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Trump Speaks At Boeing Plant In South Carolina

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

President Trump has hit the road. Today the president visited a Boeing facility in South Carolina for the unveiling of the new 787 Dreamliner. It was a surprisingly ordinary end to a busy and consequential week at the White House, including yesterday's wide-ranging and sometimes combative press conference. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: It's easy to forget. It was only just Monday night when national security adviser Mike Flynn submitted his resignation. There have been so many news cycles since then; it's hard to keep track of it all. But when President Trump stepped on stage at the Boeing facility in North Charleston, S.C., it was back to basics.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We're here today to celebrate American engineering and American manufacturing. We're also here today to celebrate jobs, jobs.

(CHEERING)

KEITH: With an airliner as backdrop, Trump read from a teleprompter and largely stayed on message. Sure, there were asides, like a boast about his big win in the South Carolina primary.

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TRUMP: We won in a landslide. This was a good one.

(CHEERING)

KEITH: But Trump avoided the defensiveness of Thursday's press conference, and there weren't even any of his trademark attacks on what he calls the dishonest media. In recent weeks, Trump has called up for criticism both Boeing and its competitor Lockheed Martin. And he's met with the companies' CEOs in search of better deals for U.S. taxpayers. But on this day, Trump had nothing but praise for Boeing and its 787 Dreamliner.

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TRUMP: The name says it all - Dreamliner - great name. Our country is all about making dreams come true. Over the last number of years, that hasn't been necessarily the case, but we're going to make it the case again.

KEITH: In his own unique way, President Trump has closed out this week using the trappings of his office, much like past presidents. Don't like the headlines about a White House in chaos? Hold a 77-minute press conference and create new headlines. Want to move the focus from the national security adviser job you're having trouble filling? Hop on Air Force One. Go to a Red state, and deliver a speech about jobs.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: We are going to fight for every last American job.

KEITH: It was Trump's unwavering focus on jobs that many believe helped him win the presidency. But in his first month in the White House, Trump has made much more news by stirring up controversies, like his Twitter war on the judiciary and claiming voter fraud in an election he won.

This has caused frustration among members of his own party. Earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked whether he was concerned the president is taking the Republican Party off message. McConnell said he frowns on the daily tweeting.

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MITCH MCCONNELL: I like what he's doing. I've not been a fan of the extra discussion that he likes to engage in. But we're going to soldier on. We like his positions, and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can.

KEITH: And as if on cue, President Trump returned to Twitter this afternoon, tweeting, the fake news media - failing NY Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS, CNN is not my enemy. It is the enemy of the American people - exclamation point. Tamara Keith, NPR News, The White House. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.