US & Canada

Donald Trump savages media at Florida rally

Trump at Melbourne rally - 18 Feb 2017 Image copyright APTN
Image caption Donald Trump said he wanted to speak to Americans "without the filter of fake news"

US President Donald Trump has launched another fierce attack on the media at a "campaign rally for America" event in the state of Florida.

He told the crowd in Melbourne the media did not want "to report the truth" and had their own agenda.

He also defended the achievements of his presidency so far, insisting that a spirit of optimism was sweeping the US.

Mr Trump had attacked the media at a press conference on Thursday, as pressure mounted on his presidency.

His national security adviser Michael Flynn quit earlier in the week. Mr Trump is to interview candidates for the role on Sunday.


Then things changed: Tara McKelvey, BBC News, Melbourne

Before Air Force One landed, President Trump came to the back of the aeroplane. He shook our hands and told us we'd see "a fantastic crowd of people" at the rally. He was warm and friendly to us on the aeroplane but things changed at the rally.

Standing on stage, he said reporters "are part of the corrupt system". When he attacked the media, people in the audience screamed their support.

I sat with other journalists in an area that was surrounded by metal gates. At times the animosity towards the media felt personal: my colleague was taking photos, and one man held his hand in front of her lens.

As we left the hangar, another man said to us: "Goodbye, lying media."


On Saturday, President Trump and his wife Melania were greeted by thousands of supporters at the rally in a state he won in November's election, while hundreds protested outside.

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Media captionTrump: 'I'm only worried he's gonna give me a kiss'

In his speech, Mr Trump said he wanted to speak to Americans "without the filter of fake news".

Describing the media as "dishonest", he repeated his assertion that some outlets "don't want to report the truth" and were making up their stories about him.

"We will continue to expose them," he said, pledging to "win, win, win".

In his speech, the president also:

  • Repeated his campaign pledge to keep America "safe" and said the country would "have strong borders again"
  • Said Americans would have "a great healthcare plan" and Obama reforms would be repealed
  • Stressed that the White House was running "so smoothly", dismissing claims that his administration was in disarray
  • Promised to "downsize the bloated bureaucracy" and "drain the swamp" in Washington
  • Said a plan would be developed to "totally destroy" so-called Islamic State
  • Promised to create more jobs in the US and rebuild the country's military

It is unusual for a sitting president to hold a rally in the style of those held during election campaigns.

One supporter, Gene Huber from West Palm Beach, said the decision to hold a rally was not a concern. "No jitters at all," he told the AFP news agency. "This is a world leader now who's taking control."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Thousands of Mr Trump's supporters attended the rally in Melbourne, Florida

Throughout the week, Mr Trump launched attacks on the media while indicating his excitement at facing crowds in Florida again.

On Thursday, he held a 76-minute press conference where he told reporters their level of dishonesty was out of control, citing coverage of his campaign's alleged contacts with Moscow.

Michael Flynn, Mr Trump's national security adviser, resigned on Monday after he misled Vice-President Mike Pence about whether he had discussed US sanctions with Russia's ambassador before his own appointment.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported earlier this week that members of Mr Trump's campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.

While in Florida, Mr Trump is staying at his Mar-a-Lago resort for the third weekend in succession. In a tweet, he referred to the property as the "Southern White House", although the private club is part of Mr Trump's portfolio and is not government property.

While there, he will interview four candidates for the role of national security adviser. They are:

  • Acting adviser Keith Kellogg
  • Former US envoy to the UN John Bolton
  • Lt Gen HR McMaster
  • Lt Gen Robert Caslen

One man tipped for the job, General David Petraeus, is no longer a candidate, a presidential spokesman said.

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