Usually, the first 100 days of an administration are when a president starts to figure out the job and feel at home. Sometimes, he accomplishes much during that period; other opening stretches are more vexed, but by the end a commander in chief has begun to inhabit his office.
Something funny is happening with President Trump, though: Over the last week or two, he has instead appeared to return to many of the habits he developed on the campaign trail. That includes another campaign-style rally on Saturday, a sudden gusher of sit-down interviews, and an even more improvisatory approach than usual. These returns to habit correspond with, and seem to follow, the president’s ongoing inability to achieve much with the presidency.
Trump has held several “campaign” rallies since his inauguration, including one in February in Florida. Saturday’s was a classic of the form. It began with a sustained broadside against the media.
“The Washington media is part of the problem,” he said in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “Their priorities are not my priorities, and they are not your priorities, believe me. Their agenda is not your agenda.”
Most of what he said was either a direct echo of his stump speeches or of a piece with it. There were the sustained complaints about the media; the “lock her up” chants, about an opponent Trump dispatched nearly six months ago; a recitation of campaign favorite “The Snake”; protester interruptions and ejections; and a dubious claim of record attendance. The new elements of the speech, which focused on his presidency, were delivered with the same sense of grievance that Trump brought on the trail—only now he is the president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world.