OTR Interviews

Will the Birther Issue Backfire on Trump?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 11, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Get ready for the other new battle over the debt ceiling. The nation is about to hit our borrowing limit. Everyone is getting fired up over the debt ceiling, including Donald Trump.

Earlier today, we spoke with Donald Trump about the budget and the deficit and his personal mission to see President Obama's birth certificate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, always nice to have you.

DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (Via Telephone): Thank you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Donald, A few bullet point issues. The first one is that Rush Limbaugh says that the GOP caved in the recent fight over the continuing resolution and that 2011 fiscal budget that was hammered out on Friday night. Do you agree with Rush Limbaugh?

TRUMP: Well, I'm a fan...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I like Rush a lot. I think it's step by step. Certainly, they probably wanted a little more. But if you look at the pundits, they're all saying that Obama lost big and the Democrats lost big. But I think it's a step-by-step issue, and next year will really be telling.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you talk about next year -- the problem is, is that it seems to me -- and this is my sort of own personal grudge with how things are done in Washington, is that we know next year's coming, but they won't bother to get started until the very last minute and put us in this crazy drama. Is there any way to get them to start doing their job now?

TRUMP: Yes, get a new president. I mean, he's supposed to be leading the pack. He's supposed to be the leader. In all fairness to everybody else involved, the president sits back, watches and then signs whatever's put in front of him. He's not leading anything, and frankly, he's not getting agenda passed. If I were a liberal -- and I guess I'm probably the opposite of that, but if I were a liberal person, I would not be happy with what he got.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, if you talk about him doing his job, is he submitted a budget for next year in February, and we haven't even gotten to that budget. Then we -- of course, we had the "roadmap" from Congressman Ryan. So he's actually started the ball rolling. So I mean, someone has to sort of counteroffer to get something moving in response to him.

TRUMP: Well, process will begin -- unfortunately, with all of these deals -- and you can call them that because this is just a big version of a deal -- it does take until the end. It goes down to the 23rd hour before a lot of them get done. It's very unusual that it's going to get done much sooner. But the cuts do have to be a lot larger.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, see, I don't -- I don't believe that. I'll tell you why, is we knew 10 years ago that the Bush tax cuts would expire the end of last year, 2010. And both -- and the -- and the politicians waited until after the election to be digging in on that issue, whether the extend them or not. They waited until they had cover that the election was over. They knew it was going to happen. So they do wait until the last minute for political reasons.

TRUMP: Well, they do. Absolutely. There's no question about it. But the interesting thing about our last little skirmish is that Obama could have had everything he wanted if he would have done it in October. And nobody to this day understands why he didn't. If he would have gone in October, he would have had all Democrats in both houses. He would have gotten it passed. It would have been so easy for him, as opposed to what he just went through, and frankly, lost. I mean, if you listen -- no matter who you listen to, Boehner really had a big victory and Obama did lose. But he could have had everything that he wanted. Now, ultimately, they have to solve the bigger issue and the bigger problem, but he would have won if he only did it in October.

VAN SUSTEREN: But had he done it in October, Donald, then what would have happened is the people were going to the polls in the early part of November, and the American people would have seen a lot of the things they didn't like on both sides of their aisle. So I think that they all ran for cover. I don't think that anyone wanted to make a hard decision. No one wanted to take any position. Everyone essentially wanted to vote present because they were unwilling to do it before the election.

TRUMP: Well, if he had done it in October, the big loser would have been the country, there's no question about it, because he would have had things in there that would have been ridiculous.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the debt ceiling's our next big issue. The president previously said that he doesn't -- when he was a state -- when he was a U.S. senator said he would vote no to raise the debt ceiling. Now, of course, he wants to raise the debt ceiling. What's your position on the debt ceiling?

TRUMP: Well, unless they come up with some really good ideas and come up with them fast, I wouldn't do it. I'd force them to the fire. I'd make sure that they come out and straighten out this mess that we have because our country is a financial mess. And unless you're going to straighten it out, and you have to do it quickly -- because we're going to end up being like some of the worst countries in Europe.

We're going to end up being literally -- if you look at what's happening with China, if you look at what's happening with some of the other countries, what they're doing to us -- until we can straighten that mess out, we're going to have to do something with the debt ceiling. I'd leave it this way unless they're going to come up with some very good answers and guarantee something in the future that's going to be very good for all of us.

VAN SUSTEREN: President Obama wants to raise taxes. He wants to raise your taxes because you're one of the rich guys. There are lot of people in this country make more than $250,000, but you're in the real upper category. If he raises your taxes and others, let me ask you personally, does it change anything you do about business?

TRUMP: Well, I can't speak for myself. I can say this, that a lot of people -- you know, this is an international world and people leave and they go to other places and they scatter all over the place. This is a very much different place than it was 20 or 30 years ago. You can't take away job incentives and you can't take away employer incentives. I mean, people want to have incentives. And the last thing you should be doing now is raising taxes for anyone.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the birther issue -- and I don't want to beat a dead horse, but I've heard you say that are you doing something. I don't agree with you on this whole birther issue. Plus, I think you're doing a great fund-raiser for the Democratic Party. But putting that aside, you -- you -- you have said that you are investigating. What are you doing?

TRUMP: Well, I think it's a very popular issue, and I think that nobody has solved anything. A lot of people are calling my office. They just did a poll, 75 percent of the Republicans think there really could be something to it and about 30 percent of the Republicans don't think that Obama was born in this country. He hasn't provided a birth certificate. It's a certificate of live birth, which is totally, totally different. He hasn't -- I mean, there's so many different things that he hasn't done. He's spending a fortune in legal fees to try and get away from the issue.

So I'm a little bit surprised at you. His grandmother said very, very plainly...

VAN SUSTEREN: What are you doing, though?

TRUMP: His grandmother...

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, but I...

TRUMP: Greta, his grandmother said very plainly that he was born in Kenya, until all of the handlers went crazy, and then 60 seconds later, she maybe came up with a different answer, but nobody really heard it. I mean, there's a lot of crazy things going on here!

VAN SUSTEREN: What are you doing, though, specifically, Donald?

TRUMP: I'm looking into it very seriously.

VAN SUSTEREN: Like what, though?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I don't want to tell you, Greta. I don't want to go into that. There's no reason to go into that in great detail. But I can tell you I have great resources and I'm looking into it very seriously. As an example, where are his hospital records? How come his family is arguing over which hospital he was born in in Hawaii? They don't even know which hospital he was born in. But the grandmother said he was born in Kenya!

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: This is not an issue -- I'm surprised at you, Greta. This is not an issue that they like.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'll tell you why -- I mean, I've gone through -- I mean, I've listened even to the former Republican governor of Hawaii who says that he was born there. She believes...

TRUMP: By the way, do really believe that? Do you really believe that the governor of Hawaii was in the hospital room when Obama was born 50 years ago?

VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, no, no, no. I don't believe she was there...

TRUMP: He took one for the party. He took one for the party!

VAN SUSTEREN: No, no. This is the Republican woman governor, Laura Lingle, who she said that she spoke to the head of whoever it was and that they looked at it. So...

TRUMP: Well, looked at it...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... I'm willing to accept that...

TRUMP: I'd like to see proof. You know, Greta, when you born, we can go and check those records and you'll see the room number, the doctor's name, the nurse's name, how much your parents paid for that wonderful day in the history of this country when you came out and into this world, OK? Everybody has that. There's no records! There's no records! There's no birth certificate, there's no records!

VAN SUSTEREN: You know what, Donald? I suspect that he does, but he's using this as enormous fund-raising because every time people complain about it, I bet money comes in over the transom to the Democratic Party. I don't think tactically that he wants to produce it.

TRUMP: You know what? I disagree with you. I think it's a very bad issue for him and I think he loses a lot. And if he would do the favor -- he would do this country a big favor, if he has a birth certificate, a real birth certificate, not a certificate of live birth, which is totally different and a much, much lower standard -- if he has a birth certificate, I think he'd produce it and he'd produce it fast. And I'd love to see him produce it because I don't think this should be an issue. I would love to see it produced, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you one other thing, is that on FOX today, you said that if you run for president, you were going to be the president's worst nightmare. How's that?

TRUMP: Well, look, he came out with some little nasty snippets at me, and he doesn't talk about Mr. Pawlenty, he doesn't talk about other candidates, he talks about me. He sent his minion out to say some little negative things. I'm sure the guy was told exactly what to say. It didn't come out very well. And frankly, I'm honored by that because he is concerned. Whether it's the birther issue or the fact that he's doing a terrible job with China because China is taking all of our jobs, they're taking our money, they're making our products, they're manipulating the currency, which makes it very hard for our companies to compete, whether it's OPEC -- you're going to see your gasoline for your car be $6, $7 and $8 a gallon very soon -- he has no control over OPEC because they don't respect him -- whether it's Mexico, what's going on there, Libya, a total mess -- I mean, the man is doing a terrible job as president! The last person they want to run against is me. And I know that from a fact from people that are very close to Obama.

VAN SUSTEREN: Since our last conversation, are you closer to running than you were before?

TRUMP: Well, the date is close. I've said from day one...

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: In your mind? In your mind, are you closer?

TRUMP: I don't want to say that because I don't want to get myself into a situation where I say something incorrectly. I would never want to be there. I will tell you this. The country is not respected. It's run poorly. We're a laughingstock throughout the world. And I'm going to make my decision on or before June 1st.

VAN SUSTEREN: I take it you're not afraid of the president in terms of taking him on.

TRUMP: I'd love to take him on, and I'd love to take him on without the birther issue because I'd like to be one on one, and that's the way it should be. But he ought to straighten out this issue. And he also ought to straighten out "Obamacare." He should let this case go directly to the Supreme Court. It's actually a very similar issue. We're going to be spending...

VAN SUSTEREN: I agree with you on that.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Can I tell you, that's the biggest waste of money that that matter is not in the United States Supreme Court. That is such a waste of everyone's time and money on both sides!

TRUMP: Greta, you have companies right now that are retooling themselves for "Obamacare." They're spending hundreds of thousands and hundreds of millions and billions of dollars in this country! They're retooling themselves. And there's a good chance -- we all know it's going to go to the Supreme Court. So why wouldn't he let it just go right now to the Supreme Court?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm totally with you there. It's totally political that he is not saying, Let's fast track this to the Supreme Court. And I do not understand why the states aren't making the same demand. I totally don't understand that.

TRUMP: It's the most incredible thing I've ever seen because we're going to be at these lower courts for a long period of time. Company are going to have no idea where they are. Legal fees are going to be through the roof, hundreds of millions of dollars. And all he has to do is let it go directly to the Supreme Court and let a decision be made one way or the other. And you know, it's a little bit like -- those two issues are a little bit similar in their own way. Let him produce a birth certificate. Let it go to the Supreme Court right away.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, see, I actually circle back not to the birth certificate issue but to where we started, where I say why don't -- you know, why don't they take care of the debt ceiling now than putting it up to the last minute? Why are they waiting for the last minute on the Supreme Court when they could decide that very quickly for the American people no matter which way it falls so that we have certainty.

TRUMP: To me, that's a very disloyal thing, having all of this work be done. And I know people that have companies and they're very concerned about "Obamacare." And they're retooling their companies. It's a very expensive thing to do for a company. They're retooling their company for "Obamacare," and it might not even happen, or it might happen. But at least let's know about it. The word is certainty. In business, you want certainty.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, thank you. Always nice to talk to you.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Greta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)