WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CN) – Hundreds of Wisconsinites gathered to cheer President-elect Donald Trump – and heckle the speaker of the house, the media and the Obamas – at a Milwaukee-area stop Tuesday night on Trump’s “thank you” tour.
Trump, preceded by Wisconsin native Paul Ryan and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, spoke to the half-full State Fair Exposition Center, promised to repeal Obamacare, “get” ISIS and appoint a pro-life, pro-gun judge to the U.S. Supreme Court.
While these points were met with rousing cheers, Ryan – the speaker of the house who has frequently spoken against Trump – was met with boos, as were anecdotes about the media.
“They’re very dishonest people,” Trump told the crowd, which loudly agreed.
Trump’s lengthy story about the process of his victory, which polls – another target of his criticism – failed to predict, was another crowd-pleaser.
Wisconsin has not gone Republican in a presidential election since Ronald Reagan in 1984, despite electing a Republican state government and a loudly pro-Trump sheriff in Milwaukee, its largest city.
The Badger State was a crucial battleground that helped secure Trump’s Electoral College victory on Nov. 8. His wins in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania shattered Democrats’ so-called “Blue Wall,” essentially eliminating Hillary Clinton’s path to victory.
Supporters at Tuesday’s rally laughed at Trump’s jokes, jeered at mentions of Barack and Michelle Obama and Clinton, and flocked to the merchandise table.
Pence’s promise to “build a nation for the citizens of this nation, we will build a wall” was met with raucous applause and cheers from the overwhelmingly white audience.
The crowd was also pleased with Trump’s criticism of his recent Person of the Year awards from Time and the Financial Times.
He asked whether they would prefer a return to Man of the Year, and the mixed-gender crowd – many holding pink “Women for Trump” signs – cheered their support.
One of those women, Linda Ugast, said she supported Trump 100 percent and encouraged everyone to give him a chance.
Her main reasons for supporting him were his promises to rebuild the military and the economy, the latter of which is bound to succeed thanks to his “business sense,” Ugast said.
Doug Faltinson, who said he supported Trump since the beginning, said he appreciates the president-elect’s “thank you” tour to the states that elected him.
As for Trump’s most important issues: “It just runs the entire gamut,” the president-elect said, from “bringing back the rule of law” and his promise to eliminate ISIS.
“Our goal is not to build new nations in far-off lands that most of you have never heard of,” he said before promising to destroy the Islamist terrorist organization based in the Middle East.
“We are going to make you so proud of your country. So proud. We are never, ever going to let you down,” Trump told the crowd shortly before leaving the stage to the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
Down the street from the entrance gate to the State Fair Exposition Center, a small group of anti-Trump protesters gathered in the frigid Wisconsin cold. One held a sign that said “Not My President” with a Trump mugshot and the words “homophobe”, “racist,” criminal,” “sociopath,” “bigot,” and “sexist” bordering the picture.