Donald Trump lambasted the media at a rally in Florida on Saturday (19 February), as he continued to react to bad press around his tenure as 45th President of the United States. At his first campaign rally since assuming office on 20 January, Trump quoted Thomas Jefferson in calling the media a "polluted vehicle".
Trump told the crowds in Melbourne he wanted to speak to them "without the filter of fake news". Calling the media "dishonest", he said that the news media had no interest in reporting the truth and warned the public to be wary of the press's "agenda".
He said: "[The media] has published one false story after another with no sources – even though they pretend they have them, they make them up in many cases.
"They've become a big part of the problem. They're part of the corrupt system."
Comparing himself to Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, Trump added: "Many of our greatest presidents called them [the press] out oftentimes on their lies," and warned the media "when the media lies to people I will never ever let them get away with it – I will do whatever I can".
Warning that the media agenda was against the interests of the American people, Trump quoted Thomas Jefferson as he said: "'Nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.'"
After the rally the New York Times, which Trump has frequently criticised, published a fact check article, refuting many of the claims Trump made during his speech. For example, the newspaper said Trump's frequent assertions that unscreened refugees had been allowed to enter the US was untrue, and that the vigorous screening process for vetting refugees take two years to complete.
Trump also referred to an incident involving immigrants in Sweden on Friday night as he reeled off a list of European cities that have suffered terrorist attacks in the last few years, including Brussels.
"You look at what's happening last night in Sweden… Sweden… who would believe this?" said the president. "Sweden, they took in large numbers, they are having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what's happening Brussels, you look at what's happening all over the world."
Swedes reacted via social media to confirm no such incident had occurred.
One of those reassuring the world that no major incident had occurred in Sweden overnight was Emma, a school librarian who is this week's curator of Sweden's official Twitter account. Emma bluntly stated, "There has not been any terrorist attacks here. At all."
Trump opponents began mocking the president's claim, resurrecting the #neverremember hashtag, used when presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway defended Trump's travel ban by referring to a fictional terrorist attack on the US soil, she called the Bowling Green Massacre.
Some Trump supporters on social media have pushed back against the mocking of Trump, saying that Trump was referring to an increase in crime in Sweden, which was blamed on immigrants, that was reported by Tucker Carlson show, which had been broadcast on the Friday night.
This statement has been called into question, as according to the 2016 Swedish Crime Survey, crime levels in Sweden have remained relatively stable for 10 years.