President Trump goes after the media at event honoring veterans

President Trump gave remarks at veterans event at the Kennedy Center.

ByABC News
July 1, 2017, 10:56 PM

— -- President Trump ripped into the "fake media" during his speech at the Celebrate Freedom Rally, an event Saturday night honoring veterans at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

"The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House, but I'm president and they're not. We won, and they lost," Trump said. "The dishonest media will never keep us from accomplishing our objections on behalf of our great American people. It will never happen. Their agenda is not your agenda, you've been saying it."

The president also said the media have "destroyed themselves" by going too far: "Instead of being subtle and smart, they used the hatchet, and the people saw it right from the beginning."

The president's focused attack on the media comes at the close of the third consecutive news cycle that has been largely dominated by his attacks on the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

Before taking off from Bedminster, New Jersey, to travel to the event in Washington, Trump tweeted in defense of his use of social media.

"My use of social media is not Presidential - it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!" he tweeted.

Aside from his comments on the media, the majority of the president's speech at the event, which was sponsored by the evangelical megachurch First Baptist Dallas and Salem Media Group, was focused on veterans and on religious liberty.

He reiterated his administration's commitment to honoring and caring for the nation's veterans, specifically touting the Veterans Accountability Act, which he said would allow Veterans Affairs to more easily utter the words "you're fired" to under-performing employees.

"I was left a mess," Trump said of the Department of Veterans Affairs. "The fact is, but we're cleaning it up. You watch."

On religious liberty, the president pledged to the largely Evangelical audience that he would never forget them and said to cheers, "We're going to start saying 'Merry Christmas' again” in the United States.

"My administration will always support and defend religious liberty. We don't want to see God forced out of the public square, driven out of our schools or pushed out of our civic life, we want to see prayers before football games if they want to give prayers," he said.

Trump said he's "very happy and very proud" of following through on a campaign promise to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits non-profits like churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates.

"We will not allow the government to censor sermons" or "to restrict the free speech of our pastors and our preachers," Trump said.

Trump was introduced by First Baptist Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress at the event, who spoke about his enthusiasm for the president and praised Trump for incorporating his faith into his leadership.

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