WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump railed against the media during remarks Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference .
Trump thanked the crowd for their help in his victory, and reiterated a litany of campaign promises on issues such as immigration, national security and trade.
Trump has addressed CPAC multiple times, but as a candidate for president in 2016, Trump backed out of a speaking commitment at the conference at the last minute. His Friday speech marks his first at the conference as president.
“I would have come last year but I was worried we would be too controversial,” he said.
Trump railed against the media for predicting his rival, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would win the November election.
“Never underestimate the people,” he said. “Never.”
Trump addressed his most recent feud with the media, arguing that his problem lies only with outlets he considers “fake.”
“We are fighting the fake news,” Trump said.
Trump recently tweeted that the “fake news media” is an “enemy of the American people.”
“The dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people, the fake news,” he said. “They dropped off the word ‘fake’ and all the sudden, the story became ‘the media’ is the enemy… That’s the way they are.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
Trump said he is “not against the media” and there are “some great reporters around, they’re talented, they’re honest as the day is long.”
“I don’t mind bad stories if I deserve them — I love good stories by the way,” he said.
Trump claimed that reporters “make up” sources they do not name in their stories, and claimed they “shouldn’t be allowed” to use unnamed sources in their stories. He maintained that “dishonest” reporters are enemies of the American people.
He said his critics accuse him of attacking freedom of the press, but “I love the First Amendment, nobody loves it better than me.”
He then turned his ire on Senate Democrats, calling them to approve his remaining cabinet nominees and to “get smart on health care.”
Trump echoed a sentiment expressed by Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday evening, vowing to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Trump called the law a “mess” and said his administration is working hard alongside House Speaker Paul Ryan and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on a replacement for the law.
Trump also vowed to retool the military in order to “obliterate ISIS.”
“Nobody’s going to mess with us, folks” he said, adding that “working with our allies, we will eradicate this evil from the face of the earth.”
He said his efforts will keep both terrorists and immigrants in the country illegally “the hell out of our country.”
In a lighter moment, Trump spoke of a meeting he held with business leaders, including a representative from the Campbell Soup Company.
“I like Campbell’s soup,” he told the crowd to laughter.