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Trump to mark 100 days with rally aimed at base


A tweet issued by US President Donald Trump on March 6.

Photo: AP

US President Donald Trump on Saturday faced the sober realities of his office as he marked the 100th day of a presidency stamped by chaos and confusion, but he will also take political succor in a campaign-style rally among his core supporters.

Under a relentless spotlight since stunning the world in November last year with an improbable victory over former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 45th president of the US has struggled to convert his campaign promises into tangible achievements.

His bid to repeal and replace former US president Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reforms have foundered in Congress, where many of his legislative priorities have been tripped up by cold political gamesmanship.

For example, funding for his promised wall along the US border with Mexico needed to be stripped out of a federal funding bill to prevent a government shutdown.

His tax plan, hastily unveiled this week in hopes of burnishing his first 100 days with a success story, has been savaged as a multi-billion-dollar giveaway to the wealthy and a plan that would send the national debt soaring.

Trump has signed dozens of executive orders, including several that roll back Obama-era regulations on industry or lift bans on oil and gas drilling — efforts widely praised by Republican lawmakers and voters.

However, his most high-profile order, a temporary ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority nations entering the US, was blocked twice in US courts.

Nevertheless, he put on a brave face in discussing the early days of his presidency.

“The first 100 days of my administration has been just about the most successful in our country’s history,” he said in his weekly address on Friday.

“I don’t think anybody has done what we’ve been able to do in 100 days, so we’re very happy,” he added to reporters, remarking that he nevertheless believes the 100-day milestone to be arbitrary, “a false standard.”

As if he were escaping the pressures of the office, Trump was scheduled to attend a rally yesterday evening in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he was expected to return to much of the campaign rhetoric that had enthralled his base.

It is a setting where he appears most comfortable — in front of adoring crowds — and where he can at least temporarily shut out some of the criticism that he is a political novice struggling to earn respect and trust at home and overseas.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer defended the president for holding the rally yesterday, scheduled for the same time as the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Although past presidents have routinely attended the Washington event, Trump boycotted it this year, highlighting his disdain for the media.

“It’s not just about the correspondents’ dinner,” Spicer said of the rally. “It’s about an opportunity for him to talk to voters that elected him, what he’s been able to accomplish in the first 100 days.”

At this stage of his presidency, Trump is the least popular US leader in modern times — even if his core supporters still fully support him.

Democrats on Friday gleefully described his opening century mark as a slow-motion train wreck, a period of dramatically diminished stability, legislative failures and broken campaign pledges.

US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi offered failing grades for Trump’s “starkly dismal” first 100 days.

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