His remarks came a day after Trump threatened to cancel Boeing's Pentagon contract, saying the company was "doing a little bit of a number." Hours later, Boeing chief executive Dennis A. Muilenburg pledged to the president-elect that the company would keep costs down.
At Wednesday's over-capacity fundraiser, which was expected to raise at least $4 million for the nonprofit running Trump's transition effort, the president-elect indicated that he will continue to use his post to put pressure on individual corporations. Trump told the audience that he urged Apple chief executive Tim Cook to build his next factory in the United States instead of overseas, saying that would make him happy.
Close to 1,000 people crowded into the elegant midtown Manhattan restaurant for the $5,000-a-head fundraiser, including billionaire investor and commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross and Mark Burnett, the creator and executive producer of Trump's reality show, "The Apprentice." The audience included a strong showing of Washington lobbyists who have flocked to support the transition, despite Trump's denunciations of lobbyists on the campaign trail. (The committee planning the inaugural festivities is not accepting contributions from lobbyists, but they are permitted to give to the nonprofit running Trump's transition.)
The president-elect noted that onetime members of the "Never Trump" movement were in attendance, as well as some major donors who opposed him in the GOP primary contest. Among them: billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who warned in June that if Trump won the election and implemented anti-trade policies, it could trigger a "global depression." Singer did not back a presidential candidate in the general election.
But since Trump's victory, Singer appears to have grown more optimistic. “With the team that Trump is assembling, with his magnanimous approach post-election, and with GOP majorities in the House and Senate, Paul is encouraged," according to a person familiar with his thinking, who requested anonymity to describe his views. "He thinks we could see a dynamic economic growth agenda coming out of Washington for the first time in a long time.”
The president-elect spoke for roughly 40 minutes, giving the audience a play-by-play of the drama of election night and joking with longtime friends in attendance. He told the audience that Burnett approached him this week with a dramatic plan to kick off the inauguration in January: He suggested that Trump go down Fifth Avenue in parade, then board a Trump-branded helicopter at the top of Trump Tower and fly to Washington. The president-elect appeared cool to the stunt, noting how much a parade would snarl Manhattan traffic, according to several attendees. Rather, Trump said, "I want to get to work."
One piece of business that he promised would be dealt with shortly: Next week, Trump said, he would announce his pick for secretary of state.
Trump is set to headline two more fundraisers on Dec. 16 in Orlando, when he visits the city for a "thank you" rally, according to a person familiar with the plans. One event will raise money for the transition, and a second high-dollar fundraiser will collect funds for the Republican National Committee.
Sean Sullivan contributed to this report.