Donald Trump once again doubled down on the media, telling a cheering crowd in Florida: ‘I want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news.’
The president was introduced in front of a crowd of 9,000 in Melbourne by Melania Trump, who led them in The Lord’s Prayer after she and her husband stepped off Air Force One on Saturday afternoon.
The First Lady, after embracing the president, promised to ‘stay true to myself and be truthful to you’ and told the audience, ‘my husband is creating a country of great safety and prosperity’.
The 'Make America Great Again Rally' was almost identical in rhetoric to his 2016 campaign events that focused on bringing back jobs and increasing national security. Unsurprisingly, this rally had a heavier focus on bashing press coverage than before.
At 5.43pm ET Trump stepped off of Air Force One in Melbourne where 'Proud to be an American' blared over the loudspeakers.
He shook hands with some of his supporters, most of who were holding 'Trump/Pence' signs or wearing the famous 'Make American Great Again' hats.
First Lady Melania, dressed in a $2,200 Alexander McQueen dress and $595 Christian Louboutin pointed heels, kicked off the campaign rally with The Lord's Prayer.
'The America we envisioned is one that works for all Americans,' said the First Lady.
'I will always be true to myself and be truthful to you no matter what the opposition is saying,' she continued in a slight dig at the media.
President Trump voiced his surprised that his wife said The Lord's Prayer but said he thought it was a lovely gesture.
'This was a truly great movement and I want to be here with you and I will always be with you. I promise you that,' he said.
'I want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news,' Trump said to a mixture of cheers and boos against the press.
He angrily elaborated on this point, a continuation of his most recent press conference during which he bashed the media.
He said: 'They [the media] are part of the corrupt system.'
Trump then spoke about Thomas Jefferson and his distrust of media by taking the Founding Father's quote wildly out of context.
About the press, Trump said: 'They have their own agenda and their agenda is not your agenda. In fact, Thomas Jefferson said, “nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle,” that was June 14, my birthday, 1807.'
As Politifact points out, Jefferson wasn't typically adversarial towards the press. He also wrote in 1787: 'The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right.'
And were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.'
He also pointed to other presidents who he said opposed the press, including Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson.
He also said in a few weeks the GOP would be submitting a health care plan that would repeal and replace 'the disaster that is Obamacare.'
'Our plan will be better healthcare at a much lower cost,' Trump said.
He then transitioned into how miners would be going back to work soon. Many lost their jobs under President Obama because of environmental regulations.
Along the same line, Trump said he would make sure jobs stayed in the country.
'You want a government that keeps its promises. A great spirit of optimism is sweeping across the country,' said Trump referencing the spike in the stock market over the past few months. Some of this spike happened under President Obama.
The rally was similar in tone to the campaign rallies of 2016, heavily focusing on job creation. Trump spoke of his recent deal and visit to Boeing and tied it in to how this is helping relations with American allies.
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. He did not mention General Michael Flynn's resignation this week or the Russia controversy.
He did reference Japan Prime Minister Abe's visit earlier this month and a conversation they had where Abe thanked him for a deal on fighter jets.
'I know the media will never thank me so at least Japan is thanking me,' said Trump.
At one point Trump pulled up a supporter on stage who said a few kind words about Trump. The president said: 'A star is born.'