Trump Praises Himself At Oddly-Timed Campaign Rally

The Florida event, meant to bring his message straight to the people, was reminiscent of events he held in 2016

Feb 18, 2017 at 12:30 PM ET

Following a rough month in the White House, President Donald Trump held a campaign rally on Saturday in Melbourne, Florida. The odd event, in which Trump appeared to be campaigning for a race he already won, was derided by some members of the public as unnecessary and distracting.

Earlier on Saturday, Trump confirmed the rally, which was held on an airplane hangar, via Twitter, saying he has “a lot to talk about!” The rally was reminiscent of glory days of his 2016 campaign, in which he delivered freewheeling speeches to thousands of adoring supporters across the country. Attendees held up signs that read “Hillary for Prison” and “Blacks For Trump 2020.”

First Lady Melania Trump opened the event with the Lord’s Prayer. Afterward, Trump hit a number of his normal talking points and struck a familiar combative tone. About illegal immigrants who have criminal records, he said, “For the most part, get them the hell out of here.” On the media: “Despite all their lies, misrepresentations, and false stories, they could not defeat us in the primaries [or] the general election.” He also promised to bring back jobs, “stand up” for law enforcement officers, and keep the country safe.

“I want to be among my friends and among the people,” Trump told the crowd.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Friday told reporters that the event was a way for Trump to circumvent the media and deliver his message straight to the people. “People in this circle don’t always do the best job delivering his message [because] nobody does it better than he does,” she said about the media, according to CNN. “So he can do that very easily by taking the stage and talking directly to the people of America, addressing their concerns and being able to properly express exactly what he’s doing and what his administration has done over the last month.”

Trump’s last month has been defined by firing his national security adviser, legal challenges to his executive travel ban, and a distraught press conference, among other things. But while Vice President Mike Pence was busy in Munich on Saturday trying to reassure the United States’ European allies about the country’s commitment to NATO, Trump was busy congratulating his administration and lauding his accomplishments.

Unfortunately, many weren’t thrilled about Trump’s unprecedented decision to hold what amounts to a campaign event this early in his presidency: