Trump rubs salt in the wounds of his rivals – Politico
In his first public rally since winning the presidency, Donald Trump casually announced a cabinet pick and used soaring rhetoric to outline an ambitious, unifying vision for the next four years—before veering off script and rubbing his stunning victory in his detractor’s faces.
During a freewheeling speech in Cincinnati on Thursday night that was proto-Trump and harkened back to his rough-and-tumble campaign style, the president-elect encouraged chants of “Lock her up” by invoking Hillary Clinton’s name, incited boos of home state Governor John Kasich, mocked independent candidate Evan McMullin as a nobody and spent close to four minutes attacking the “nasty, dishonest press.”
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Deriding the media as a whole, Trump assumed a newscaster’s voice as he mocked its monolithic predictions of his defeat.
“How many times did we hear this: ‘There is no path to 270,’” Trump said, adopting a stentorian baritone. As the crowd serenaded him with cheers, he strutted away from the microphone to revel in the moment before stepping back to the podium with a smile and two outstretched thumbs.
“I love this stuff,” Trump said, playing to the crowd. “Should I go on with this a little bit longer?”
He spoke of a newscaster who supposedly cried upon learning of his victory and described watching election night coverage of another who’d long predicted he couldn’t break through Clinton’s “blue wall” of support in the Midwest and was stunned as the results came in.
“We didn’t break it, we shattered that sucker,” Trump gloated.
Trump even took joy in taunting protesters as they were being escorted out, joking that someone “should remind them that Clinton lost.”
Cast as a “thank you tour,” Trump’s message was actually “I told you so.” And his nationally televised victory dance mirrored another stunningly acrimonious showdown playing out a thousand miles away in Boston, where Trump’s campaign manager spiked the football in the face of Clinton’s campaign staffers.
“Hashtag, he’s your president,” Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, said during a forum at Harvard University after Clinton’s team accused her of “providing a platform for white supremacists.”
“I would rather lose than win the way the guys you did,” Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, said, provoking Conway.
Three weeks and a day after the election’s end, the flashpoints of unabated acrimony in Boston and Cincinnati reflected a deeply divided country—one that Trump claims to be intent on bringing together.
Before riling up the crowd by trashing the press and his former rivals, Trump spent almost 20 minutes reading a speech from the teleprompter that decried globalism and sought to unite Americans of different races, genders and political affiliations.
“I’ve always brought people together—I know you find that hard to believe,” Trump said. “We’re a very divided nation, but we’re not going to be divided for long.”
Going further, Trump stated: “We condemn bigotry and hatred in all of its forms.” He followed his call for tolerance with reassuring words for his backers: “It’s better.”
During the same speech, however, Trump stoked the country’s red-hot culture wars, asking the crowd for validation of his anti-flag burning stance and referencing the controversy surrounding some black pro athletes’ decision not to stand for the national anthem.
Almost lost all in the theatrics was the news of Trump cheekily confirming reports that he plans to nominate Gen. James Mattis as secretary of defense—reports his own transition spokesman denied just hours earlier.
“Don’t let it outside of this room,” Trump teased supporters, playing up the drama. “We are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis as our secretary of defense…but we are not announcing it until Monday, so don’t tell anyone.
“They say he’s the closest thing to General George Patton that we have and it’s about time. It’s about time.”
Trump’s evening rally was far messier than the infomercial he engineered Thursday afternoon, creating a spectacle in Indianapolis where he took credit for cutting a $7 million deal with Carrier to keep 1100 jobs at the company’s plant there.
Thus far, Trump has filled his cabinet with Wall Street billionaires and millionaires — on Thursday night he defended his choice of billionaire Wilbur Ross, “a killer” he exclaimed, as commerce secretary because “he knows how to make money.”
His factory tour and press conference at the Carrier plant, both carried live on all three cable networks, served to burnish his image as a champion of the working class. Around 2:30 p.m. eastern time, cable TV networks, after weeks of live footage of people getting in and out of the gilded elevator in the Trump Tower lobby, cut in unison to a live shot of the president-elect walking down the stairs from his airplane on a blustery Indianapolis afternoon. A few moments later, they showed Trump, in a black suit and long red tie, walking around the floor of the Carrier factory nearby where the company had planned to move 1,100 jobs to Mexico until Trump got them to reconsider.
“Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences,” Trump said during a press conference, also carried wall-to-wall by the networks, at the Carrier plant.
Never mind the less glossy details of the deal—the fact that Indiana taxpayers will foot the bill for the $7 million in state tax incentives being provided to Carrier or the new and likely unsustainable precedent of rewarding companies threatening to go overseas that flies in the face of the free market principles conservatives have long held dear.
For Trump, the politics—and the imagery—are premium. The appearance of the president-elect following through almost immediately on his promise to negotiate, to get tough and do whatever necessary to restore manufacturing jobs in America’s heartland.
“There will be consequences for companies that go overseas,” Trump vowed. “These companies aren’t going to be leaving anymore. They’re not going to be taking people’s hearts out.”
Despite Trump’s emphatic language, Carrier is still moving 1,300 jobs to a plant in Mexico. That didn’t stop the president-elect from lauding the company, its executives and the workers he met on the factory floor, and predicting that Carrier will share in the positive short-term publicity he has managed to create around what is reportedly a $7 million deal over the next decade.
Trump told Carrier executives that if they incur some financial loss from keeping more jobs in American factories that they’re “going to make it up,” he said, “because so many people are going to be buying Carrier air conditioners.”
Before Trump took the podium, the vice president-elect, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, offered a hagiographic introduction, giving his boss almost complete credit for saving the Carrier jobs even though he and his associates appear to have done much of the heavy lifting.
“This is a great day or Indiana and it’s a great day for working people all across the United States of America,” said Pence just before 3 p.m. as the cable networks cut to the press conference as it got underway. “It’s thanks to the initiative and the leadership of President-elect Donald Trump that Carrier has decided to stay and grow right here in America.”
Adopting Trump’s own preferred frame of winning and losing, Pence exclaimed: “Today America won and we have Donald Trump to thank.”