President Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania Saturday night was a classic Trump campaign stop. He attacked the media, snarled about the Washington “swamp,” stoked fears about illegal immigrants, and promised a future in which “dying factories will come roaring back to life.”
It also featured a special twist to mark Trump’s first 100 days in office: an alternative telling of his presidency so far, in which all of his policy plans are well on track.
“What we’ve delivered is 100 days of action,” Trump told thousands of supporters at the Farm Show building in Harrisburg.
There’s certainly been a lot of activity since Trump took office. The problem is his actions haven’t yielded many results, or at least not the results he promised his supporters. As Vox reporters noted here, Trump has really only accomplished three of the 30 things he promised to do by Saturday.
You wouldn’t have known that from the rally. Trump blamed his clear defeats — like failing to repeal Obamacare, and get funding to start building the wall — on others. And he assured his backers he will win on those issues soon enough. “We’ll build a wall, folks,” he said at one point. “Don’t even worry about it.”
Trump rates media’s performance
Trump was clearly agitated about all the press coverage surrounding his first 100 days in office, with journalists pointing out how little he did that he said he would do. So he started his rally by belittling reporters, reminding his supporters that Washington journalists were busy cavorting in a ballroom with Hollywood celebrities at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
“I could not possibly be more thrilled to be more than 100 miles away from the Washington swamp, spending my evening with all of you,” he said, adding that his rally had a “much, much larger crowd.”
“If the media’s job is to be honest and tell the truth,” he added, “we would agree the media deserves a big fat failing grade.”
Trump reminds everyone of all the action
The truth, as Trump portrayed it, is that people are “exhausted” by all the action of his first 100 days. Often he implied that his executive orders had made much larger impacts than they actually have, or that his policy plans are much further along than they actually appear to be in Congress.
For example, Trump talked up his plan to provide “tax relief for the middle class and lower the business tax,” which he said would make “companies expand and companies come back into our country and companies not leave our country.”
But he didn’t mention that his plan hasn’t even been drafted into a bill for members of Congress to vote on. He doesn’t mention that it’s a skeletal wish list with no details about how Congress is supposed to offset the trillions of dollars in revenue that will be lost.
Trump blames others, makes more promises
Tax reform, at least, still lies ahead for Trump. But he has already suffered setbacks on major issues for his base, including his promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and to start building a wall along the US-Mexico border. Here, too, the president offered his supporters a far rosier picture than the one that has emerged from Capitol Hill.
Obamacare is so bad, he said, that it’s going to self-destruct without his help. But even so, he promised that Republicans would pass a bill that lowered health insurance premiums and deductibles and still gave everyone access to affordable health care — even though there’s no evidence of such a bill existing.
“We’re going to get that damn thing passed quickly,” he said.
As for the border wall, Trump’s supporters didn't forget his promise to get started on it. At least three times during the evening, they chanted, “Build the wall! Build the wall!”
Trump didn’t get enough Republican support to pass a supplemental spending bill that sets aside a few billion dollars to start building the wall — a fact he was quick to blame on Democrats. “If the Democrats knew what the hell they were doing, they would approve it so easy,” he said. “Obviously they don’t mind illegals coming in and they don’t mind drugs coming in.”
He told his supporters to go home, go to sleep, and rest assured that he will build the wall. And he promised he was on his way to make America great again.