"Tell us what you really think", said fellow protestor", Julie Bowerman, a teacher from Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County. These include plans to increase oil and coal production, the construction of a controversial pipeline, and the prospect of the United States pulling out of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change. But he got his biggest cheers with a sustained attack on the media, returning, almost six months after Election Day, to the same themes that drove his campaign. "The media deserves a very big, fat, failing grade". "We are here to celebrate the press - not the presidency".
Trump's supporters were standing shoulder to shoulder on the floor and filling in seats up to the rafters. The event - scheduled for 7:30 p.m. - will coincide with the annual White House correspondents' dinner, which Trump elected not to attend in a break from tradition.
The tension between the president and the press led several news organizations to withdraw from the White House Correspondents' Dinner in protest of Trump's treatment of the media before Trump decided he would not attend.
"I love this state!", Trump said to cheers from the crowd.
Holding his speech in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Trump repeatedly emphasized how America's traditional Rust Belt and other impovrished communities would eventually benefit the most from his policies, highlighting the issue of job creation while never touching upon the environmental concerns associated with Trump's expansion of fossil fuel industries. "But they're trapped at the dinner, which will be very, very boring", he said.
The President was greeted with cheers and chants of "USA!"
For the last 100 days, my administration has been delivering every single day. whether putting our coal miners back to work, protecting America's steel and aluminium workers.
The rally was a way for Trump to communicate directly to the people without the media's filter. State police held him briefly on the ground before escorting him out. At the start of the rally, Trump told the roaring crowd that more than half of Americans say that the media is out of touch with everyday people. His team touted Trump's moves to roll back Obama regulations and strike Syria.
Rather than attending the annual dinner - where the president traditionally is the opening act for a well-known Hollywood comedian and is also the butt of numerous event's jokes - Trump opted to take a short trip from Washington to Pennsylvania where he visited a tool manufacturing company in Harrisburg and signed two executive orders focused on trade. The Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want", a favorite from the campaign trail, played over the loudspeakers. It denies Trump a win on his oft-promised wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, but it gives him a $15 billion down payment on his request to strengthen the military. George W. Bush's tax cuts were not signed until June and were partially repealed by his successor.
Supporter Heather Frampton said that the blame shouldn't be limited to Democrats. To top it all off, this was a president who promised to do huge things and do them quickly - now he's breaking promises nearly weekly. Trump's ban on visitors from some Muslim nations was blocked in court. But the president didn't show up.
"It's time we show the terrorists that we are a nation that is forceful now. First of all, is there any place like a Trump rally, in all fairness?", Trump said after one burst of cheers.
Reflecting on his record thus far, Niedzielski, said Trump is trying and he has experienced "some growing pains" but Democrats have not helped him.