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During Wisconsin 'Thank You' Stop, Trump Remarks On Recount, Ryan, Cabinet Picks

Scott Olson/Getty Images
President-Elect Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a Thank You Tour 2016 rally on December 13, 2016 in West Allis, Wisconsin.

Thousands of people braved the cold and stood in line for hours to get a glimpse of President-elect Donald Trump Tuesday night in West Allis. Trump held a rally at State Fair Park as part of his Thank You tour of battleground states. Trump talked about some recent events in his speech, including the Wisconsin recount.

Trump told the ecstatic crowd that it’s an honor to be back in Wisconsin and thanked supporters for electing him -- the first Republican president in the state since 1984.

He noted his visit coincides with Tuesday’s finalization of the recount. Green Party candidate Jill Stein paid for it and while Trump called it a waste of money, he acknowledged it had some merit.  The final tally in Wisconsin shows Trump picked up more than 100 additional votes.

“All that time, all that money, all that effort, we got 131 votes more than we had before. I think it was worth it, it tells you how important every single vote in America is,” Trump said

Credit Marti Mikkelson
Trump supporters held up signs and phones during his speech

Trump then praised some of Wisconsin’s top political leaders, including Gov. Scott Walker and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Trump and Ryan had a rocky relationship during the campaign, but seem to have made amends.

“He has been terrific and honestly, he’s like a fine wine. Every day I’ve come to appreciate him even more. If he ever goes against me, I’m not going to say that anymore. We’re going to work on taxes, we’re going to work on Obamacare and he’s going to lead the way,” Trump said.

Trump reiterated many of his promises while campaigning; those include building a wall on the Mexican border and repealing President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. In addition, he says he’s putting together one of the greatest cabinets of any presidential administration.

Trump defended his selection of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be the next secretary of state.

“Rex is one of the greatest and most skilled global business leaders of our time, made some of the greatest deals ever made in the oil industry, a great diplomat, a strong man, a tough man, a man who’s already earned an avalanche of growing praise from our nation’s top leaders,” he said.

One person happy with the pick is Robert Peot. He drove down from De Pere to see Trump. Peot said it doesn’t bother him that Tillerson comes from big business.

“I believe that appointing some non-political people to positions of influence would do nothing but help the process of bringing new jobs to America and moving towards a better process for the American people,” Peot said.

But, several Wisconsin Democratic leaders held a conference call on Tuesday, blasting Trump’s cabinet choices. State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa of Milwaukee fears Trump is backing away from his promise to make life better for workers.

“One of Donald Trump’s chief campaign promises was to drain the swamp but it is clear he is dead set on doing anything but draining the swamp. Instead of selecting qualified individuals with records of helping every day Americans get ahead to fill his cabinet, Trump has appointed extremely wealthy individuals who have little to no record of government or civil service,” Zamarripa said.

In his speech, Trump didn’t say anything about Russia and calls to investigate whether Russia worked to influence the election on Trump’s behalf.  Zamarripa and Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore were among those Tuesday, asking the president-elect to conduct a probe.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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