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Trump Holds Campaign-Style Pennsylvania Rally

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

President Trump spent his 100th day in office yesterday in Harrisburg, Pa., speaking to ecstatic crowds elated to see the president they believe has upended the political system in Washington. The president defiantly defended his young administration's track record, and he pushed back against news accounts that suggest the last few months have been anything other than a historic success. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Trump began his 100th-day rally in Harrisburg by noting it was happening at the same time as another big celebration back in Washington - the White House Correspondents Dinner, a swanky gathering of elite-news-media types. Presidents ordinarily attend the correspondents dinner, but Trump decided to skip it, telling supporters in central Pennsylvania he couldn't be more thrilled to be more than 100 miles away.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The Washington media is part of the problem. Their priorities are not my priorities, and they're not your priorities, believe me.

HORSLEY: Having dismissed the news media and its critical coverage of his administration's legal losses and legislative setbacks, Trump was free to spin his own narrative, painting his time in office as a 100-day success story.

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TRUMP: We are keeping one promise after another. And frankly, the people are really happy about it. They see what's happening.

HORSLEY: Certainly, the people attending the Trump rally are happy with what they've seen. Ronald Robinson calls Trump a doer who's shaking things up in Washington.

RONALD ROBINSON: He's definitely a leader. I mean, he's willing to do new things. He stands up to the press. That's why he's here. He wants to be with his people.

HORSLEY: Darlene Yeakel agrees. Trump is not about to be tripped up by the news media. Yeakel, who's from Carbon County, Pa., also likes the president's emphasis on restoring homegrown manufacturing.

DARLENE YEAKEL: We had some manufacturing. We had sowing mills and all the other stuff. But we don't have it now, right? It's all gone. I want to see it all come back. I want to see a big community there of people who are making refrigerators and rolling steel. Anything that you need with coal - we got to do that.

HORSLEY: On his way to the rally, Trump dropped by a wheelbarrow factory owned by the Ames Company, which has been manufacturing tools here since before the American Revolution. The factory was the backdrop as Trump signed a new executive order calling for a review of all U.S. trade agreements. The administration's also launched an investigation into rising steel and aluminum imports on the theory that if those domestic industries suffer, it could pose a threat to national security.

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TRUMP: We are not going to let other countries take advantage of us anymore because from now on, it's going to be America first.

HORSLEY: Trump has not yet persuaded Congress to authorize money for his border wall and his travel ban on visitors from certain Muslim-majority countries has twice been struck down by the courts. Nevertheless, the government has stepped up arrests of immigrants living in this country illegally. As Trump told supporters at the rally, the sharp drop in illegal border crossings suggests those policies are working.

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TRUMP: The world is getting the message. If you try to illegally enter the United States, you will be caught, detained, deported or put in prison at - it will happen.

HORSLEY: Trump promised to keep pushing for an Obamacare repeal and said he'll decide in the next two weeks whether to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. Trump told supporters to get ready for what he calls the great battles to come as he looks to his second 100 days in office. The president says we're just beginning in our fight to make America great again. Scott Horsley, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.