This is a rush transcript from "Your World," December 28, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
DAGEN MCDOWELL, GUEST HOST: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck, unless that duck is China.
The Obama administration is refusing to call China a currency manipulator, even though it readily admits that China’s currency is undervalued.
It’s a move has my next guest seeing red. Donald Trump is joining me now on the phone.
Mr. Trump thank you so much. It’s great to talk to you today, always.
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & CEO, TRUMP HOTELS & CASINO RESORTS: Hello, Dagen.
MCDOWELL: What do you make of the decision not to call out China and again dance around the issue?
TRUMP: Well, it’s inconceivable. Everyone knows they are a currency manipulator.
And all you have to do is look at the numbers. And they’ve been doing it for years. We have an administration that is not respected by China. They’re laughing at us. I deal with the Chinese all the time, very big people. They tell me they can’t believe what they are getting away with.
And then I hear this nonsense. It’s incredible, actually.
MCDOWELL: How long does it go on? You know what? When we’re getting ready to raise the debt crisis and we’re north of $16 trillion in debt, and that is who we are borrowing the money from, do you really have a choice at this point?
TRUMP: Well, they manipulate their currency. They make our product.
They make it impossible for our companies to deal against them, because frankly their manipulation is so severe, it’s incredible. They take our money, and then they loan it back to us and we pay them interest and we have a $16 trillion deficit.
The whole thing is absolutely insane. And for this administration to say they don’t manipulate their currency is absolutely -- it’s really a lie to the American people.
MCDOWELL: What would you do? Let’s say, just in a perfect world, how do you get tough with them and not alienate them to the point that it’s dangerous to the country?
TRUMP: Right. Dagen, what I’d do -- and I have said it before, and it probably would not even come to that, although I would like to see it come to that.
I would put a 25 percent tax on all goods coming in from China. That would do two things. Number one, we’d start making our products in Alabama and Iowa and California and lots of other places, and also would take in a hell of a lot of money. They will make $350 trillion -- I mean, they are going to make, this year, $350 billion on this country.
So, somebody will say, oh, you will stop free trade. This is no free trade. This is stupid trade. This is stupid on our behalf. And we have to stop it. We have to stop it soon. It’s destroying our country. It is totally -- now, not only China. If you look at other countries, everyone is out-dealing the United States. But China is the number-one abuser. Of course, OPEC takes the cake, but China really is the number-one abuser.
MCDOWELL: Well, speaking of oil, let’s talk about Iran. Iran talking tough about blocking the Strait of Hormuz, but again investor reaction seems to be not taking it very seriously. The U.S. military making comments, saying we’re not going to let you do that.
What do you make of that? Are we finally maybe getting tough with Iran?
TRUMP: No, I think we’re not getting tough. I think they don’t respect us, they don’t respect our leaders.
And I’m seeing things today that are going against this country. It’s almost like we are just not a respected nation any longer. People are doing things, countries are doing things, their leaders are doing and saying things that they never would have done before. We’re just not a respected, really first-rate place anymore.
It’s really leadership. It has to do with leadership. We have such unbelievable potential, and we’re not living up to it. We’re not using it. And we are in trouble.
MCDOWELL: But you keep talking about leadership. And we are gearing up. We’re less than a week from the Iowa caucuses.
You have not thrown your hat in the ring, so, looking at those candidates, looking at who could lead this country, who do you like right here, right now of the GOP field? Who has got the mojo?
TRUMP: Well, I can say that it is certainly a mess.
Every week, it is someone else. And you look at somebody like Ron Paul, who, as far as I’m concerned, is a total wacko, and for him to be doing so well, and I think it is an insult to Iowa. If he ends up winning, I think it will be a tremendous insult to Iowa, tremendous. It will take away a certain prestige to Iowa being first all the time.
And so I think that would be a tremendous mistake. I think Huntsman’s policy – he’s not even registering, so I don’t think he’s relevant, but Huntsman’s policy on China is absolutely ridiculous. He wants to give our -- literally give our country away to China. And I think it’s absolutely ridiculous.
And I see some other things that aren’t good. I was very -- look, obviously, I’m very interested in the top two candidates. I know them both very well. They’re both very good men. I was surprised that, in Virginia, that Newt didn’t get on the ballot. It’s sort of surprising. That’s a bad one for him.
And it will be interesting to see, however, how it all plays out. It’s going to be very interesting. Things can change, but it looks like it’s really between those two right now.
MCDOWELL: So you won’t get behind one of the guys? We clearly know who you don’t like. And you were bothered by Newt, what happened in Virginia, but you won’t get behind Mitt Romney at this point? Is that because you’re...
TRUMP: Well, at some point, I’m going to make a statement.
And I’ll make that statement, and it will be a strong statement. But I’m not really prepared to do it quite yet.
What about Gary Johnson? Gary Johnson now will run as a libertarian, not as a Republican, for the presidency. Are you still -- in your mind; you’re a registered independent now. What are your plans? What is your time frame? You said you were going to make a statement at some point. Are you -- have you ruled it out, running?
TRUMP: Well, Dagen, I’m watching what is happening with the Republican Party. We will see who runs. We will see who gets the nomination.
We’re going to see how that person does. And it’ll be very interesting to see. But if they pick the wrong person, and if the economy continues to be bad and do badly, which I believe it will, then I will make a decision. And it might be a very surprising decision to a lot of people.
MCDOWELL: If they pick Mitt Romney, will you be happy with that?
TRUMP: Well, I don’t want to say yet. It’s too soon.