MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — Just four weeks into his administration, President Donald Trump appeared at a campaign rally that mirrored the months leading up to Election Day, complete with promises to repeal the health care law, insults for the news media and a playlist highlighted by the Rolling Stones.
“I want to be among my friends and among the people,” Trump told a cheering crowd packed into an airport hangar in central Florida, praising his “truly great movement.”
Trump promised anew to build a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, reduce regulations and create jobs. He also pledged to “do something over the next couple of days” to address the immigration order that has been blocked in the courts. Said Trump: “We don’t give up, we never give up.”
Insisting he was the victim of false reporting, Trump said his White House was running “so smoothly” and that he “inherited one big mess.” The president has been trying refocus after reports of disarray and dysfunction within his administration.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One before the rally, Trump said he was holding a campaign rally because “life is a campaign.”
“To make America great again is absolutely a campaign,” he said. “It’s not easy, especially when we’re also fighting the press.”
And he’s also had to contend with crowds of protesters. Thousands of them were out on the streets of Dallas and Los Angeles to oppose immigration enforcement raids and to support immigrants and refugees generally. In Los Angeles, an organizer urged local authorities not to spend money on immigration enforcement.
Trump, who held a rally in the same spot in Florida in September, clearly relished being back in front of his supporters, welcoming the cheers and letting one supporter up on stage to offer praise for the president. He also enjoyed reliving his surprise victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
First lady Melania Trump introduced her husband at the rally, reciting the Lord’s Prayer before offering her own pledge to act in the best interest of all Americans as she pursues initiatives she says will impact women and children around the world.
The event had the familiar trappings of a Trump campaign rally, including red Trump caps, “Make America Great Again” and “Trump/Pence” signs and at least one sign reading “Hillary for Prison.” Some of the speakers ahead of Trump’s appearance called for repealing and replacing President Barack Obama’s health care law, criticized the news media or lobbed barbs at Clinton, other constants of last year’s rallies.