Trump back in campaign mode
MELBOURNE, UNITED STATES US President Donald Trump turned back the clock on Saturday with a speech right out of his 2016 campaign populist playbook, insisting all is well in the White House despite weeks of chaos.
He took aim at his favourite foil, the "dishonest" news media that he said has become "part of the corrupt system".
At the end of a stormy first month in office, Mr Trump took the power of the presidency back to the style and substance of the campaign trail.
He stepped down from Air Force One to cheers from around 9,000 followers - mostly white, mostly male middle-class Americans who feel left behind by the US' shifting economy.
Mr Trump said: "I'm here because I want to be among my friends and among the people."
He used a loud and muscular delivery - as on the campaign trail last year - to assure Americans he is fulfilling promises to shrink government, rebuild the military, restrict immigration and tear up healthcare reforms enacted by his predecessor Barack Obama.
"This will be change for the ages," the president said at the event in Melbourne, a city on Florida's Space Coast.
"The White House is running so smoothly, so smoothly," Mr Trump stressed, before ranting about the US media.
"They've become a big part of the problem.
They are part of the corrupt system," he said, continuing his open warfare on the media.
Mr Trump acknowledged that he is always in campaign mode. "Life is a campaign," he told reporters on Air Force One before the rally.
"To make America great again is absolutely a campaign. It's not easy, especially when we're also fighting the press."
Meanwhile, the usually soft-spoken First Lady Melania Trump broke with form, reciting the Lord's Prayer to begin the event befor issuing a scathing rebuke of her husband's enemies and her critics.
"I will always stay true to myself and be truthful to you, no matter what the opposition is saying about me," she said.
The president also broke security protocol by inviting a supporter to join him onstage.
"Mr President, thank you, sir," said Mr Gene Huber, a car salesman.
"This is a world leader now who's taking control," Mr Huber told AFP earlier.
"No jitters at all."
Tensions have soared in recent days as lawmakers pressed for more information about the Trump campaign's connections with Russia.
On Thursday, Mr Trump held a solo news conference startling in its vitriol against the media.- AFP