"I thought I lost," Trump said. "I was fine with it. I wasn't great."
But Trump detailed how the dominoes fell, with Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania going his way.
He drew some his loudest applause when he took a few shots at the media, saying they were "devastated" when he won.
The president-elect praised Wisconsin leaders in attendance, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, Gov. Scott Walker, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and incoming Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus, saying "there's some very good water in this state."
Trump called Walker "a great person and a great governor." The two were at odds ahead of Wisconsin's April presidential primary, which Ted Cruz won. Trump said of Walker ahead of one Wisconsin rally in March, "He's not doing a great job."
"I went against him for a while and he was tough," Trump said Tuesday night.
When Trump mentioned Ryan, who at times had been critical of Trump, he responded to scattered boos by saying he's come to appreciate the Janesville Republican.
"He's like a fine wine," Trump said. "Every day that goes by I get to appreciate his genius more and more."
He said he is going to work with Ryan to cut taxes, repeal Obamacare and build a wall on the southern border.
"We're going to work on the wall, Paul," Trump said to applause.
He credited Walker and Ryan, along with president-elect Mike Pence, who's governor of Indiana, with helping him win Wisconsin, a state he said he wasn't expecting to win
Trump drew loud and frequent applause from large crowd with mentions of strengthening the military, caring for veterans, defeating ISIS, securing the border, repealing and replacing Obamacare, and bringing back jobs lost from what he called bad trade deals.
The crowd at several times broke out into chants of "lock her up" when Trump mentioned Clinton. Trump had called for investigating Clinton and jailing her over her use of a private email server, but has backed off since he's been elected.
"You people are brutal," Trump quipped.
Rally-goers filled most of the area sectioned off in the large venue. At the back of the room was a booth selling Trump t-shirts and other gear. Outside the main room were concession stands selling beverages, soft pretzels and hot dogs.
A small group of protesters stood outside the building in the frigid weather, holding signs and chanting, among other things, "we reject the president-elect."
Pence, who introduced Trump, pumped the crowd up by repeating the president-elect's campaign promises, drawing some of his loudest applause by saying Trump would "repeal every unconstitutional executive order signed by President Obama."
Walker thanked voters for their work in electing one of the largest GOP legislative majorities in state history and for helping send Trump to the White House.
"You helped change America," Walker said.
Ryan also thanked voters, and drew loud applause when he pledged to repeal Obamacare.
Referencing the recount, Priebus asked the crowd to loud applause, "How does it feel to win? How does it feel to win twice?"
-- By David Wise