Congressional Democrats are ready to work with the president-elect to break Washington’s era of gridlock, Donald Trump said Thursday evening during a bombastic rally in Ohio.
Trump bounced from prepared remarks to his off-the-cuff style in a feisty event in Cincinnati, Ohio, the first stop on his “Thank You” tour to states that helped him win the presidency. He hammered the media and anyone who suggested he couldn’t cobble together the 270 electoral votes needed to secure the presidency. And he branded those who are advising him and his supporters to temper their expectations for his tenure as “fools.”
His performance was vintage Trump, as he vowed to usher in a “new industrial revolution” by bringing back lost Rust Belt manufacturing jobs. He spoke vaguely of lower corporate tax rates as a way to coax firms to keep facilities and jobs in the United States, but did not go into detail about other ways he intends to do that.
Trump vowed to rebuild what he sees as a depleted U.S. military, though he did not say how he would do that given existing federal spending caps that apply to the Pentagon’s annual budget. And, despite his call for a pricey military buildup, he said he intends to use it sparingly and vowed to keep America out of the kinds of conflicts it has been involved in for over a decade.
He called the very politicians in Congress he will depend on to pass his agenda “stupid.”
That came minutes after the incoming Republican president extended an olive branch to members of the opposition party, whom he likely will need to pass some of his domestic agenda.
He vowed to reach out to congressional Democrats to reverse Washington’s “endless gridlock,” saying he has spoken to Democrats. Their response? “‘Look, we can’t go on with this gridlock’,” according to Trump. Of Democrats on the Hill, he declared that “we want to get them on board constantly.”
Senior Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, have said they will work with the new president on issues where agreement exists. On Thursday, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said members of his party “shouldn’t bury our heads in the sand.”
“We’re going to have to talk to the president,’ he told reporters. “There’s no reason not to talk to him when he’s president-elect.”
In his first extended remarks since winning the election in the early hours of Nov. 9 — he apparently broke with his transition team’s plans and confirmed his intention to nominate retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as his secretary of Defense onstage, rather than waiting for Monday.
Trump talked about the importance of the county setting aside its differences, portraying himself as a longtime unifier.
“We’re going to find common ground, and we will get the job done properly,” he said to applause. “America will start winning again, big league.” That will require “the effort of all Americans,” and he blamed Washington because it “separates us” according to age, race, geography and other factors.
He panned globalization, saying there is no “certificate of global citizenship,” and declaring that the American people have relationships that are purely “local.”
“From now on, it’s going to be America first,” the president-elect said. “We’re going to put ourselves first.”
America’s relationships under his watch will be a “two-way road, not a one-way road,” boldly — but, again, vaguely — declaring “the advantages are going to come back to our country.”
“We had people running our country who truly didn’t know what the hell they were doing. We’re going to defend the American worker,” he said. “They forgot about the American worker.”
Trump revealed that he is crafting an “action plan for America” that will feature, among other things, “structural reforms” aimed at creating jobs and reducing taxes for the middle class and companies. On taxes, he promised to “massively” reduce them. And as he did earlier in the day in Indianapolis, he vowed to “eliminate every single wasteful regulation,” saying they hinder companies’ ability to compete with those from “foreign lands.”
Candidate Trump was back. So, too, were the vague promises and bold pronouncements.
“We’re going to do it ourselves,” Trump said. “You’re going to see a turn that’s so big and so fast.”