Trump tries to move past controversies, says he is keeping promises

Steve Holland, Reuters

Posted at Mar 22 2017 02:49 PM

President Donald Trump Reuters

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump argued on Tuesday that his 60 days in office have been a successful keeping of his campaign promises as he attempted to turn the page from a variety of controversies that have bedeviled his White House tenure.

In a speech before the National Republican Congressional Committee, Trump sprinkled his remarks with jokes, mocked his critics and expressed optimism that a healthcare proposal he backs will a survive a close vote in the House of Representatives on Thursday. "We're doing well," Trump said of his efforts to persuade lawmakers to vote for the legislation. "I think we're going to have some great surprises. I hope that it's all going to work out."

Trump's first two months have been dominated by controversies from the firing of national security adviser Michael Flynn to tweets in which he accused his predecessor, Barack Obama, of wiretapping Trump Tower, a charge that FBI Director James Comey declared without foundation on Monday.

Trump's approval rating has sagged to 37 percent, according to a Gallup poll this week.

But Trump looked at the sunny side in his speech, saying he has taken steps to strengthen the U.S. border with Mexico and is eager to launch into a tax overhaul and pursue a deal to fund infrastructure once he overhauls Obama's healthcare law.

He said his corporate tax effort would seek to clear the way for companies with profits overseas to bring back as much as $3 trillion to $5 trillion. "The American people gave us clear instructions. It's time to get busy, get to work and get the job done," Trump said. The event raised a record $30 million for the committees that help pay for Senate and House election campaigns, more than the $20 million brought in at the same event a year ago.

Trump made reference to a controversy that he has been embroiled in: his efforts to suspend temporarily people traveling from several Muslim-majority nations.

His original Jan. 27 executive order applying to people from seven countries was blocked by federal judges. A subsequent rewritten version has been blocked as well.

"The courts are not helping us, I have to be honest with you," Trump said. "It's ridiculous. Somebody said I should not criticize judges. Okay, I'll criticize judges."