Even before Mattis was introduced, some in the crowd at the Crown Coliseum began chanting his nickname, “Mad Dog.”
Trump basked in the approval: “Boy, was he a popular choice,” he remarked.
In his wide-ranging remarks on the second stop of his post-election “thank you” tour, Trump outlined what he said was his vision to “make America great again.”
He promised to end the defense sequester, reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, and build up the U.S. military. He pledged $1 trillion in infrastructure spending, including new efforts to invest in “inner cities.”
And he claimed credit for a $50 billion investment by Japanese telecom and Internet conglomerate SoftBank in the U.S. economy.
“Fifty billion dollars into the United States because of our victory,” Trump said.
Some analysts believe the money — which will come from a fund announced in October — was already destined for the U.S. economy before the election.
Echoing President Ronald Reagan's “peace through strength” mantra, Trump said that the United States should rebuild its military but end foreign intervention.
“From now on, it’s going to be America first,” Trump said.
“We will stop racing to topple foreign — and you understand this — foreign regimes that we know nothing about that we shouldn’t be involved in,” Trump said. “Instead, our focus should be on defeating terrorism and destroying ISIS.”
“We’ve got to start spending on ourselves,” Trump added, noting the country's crumbling infrastructure.
Trump, usually known for veering off-script, largely remained true to his prepared remarks and kept his speech much shorter than his typically hour-long campaign speeches, unlike during his first “thank you” tour rally last week in Cincinnati, when he frequently went off-script, attacking fellow Republicans, gloating about his electoral victories and commenting on National Football League viewership, among other topics.
At times, he gave in to the temptation to tout his recent electoral victory, including his performance among members of the military.
“You saw what happened with the military. I saw such numbers. Oh, those numbers were good,” Trump said. “We don’t talk about numbers. We’re bringing people together. But, boy, were those numbers good.”
Trump also refrained from repeatedly attacking the media, which he usually does each rally. When the crowd started to boo reporters at one point, Trump told them: “No, no.” He then said: “Hopefully they will write the truth.”
Trump has so far announced that two members of his Cabinet — Mattis and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who will serve as national security adviser — will be former military members. Trump is also considering former Gen. David Petraeus to serve as secretary of state.
But Mattis faces an additional hurdle in being confirmed to the post at the Department of Defense. Congress must grant him a waiver allowing a recently retired military member to serve in a position intended to be held by a civilian.
Both Trump and Mattis publicly remarked on their hope that Congress would grant it.
“I look forward to being the civilian leader so long as the Congress give me the waiver and the Senate votes to consent,” Mattis said before handing the microphone back to Trump.
“You’ll to get that waiver,” Trump remarked. “If you didn’t get that waiver, there’ll be a lot of angry people.”
Jenna Johnson contributed to this report.