President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to take another shot at reporters ahead of his planned campaign-style rally Saturday afternoon in Florida, by calling on his followers not to believe “the main stream (fake news) media.”
Trump traveled to Florida on Friday to stay at his Mar-a-Lago resort for the weekend. Some 30,000 people are expected to attend the event Saturday, which will be held at an airport hangar in Melbourne, along Florida’s Atlantic coast.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told Reuters on Thursday that Trump planned the event partly because he doesn’t think his message is always treated fairly in the news, and Trump can deliver his own message “very effectively by taking the stage and talking to the people of America.”
Big, raucous rallies were a staple during Trump’s campaign and he held several smaller events during the transition, which he dubbed his “thank you” tour.
Campaign-style rallies like the one Trump has planned for Saturday aren’t uncommon among past presidents, and Barack Obama held several similar events early in his presidency to build support for his economic stimulus package.
Warm-up for 2020
What’s slightly different about Trump’s planned rally, however, is that it will be funded Trump’s 2020 White House campaign.
Trump filed re-election paperwork with election officials just a few hours after he was sworn-in as president, allowing him to continue raising campaign funds. Campaign finance reports show the Trump campaign raised $9.6 million in December.
Obama, by comparison, waited more than two years into his first term to file his re-election papers. His campaign-style events were funded by the White House, though he did receive outside support from the group Organizing for America, an arm of the Democratic National Committee.
Trump said on Twitter Saturday morning he has “many meetings” planned for the weekend, referring to his resort as “The Southern White House.” The president’s public schedule, though, lists no meetings for Saturday or Sunday.
Trump has ramped up his anti-press rhetoric over the past few days, as information leaks roiled his White House and led to the resignation of national adviser Michael Flynn after leaked documents showed Flynn misled members of the Trump administration about contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S..
Trump slammed the leaks and the journalists who reported them in a press conference Thursday.
“I have never seen more dishonest media, frankly than the political media,” Trump said. “The leaks are real. The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake.”
He also tweeted several times since the press conference to voice his displeasure with reporters, in one case calling out several news outlets by name.