Trump Calls on Pennsylvania Crowd to Cheer African-Americans Who ‘Didn’t Come Out to Vote’

Donald Trump’s barnstorming tour across the states that won him the White House continues to feature far more taunts of triumph than notes of healing after a bruising election.

Thursday’s rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania, found the president-elect calling for the mostly white crowd to cheer for African-Americans who were “smart” to heed his message and therefore “didn’t come out to vote” for his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

“That was the big thing, so thank you to the African-American community,” Trump said.

He also edged closer Thursday to completing his Cabinet, announcing his choice for interior secretary: Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, who should fit smoothly into an administration favoring more energy drilling and less regulation.

The president-elect — who also found time to hit Twitter, playing media critic and then stating anew his doubts about charges that Russia hackers tried to disrupt the U.S. election — boasted to the crowd in Pennsylvania that he captured a state that for many Republicans was “the bride that got away.”

“Everyone leaves Pennsylvania, Republicans, thinking they won Pennsylvania. And they never do. They just don’t win Pennsylvania,” said Trump.

Pennsylvania had not gone for a Republican candidate since 1988. But the Trump campaign staff long thought that the state, rich in white working-class voters, would be receptive to his populist message and not be part of Clinton’s hoped-for firewall.

Trump repeatedly campaigned there, drawing some of the largest and loudest crowds of the campaign. He won the state by less than 1 percentage point, giving him a vital 20 electoral college votes.

The evening rally in Hershey also featured a nearly 20-minute recap of Trump’s election night win with the crowd cheering as the president-elect slowly ticked off his victories state by state, mixing in rambling criticisms of incorrect pundits and politicians from both sides of the aisle.

Trump earlier praised Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, as having “built one of the strongest track records on championing regulatory relief, forest management, responsible energy development and public land issues.” Zinke, 55, was an early supporter of the president-elect and publicly expressed his interest in a Cabinet post when Trump visited Montana in May.

As with several other Cabinet selections, Zinke has advocated increased drilling and mining on public lands and has expressed skepticism about the urgency of climate change. House Speaker Paul Ryan praised the pick, saying Zinke “has been an ardent supporter of all-of-the-above energy policies and responsible land management.”

But his nomination could have a ripple effect on control of the Senate, since Zinke now may forgo what was once a near-certain challenge to Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in 2018.

The president-elect also tapped attorney Daniel Friedman, his adviser on Israeli affairs, to be U.S. Ambassador to Israel. Friedman, in a statement, said he would help fulfill Trump’s promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Many Republican presidents have made a similar vow without success.

Trump also added to his national security team by announcing the appointments of retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg as chief of staff of the National Security Council and Monica Crowley, a Fox News analyst, as the organization’s director of communications. Kellogg spent more than 35 years in the Army and, in 2003, oversaw the efforts to form the new Iraqi military after it was disbanded. Crowley and Fox ended their relationship on Thursday.

Trump has two Cabinet selections yet to make though he also needs to fill out much of his White House staff. And he was busy on Twitter Thursday morning.

He again cast doubt on U.S. intelligence assertions about Russia election hacking, writing: “If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?”

That assertion is untrue. A month before the election, the Obama administration bluntly accused Russia of hacking American political sites and email accounts to interfere.

Trump has repeatedly said he’d like to improve ties with Russia, a hope that has been echoed in Moscow. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday lauded Trump’s Cabinet selections, and particularly Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, as people with no “anti-Russian stereotypes.”

The Kremlin has cheered Trump’s victory although some Russian officials have recently said they are not expecting relations between Russia and the U.S., which were battered after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, to improve overnight.

Trump also tweeted, “The media tries so hard to make my move to the White House, as it pertains to my business, so complex – when actually it isn’t!” His declaration came on the day he was supposed to hold a news conference, now postponed until January, to reveal how he plans to distance himself from his business. Aides said more time was needed to finalize the complicated arrangement.

(h/t Chicago Tribune)

Trump ‘Thank-You Tour’ Revives His Campaign Rallies’ Scariest Hits

President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday appeared as if he never ended his campaign, attacking “the extremely dishonest media,” boasting about his “landslide” victory, and dashing speculation he might pivot and start acting like a president.

At a rally in Ohio billed as the beginning of a “thank-you tour,” Trump repeatedly pledged to unite the country and “find common ground.” But his rhetoric, almost word for word, matched the raucous and incendiary rallies of his campaign.

The crowd chanted “lock her up” at the first mention of Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, even though Trump since the election has backtracked on his pledge to prosecute Clinton for her use of a private email server. He galvanized supporters during the campaign by calling her “Crooked Hillary” and alleging she broke the law, even though the FBI cleared her.

“I’m going to discuss our action plan to make America great again,” Trump said on Thursday. “Although we did have a lot of fun fighting Hillary, right?”

The rally followed an earlier event at a Carrier Corp. factory in Indiana, where Trump boasted about his deal with the company to keep 800 jobs from moving to Mexico in exchange for tax incentives.

The two events were Trump’s first public appearances since winning the election last month.

Trump showed at the rally that he prefers campaigning to governing. Since the election, he has reportedly turned away classified intelligence briefings and has resumed tweeting conspiracy theories and late-night ramblings. He has also said he wants to continue holding rallies as president.

Trump on Thursday trotted out a few lies ― as was his style at campaign events. He falsely suggested terrorists are “pouring into our country” and described a “violent crime wave” in America’s cities.

He went on an extended riff slamming “the extremely dishonest media” and pointed at reporters covering the rally for admonishment. Trump’s transition team has restricted press access to the president-elect, setting his administration on a path of secrecy.

Trump also took a stab at a GOP primary rival, Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

“Hey, in the great state of Ohio, we didn’t have the upper echelon of politician either, did we?” Trump said, a mocking reference to Kasich, who refused to support Trump and was a vocal critic.

Trump bragged that world leaders have joined in celebrating his victory in phone calls to him.

“They all tell me, they sat in their magnificent rooms in wonderment,” he said. “One of them told me, ‘I truly respect the United States again because of what happened.’”

Those calls have sparked controversy with reports that Trump discussed his businesses with foreign leaders. Trump has already been dogged by conflicts of interest between his elected office and his businesses.

Trump confirmed his appointment of retired Gen. James Mattis as defense secretary, but bizarrely claimed it was a secret until a formal announcement later, telling the crowd: “Don’t tell anyone.”

The president-elect also delivered a healthy serving of pie in the sky ― free of any facts ― just like he did during his campaign. He promised to unify the country and “overcome decades of stalemate and gridlock.”

“Now that you have put me in this position, even if you don’t help me one bit, I’m going to get it done, believe me,” he said. “Don’t worry about it. It would be easier if you helped, but that’s all right. Don’t worry, I’ll get it done.”

(h/t Huffington Post)


I thought it was “time for us to come together“?