• With: Donald Trump

    This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 14, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.



    VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to talk to you.

    DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (Via Telephone): Hello, Greta.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think the campaign is starting in earnest. There are dueling ads out today. And I want wonder what you thought about the Obama campaign ad which is zeroing right in on Governor Romney and when he was at Bain Capital and handling the GST steel mill.

    TRUMP: Well, it's certainly getting very nasty, and I would say perhaps on both sides. But in particular, when they make an ad like that, which is so unfair. They want to save companies, whether it's Bain or somebody else, in most cases. They want to save companies.

    And Governor Romney did a fantastic job at Bain not only in terms of the jobs he produced, but also in terms of creating and saving companies. He did a great job. And it's very, very unfair to pick a company and say, Oh, gee, let's do an ad. Very unfair.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the thing that I was sort of curious about -- and you're a business guy -- is that -- there were two things. One is that GST apparently went under about 2001. He left Bain Capital in 1999. But nonetheless, you know, some of the things that Bain Capital put in place while he was there had an effect on 2001.

    But I did a little research, and I found out that in 2001, about 17 steel mills went under, including Bethlehem Steel, which was the second largest steel mill at the time, because there was dumping by foreign countries of cheaper steel here in the United States, so nobody wanted to buy domestic steel.

    TRUMP: Well, that's true.

    VAN SUSTEREN: So does that make it unfair?

    TRUMP: Well, it certainly makes it unfair. But it's -- you know, it's almost like what else is new? Because if you look what's going on with foreign countries and foreign companies right now, how they're subsidized over our companies, so it really is an unfair -- and frankly, if you look at that ad, I think that ad was extremely unfair. And it's really the topic of a lot of conversation right now. It was a very, very unfair ad.

    But that was a time when steel was doing extremely poorly because of the dumping, I mean, dumping all over the place, and steel was being hurt. Many, many steel companies at that time were going out of business.

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So a very significant omission in the ad -- and I'll get to a Romney campaign ad in a second, which I think there's an omission. But listen to what -- I'm going to play you a sound bite from what -- a part of it, about 23 seconds out of the ad, and tell me how potent you think this is politically in the five battleground states that are going to hear this part of this ad against Romney.

    TRUMP: OK.


    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was devastated. It makes me angry. Those guys were all rich. They all have more money than they'll ever spend. Yet they didn't have the money to take care of the very people that made the very money for them.

    TRUMP: Bain Capital walked away with a lot of money that they made off of this plant.


    VAN SUSTEREN: There was even one point in that ad, Donald, in which the -- I think the term "vampire" was used. How do you tell the American people who are suffering so incredibly, when a company fails, even if there are legitimate business reasons for failure, in this case, dumping of cheaper steel -- but nonetheless, Bain Capital, very successful, very rich people, and it doesn't look good to people who -- who don't have that kind of success or that kind of money.

    TRUMP: Well, I agree with that. It doesn't look good. It's not fair. It's really a misrepresentation, but it doesn't look great if people don't know the situation. I think a lot of people do know the situation.

    And also, in business, you have hits and you have misses. Now, in the end, you have to have a lot more hits than you have misses. But that was a case where steel was doing terribly. And I saw the ad and I thought that it was, you know, very compelling from one standpoint, and certainly from a class warfare -- I mean, that's what it's all about.

    I mean, let's take a couple of people that really did a good job, and honestly, that looked very sympathetic. And certainly, the gentleman and a couple of other people in the ad did look sympathetic. But if they knew the facts, I think they'd feel a lot differently.

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right, today President Obama is in New York at a private equity fundraiser. He also did a commencement speech at Barnard College. But one of the things that was said by one of his representatives is that that particular Romney ad wasn't a slight on private equity, but was to show Governor Romney's values.

    And you want to take a stab on why that would show Governor Romney's values?

    TRUMP: Well, I think no matter what you say, he's right now at a private equity fundraiser. You could give me every one of those private equity firms, and I can make ads that are much better than that ad. And I can show you things that were done that wouldn't look so nice for the people giving Mr. Obama -- or President Obama money.

    So I just feel that it's -- you know, you can always pick a person, a couple of people or a company out of many. He wasn't overly involved in that company. It wasn't his start. There are a lot of things that were wrong with that ad. A lot of things were unfair with it. And I think when people see that, the ad will not go down as being effective.

    VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the Governor Romney campaign, in response to President Obama, put out an ad in which they were touting Steel Dynamics as being a raised success and saying essentially what you said in the beginning. You have your hits, you have your misses.

    But in the Steel Dynamics ad, one thing that wasn't noted is the fact that Steel Dynamics got a number of tax breaks and a lot of government subsidies, in the millions of dollars category. So there's an omission in the Governor Romney ad. Is that fair?

    TRUMP: Well, I think that everybody in that case was trying to get tax abatements and tax incentives because, let's face it, as you just said it, every -- steel was being dumped by other nations, in particular, certain of our favorite nations. They were dumping steel on us like never before, and it was very, very hard to compete.

    So the government was trying to help out, and sometimes, that's not the worst thing in the world. And that was omitted, but the government was trying to help out in order to compete. Now, frankly, I would have done it a little bit differently. I would have come down on the nations that were doing the dumping. And believe me, they should still come down because that's still happening in this country.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Are both those adds fair, both dirty? Is one dirty and one's fair? What's your thought?

    TRUMP: Well, I thought that the Obama ad was more unfair. I think that they picked a very, very small segment of something that took place with a company. They picked somebody who was very sympathetic and they put him on. I'm sure there are a lot of people that would have said, Well, it was really a good thing, and I moved on to another company and another job, or whatever they might have said.

    But I thought that the Obama ad was actually more unfair, if you can use that term.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Is it not -- I mean, in looking at these ads, I mean, ads -- as a voter, viewer, whatever, I would have liked to have had the information in the Obama ad against Governor Romney that, number one, Governor Romney was out of Bain two years before that happened. He was off doing the Olympics. And number...

    TRUMP: That's a big statement. By the way, Greta, that's a very big statement.