President-Elect Donald Trump officially announced his nomination of retired Gen. James Mattis to be secretary of the Defense Department on Tuesday, at a “thank you” rally held near Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
It was Trump’s second thank-you visit since he shocked the world and won the White House on Nov. 8.
“Mattis will get that waiver, right? Oh, if he didn’t get that waiver, there would be a lot of angry people.”
Mattis spoke briefly and humbly, acknowledging he would need congressional approval to take the job because he has been retired from the military for fewer than seven years. He also acknowledged the Senate would then have to give official consent after hearings.
The crowd roared as Mattis left. Trump then suggested Congress better give Mattis a fair shot.
“He’ll get that waiver, right?” Trump asked the crowd. “Oh, if he didn’t get that waiver, there would be a lot of angry people.”
[lz_third_party align=center includes=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNNLOOP9dpk]
But Trump’s speech wasn’t just about talking military issues in the city of Fayetteville, home of the Army’s 82nd Airborne.
Trump relived winning Iowa, Florida, and North Carolina — states where he was heavily contested by Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“That’s why we are here tonight; we want to thank you,” Trump said.
Trump then launched into his domestic policy agenda, and took yet another victory lap after his recent win in getting Carrier Corp. to keep more than 1,000 jobs in Indiana.
He promised a more “massive” tax cut for the middle class than President Ronald Reagan delivered in the 1980s. He also promised to cut the top corporate tax rate to 15 percent.
Trump promised to jump-start economic development in urban centers.
Trump said he wanted to promote not just a “Buy American” belief but “Hire American” policies. He said 70,000 U.S. factories have closed since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001. Much of his speech was aimed at trade policies, a platform that helped him ride to victory in unlikely states in the Midwest.
“Our trade deficit is … almost $800 billion a year,” said Trump. “In the month of October alone, our nation racked up more than $40 billion in trade deficit … including more than a $30 billion trade deficit with China alone.”
Trump said North Carolina has lost about half of its manufacturing jobs since NAFTA passed in 1993.
“We’re living through the greatest jobs theft in the history of the world,” said Trump.