Posted 2 months ago ⋅ 2017-02-18 23:23:19

President Trump returns to friendly and familiar ground Saturday with a campaign rally in Florida, after a challenging first several weeks in the White House, largely deprived of the voter enthusiasm that helped propel him to his unexpected November win.

Trump will hold the event inside an airplane hangar in the central Florida city of Melbourne. The Republican president visited Florida nearly two dozen times during the 2016 presidential campaign and won the state after Democratic President Obama was victorious there in 2008 and 2012.

Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump on Saturday wants to "speak directly to people across this county in an unfiltered way, in a way that doesn't have any bias."

Big rowdy rallies were the hallmark of Trump's presidential campaign. He continued to do them, although with smaller crowds, throughout the early part of the transition, during what he called a "thank you" tour.

Since his November win and officially entering the White House in late-January, the president has continued to argue that much of the news media has treated him unfairly, which has slowed progress for his young administration.

Trump has continued to use Twitter to sidestep reporters and communicate directly with Americans. But his use of social media has not appeared to spark as much energy as his freewheeling campaign stops -- notorious for chants of “Drain the swap,” "Lock her up" and “Build a wall.” 

Saturday’s rally will likely be a return to the old style, which appeared to energize Trump as much as it did voters, if his roughly 70-minute press conference Thursday was a prelude.

Trump revisited his upset victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, repeatedly dismissed negative news reports as “fake news” and dissing reporters, even telling one, “Sit down.”

The event Saturday is being put on by Trump's campaign, rather than the White House.

Asked if it was a rally for the 2020 election, Sanders called it "a campaign rally for America."

Trump promoted his appearance on Twitter on Friday: "Looking forward to the Florida rally tomorrow. Big crowd expected!"

During an appearance Friday at a Boeing plant in South Carolina, Trump slipped back into his campaign's "America First" message with ease.

"America is going to start winning again, winning like never ever before," he said, as the company showed off its new 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft. "We're not going to let our country be taken advantage of anymore in any way, shape or form."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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