Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

As Trump Holds A 'Thank You' Rally, Supporters Say They're Anxious To See Results


President-elect Trump held another post-election rally last night, this time in North Carolina, one of many states that fell his way on election night. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea was there.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: As evening fell yesterday, people hurried through the rain and December chill across the parking lot to the sports arena in Fayetteville. Vendors outside hawked some new items alongside the usual Trump hats and T-shirts.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hats, scarves and beanies - cash or credit. Keep your ears warm again.

GONYEA: Inside, as the arena filled to about half, there was plenty of anticipation before Trump's 8 p.m. arrival.

DAVE DIXON: I've come to see the president.

GONYEA: That's 53-year-old Dave Dixon. He's retired military. The Fort Bragg Army Base is nearby. He's wearing a Tea Party hockey jersey and says he expects a lot from Trump, but he won't be keeping a scorecard of promises made and kept.

DIXON: In a campaign, people say a lot of things.

GONYEA: Got you.

DIXON: We're not going to build a 10-foot wall all across the southern border.

GONYEA: And you're OK with that, too?

DIXON: I'm OK with that.

GONYEA: Dixon also said he's fine with how Trump's cabinet is shaping up, dismissing criticism that the president-elect has nominated several billionaires and Wall Street insiders.

So how do you - how will you hold him accountable?

DIXON: In four years, I'll be voting again.

GONYEA: But what do you need to see?

DIXON: I'm measuring progress in bringing jobs back into the country. I'm measuring it in providing security for the citizens of this country.

GONYEA: Standing at the edge of the arena's main floor was 18-year-old Elisabeth Gonzalez, who says her family came here from Venezuela seven years ago. She says immigrants should come to the country legally, as her family did. But what about when Trump, during the campaign, would sometimes say that any immigrant in the country illegally would have to leave?

ELISABETH GONZALEZ: That was a big sticking point throughout the election for my family. But this is my fourth rally, and I've heard him speak. I've heard him in interviews. And he even said himself that he's not going to be that inhumane and split up families that've been here forever.

GONYEA: Also here was 29-year-old Iraq War veteran Christopher Richardson. He's currently unemployed due to a disability from war-related injuries. His big concern is fixing the VA hospitals. Richardson is a huge Trump supporter but adds that he will be watching him closely - and not just Trump, but also the Republicans who control Congress.

CHRISTOPHER RICHARDSON: I will measure it based off of his promises and his execution and whether or not Congress failed to uphold their end of the bargain. Honestly speaking, I think establishment politics is establishment politics.

GONYEA: And he thinks Trump will have to battle that constantly. Richardson also has this to say to those who suggested that Trump hasn't been acting presidential enough during the transition, that he's still attacking opponents and settling scores.

RICHARDSON: If you win a race, you get to gloat - doesn't matter. Olympians do it all the time. Hey, I got the gold medal.

GONYEA: And on this so-called thank you tour, Trump has done plenty of gloating, though last night's event had far less than a rally in Ohio last week. Sixty-five-year-old Bill Hagen - he's a private investigator - says Trump does need to tone things down a bit.

BILL HAGEN: As time goes by, before he takes office, he's going to put the poise on. He's a diamond in the rough. He's going to be polished up when he gets in there. He's going to act like a president.

GONYEA: And, Hagen adds, it's probably time for Trump to step away from Twitter as well. Don Gonyea, NPR News, Fayetteville N.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.