Presidential candidate Donald Trump loved the raucous political rallies that marked his campaign — loved them so much he’s doing them again as president-elect.
After a pit stop in Indianapolis to tout a new jobs agreement with the Carrier heating and air conditioning company, Trump visited Cincinnati on Thursday to open a “Thank You Tour” of swing states that put him over the top in his Electoral College battle against Democratic foe Hillary Clinton.
“I love you, Ohio!” Trump said, adding that “now the real work begins” and outlining an agenda than ranges from replacing Obamacare to tax cuts to a “great wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border to healing the nation’s many divisions. Along the way, as he did at similar rallies during the campaign, Trump bragged about his political success and bashed the media as “very dishonest people” who didn’t believe he had a chance to win the presidency.
He also used the Cincinnati rally to confirm that he would nominate retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as his secretary of defense.
“I love this stuff,” Trump said at one point. “Should I go on with this a little bit longer?”
When the president-elect said, “We did have a lot of fun fighting Hillary, didn’t we?” the Trump crowd echoed rallies of the past by chanting “Lock her up! Lock her up!’
In introducing Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said “we’re here to say thanks” for the election results.
In what looks like an unprecedented post-election victory lap for a president-elect, the Trump team is working on events in other big states he carried this month, including North Carolina, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida.
Trump and aides called the tour a chance for him to thank the voters who put him in office, though some analysts questioned whether they are a waste of time that could otherwise be devoted to the massive task of putting together a presidential administration.
David Cohen, a political science professor at the University of Akron who specializes in While House staffing, said he finds it “baffling” Trump would spend so much time campaigning.
“There’s so much to do when you’ve been elected president,” Cohen said. “There are so many jobs to fill.”
Making his first public appearance since the Nov. 8 election, Trump and Pence — also the governor of Indiana — stopped earlier Thursday at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis.
After planning to lay off some 1,400 workers and shift some operations to Mexico, Carrier has now agreed to keep a plant open and retain around 1,000 employees. Details remain hazy, including whether some Carrier employees will still lose jobs and the nature of the tax breaks the company is getting to stay in Indiana.
“Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences,” Trump said after touring the Carrier plant, echoing comments he made on the campaign trail.
The Cincinnati stop calls for a victory rally that mirrors the ones Trump held during the campaign. In Ohio and state after state, the Republican nominee denounced the political establishment in general and Clinton in particular, while his supporters chanted things like “Lock her up!” and shouted epithets at members of the press corps.
Previous presidents-elect have also done campaign-style events, but they tended to be smaller in scope and took place closer to the Inauguration Day of Jan. 20.
In 1993, President-elect Bill Clinton conducted a campaign-style bus tour that took him from Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello in Virginia to the Lincoln Memorialin Washington. Clinton also did some campaigning shortly after the 1992 election, stumping in Georgia during a run-off for a U.S. Senate seat.
Just before his inauguration in 2009, President-elect Barack Obama took a whistle-stop train ride from New York City to Washington, including a stop in Wilmington, Del., to pick up Vice President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump has frequently cited his love of well-attended political rallies, and some analysts described his thank you tour as the inevitable continuation of a campaign also fueled by social media and 24/7 media.
Martha Joynt Kumar, director of the bipartisan White House Transition Project, said Trump has good reason for wanting to be with his people.
After days of being “cloistered” in Trump Tower, interviewing job applicants and making appointments, she said, “he understandably has a need to go out and get back to what brought him there — what won him presidency.”