President Donald Trump came to Florida to expand on the theme of a recent tweet in which he called the press the enemy of the American people, in a speech kicking off his re-election campaign one month after being sworn in to office.
“I’m here because I want to be among my friends and among the people. This was a great movement, a movement like has never been seen before in our country, or probably anywhere else,” he began after First Lady Melania Trump read the Lord’s Prayer.
“I want to be in a room filled with hard-working American patriots, who love their country, who salute their flag and pray for a better future. I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news,” he said to millions of viewers watching via CNN, MSNBC and other outlets Trump has labeled “fake news” and enemies of the country.
'Last Week Tonight': John Oliver Unpacks Dangers Of Trump's Move To Withdraw From WHO
“The dishonest media, which has published one false story after another, with no sources, even though they pretend they have them; they make them up in many cases. They just don’t want to report the truth,” Trump said in the airport hangar in Florida.
“They have been calling us wrong now for two years. They don’t get it. But they’re starting to get it,” he said of the press. One day earlier, Trump had telegraphed the theme of Saturday’s speech when he tweeted that media, including some he named, are “the enemy of the American People!” An earlier version of the tweet ended with the word “SICK!” but that was taken down.
“They have become a big part of the problem,” Trump continued Saturday.
“Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln – many of our greatest presidents fought with the media and called them out, oftentime, on their lies. When the media lies to people, I will never ever let them get way with it… They have their own agenda and their agenda is not your agenda,” Trump told the crowd, who roared their approval.
“In fact, Thomas Jefferson said, ‘Nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper’,” Trump said. It is very possible he, or his speech writer, had read that in the morning’s Washington Post – one of Trump’s Fake News 10 – which published an analysis piece headlined: “Memo to Donald Trump: Thomas Jefferson Invented Hating the Media” in which that quote is discussed.
“But, despite all their lies, misrepresentations and false stories, they could not defeat us in the primaries, and they could not defeat us in the general election,” Trump said.
“And we will continue to expose them for what they are, and most importantly, we will continue to win, win, win,” appearing to momentarily forget he’d won the election and been sworn in to office.
“We are not going to let the fake news tell us what to do, how to live or what to believe. We are free and independent people and we will make our own choices. We are here today to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I hear your demands, I hear your voices, and I promise you I will deliver. I promise that.”
Then, getting down to those media reports that have most gotten under his skin, Trump added, “By the way, you see what we have accomplished in a very short period of time. The White House is running smoothly. So smoothly.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.