CINCINNATI - President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday that retired four-star general James Mattis will be his nominee for Secretary of Defense.
"We're not announcing it until Monday, so don't tell anybody," he said at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati as part of his "USA Thank You Tour."
Trump began with an apology to the gathering. He opened his remarks at 7:47 p.m., well after his anticipated start time.
"So I didn't know what came with this position," he said. "And I didn't know they closed down the roads around the stadium for an hour and a half. We have to work out a new deal with our Secret Service, but we love them, right? Thank you everybody for being so patient."
Rallygoers were still arriving as the rally kicked off just before 7 p.m. The crowd's size was throttled by rush-hour traffic jams due to roads closed for Trump's motorcade.
Trump thanked Ohio for its part in his victory said he would provide details about his "action plan" for the country. At first, Trump stuck to prepared remarks that may have lacked policy specifics but didn't lack for prose.
“This campaign proved that the old rules no longer apply, that anything we want for our country is now possible. Anything we want, right?” He said. “Now is not the time to downsize our dreams, but to set our sights higher than ever before for our country.”
But before long, Trump veered off his remarks to revert to vintage Trump from the campaign trail. He slammed the "extremely dishonest press" in a lengthy mocking of pre-election claims that he wasn't going to win the election. The crowd booed the media and laughed at Trump's mockery. They loved it. So did Trump.
“I love this stuff. Should we go on with this a little bit longer?” He said. The crowd roared its approval.
Trump was preceded on the stage by Ohio Secretary of State John Husted, Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
"He did it," said Pence, referring to Trump. "And we have you to thank."
Trump arrived early to Cincinnati for a Republican National Committee fundraiser, according to pool reports. He flew in from Indianapolis, where he announced a deal to save jobs at Carrier.
Forty-nine days ago in Cincinnati, Donald Trump whipped up a crowd of thousands promising to win the White House and save the nation.
On Thursday, President-elect Trump returned to U.S. Bank Arena for a campaign-like rally, kicking off a nationwide victory tour.
Such a victory lap is unprecedented for a president-elect. But it matches Trump's populist style. He energized his campaign with numerous rallies, held in venues ranging from vast arenas with rock show lighting to airplane hangers where Trump rolled up, whistle-stop style, in his jet.
Cincinnati might seem like an odd place for Trump to start his victory tour. The city and Hamilton County both backed his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton. But the city is surrounded on all sides by Trump country: suburbs, rural counties and Northern Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.