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Critics Join Supporters On Trump's Florida Stop Of 'Thank-You' Tour


And NPR's Scott Horsley has been with Donald Trump, who's on a thank you tour. Last night, he spoke in Florida.


DONALD TRUMP: Let's start off by saying Merry Christmas, everyone. Merry Christmas.


SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: The line of Christmas evergreens behind Donald Trump looked a little out of place in this semi-tropical environment. But the president-elect seemed very much at home here in his adopted state in front of an adoring crowd at the Central Florida Fairgrounds. These are some of the voters who helped Trump carry Florida and its 29 electoral votes on the way to a White House victory that defied so many expert forecasts. Both Trump and his supporters love retelling that story and how the news media got it wrong.


TRUMP: They're very dishonest. They have written very dishonestly about all of us. It's a movement like they've never seen before. And yet we won, folks. We won, right?


HORSLEY: That suspicion of a hostile news media spills over into post-election stories about Russian hackers, possibly directed by Vladimir Putin himself, who set out to interfere in the U.S. election and swing it in the direction of Donald Trump.

BETH YOUNG: It's questionable. You know, the mainstream media - I don't trust them. I don't believe them. I haven't for a long time.

HORSLEY: Beth Young (ph) of Ocala, Fla., says the cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign should be investigated. But she's not convinced the Russians are responsible, and she certainly doesn't think those hacks played a decisive role in the election.

YOUNG: It's just more of the Clinton campaign trying to say, you know, she couldn't win on her own accord, so now she has to blame somebody else.

HORSLEY: Some of Trump's Florida critics have seized on the hacking story, though. A small group of protesters gathered outside the fairgrounds, heckling Trump supporters as they came in.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Good job making Russia great again.

HORSLEY: Grayson Lonzo (ph) notes Hillary Clinton actually outpolled Trump in this part of central Florida.

GRAYSON LONZO: Orange County is our home, and he lost this county. This community rejected him and his ideals and the people who he supports. Because the election went their way doesn't mean they win forever.

HORSLEY: Last night, though, protesters were far outnumbered by Trump supporters. Sean Tuthill (ph) of Crystal River is convinced the president-elect will bring good things to the country.

SEAN TUTHILL: Like the thing I saw today on Facebook. He's a billionaire that gave up his cushy life to help us Americans. That's got to count for something. Our country is a big business. It needs to be run by people in business - period - not community organizers.

HORSLEY: Trump reiterated his campaign promises to cut taxes, rollback regulations, repeal Obamacare and renegotiate trade agreements. In recent days, he's been alternating between these thank you rallies and meetings with his new Cabinet nominees, many of whom are wealthy businesspeople or retired military.


TRUMP: You know, the media was saying, the people that are negotiating your trade deals are very rich. I said, but isn't that what we want?


TRUMP: And they said, why is it that the people protecting our border are generals? Because that's what we want. We want generals. We want generals.

HORSLEY: Trump gloated a bit at the rally about being named Time magazine's Person of the Year, though he said he prefers the old title, Man of the Year. Trump added some of the credit should go to the often-maligned voters who turned out in such numbers to elect him.


TRUMP: They're not so deplorable anymore. In fact, the other side's trying to figure out, well, in four years, how do we get some of these deplorable to our side, right?

HORSLEY: There will be plenty of time to chew that over. For now, Trump and his team have an inauguration to plan, a government to organize and another thank you rally this afternoon in Mobile, Ala. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Orlando. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.

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