Donald Trump, President of the Trump Organization — Part I

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, June 5, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: It'll be sport's richest, biggest night, the $50 million heavyweight extravaganza between Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis this Saturday. And sitting ringside, a pretty rich guy in his own right. Donald Trump, a huge boxing fan and the guy some say could be staging the next big bout with whoever wins this slugfest.

As Trump told me earlier, the stakes don't get any bigger than this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I think it is going to be an interesting event. Tyson always brings out interest, and I think it is going to be a great fight.

CAVUTO: Now, you, years ago, linked up within. You were sort of a business partner. What was that all about?

TRUMP: No. I probably had more Tyson fights in Atlantic City than anybody else. If you add them up, I had a lot of them, and especially the early ones. And then I had Tyson/Spinks, which was somewhat of a disaster. It lasted 94 seconds and everybody was really angry at me. They thought it was my fault. But I've had a lot of Tyson fights and I know Mike.

CAVUTO: You are the only guy he seems to like.

TRUMP: He does like me for whatever reason.

CAVUTO: Well, why is that?

TRUMP: Well, a lot of interesting people like me, and a lot of strange people don't like me. But, you know, Mike has had some really bad advice over the years and some just terrible advice. There is a good side to Mike Tyson, and I get myself in trouble when I say it actually, but there really is a good side to the guy. But he has just been decimated by bad advice.

CAVUTO: A lot of people don't think he should fight because they are afraid he is going to kill somebody.

TRUMP: Well, I mean, one of the reasons they are fighting in Memphis, and Memphis is a great place, and I have been to Memphis numerous times, but nobody else would have the fight. But the fact is it will be a very successful fight. I don't know if the gate will be successful in terms of will people go. But a lot of people are going to watch on pay-per-view.

CAVUTO: Who do you think is going to win?

TRUMP: Well, I would rather not say it. I know both of them very well. But I think the fight boils down to two very simple things. Lennox perhaps has a very suspect chin, but he is a great fighter. And if Mike gets there, he can do some major damage. And at the same time, Lennox has that great punch and that great jab. I think it is going to be very, very interesting. If Mike can get to the chin, he has a real good chance of winning the fight.

CAVUTO: Let's handicap the fight this weekend. Tyson/Lewis, the winner has to fight Evander Holyfield, big pay day. You are sitting in the catbird seat, Atlantic City fight?

TRUMP: Well, we have a great arena in Atlantic City, a fantastic arena, and it has just been built. The state spent about $175 million building it, and it is magnificent. It holds 15,000 people. And I think they want to fight in Atlantic City. They want very much to fight in Atlantic City.

Now, depending on who wins, you know, Evander did very well against Mike Tyson in his last two fights, as you know, and to put it mildly. And perhaps Lennox is tougher for Evander. But Evander looked unbelievable -- I was at the fight the other night and...

CAVUTO: You love the fights?

TRUMP: I like it. Yes, I like it.

CAVUTO: Have you always been that way?

TRUMP: I've always liked the fights. That does not mean I like to fight, but I like watching other people fight.

CAVUTO: I don't know. I looked at your real estate history, and you like to fight.

TRUMP: Well, perhaps, but I've always liked it. You know, it is one-on-one. You cannot blame the pulling guard. You can't do this. You can't do that. I've always liked the fights. I've always loved watching them for whatever reason.

CAVUTO: Even now, with all the bad publicity, all the Tyson antics?

TRUMP: You know, I think all the bad publicity for Tyson has made it a more interesting fight, and that's why, you know, I think Las Vegas made a terrible mistake and I frankly think Atlantic City made a terrible mistake. This fight is going to do huge business, and they should have really had it.

All of the publicity, that terrible publicity about Tyson made it a much more interesting fight. If there was no publicity, if there was no craziness, not as many people would have watched.

CAVUTO: Let's talk about the general economy right now, an area you know quite a bit about. Downtown New York, more to the point, post-September 11, how is it looking?

TRUMP: I think downtown New York is coming around. It is amazing the resiliency that New Yorkers have had. I mean, we took a hit like nobody has ever taken a hit, at least in this country, worse than Pearl Harbor. It's just terrible.

CAVUTO: Everyone is afraid the next shoe to drop.

TRUMP: Well, you know, where and when and nobody knows what is going on, and we will see. But New York has proven to be a tough place, and downtown is doing very well. I have a big building 40 Wall Street, that was rented before and it is rented now. It wasn't affected because it has been fully rented.

The nice part about an office building is when you get them rented, they're there for 15 years, they're fully rented. The economy can go up, it can go down, but it's fully rented. So it doesn't have any impact. But downtown is coming back very strongly, and it's going to be probably end up being a much better place than it was before.

CAVUTO: You know, earlier on, before the whole World Trade Center hit, you had a chance to bid on that property and opted out. Why?

TRUMP: Well, I never felt great about the World Trade Center. You know, it was a very unfriendly place. It was a big open plaza. In fact, if you notice in the new architectural schemes, they want to get away and do away with all of things that they had.

The sad part, Neil, and it almost is terrible to say now, but before the September 11 tragedy and death, but before the September 11 tragedy, the World Trade Center was not considered great architecture. It was not considered a great place. People did not like it. And especially in terms of the ground level. It was cold. It was a very inhumane kind of a place.

CAVUTO: So you just said no?

TRUMP: I never felt good about it. I never had the instinct that it was a good place. Now, you know, it is interesting. After September 11, and even me, I look that those buildings now, I say, oh, they were so magnificent and everything else.

The fact is that it was never considered good architecture. It was marginal at best. It was terribly reviewed over the years. And, really, the worst part about it was the ground level, it was a very cold place. And I think they are going to do away with that. They're going to create streets. They're going to go back to the grid system that they used to have in New York.

CAVUTO: But they do not want a tall building again. In fact, you had gone on the record shortly after this whole thing saying you weren't eager to see super-tall skyscrapers.

TRUMP: It would be lovely to have them. It would be great to have them. There is nothing like them. But the fact is that would be, you know, just unacceptable.

CAVUTO: Why? Because it's deemed a target?

TRUMP: Because you have to get people to occupy the space. And I think it would be — you almost would have a big, red bullseye on top of it. I just think it would be a terrible mistake to go much above 60 stories.

CAVUTO: So is that your game plan now? When you go and expand in other areas, in Chicago, in New York, wherever, that 60 stories is your limit?

TRUMP: Well, sadly, that is now the game plan and it's not that I want that. I was going to announce something with the Sun-Times. We're partners on a big site in Chicago, on their site, which is a great piece of property in Chicago, I think the best site in Chicago.

And we were going to announce a very, very, very tall, magnificent building. And the announcement was going come on around October 15. And, you know, quite honestly, that was a no-brainer.

I said, guess what? That building just shrunk and now the building is going to be about 70 stories, which will be sort of semi-average height.


CAVUTO: All right. Stay tuned tomorrow for part two of my discussion with the Donald, where we get into everything from surviving in the real estate business, why his enemies hate him and why he hates them, and if he'd ever get married again.


TRUMP: I've always believed strongly in the institution of marriage. I also believe that you have to have a pre-nup, unfortunately. But it is a possibility that I would, yes.


CAVUTO: All right. That's coming tomorrow.

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