Trump Takes A Victory Lap In Ohio; Names His Defense Secretary

Dec 2, 2016
Originally published on December 2, 2016 9:28 am
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

President-elect Trump held a campaign-style rally in Cincinnati last night.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: Thank you.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: Oh, you're going to be happy. We're all going to be happy. I'm here today for one main reason, to say thank you to Ohio.

(CHEERING)

INSKEEP: One of the states that gave Trump an Electoral-College victory last month. Trump spoke of putting American interests first. He lashed out at critics and also called his victory a landslide. At last count, he trails in the popular vote by 2.5 million votes to Hillary Clinton. NPR's Don Gonyea was at the rally. He joins us from Cincinnati. Don, good morning.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Good morning.

INSKEEP: So what was it like to be there?

GONYEA: Well, he sure seemed like a guy who has missed the stage, who's missed the crowds, who's missed the combat and who seemed pleased that the action had moved out of Trump Tower and back to the heartland. Here's another taste.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: There is no global anthem, no global currency, no certificate of global citizenship. We pledge allegiance to one flag, and that flag is the American flag.

(CHEERING)

GONYEA: And, Steve, he talked about unifying the country, about building a truly inclusive society, where he said, quote, "we support each other. We love each other. And we look out for each other."

INSKEEP: Kind of a contrast to other parts of the speech where he lashed out at critics. And, certainly, those words that you described are things that many people have been listening for, so he said that. But did he talk more about how he's going to do that?

GONYEA: You know, it's basically that when the economy improves and more people are working, that that will happen, that everybody will be invested in this success and in his success. But, again, as you said, he kept going back to old wounds and settling old scores throughout this speech, even gloating over his opponent's downfall. Just give a listen to this passage.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: I'm going to discuss our action plan to make America great again. We're going to discuss it.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: Although we did have a lot of fun fighting Hillary, didn't we?

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: Right?

(CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Lock her up. Lock her up.

GONYEA: And, Steve, you can hear the chanting there - lock her up, lock her up. They took the mention of Hillary Clinton's name as the cue to chant that. At other times, the chant was build the wall or drain the swamp.

INSKEEP: And there have been changes to some of those promises. Trump, for example, has said he's not inclined to try to prosecute Secretary Clinton now that the election is over. He's also, Don Gonyea, even as he's traveling, still filling his cabinet and made an announcement last night. Didn't he?

GONYEA: He sure did. He revealed that he'll nominate General James Mattis as defense secretary. But it was hardly a formal announcement. He was basically confirming what was out there. And he called Mattis not by his formal name or title but simply Mad Dog Mattis.

INSKEEP: His nickname, I guess.

GONYEA: His nickname, exactly. And he said the country needs another General Patton. And he addressed criticism he's gotten from Democrats and from others that he's asked a lot of billionaires to be in his administration.

He said, hey, they're successful. They know how to make money. But he kept going back to the campaign and his big win. And he kept calling it a landslide. And then he went into this state-by-state recap of how he won and how the media got it wrong.

Give a listen to this clip. We'll play it for a bit to get a sense of the mood and the fun Trump was having.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: They go, for weeks, Texas is in play. Then you turn on the television, like, two minutes later. Donald Trump has won Texas. You know...

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: These are very, very dishonest people. OK.

(BOOING)

TRUMP: I love this stuff. Should I go on with this just a little bit longer?

(CHEERING)

INSKEEP: Don, it certainly does sound like he had the crowd riled up there. They were excited.

GONYEA: Yeah, it was about half full, so that felt different from a rally. But they were certainly excited. At the end of the rally, The Rolling Stones are blasting in the arena. I talked to one Trump supporter. His name's Tony Krez - 39-year-old DJ. We had to shout to hear one another. But listen to his reaction to the night.

TONY KREZ: He gets the people hyped up. I mean, look at this crowd. They're, like, so electrified. They love him. I mean, I'm one of them. My wife and I love him.

GONYEA: And, again, he said, maybe Trump should dial it back a little bit now that he's president-elect. But he was sure having fun watching it, as was the rest of the crowd.

INSKEEP: Don, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

GONYEA: My pleasure.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Don Gonyea in Cincinnati. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.