Amid troubles in D.C., Trump rallies supporters in Ohio

Last Updated Jul 25, 2017 10:03 PM EDT

Facing intense controversy in Washington, D.C., President Trump spent his Tuesday night on a stage that has always treated him well -- the rally platform.

"It is much easier to act presidential than what we are doing here tonight, believe me," Mr. Trump told his audience in Youngstown, Ohio, tackling the criticism that sometimes he doesn't appear presidential and saying he "can be more presidential than any president" except maybe Abraham Lincoln.

But being presidential isn't how to get things done, Mr. Trump said.

Moments later, he mused about being asked whether he should be on Mount Rushmore, but said that if he even joked about it, the "fake news" media would take him seriously and report it. Mr. Trump lashed out against the media as he faces increasing criticism -- even from members of his own party -- for calling the Russia investigation a "witch hunt" and for blasting his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


President Trump holds a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, on Tue., July 25, 2017.


Mr. Trump spent much of his speech touting what he considers the successes of his administration so far, saying the White House is finally draining the swamp and fighting for the American people in areas like defending America's borders.

"I watch the media as they say 'well, he just had some fun during the campaign on the wall.' That wasn't fun folks," the president said, assuring the crowd he will build the wall.

Mr. Trump's family, including his wife, Melania Trump, son, Eric Trump, and daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, appeared on stage before Mr. Trump spoke to hype up the crowd.

"God was in this election, ladies and gentlemen," said Lara Trump, who is already at work on the president's reelection campaign in 2020. "I knew we would win."

Before the rally, Mr. Trump appeared before veterans at AMVETS Post 44, a local branch of the veterans service organization.

"Look at all those cameras back there, isn't that nice," Mr. Trump said. "We love Ohio!"

This isn't the first campaign-style rally Mr. Trump has held since taking office. He's also held rallies in Iowa, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. On Monday, Mr. Trump addressed the Boy Scouts of America in West Virginia, saying, "Who the hell wants to talk about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?" He still talked about politics, dishing the "fake news" media and describing the "cesspool" of Washington.

Mr. Trump's Twitter feed -- even for Mr. Trump -- has been particularly contentious in recent days.

On Tuesday morning, the president continued his Twitter attacks on Sessions, saying his AG had been "very weak" on prosecuting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the use of her private email server while at the State Department. That's after Mr. Trump in November 2016, shortly after he was elected, told the New York Times he didn't want to pursue charges against Clinton.

So far, Sessions has indicated he will stay on the job, but it's unclear how the president's dissatisfaction with the nation's top law enforcement officer will end. Sessions was among the first people to endorse Mr. Trump, and has remained loyal to his agenda.

Earlier this week he also called Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian election meddling and any ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, "sleazy."

The White House staff is also in the middle of a major shakeup. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced his resignation Friday, and Michael Short, senior assistant White House press secretary, resigned on Tuesday. Mr. Trump brought on Anthony Scaramucci to be his new communications director, and Scaramucci is threatening to fire anyone who leaks information.

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.