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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," October 18, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The one and only Donald Trump made headlines yesterday co-hosting a telephone town hall on economic issues with GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. Now, Mr. Trump says he's not endorsing the congresswoman, but I headed on over to Trump Towers earlier today to get his thoughts on the strengths and the weaknesses of all of the GOP candidates and even got him to answer whether or not he is still thinking about, well, a last minute presidential bid. And here's part one of my interview.
HANNITY: All right. So, the field for the GOP nomination is set. The only person that is not said no that was speculated to think about getting in, last time I talked to you, you were still could not contemplating getting in. Where are you now? Do you think there's any chance you'll get in this race?
DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Well, I've gotten to know, as you know, some of the candidates, and I thought it was very important. I love what I'm doing, Sean. I just love building buildings and whether it's doing "Apprentice" or doing all of the different things I have, the "Miss Universe," I have such a big company now and such a good company and I love it.
But I love the country even more, and if I see that the wrong candidate is picked and if the economy continues to be bad which I really believe it is because I think it will, because we truly have incompetent leadership. It's nothing short of incompetent. And I would do something, but I've met with Governor Romney, I've met with Governor Perry, I've met with Michele Bachmann, I've met with a lot. I've met with Herman Cain who is a terrific guy. I've met with many of the people. And frankly, the other ones that I didn't meet with, it was my choosing. I didn't really want to waste a lot of time.
But I've met some very good people. If I like who the Republicans nominate and frankly, I'm going to be very happy. I'll be the happiest guy. So, I would probably endorse somebody sometime prior to the primaries. We'll see what happens.
HANNITY: So, that means maybe in the next month or two?
TRUMP: Over the next two months, I would say, yes.
HANNITY: OK. Now, you once --
TRUMP: And I'd love to do that. My preference would be endorsing somebody and having that somebody win.
TRUMP: But I'd have to know that that somebody could win.
HANNITY: All the candidates that you've been talking to have strengths and weaknesses. Really quick, summarize Perry's strengths and weaknesses, Romney, Cain, Bachmann.
TRUMP: Well, I've been with them all and I know them all and I actually like them all. And if you start with Governor Romney, very impressive guy one on one, and really has done well in the debates. And I mean, he's made tremendous progress. The one thing I don't understand is why he doesn't go above that 23 or 24 percent level. Because every time somebody gets in, he sort of stays the same, which tells you he's got a very, very solid base but he's got to get those numbers up. When somebody leaves or somebody, whatever, where all those votes are out there.
HANNITY: There's been a flirtation with Pawlenty, with Perry, with Bachmann and now Herman Cain is surging.
HANNITY: So, you're right. It seems like his battle is with more of the Tea Party base.
TRUMP: Romney is a very, very competent guy. He's done the best at the debates. He's really done, in my opinion, he's done fantastically well at the debates. And I think you'll start to see him go up, but I would say that he is disappointed that those numbers don't go up as much as they should be going based on his debate performances and based really on what he's saying.
OK. Very capable guy. Very good guy, and a different guy one on one. And I'll say the same thing about Perry. The one thing so different is, I'm amazed that he hasn't done better at the debates. Because when you're with Governor Perry one on one, he's great. He's great. I mean, we had dinner, we're talking, he's dynamic, and he actually called me the other day and said something, and he was very forceful. And I said, why aren't you that way in the debates?
HANNITY: What did he say?
TRUMP: It's really a question.
HANNITY: What did he say?
TRUMP: He said that's not his strength, and that's OK.
HANNITY: All right. But is it also his positions? I mean, a lot of people on immigration.
TRUMP: They don't like his immigration position.
HANNITY: They didn't like his HPV vaccine position.
TRUMP: Actually, his position on immigration in terms of a general election is not so bad. In terms of getting the nomination, it's a terrible position. And the vaccination, I'm not sure that that played as big a role, but the immigration position certainly has hurt him.
But he's a different guy one on one than he is in the debates. I actually said why can't you be this way in the debate?
HANNITY: But did you -- you met George W. Bush.
TRUMP: I honestly.
HANNITY: I know you weren't a fan of his.
TRUMP: I wasn't a fan.
HANNITY: Very different in person.
HANNITY: Very dynamic.
TRUMP: You know, I've heard that from a lot of people. And if I met him in person, I'm sure I'd like him. I have never been a fan, but I never met him in person.
HANNITY: All right. So, is Romney's weakness has got to get the Tea Party to believe he is more conservative?
TRUMP: His weakness is with the Tea Party. And they just aren't going for him yet. I think they might.
Look. I think ultimately everybody wants somebody that's going to beat Obama. Now, I met Herman Cain. What a great guy. Really a good guy. And he said to me, he said, you know, I'm up here not even for the endorsement. I just don't want you to bash me on television because I seem to get people like you, especially between you and Greta and Bill O'Reilly, he said, you know, I just think it's sort of great. We just had a great time.
HANNITY: What do you think of his 999 plan?
TRUMP: I think the sales tax aspect is tough because frankly, that would be a good thing for somebody like me and I'm not looking for that. You know, I'd love to have my income tax lowered and the sales tax because, you know, how many hamburgers can you buy, OK. But I think he hasn't explained it fully, and I think he will, and I think he's expecting to.
HANNITY: Do you think he can sustain? He had one problem on a question about understanding right of return in the Middle East. Is that a problem for him?
TRUMP: You know, if somebody's a great leader and if they're really understanding people, you're going to hire the right people. You'll get the right people. You'll going to find out for instance, me. I would get the sharpest business people. If the president of the United States called one of the great killers that we read about all day long, about, you know, for the last 25 years making good deal, good deal, good deal, always good deals, right? If that killer who is tired of making deals, I mean, if he gets a call from the president of the United States, would you do me a favor and help me negotiate with China, help me negotiate with OPEC, help me with India where there, you know, everyone, you talk about outsourcing. India is like unbelievable, we need help. That guy would be so happy. I know them all. They'd be so proud to do it. They'd call home and say the president just called.
HANNITY: If Obama called you, would you take the job?
TRUMP: Well, I don't think he'd call me. You know, he should have called me before. You know, just so you understand, I was his biggest cheerleader. I thought he won, and I was saying if you go back three years, I'm saying do a great job. I wanted him to do a great job. I still want him to do a great job. It's not going to happen because the first thing he'd have to do is end Obamacare, OK, and I think that's going to be a hard thing for him to do, appeal.
HANNITY: It's the Holy Grail for liberals.
TRUMP: Well, you know, it's an impossible thing for him to do, I guess, but he has to do it. Businesses are going to close down because of Obamacare, so he's going to have to do something with Obamacare. But I really thought that hey, he got elected, he used the word change. Well, we got change all right. You know what the change is. We got change, you know where we got it. It's a disaster.
So, the other thing I'm surprised is that I thought he was a positive person always. I thought he'd be like a cheerleader for the country. Like every once in a while you see a political guy without great experience, but he's a great cheerleader, he or she is a great cheerleader for the country.
I thought Obama would be a great cheerleader for the country and it's turned out to be just the opposite, and he is creating absolutely class warfare. I actually don't think you wouldn't have those kids down to Wall Street and now all over the country without what he's saying. I think he's crediting a class warfare that is a very dangerous thing for the country and it's dangerous even for him, but there's a warfare that's going on now among different groups of people that we never had before.
HANNITY: But isn't it a danger on his part, class warfare, and more importantly, the Democratic Party has been attacking the Tea Party conservatives as racist, you know, Maxine Waters, the conservative Tea Party movement can go straight to hell. One congressman says that conservatives want black people hanging from trees. They double down on insane rhetoric. The president has wrapped his arms twice now around the "Occupy Wall Street" crowd. And isn't there a danger --
TRUMP: I think the race card is such a horrible thing. And I've been watching it more and more lately. And I think it's disgraceful. And when Obama gets 95 percent of the black vote, is that racist? I mean, you know, does anybody ever mention that? He gets 95 percent of the vote. And I see your compatriots, your announcers saying yes, he got 95 percent of the black vote but this wasn't a racial thing. They like his policy. That's a lot of crap.
But he's creating a racial divide and I think he's doing it on purpose and I think it's a very unfair thing and it's a very bad thing.
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