By Francesca Chambers
- Trump told cadets: ‘You can’t let them get you down. You can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams – I guess that’s why I won’
- President bragged about his own administration and defended himself from the arrows he’s been taking this week for his conduct
- Then he boasted about his border wall, the ‘great healthcare’ bill his party is working on and the large tax cuts he’s been promising
- He bragged early on that aircraft carriers would be built ‘under budget and ahead of schedule’ in his administration
- POTUS also teased a campus parking enforcer who was graduating – Bruce Kim
President Donald Trump turned a Coast Guard commencement into a media-bashing exercise on Wednesday as he returned fire on news outlets accusing him of sharing classified information and interfering in an FBI investigation.
‘No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly,’ Trump protested. ‘You can’t let them get you down. You can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams,’ the president said.
He added: ‘I guess that’s why I won.’
He then boasted about his border wall, the ‘great healthcare’ bill his party is working on and the large tax cuts he’s been promising, having earlier bragged that aircraft carriers would be built ‘under budget and ahead of schedule’ in his administration.
Trump was delivering this year’s Coast Guard commencement address in New London, Connecticut.
In between congratulating the graduating class and talking up the military division, Trump bragged about his own administration and defended himself from the arrows he’s been taking this week for his conduct.
‘I’ve loosened up the strangling environmental chains wrapped around our country and our economy, chains so tight that you couldn’t do anything, that jobs were going down, we were losing business. We are loosening it up,’ he stated.
‘We’ve begun plans and preparations for the border wall, which is going along very, very well.’
Continuing, Trump told cadets, ‘We are working on major tax cuts for all. We are going to give you the largest tax cut in the history of our country, if we get it the way we want it, and we’re going to give you major tax reform.
‘And we’re also getting closer and closer, day by day, to great health care for our citizens.’
Trump said he was ‘setting the stage right now for many, many more things to come’ without explaining what he meant.
‘The people understand what I’m doing, and that’s the most important thing,’ he contended. ‘I didn’t get elected to serve the Washington media or special interests. I got elected to serve the forgotten men and women of our country, and that’s what I’m doing.’
‘I will never stop fighting for you, and I will never stop fighting for the American people. ‘
Trump was presented with a ceremonial saber during the commencement exercises.
as he returned to his seat, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was heard on an open mic telling him: ‘Use that on the media, sir.’
Trump chuckled and replied: ‘Yeah, right!’
The U.S. president’s approval rating hit a new low in a poll that came out early Wednesday. He had a 42 percent favorability score in the Morning Consult survey that is produced in concert with Politico.
In last week’s poll, conducted Tuesday through Thursday, he had 46 percent backing.
His controversial decision to ax his FBI director on the first day of the poll appears to have eroded his support further. The survey was taken before the publication of two news stories that could further damage Trump’s reputation.
A Washington Post story that broke early Monday evening said Trump shared highly classified information with the Russians. A New York Times story said Tuesday that the source of the material was Israel.
Another Times story that came out yesterday contained parts of a memo that fired FBI Director James Comey is said to have written after a February 14 meeting with Trump.
Comey said, according to the memo that a source read aloud to the Times, that Trump tried to waive him off of an investigation into Mike Flynn, the national security advisor he’d just fired.
The White House denied Tuesday evening that a conversation of that nature had happened.
It spent much of Tuesday explaining Trump’s Oval Office conversation with the Russians. Trump is said to have shared top secret information with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kisylak.
Trump’s current national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, told reporters Tuesday that the talk was ‘wholly appropriate.’
Later, as the Times reported that Israel had provided the US with the secret information, the White House refused to comment.
‘We appreciate the relationship that we have with Israel and appreciate the exchange of information that we have with them,’ White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated. ‘That being said, I’m not going to comment any further on it.’
Israeli news publication Haaretz said in a report that Trump called Benjamin Netanyahu earlier in the day, but they did not discuss the American president’s conversation with the Russians.
Trump hit back at his accusers Wednesday at the Coast Guard function.
‘I want to take this opportunity to give you some advice. Over the course of your life, you will find that things are not always fair. You will find that things happen to you that you do not deserve and that are not always warranted,’ he told cadets.
‘But you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight! Never, ever, ever give up. Things will work out just fine. Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media,’ he stated.
Trump had struck a non-confrontational tone at the beginning of his remarks. He thanked Connecticut’s Democratic governor, Dan Malloy, for his attendance and sympathized with the obstacles he faces in government. ‘Governor, thank you. We’re glad you could join us. And I know how busy the governors are nowadays, and they’re out there fighting,’ Trump said. ‘It’s never easy. Budgets are a little tight, but we’re doing a job, all of us are doing a job, working together.’
Of the graduating class, Trump said they ‘deserve not only the congratulations but the gratitude of each and every American, and we all salute you. A proud nation…Good job.’
Trump told them later in his speech, ‘In the Coast Guard, you don’t run from danger, you chase it. And you are deployed in support of operations in theaters of conflict all around the world.’
He commended the Coast Guard cadets as the embodiment of the motto he applied to his business and now, the government.
‘You accomplished the objectives, and you did it with skill and with pride — and, I’d like to say, under budget and ahead of schedule. We’re doing a lot of that now in the United States government,’ he said to applause. ‘We’re doing a lot of that.’
Trump took the opportunity to give himself a pat back. ‘I won’t talk about how much I saved you on the F-35 fighter jet,’ he said. ‘I won’t even talk about it.
‘Or how much we’re about to save you on the Gerald Ford, the aircraft carrier. That had a little bit of an overrun problem before I got here, you know that…But we’re going to save some good money.
‘And when we build the new aircraft carriers they’re going to be built under budget and ahead of schedule, just remember that,’ he promised. ‘That will allow us to build more.’
The president also teased a Coast Guard meter maid who gave tickets to his fellow cadets and booted their cars in his address.
Noting that there had been ‘slip ups’ in their ranks, Trump said, ‘Ahh, Bruce how do you do this to yourself, Bruce?’
‘Bruce, what’s going on with you,’ he said, razzing the graduate, who he identified as First Class Cadet Bruce Kim.
Trump told the graduating class that they would have a ‘clean slate in life’ moving forward – ‘that includes Bruce, right?’ he added.
In keeping with a graduation tradition, Trump absolved the cadets for minor offenses.
‘They saved you, Bruce, because they all wanted me to do that,’ Trump said, telling the young man to stand. ‘Thank you, Bruce. Congratulations, Bruce. Good job.’
‘By the way, Bruce, don’t worry about it. That’s the tradition,’ Trump said. ‘I was forced to do that. You know that. Don’t worry!’