President Trump's rallies are always a production. But last night's Day 100 victory lap in Pennsylvania — festooned with "Promises Made / Promises Kept" signs — was conceived in cinematic terms: us-versus-them, the people-versus-the-media.
Axios' Jonathan Swan sends me this scoopy, behind-the curtain reporting: West Wing officials, including Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, conceived of a split-screen effect: TVs would show Trump in full-blown nationalist populist mode, connecting viscerally with "forgotten" Rust Belt Americans.
On the other side of the screen: Washington reporters in bowties and ballgowns, looking out-of-touch, self-congratulatory and elite, at their White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
According to sources familiar with the speech's drafting, there was a line that Trump didn't end up using that summed up the speech's intent: Washington reporters are "bubble people."
Trump's attack on the press was as full-throated as anything we saw on the trail:
From the speech: "As you may know, there's another big gathering taking place tonight in Washington, D.C. Did you hear about it? [Crowd: Boo!] A large group of Hollywood actors [Crowd: Boo!], and Washington media [Crowd: Boo!], are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation's capital right now."
"They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents' Dinner without the president. And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington's swamp, spending my evening with all of you, and with a much much larger crowd, and much better people, right?" [Cheers: "USA!" and "CNN sucks!"] [T]hey're trapped at the dinner — which will be very very boring. But next year maybe we'll make it more exciting for them, in Washington."
Why it matters: This remarkable speech shows Trump's inside-outside game. Inside, he's sculpting his 100-days narrative and giving a raft of interviews, assuring Beltway reporters that he knows they still matter. (And he's already teasing that he'll come to next year's dinner.) On the road, journalists are his go-to foil.
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein performed a rare duet last night as they presented awards at the White House Corresondents' Association Dinner. Each place setting had a "First Amendment" pin. People instantly pinned them to their tuxes and gowns.
From the Watergate duo's remarks before presenting the awards:
"Daily Show" correspondent Hasan Minhaj got rave reviews for his alternately subtle and brutal approach to the hardest gig in town, entertainer at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
The top jokes, via Axios' Becca Rotenberg:
Drop the mic: "I don't have a solution on how to win back trust. I don't. But in the age of Trump, I know that you guys have to be more perfect now, more than ever. Because you are how the president gets his news. Not from advisers, not from experts, not from intelligence agencies. You guys!"
"So that's why you gotta be on your A-game. You gotta be twice as good. You can't make any mistakes. Because when one of you messes up, he blames your entire group. And now you know what it feels like to be a minority."
CBS's John Dickerson got a sit-down interview with Trump for "Face the Nation" at the White House yesterday afternoon, then rode Air Force One for the trip to Harrisburg.
Dickerson: "What do you know now on Day 100 that you wish you knew on Day 1 of the presidency?"
Trump: "Well, one of the things that I've learned is how dishonest the media is, really. I've done things that are I think very good. I've set great foundations with foreign leaders. ... NAFTA, as you know: I was going to terminate it, but I got a very nice call from a man I like, the president of Mexico.
"I got a very nice call from Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada. And they said: Please, would you rather than terminating NAFTA — I was all set to do it. In fact, I was going to do it today. I was going to do it as we're sitting here. I would've had to delay you. I was going to do it today. I was going to terminate NAFTA.
"But they called up and they said, "Would you negotiate?" And I said, "Yes, I will negotiate." ... But the media didn't cover it that way. The media said, oh, I didn't terminate NAFTA."
The Day 100 appraisals ...
This "donut wall" or 'donut installation" was the buzz of the White House weekend's annual Garden Brunch, hosted by Tammy Haddad, Kevin Sheekey, Hilary Rosen, Connie Milstein, Mark and Sally Ein, Microsoft Vice President Fred Humphries, Kelley McCormick, and Cafe Milano founder Franco Nuschese.
Other food and beverage highlights of Washington's shrunken prom weekend: