dinner had a different feel, saying attempts to undermine the media was dangerous for democracy. “We are not fake news, we are not failing news organizations and we are not the enemy of the American people,” said Reuters’ correspondent Mason.

Instead of the typical roasts, where presidents of both parties have delivered their own zingers for years,  the event returned to its traditional roots of recognizing reporters’ work and handing out student scholarships as famed journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein presented awards.

“That’s not Donald Trump’s style,” NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell told MSNBC, referring to the self-deprecating jokes presidents in the past have made despite tensions with the press.

The humor at the WHCA event fell to headline comedian Hasan Minhaj.

“Welcome to the series finale of the White House correspondents’ dinner,” Minhaj, who plays a correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” program, told the crowd.

He also joked about Trump, despite organizers’ wishes, saying he did so to honor U.S. constitutional protection of free speech: “Only in America can a first-generation, Indian-American Muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the president.”  Some more highlights courtesy of The Hill:

“I get it, I get it. We got to address the elephant that’s not in the room.The leader of our country is not here. And that’s because he lives in Moscow. It is a very long flight. It would be hard for [Russian President Vladimir Putin] to make it.”

 

“As for the other guy, I think he’s in Pennsylvania because he can’t take a joke.”

 

“He tweets at 3 a.m. sober. Who is tweeting at 3 a.m. sober? Donald Trump – because it’s 10 a.m. in Russia. Those are business hours.”

 

It wasn’t only Trump on the receiving end of Minhaj’s roast. The comedian also took aim at several media outlets, including C-SPAN, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

 

“It’s almost as if ‘The Daily Show’ should be on C-SPAN,” he said of the Comedy Central show’s frequent jokes about the Trump administration. “It has left zero impact.”

Minhaj also took a jab at former President Barack Obama, who did not attend the dinner but was present each year while he was office.

“Who would have thought with everything going on in the country right now that a Muslim would be standing on this stage for a ninth year in a row, baby,” Minhaj joked, a reference to unfounded accusations that Obama is a Muslim.

“We had eight years of Barack. What’s another year? I see you fam, I see you Barry. What you doin’ right now? You jet skiing while the world burns?”

Few other celebrities graced the red carpet, although some well-known Washingtonians, such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Republican Representative Darrell Issa of California, appeared.  In an interview with Reuters this week, Trump said he decided against attending as president because he felt he had been treated unfairly by the media, adding: “I would come next year, absolutely.”

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Iraqi commander vows to complete capture of Mosul in May

A top Iraqi commander expects to dislodge Daesh from Mosul in May despite resistance from militants in the densely populated Old City district.

The battle should be completed “in a maximum of three weeks”, the Iraqi army’s chief of staff, Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanmi, was quoted as saying by state-run newspaper al-Sabah on Sunday.

A US-led international coalition is providing air and ground support for the offensive in Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq, which fell to hardline Sunni Muslim fighters in June 2014.

Daesh has lost most of the city’s districts since the offensive began in October and is now surrounded in the north-western districts, including the historic Old City centre.

Iraq General: We are avenging soldiers’ losses by wiping out Mosul

The United Nation believes that up to half a million people remain in the area still controlled by the militants in Mosul, 400,000 of which are in the Old City with little food and water supply and no access to hospitals.

The militants have dug in between the civilians, often launching deadly counter-attacks to repel forces closing in on the Old City’s Grand al-Nuri Mosque.

It was from this mosque, famous for its leaning minaret, that the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had declared a caliphate over parts of Iraq and Syria. Mosul was by far the largest city to have fallen under his control in both countries.

The total number of fighters aligned against Daesh in Mosul from all forces and units exceeds 100,000.

Iraqi forces estimate the number of Daesh fighters who remain in Mosul at 200 to 300, mostly foreigners, down from nearly 6,000 when the offensive started.

Several thousand have been killed so far in the battle, both civilians and military, according to international aid organisations. The total number of people displaced from Mosul since October is close to 400,000, about a fifth of Mosul’s population before its capture by Islamic State.

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مسؤول: مصر تبقي سعر الدولار الجمركي عند ‭16.5‬ جنيه لمدة شهر

قال عمرو المنير نائب وزير المالية المصري للسياسات الضريبية لرويترز يوم الأحد إنه تقرر إبقاء سعر الدولار الجمركي عند 16.5 جنيه دون تغيير وذلك لمدة شهر من أول مايو أيار. يحدد الدولار الجمركي قيمة الرسوم التي يدفعها المستورد بالعملة المحلية بما يوازي الرسوم الدولارية المفروضة عليه نظير الإفراج الجمركي عن البضائع المستوردة. ويبلغ سعر العملة […]

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رئيسة وزراء بريطانيا تقول لن ترفع ضريبة القيمة المضافة

قالت رئيسة الوزراء البريطانية تيريزا ماي يوم الأحد إنها لن ترفع ضريبة القيمة المضافة إذا انتخب البريطانيون حزبها، حزب المحافظين، في الثامن من يونيو حزيران ولن ترفع مستويات الضرائب بشكل عام. وقالت ماي لبرنامج على قناة آي.تي.في التلفزيونية “لن نرفع ضريبة القيمة المضافة.”

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إيران تحقق الاكتفاء الذاتي في البنزين وتستهدف التصدير

قالت إيران يوم الأحد إنها حققت الاكتفاء الذاتي في إنتاج البنزين وذلك مع قيام الرئيس حسن روحاني بافتتاح مصفاة في مدينة بندر عباس بجنوب البلاد. تبلغ طاقة المصفاة 12 مليون لتر من البنزين. وستنتج 36 مليون لتر حين تبدأ العمل بكامل طاقتها. ونقل موقع معلومات وزارة النفط على الإنترنت عن روحاني قوله “بافتتاح المرحلة الأولى […]

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وزير المالية الألماني: اليونان أحرزت تقدما جيدا في الإصلاحات

قال وزير المالية الألماني فولفجانج شيوبله إن اليونان أحرزت تقدما قويا صوب إدخال إصلاحات بما يمكن أن يؤدي إلى الإفراج الفوري عن مزيد من الدعم المالي. ونقلت مجموعة فونكه الإعلامية عن شيوبله قوله في مقابلة يوم الأحد “إذا التزمت الحكومة اليونانية بجميع الاتفاقات فقد يستكمل وزراء المالية الأوروبيون المراجعة في 22 مايو (أيار) ويطلقون الشريحة […]

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الفالح: هناك توافق مع آسيا بشأن أسواق النفط

قال وزير الطاقة السعودي خالد الفالح إن هناك توافقا مع دول آسيا الوسطى بشأن أسواق النفط ومستويات الإنتاج. كان الفالح يتحدث خلال جولة لدول آسيا الوسطى وقال في تدوينة على موقع تويتر إن هناك اتفاقا أيضا مع المنطقة على ضرورة الالتزام بتخفيضات الإنتاج.

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Rouhani warns voters to prevent ‘extremism’ returning to Iran

President Hassan Rouhani told Iranians on Saturday they could face greater authoritarianism if they replace him with a hardline rival in May’s election.

Rouhani was the surprise winner of the last presidential vote, in 2013, after eight years of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whose re-election for a second term in 2009 caused mass protests and a severe security crackdown.

He now faces serious competition from hardliners, some of whom are close to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has criticised Rouhani’s economic record, saying his detente with the West and concessions on Iran’s nuclear work had yet to yield economic benefits.

Rouhani told a rally in the city of Yazd, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency:

We will not let them bring the security and police atmosphere back to the country…Iranians will prove to the world at the May 19 election that the era of violence, extremism and pressures in our country is over and Iran is pursuing the path of reason.

Iranian cleric and presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi meets with his supporters during a rally prior to presidential elections in Tehran, Iran on April 29, 2017 [Fatemeh Bahrami / Anadolu Agency]

Iranian cleric and presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi meets with his supporters during a rally prior to presidential elections in Tehran, Iran on April 29, 2017 [Fatemeh Bahrami / Anadolu Agency]

Among Rouhani’s challengers are Ebrahim Raisi, an influential cleric with decades of experience in the hardline judiciary, and conservative Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a former Revolutionary Guards commander.

Raisi, a close ally of Khamenei, was one of four judges who oversaw the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.

Read: Who are the frontrunners in Iran’s presidential elections?

Rouhani still retains considerable support, especially among Iran’s large bloc of young, urban voters attracted to his vision of greater social freedoms and an end to Islamic clerical interference in their personal lives, analysts say.

However, human rights activists say his administration has achieved little on personal freedoms or freeing political prisoners and has been more focused on reducing Iran’s international isolation.

Rouhani said in a televised speech that “freedom is the most important issue for the Iranians” and that he had ordered the intelligence ministry not to “interfere in people’s privacy”.

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Eight Syria Civil Defence workers killed in air strike

Eight Syria Civil Defence workers died on Saturday when an air strike hit their office in northern Hama province, the rescue service said on its Twitter page.

Also known as the White Helmets, the civil defence rescue service operates in opposition-held parts of Syria.

The civil defence centre was in Kafr Zeita, a town in rebel-held northern Hama province, which came under intense aerial bombardment on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said.

Backed by Russian air strikes and Iranian-backed militias, the Syrian army is waging an offensive against rebel areas north of government-held Hama city, reversing insurgent gains made last month.

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Turkey fires 3,900 in second post-referendum purge

Turkey on Saturday expelled more than 3,900 people from the civil service and military as threats to national security, in the second major purge since President Tayyip Erdogan was granted sweeping new powers.

Erdogan won those concessions in a referendum in mid-April, which rights groups and some Western allies believe has brought the country, a NATO-member and European Union candidate, closer to one-man rule.

The expulsions – carried out in conjunction with media curbs – affected prison guards, clerks, academics, employees of the religious affairs directorate and 1,200 members of the armed forces including nearly 600 officers.

They were fired for suspected links to “terrorist organisations and structures presenting a threat to national security”, according to a decree in the Official Gazette.

On Wednesday more than 9,000 police were suspended and another 1,000 detained for alleged links to the network of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the coup attempt last July in which he has denied all involvement.

In all, some 120,000 people have been suspended or sacked from their jobs and more than 40,000 arrested in the aftermath of the failed coup, which killed 240 people, mostly civilians.

Read: Erdogan slams EU’s decision to monitor Turkey’s politics

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