After promising to be “a president for all Americans” and calling for unity, President-elect Donald Trump returned to his usual theatrics at a rally in Ohio on Thursday night. His supporters chanted “Build the wall” and “Lock her up,” he attacked “the very dishonest media,” he mocked protesters and he slammed Ohio’s own Republican Gov. John Kasich.
At the kick-off of his “Donald J. Trump USA Thank You Tour 2016,” Trump frequently strayed from prewritten remarks on the teleprompters.
He touted a promise to “bring our country together.” However, when he addressed his campaign promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, he did not stop his supporters when they responded with “Build the wall!” — even though reports have documented a spike in hate crimes against immigrants since Election Day.
Hate incidents have occurred seven times more frequently in the days following the election than they did in 2015 when compared to FBI data. And despite saying, “we condemn bigotry and hatred in all of its forms,” his words seemed empty as he appeared to promote even further division.
He also addressed the knife attack at Ohio State University and reiterated his call to ban Muslims from entering the country. He blamed the attack on “stupidly created by our very stupid politicians.”
“We will suspend immigration from regions where it cannot be safely processed,” he said.
He energized the crowd as he recalled his divisive campaign against his Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.
“I’m going to discuss our action plan to make America great again,” he said at the rally. “Although we did have a lot of fun fighting Hillary, right”
The crowd responded with chants of, “Lock her up!” — a common cry at his rallies in reference to Clinton.
Trump also attacked Gov. Kasich, who ran against Trump for the Republican nomination. Kasich refused to endorse Trump and often spoke out against him.
“Hey, in the great state of Ohio, we didn’t have the upper echelon of politician either, did we” Trump said, to which the crowd booed its governor.
Protesters interrupted the rally, to which Trump said, as they were escorted out, that they were going “back home to mom.”
“They don’t know that Hillary lost a couple of weeks ago,” he said.
Trump also slammed Evan McMullin, a third party candidate who analysts thought had a chance of winning Utah, but refused to mention him by name and instead laughed and called him “that guy.”
“Remember when they said Donald Trump is going to lose to some guy I’ve never even heard of” he said. “The people of Utah were amazing, and we trounced them. Hillary came in second, and that guy came in third. What the hell was he trying to prove”
Trump also falsely boasted about winning by a landslide — despite actually losing the popular vote to Clinton. Trump garnered 306 electoral votes, and Clinton secured 232.
Trump’s post-election behavior is not characteristic of past president-elects, according to experts. Often, president-elects use the time to promote unity to bring the country together after the election, according to Robert Dallek, a presidential historian.
“What presidents-elect often do is they try to create the impression that there’s a healing period now, that there’s a coming together,” Dallek said. “The impulse generally has been to create a new sense of shared national unity, rather than to show a divided country. That’s why there’s usually not an impulse to hold these rallies.”
Gerhard Peters, co-director of the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara, called Trump’s behavior “unprecedented.”
“Presidents-elect usually give a handful of press conferences and spend their time focusing on the huge task of preparing their administration,” Peters said.