President Trump will hold a rally in Pennsylvania to mark the first 100 days of his presidency — a period that has been marked by tumult, a few victories, and several unaccomplished proposals.
The rally will be in Harrisburg on April 29, the White House announced Saturday.
Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon: "Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it!"
The president has again chosen Pennsylvania as the backdrop for a major rally — acknowledging, his supporters say, the state's key role in his win. In December, he drew a crowd in Hershey for a postelection rally.
Trump's success in his first-100-days agenda is already under scrutiny. The Senate has confirmed his nominee for Supreme Court justice and numerous cabinet members; he took steps to halt travel into the U.S. by citizens of some majority-Muslim countries, though Trump's second executive order was blocked by the court; and he issued orders to boost deportations and border enforcement.
But his party failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and Trump has not introduced tax cuts, import taxes, or a plan to invest in infrastructure, all items on his agenda -- though he said Friday he would unveil a tax-reform package in the coming week. He also has not, aside from an executive order, implemented a plan to build a border wall and have Mexico pay for it.
"The president has been active in trying to fulfill a number of his campaign promises while achieving very mixed results at this stage," said Christopher Borick, professor of political science at Muhlenberg College. "You take his policy on banning travelers ... being blocked in the courts, and the fairly slow movement on his plans to build a wall and to strengthen the southern border -- he's clearly tried to move in those directions but by no means has he seen overnight success."
Coming to Pennsylvania, where he had a victory in flipping the state in November, makes sense for a president looking to highlight success, Borick said.
"This is the new era of politics. I think President Trump would celebrate and claim victory no matter what the record in the first 100 days. It's simply the way he goes about his business," Borick said.
The rally is the same evening as the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, an event held in Washington for journalists and traditionally attended by the president. Trump, who regularly criticizes the media, had said he intended to skip this year's dinner well before Saturday's disclosure that he intends to hold a rally in Harrisburg while it is taking place.
It is also the day after the deadline for Congress to pass a spending bill. If the measure does not pass, Saturday would be the first day of a possible government shutdown.
Supporters, however, see the rally as an appropriate way for the president to discuss his accomplishments.
"The kind of folks he wants to reach out to and show what he's been doing are folks in places like Pennsylvania, where people want jobs, people want to see action taken," said Val DiGiorgio, chairman of the state Republican Party.
Trump campaigned frequently in central Pennsylvania and had a strong showing in that region, though he won the state by less than one percentage point over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
DiGiorgio said the state party had told the White House it would help with the rally in any way and was set to speak with officials in the next 24 hours.
"I think the president is proud of what he's accomplished so far -- I think he should be -- so why not come back here to your faithful supporters and show them how much you care about them?" DiGiorgio said.
Jim Worthington, head of Bucks County for Trump, a group that has galvanized hundreds of area supporters, said the president's rally was in the same grassroots spirit as his campaign.
"He's not going to get a whole lot of help from the media. ... A lot of times his message is drowned out by Russian connections and this, that, and everything else, tax returns," Worthington said. "So he's bringing his plans, his policies, what he wants to do, straight to the people."
He sees the first 100 days as a success, saying Trump had made "strong business decisions" and "stood down" Syria and North Korea.
DiGiorgio said the state GOP had been inundated with people asking how to volunteer or get tickets. Worthington said he'd received at least 20 calls or text messages in the first hour after the announcement.
The rally would serve to further energize supporters, Worthington said: "He still has that solid base of people that absolutely love him."
The rally will be at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and the event begins at 7:30. Free tickets are available at www.donaldjtrump.com.
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