USA Trump's White House: Five takeaways from Friday

After a rollercoaster first month in the White House Donald Trump jaunted south on Friday, holding a campaign-style event with Boeing to cast himself as a defender of US jobs.

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US President Donald Trump greets wellwishers upon arrival at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida to spend the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort play

US President Donald Trump greets wellwishers upon arrival at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida to spend the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort

(AFP)
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After a rollercoaster first month in the White House Donald Trump jaunted south on Friday, holding a campaign-style event with Boeing to cast himself as a defender of US jobs.

The photo op-ripe rally came one day after a tumultuous press conference in which the US president unleashed his at times vitriolic frustrations with political foes and the media.

He relaunched those attacks on the press Friday, criticizing several media outlets on Twitter as "fake" and branding them "the enemy."

The Senate meanwhile confirmed Trump's controversial pick to direct the Environmental Protection Agency, installing as the federal environmental steward a climate change skeptic who has repeatedly sued the US agency he will now lead.

Here are five takeaways from the day:

'God bless Boeing'

Trump attempted to shed the chaos of his first month in office by jumping back on the road, touring South Carolina's Boeing facility and renewing his campaign promise to champion jobs and industry.

The real estate mogul made the pitstop en route to his Mar-a-Lago holiday home in Florida -- the third consecutive weekend he will spend there -- vowing to "put our great people back to work."

"This is our mantra, 'buy American and hire American.' We want products made in America, made by American hands," the 70-year-old said, attempting to tap the economic anxieties of many Americans, a strategy that helped propel him to the presidency.

"May God bless the United States of America," Trump said to close his speech. "And God bless Boeing."

Blue steel beauty

As Trump spoke to aircraft workers at Boeing the president lavished praise on the company's aircraft.

"That plane, as beautiful as it looks, is 30 years old," Trump said, motioning to the Air Force One jet. "Can you believe it? What can look so beautiful at 30?"

"An airplane."

The remark drew exasperated social media ire, with many referencing the former reality star's long history of making disparaging comments toward women concerning age and appearance.

One Twitter user called the president's crack "the most psychologically revealing comment of the day."

"For Trump only a machine can look beautiful at 30," MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell tweeted.

"Mrs. Trump hear that? If she did, she surely couldn't have been surprised."

First Lady Melania Trump is 46.

'The enemy'

Shortly after landing at his Florida holiday home, the President hurled a fresh Twitter barb at the press, dubbing it "the enemy."

"The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!" Trump wrote.

Trump had tweeted an earlier post which targeted the New York Times, CNN, NBC "and many more" media -- and ended with the exclamation "SICK!"

But he swiftly deleted that missive before reposting the definitive version, adding two more "enemies" to his blacklist.

About an hour later he tweeted praise he got from one rightwing commentator: "'One of the most effective press conferences I've ever seen!' says Rush Limbaugh. Many agree. Yet FAKE MEDIA calls it differently! Dishonest."

The tycoon's attacks on the press have become routine: the latest social media assault came one day after Trump delivered a rambling screed in the form of a news conference, blaming the press for his administration's laundry list of troubles.

Fossil fuel champion to lead environmental agency

As Trump touted industry at Boeing, the US Senate confirmed fossil-fuel ally and climate change skeptic Scott Pruitt as head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Pruitt -- one of Trump's most contentious nominees -- will now steer the department he has repeatedly sued.

Democrats held on all-night session in a failed bid to block his confirmation.

The 48-year-old's opponents scoffed at the idea of Pruitt as an environmental steward.

As attorney general for the state of Oklahoma Pruitt regularly sided with industry executives and filed or joined more than a dozen lawsuits to block key EPA rules.

"Pruitt has demonstrated time and again his unwillingness to accept the science of climate change and his contempt for the laws protecting our air and drinking water," said number two Senate Democrat Dick Durbin.

'Transatlantic bond' not a given

Across the Atlantic European leaders fired a salvo of warnings against Washington, cautioning it against hurting EU cohesion, abandoning shared values and seeking a rapprochement with Russia behind the backs of its allies.

In a hard-hitting speech at the Munich Security Conference against President Donald Trump's administration, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen urged the United States not to take transatlantic ties for granted.

"A stable European Union is also in America's interest, as is a strong and unified NATO," she said.

Polish President Andrzej Duda also stressed that "the basis of our strength is our transatlantic bond. We must not recklessly put it into question."

The White House has dispatched top generals to Europe to offer reassurances, with Vice President Mike Pence slated to address the Munich conference Saturday, one day after US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis affirmed to the same forum that the bond between Europe and America is the "strongest bulwark" against instability and violence.

Separately in Bonn, where foreign ministers of G20 nations closed a two-day meeting, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made brief statements in which he stuck close to conventional foreign policy, including on North Korea and Russia.

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