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Trump savages media as Washington roasts him from afar


President Donald Trump said the media are “consoling each other” in his absence and deserve a “very very big fat failing grade.” | AP Photo

'The media deserves a very big, fat, failing grade,' the president tells a charged-up crowd in Pennsylvania.

By Josh Dawsey and Ian Kullgren

04/29/17 08:29 PM EDT

Updated 04/30/17 12:17 AM EDT


HARRISBURG, PA. — Jerry Dobihal came into the Pennsylvania Farm Show auditorium here with two Donald Trump buttons tacked on his cowboy hat, 15 colored markers and a large sign: "My President Skipped Dinner to Give Us DESSERT." By evening's end, more than 200 people had scribbled a rainbow of notes, covering every inch of the poster. "I LOVE YOU DT," one read.

For trading his tuxedo for a farm arena here, where the faint smell of cow dung occasionally wafted in, Trump got what he wanted: a showdown with the Washington media that he claims to despise but deeply covets, as well as praise for being a man-of-the-people, even though he has donned tuxedos at Manhattan's swankiest galas for decades.

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“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington's swamp, spending my evening with all of you with a much, much larger crowd and much, much better people,” Trump said. "The media deserves a very big, fat, failing grade."

Trump’s had his own struggles: He is grappling with record-low approval ratings, an administration beset by chaos and few legislative accomplishments, and a realization that he has much to learn, aides and advisers say. He has struggled to secure support for his agenda.

His signature executive order — a travel ban — has been halted by the courts, twice. He has been stung by unflattering portraits of his administration's issues and marveled aloud at how difficult the job is.

So on Saturday he returned to vintage Trump: blaming and attacking others, bragging about his election win, and ticking through issues with his signature bravado but little clarity. The president did not mention that he and his team have spent hundreds of hours in recent weeks trying to woo the media into better coverage of his administration. Or that he watches dozens of hours of TV every week on his trusty TiVo. Or that he is at home at black-tie dinners.

The rallies were like the campaign never ended, and Trump seemed back in his groove.

Trump's favorite tunes played: He entered right after "My Way" by Frank Sinatra. He read a 1960s song about a woman who took in a snake, which bit her after she nursed it in her bosom, to explain why the United States should block immigration. It was a hit of the campaign trail, as he noted.

"You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in!" he said, imitating the snake, his voice rising to a climax.

In an audience with hundreds of signs, he spotted one that piqued his interest. "Thank you


At rally, Trump revels in dinner contrast

At rally, Trump revels in dinner contrast

President Donald Trump said the media are “consoling each other” in his absence and deserve a “very very big fat failing grade.” | AP Photo

Speaking in Pennsylvania, Trump mocks media's agenda as they gather in D.C. for White House Correspondents' Dinner.

By Ian Kullgren

04/29/17 08:29 PM EDT

Updated 04/29/17 09:20 PM EDT


President Donald Trump marked his 100th day in office with a scathing tirade against the media, telling supporters at a rally in Pennsylvania that journalists in Washington have been distorting his record.

The rally, which overlapped with the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, was presented as a symbolic rebuke of the political establishment that Trump ran against.

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Trump said the media are “consoling each other” in his absence and deserve a “very, very big fat failing grade.”

“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from the Washington swamp, spending my evening with all of you with a much, much larger crowd and much, much better people,” Trump said.

Trump is the first president in 36 years to skip the dinner. The last, Ronald Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt — and even he phoned in.

The contrast between the two events was striking and calculated: A black-tie dinner consisting of media luminaries competing for air time with Trump and his working-class supporters in a swing state that secured his victory.

Trump used the occasion, historically a celebration of the First Amendment and a sign of civility between the press the president, to tick off everything he thinks is wrong with the media, mocking specific publications for their allegedly struggling finances and their unfavorable coverage of his administration.

“Outlets like CNN and MSNBC are fake news,” Trump said. “And they’re sitting and they’re wishing in Washington and they’re watching — right now they’re watching. And they’d love to be here tonight.”

The New York Times, Trump said, soon “will only be out on the internet.”

“It’s starting to look like a comic book,” Trump said, chiding the newspaper for selling its historic building in Times Square and moving to “an ugly location to an ugly part of town” (it is in fact five blocks away in midtown). He ripped the Boston Globe, too, for getting rid of its historic building, pitting his own real estate prowess against that of the newspaper.

Trump has an especially touchy history with the correspondents’ dinner. In 2011, President Barack Obama gave Trump a roast at the dinner for igniting rumors that he wasn’t born in the United States.

“No one is prouder to put this birth-certificate matter to rest than the Donald,” Obama said. “And that’s because he can finally get back to the issues that matter, like: did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And—where are Biggie and Tupac?”

This year, the cable networks were left with no choice but to try to cover both events. CNN, Fox News and MSNBC cut juggled shots


Trump on 100th day: 'Fake' media refuses to list administration's achievements


AP Photo


Trump warns North Korea on nuclear test

Trump warns North Korea on nuclear test

"I would not be happy if he does a nuclear test," Trump said of North Korea. | AP Photo


Samantha Bee toasts and roasts media at mock WHCD


Samantha Bee speaks onstage during Full Frontal With Samantha Bee's Not The White House Correspondents' Dinner at DAR Constitution Hall on April 29 in Washington, DC. | Getty

Comedian sends up Trump, and the press, at pre-dinner show.

By Madeline Conway

04/29/17 06:09 PM EDT

The liberal comedian Samantha Bee toasted, and roasted, the news media at a mock White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday, saluting news organizations for fact-checking President Donald Trump in between poking at his administration and CNN.

“We are living in a golden age of journalism,” Bee told a crowd in Washington’s D.A.R. Constitution Hall. “Unfortunately, that's partly due to a golden president.”

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The afternoon show was a taping of a special episode of her TBS show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” appropriately titled “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.” It will air at 10 p.m. Saturday, while journalists gather at the Washington Hilton for the annual dinner hosted by the White House Correspondents’ Association.

The “Full Frontal” special was a troll of Trump, who has publicly antagonized the news media and pointedly declined the traditional invitation to attend the dinner. The show made plenty of jokes at his administration’s expense, riffing on things like adviser Kellyanne Conway’s history of misstatements. Bee wore a white pantsuit, too, evoking Hillary Clinton, and ended the program with a segment imagining how the night’s' dinner would have gone if Clinton had won the election.

Along with its theme, the show focused more on the press than the president. Acknowledging that her show comments on Trump every week already, Bee told New York Magazine on Thursday that the event was also supposed to be a “celebration of the journalism that makes our show possible.” (TBS says proceeds will benefit the Committee to Protect Journalists.)

The show, sure enough, included frequent shout-outs to the value of the news media. Some were broad toasts to the institution (“Without a free press, we wouldn't have a functioning democracy,” Bee said in one applause line), and others were more pointed digs at Trump (“You continue to fact check the president as if some day he might get embarrassed!”).

Some journalists made cameo appearances in pre-recorded segments, including CNN’s Jake Tapper, who mock-interviewed Bee.

Bee didn't shy away from roasting the media, though. One segment hit CNN for its coverage of the presidential campaign last year, praising anchors like Anderson Cooper but accusing the network of treating politics like a sport and paying Trump supporters like Jeffrey Lord to argue with liberals on camera.

“Cable news has developed a critical pundit infestation,” Bee declared.

Not so surprisingly, there was also a lengthy diatribe against Fox News. Bee poked at MSNBC’s liberal prime time lineup, too, with a reference to Rachel Maddow’s long preamble before her March report on Trump's tax returns.

Late-night comedy, with its liberal bent, is having a moment under Trump. Ratings for programs like “Saturday Night Live” are surging as they offer something akin to therapy to

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