Watch CBS News

Donald Trump Begins Victory Tour In Indiana, Ohio; Names Mattis As Defense Secretary

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- President-elect Donald Trump took a victory lap on Thursday, appearing first in Indiana to salute workers at a factory that he made a campaign promise to save and then headed to Ohio, on the first stop of a "Thank You Tour'' to honor the supporters in states that gave him his stunning victory.

At the Ohio rally, Trump made a major announcement about his Cabinet -- naming retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis to lead the Defense Department.

The campaign-style rally was held in Cincinnati, and was the first of several stops on the "USA Thank You Tour 2016'' planned this month to revisit the states that helped him capture the White House. Trump, who has long spoken of feeding off the energy of his raucous crowds, first floated the idea of a victory tour just days after winning the election, only to instead prioritize filling some of his Cabinet positions.

The rally in Cincinnati, which Pence also attended, took place in the same downtown sports arena where Trump appeared in late October and drew approximately 15,000 people in what was one of his loudest -- and most hostile to the media -- crowds of the campaign.

At the rally, Trump announced the Mattis nomination. Mattis retired in 2013 after serving as the commander of the U.S. Central Command.

In a tweet Sunday, Trump referred to Mattis by his nickname "Mad Dog" and described him as "A true General's General!"

"They say he is the closest thing to General George Patton that we have, and it's about time," Trump said of Mattis.

At the raucous Ohio rally, Trump vowed to get to work to heal a divided nation.

"We are going to bring our country together -- all of our country," Trump said. We're going to find common ground and we will get the job done properly!"

Trump also said he would not tolerate any racism or bigotry.

"We condemn bigotry and prejudice in all of its forms. We denounce all of the hatred, and we forcefully reject the language of exclusion and separation," Trump said. "We're going to come together."

At the rally, Trump was back in his element, bashing critics who said he couldn't turn blue states red.

"Saying for months that there's no way that Donald Trump can break the blue wall, right?" Trump said. "We didn't break it, we shattered that sucker! We shattered it!"

Mattis' appointment was not popular across the political spectrum. In a statement late Thursday, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) objected to a military member being named Secretary of Defense.

"While I deeply respect General Mattis's service, I will oppose a waiver. Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy, and I will not vote for an exception to this rule."

Trump also said he would not tolerate any racism or bigotry.

"We condemn bigotry and prejudice in all of its forms. We denounce all of the hatred, and we forcefully reject the language of exclusion and separation," Trump said. "We're going to come together."

The Midwest swing was the first time Trump, who has shown an early inclination to revel in the role of showman-in-chief, has barnstormed across the country since the campaign. And both stops were to feature Trump declaring victory after a campaign built on the lament that "we don't win anymore'' as a nation.

As CBS2's Dick Brennan reported, Trump said will be inaugurated in 50 days, and he is already demonstrating how he hopes to boost the economy.

Earlier at his Indiana event, Trump said he was recently watching the news and saw a Carrier employee say that his company was not going to move to Mexico – and the employee said he had heard it from Trump himself.

Trump said he had been speaking figuratively about keeping jobs in the country and didn't mean Carrier specifically, but nonetheless, Trump admitted he gave that impression. So he picked up the phone and called the chief executive officer of Carrier's parent company, United Technologies in hopes of making a deal.

"So I called Greg Hayes. I heard of him and never met him, and he picked up the phone, 'Mr. President Elect, sir, how are you' – it's wonderful to win, you know that. I think if I lost, he wouldn't have returned my call," Trump said.

Trump explained Thursday how he cut a deal with Carrier Corporation in Indiana to stop them from exporting jobs to Mexico.

"So I said: 'Greg, you got to help us out here. We got to sit down. We got to do something,' I said, 'because we just can't let it happen,'" Trump said.

Hayes also praised the deal.

"Those plans have given us a renewed confidence in the future of manufacturing here in the United States," Hayes said.

The deal was brokered in part by Indiana Gov. and Vice-president elect Mike Pence. The state will reportedly give Carrier $7 million in tax breaks and other incentives over ten years.

"Carrier has decided to stay in Indiana, invest more than $16 million in this facility alone, and will keep more than 1,000 jobs right here in the heart of the heartland," Pence said.

On the CBS Evening News Thursday, Pence said all companies thinking about sending jobs offshore should be warned.

"We're going to have the kind of trade deals that have consequences for enterprises like that, and we're going have the kind of trade that puts American jobs and American workers first," Pence said.

Carrier did not say whether its parent company's many government – including making engines for fighter jets – played a role in its decision. Some 10 percent of United Technologies' revenue comes from federal deals.

But some people who work for Carrier are just glad that Trump got the deal done.

"He stood up for us from the get-go. Nobody else would," said Carrier warehouse worker Duane Lively. "He stood up for us and made good on his promise."

"I didn't vote for him, but hey, I do support whatever he's doing right now because he's helping me and my family," said Erica Ferguson, the wife of a Carrier employee.

During the campaign, Trump threatened to impose sharp tariffs on any company that shifted its factories to Mexico. And his advisers have since promoted lower corporate tax rates as a means of keeping jobs in the U.S.

But some questions remain about the extent of victory at Carrier. Scant details that have emerged so far raise doubts how many jobs will be saved.

By enabling the plant to stay open, the deal spares about 800 union workers whose jobs were going to be outsourced to Mexico, according to federal officials who were briefed by the company. This suggests that hundreds will still lose their jobs at the factory, where roughly 1,400 workers were slated to be laid off.

Also, neither Trump nor Carrier has said yet what the workers might have to give up, or precisely which threats or incentives were used, to get the manufacturer to change its mind. The company attributed its decision to the incoming Trump administration and financial incentives provided by Indiana, which is something of a reversal, since earlier offers from the state had failed to sway Carrier from decamping to Mexico.

"Today's announcement is possible because the incoming Trump-Pence administration has emphasized to us its commitment to support the business community and create an improved, more competitive U.S. business climate,'' the company said in a statement released Wednesday.

Trump's deal with Carrier may be a public relations success for the incoming president but also suggests that he has unveiled a new presidential economic approach: actively choosing individual corporate winners and losers -- or at least winners. To critics who see other Indiana factories on the verge of closing, deals like the one at Carrier are unlikely to stem the job losses caused by automation and cheap foreign competition, and the prospect that the White House might directly intervene is also a concern to some economists.

Some Democrats also have their doubts about Trump's deal. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) wrote in the Washington Past: "He has signaled to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives."

But Trump insists he will not have to go and save individual companies, because he will cut the business tax to 15 percent from 35 percent, and work to cut regulations. And there is always his repeated threat of tariffs.

"Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences," Trump said. "it's not going to happen."

Trump, who convincingly won Ohio, is also expected to hold rallies in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina and Michigan in the coming weeks, though details have yet to be announced.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.