WASHINGTON – On a brief escape from the political firestorm brewing in Washington, President Trump protested the media coverage of his four-month-old administration in a commencement address Wednesday at the United States Coast Guard Academy.
"No politician in history – and I say this with great surety – has been treated worse or more unfairly," Trump said during his speech in New London, Conn., of both the Washington media and his political critics.
Telling the Coast Guard cadets that "adversity makes you stronger," he appeared undeterred after a difficult week for the Trump White House. "The people understand what I'm doing – that's the most important thing."
Trump did not make specific references to the problems awaiting him back at the White House, but they are multiplying.
Trump and his administration have been on the defense ever since explosive reports earlier this week that he revealed highly classified information, provided by Israel, to Russian diplomats in their Oval Office meeting. On Tuesday, revelations that now-fired FBI director James Comey kept notes of a February meeting that say Trump asked him to close the agency's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, shook political circles and sparked accusations from Democratic lawmakers of possible obstruction of justice.
Making his second and last commencement address of the season – he spoke Saturday at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. – Trump began his remarks in a traditional vein, lauding the graduates for their accomplishments and thanking them for their service to the United States. He extolled Coast Guard duties ranging from interdiction of drug smuggling to patrols of the inner-coastal waterways.
The president then gave the cadets "some advice." They will not always be treated fairly, he said, and things will happen to them that "you do not deserve."
He then launched into a defiant defense of his record. "Look at the way I've been treated lately," he said. "Especially by the media."
Trump says he's proud of his administration's accomplishments, including the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and proposed regulation rollbacks, and all but taunted his critics in his declaration that he has no plans to give up anytime soon.
"You have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight," Trump said. "Never, ever, ever give up. Things will work out just fine."
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