This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 14, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And tonight, the road to 2012 takes us to one of the most famous buildings in all of New York City, Trump Tower.
Now earlier I sat down with the man who has been skyrocketing in the poll poles. And appears to be inching closer and closer to challenging President Barack Obama in 2012, the one and only Donald Trump.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. So, Newsmax, you do an interview with them. And you say, you will announce that you are going to run right after "Celebrity Apprentice" on the last night of the show, you will do what?
DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION CEO: Well, I will be announcing as to whether or not I'll run sometime prior to June, I've been saying that for a long time. Newsmax actually took a little of liberty when they said I will be running. I'm not going to be running. I will announce what I will be doing sometime prior to June.
TRUMP: Which I've been consistently saying.
HANNITY: Where are you now in the decision-making process?
TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you, we just had the polls and the polls are, as you know, because I watched you the other day, you're the first one that told me because I'm watching your television show. And I'm saying gee- whiz, I'm number one. But the polls have been really amazing. CNN came out with a poll which was phenomenal. I'm in first place with Governor Huckabee, who is a good guy, by the way. Who I have gotten to know wisely and I think really is a terrific guy. And it's always bad. You know, you are supposed to compete against people you -- I do much better when I don't like the people. But I happen to like him. And I like a couple of the other candidates.
HANNITY: Well, we talk about that in a second.
You said you are Barack Obama's worst nightmare, why?
TRUMP: Well, I understand him. I understand what is going on. I understand the mindset. They do not want to run against me. I get it. And he doesn't get it. And I watched that speech yesterday, I thought it was an outrage. That wasn't a speech on deficit. That was a political speech. That means he's running and that was his first speech. I thought it was ridiculous. Raising taxes and really not doing anything having to do with the deficit, I thought it was an outrage.
And look, he's been horrible president. I always said the worst president was Jimmy Carter. Guess what? Jimmy Carter goes to second place. Barack Obama has been the worst president ever. The history of this country, Barack Obama is number one. And he had this little minion go on television.
HANNITY: David Plouffe.
TRUMP: And say -- David, whoever. Nobody knows how to pronounce his name.
TRUMP: He ought to make that clear. But he had this person go on television, and make a statement like oh, gee, we certainly --
HANNITY: He said you have zero chance you would get hired by the American people.
TRUMP: And yet I just won the recent CNN poll, the independent vote. And I was the one that was tied, statistically tied with Obama, the only Republican that was statistically tied with Obama. And I haven't even done anything. You know, I haven't said I'm running.
So, and you know, the poles, one of the pollsters actually said that one of the reasons I don't go even higher is a lot of people don't think I'm running. They think I'm having a good time talking to people like you. You've become my friend for a month but I've watched you so much. I consider you like a friend for a long time.
TRUMP: But the fact is, a lot of people in the polls don't vote for me, because they think I'm just having a good time. They think that I'm promoting "Celebrity Apprentice" which I'm absolutely not. And you just told me how good the ratings are in "Celebrity Apprentice." I don't need this --
HANNITY: Let's look at these polls. CNN poll. There's a Newsmax online poll over half a million people.
TRUMP: That was the best of all.
HANNITY: That was the best of all. You're second in New Hampshire in a poll that came out, Mitt Romney first, you're second.
TRUMP: And he lives there.
HANNITY: Yes. OK. So, he's from Massachusetts.
So, the question is, why do you think your message is resonating? What do you think it is about you at this moment that all of a sudden, you come out of nowhere, you say I'm thinking about running for president and these poll numbers go up? What do you think is happening?
TRUMP: Well, I think I'm known as a really good business man. And I am. And by the way, if I run, I will have to disclose my opinion finances, and my finances are phenomenal. Much better than anyone knows. You know, they know I'm rich. But I've done a great job. I've made a lot of great decisions. And that will be disclosed if and when I decide to run. And I actually look forward to that. It will be I think a very positive thing.
HANNITY: All right. Let me ask you about the nomination. So, you are running for the Republican nomination, if you run.
HANNITY: You describe yourself politically as a conservative?
TRUMP: I'm a very conservative person.
HANNITY: Very conservative person, but...
TRUMP: With a big heart. I'm actually a conservative with a big heart.
HANNITY: Recently, you said that if you don't get the nomination that you would run as an independent. You are asking Republicans --
TRUMP: I didn't say that. I said I would certainly think about that. Because the question is what happens if you don't get the nomination? And this was also before the new polls came out that showed me leading. But they said, what happens if you don't get? Would you consider running? I said yes, I would consider running as an independent.
HANNITY: All right. But if you do that, that would be the greatest gift to Barack Obama and --
TRUMP: Unless I won. No, no, unless I won.
HANNITY: In reality though, if you are a conservative and you didn't get the nomination you are running against another conservative, you split the vote, Barack Obama sails into the presidency.
TRUMP: Unless I thought I could win as an independent. I wouldn't do that, because if I lost, I get a tremendous amount of votes and I would take them all from the Republican Party, which would be terrible. So, unless I thought I could win, really win as an independent, I would not do that. Because I wouldn't want to come in second or third place and Obama ends up winning.
HANNITY: OK. So, if you thought that it would hurt the chances of defeating Obama, you would not do it?
TRUMP: The only way I would run is, would be if I didn't get the Republican nomination and felt through polls and lots of other things that are pretty good and pretty scientific. And seem to work over the years, I've been watching lots of polls, and they seem to be pretty accurate, amazingly, right? If I thought I could win absolutely win as an independent I would do it. If I didn't, it would be devastating because you wouldn't have a Republican in. So, I would have a real problem unless I really felt certain, pretty certain of victory.
HANNITY: You described yourself a conservative. What does it mean for you when you say, that you are a conservative person? How do you describe that?
TRUMP: Well, I think I have great values. I think I really have a great solid strong value. I love this country. I feel so strongly about this country. I love people that work. This weekend I'm making a speech in Boca Raton, Florida, and there was supposed to be like 200 people before it was announced that I was speaking. And now I hear they have thousands -- they had to lead the hall, it is going to be in some park, where they have thousands and thousands of people coming, which really makes me feel good.
But I really relate to the Tea Party people. Somebody was asking me, in fact every reporter asks me, what do you think of the Tea Party? I said, I think they are great. They are workers. They love the country.
And you know, their greatest service has been -- and this is very simple -- they've made everyone think. They were the first that brought up the deficit. People, we were just riding this deficit, borrowing more and more money, they were the first ones that really made both Democrats and Republicans think. So, I think the Tea Party has served an unbelievable and performed an unbelievable function.
HANNITY: How do you describe, some Republicans are saying, wait a minute he wants the Republican nomination, years gone by, you have donated to people like Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, other Democrats. Why?
TRUMP: I get along with everybody. And, you know, can I be honest, you are a pretty conservative guy.
TRUMP: Don't you think it is time -- I get along with everybody. I get along -- I also have plenty of enemies as you probably know.
TRUMP: My worst enemy will be Obama, probably. Well, you said Rosie, I didn't. But the fact is, I get along with people. I also come from a place that is almost exclusively Democratic.
HANNITY: New York.
TRUMP: I'm in New York. OK. I mean, the Republicans don't even think they have a chance. And, you know, maybe I would have a chance, OK? But they don't even think about New York.
So, I've lived in New York. This building, this great tower and many other towers I own, they are in New York. Everyone is Democratic. So, what am I going to do, contribute to Republicans? Am I going to contribute to, I mean, one thing I'm not stupid. Am I going to contribute to a Republican for my whole life when they get, they run against some Democrat. And the most they can get is one percent of the vote?
So, I think more importantly, and this question will always be asked. I mean, I've contributed to Schumer, I contributed -- I've known Schumer for many, many years. And I have a good relationship with him. The fact is, that I think it is time maybe that we all do get along.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." We continue with more of my interview with Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Who were the people that you might be running against? You mentioned you like Mike Huckabee. You know, the other candidates, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich.
TRUMP: I sort of like them all. You know, I have a problem. They've treated me so nicely. I have such a problem, everyone said such nice things. I saw Santorum said something nice.
HANNITY: Newt Gingrich did, Sarah Palin did.
TRUMP: The all did. Newt Gingrich last month joined my club in Washington. A little before he heard about this in all fairness, but I already have his money.
HANNITY: He said something nice about in a speech this weekend.
TRUMP: Well, that is very nice. I mean, so, I wish I didn't like them, does that make sense to you?
HANNITY: Well you're all going to have to debate each other.
TRUMPP They are all saying these nice things about me. I have a hard time. So, the truth is, I watched Pawlenty the other day. I don't know him but he said these wonderful things about Donald Trump. And I can't now say, oh gee, this and that.
HANNITY: Well, look, you're all...
TRUMP: The good news is I don't think Barack Obama is going to be saying nice things and that's a positive.
Look, I think I'm a great negotiator. I think I will do a better job than anybody because I'm really a great negotiator. I know how to negotiate. I know how people are ripping us off. I know why they're ripping us off and I know how to solve the problem.
And as far as yesterday is concerned and what is going on over the last couple of days, the numbers aren't as bad as you are thinking, because what is happening is, if you take away $300 billion where China is ripping us and you take away Colombia and you take away virtually every nation in the world, who is making a huge -- let's use the word profit on the United States. When you start equalizing that, not even to make money of them, just to neutralize it, China shouldn't be making $300 billion on us, this year.
HANNITY: How do you get to --
TRUMP: But therefore, the numbers aren't as bad as what you are seeing. In other words, that has a huge impact.
HANNITY: $14 trillion is a big --
TRUMP: No, no.
HANNITY: Headed towards $24 trillion.
TRUMP: No, it is. But we are losing so much money. Every country we deal with virtually we are losing money.
When Japan had its horrible accident, they said to me, what do you think? I said, you know what? They've treated us like fools for many years. But still, we should help them. Aren't I nice a guy?
HANNITY: You are a nice guy.
TRUMP: But they treated us like fools for years and years and years. They treated us like a bunch of dopes. But you know, what?
HANNITY: But would you deal with entitlements? Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I mean. --
TRUMP: You have to deal with it.
HANNITY: Because --
TRUMP: I do worry about -- I have a lot of respect for Paul Ryan. I do worry that he's a little bit far out in front because the Democrats are going to take that Medicare word, that little word called Medicare which to a lot of people mean seniors citizens. And they are going to take that word, and they're going to say, oh, senior, senior. And the Republicans have to be careful not to fall into a Democratic trap.
HANNITY: And that trap is that they would be seen as --
TRUMP: The trap is Medicare.
HANNITY: -- being mean towards the elderly.
TRUMP: -- towards seniors. And I will tell you, me, I'm protecting, I don't care what plan the Republicans put, I'm protecting the seniors. The seniors are in a certain way the heart of this country. And I'm protecting the seniors.
HANNITY: In other words --
TRUMP: But I can tell you.
HANNITY: But do we have to -- look, discretionary something is 12 percent of the budget. The real money --
TRUMP: It's not enough.
HANNITY: -- the trillions are in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, there's got to be some adjustment.
TRUMP: Things have to be done but it has to be done with both parties together. It has to be done together. You can't have the Republicans get too far ahead of this issue.
HANNITY: So, you would say --
TRUMP: They are going to lose elections.
TRUMP: Hey, if I run I don't want to lose this election. Because I can do a lot of things for this country. And I don't want to lose this election. And I just don't think that -- again, Ryan is great. But I don't think he should get too far ahead in front of this issue. Because I know, you just said, I know Schumer, I know this, I know exactly what they are doing. They love having somebody even talk about the word Medicare.
HANNITY: Extreme. Yes, because --
TRUMP: Because they may be then say, oh, they are going to cut Medicare. Even though these guys will end up doing it, you have an election to win. And I think the Republicans frankly are too far out ahead. You know, this debate is supposed to be led by our president.
HANNITY: He punted.
TRUMP: And you have to be very careful that the Republicans don't go too far ahead in front because they are going to lose the big election coming in 2012 if that happens.
HANNITY: But do you really think you can balance the budget. You become president, how long would it take to you balance the budget?
TRUMP: We would make a huge amount of progress, and you would do some of this stuff, but it wouldn't be the kind of numbers -- look, we're losing so much money. And not only money, we are losing jobs. Don't forget China is taking our jobs. They are not only taking our money, but they are taking our jobs. So, we're losing money, they're taking jobs. Now, that means the economy can never come back. Because the best thing for balancing the budget is to have a strong economy. And the economy can never come back if we are going to always have high unemployment.
HANNITY: Here we are. We have a beautiful view of Central Park. And 9/11 happens here. Radical Islam, the president when he first got into office went on an apology tour.
HANNITY: America is arrogant -- OK, so, the question is, do you think he understands the real dangers that led up to 9/11, 3,000 people killed right here in this city? And you recently spoke about the Koran, you said it gives you a negative vibe. And you got some criticism for it.
TRUMP: Well, I didn't see the criticism. But obviously, there is something going on. Because every time you turn on a television, 100 people are killed in a grocery store in Iraq.
TRUMP: I mean, everyday a bomb goes off. And I see the wounded. And I spent a lot of time with the wounded, the soldiers, our soldiers, our great soldiers. And they come back with a missing arm, no legs, and for what, for what?
Now, I will say this, and some people think it is harsh, and I think it is common sense. And a lot of people think it's great when I first said it, which was one with week ago. We go to Iraq, we spend $1.5 trillion and our cities are dying all over the place, they don't have any money. We spend $1.5 trillion. Iraq has the second largest oilfields in the world. $15 billion worth of oil, second to Saudi Arabia.
We go over, we decapitate their armies. Their armies are wiped out. They have weak armies, it is a corrupt society anyway, I mean, it's totally corrupt what is going on over there. We then leave in Iran which has fought for years back and forth, back and forth, because they were basically of equal strength, well, now they are not. Iran will come in and they will take over Iraq, within two seconds after we leave, forget it, it is not even a contest.
Sean, I hear they are already starting. I don't even think they have to fire a bullet, because to be honest with you, I hear they are already making great political inroads in Iraq. So, within about two minutes after we leave, Iran is going to come off, take over Iraq. But they are going to take the oil. So, they are going to have the second best oilfields in the world, second biggest oilfields in the world that we made possible with our soldiers, thousands of people dead, wounded and 1.5 -- less importantly, $1.5 trillion.
So, I said very simply that if it is me, we take the oil. You know, in the old days, when you win a country, you win a country. Now with our stupid people, we win a country, we lose money, we lose soldiers, we lose lives and then we leave.
HANNITY: How about a minimum that they pay for their liberation?
HANNITY: At a minimum.
TRUMP: At a minimum, they pay us back the 1.5 trillion. That's at a minimum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity."
Here now is more of my interview with possible presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Iran, the nuclear threat is real. The way our relationship with Israel is strained. I think we are getting to a point where the Iranian nuclear facilities have got to be taken out at some point, difficult job. If the Israelis, if you are president, the Israelis see the need that they for the national security got to take it out. Would you support them? Do you think it is in our best geographic, political interests to do so?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, I was the ground marshal of the Israeli Day Parade, 10 years ago when believe me, it was dangerous because there was a little war going on and a lot of problems. And I walked down Fifth Avenue. And Jewish friends of mine still remember that day. I have a park named after me in Israel that I donated. And I'm a big fan of Israel. I will say this, I don't understand, I have so many Jewish friends that are big Obama fans. And they are supporting Obama and giving tremendous amounts, wealthy guys, live in New York, wealthy, hedge funds, real estate guys. They are supporting Obama.
TRUMP: Obama is terrible for Israel. He's terrible for Israel.
HANNITY: I agree.
TRUMP: You know, it is interesting with too Obama if you look at Wisconsin. He made a pledge that he was going to March in Wisconsin. He was going to put on his walking shoes and march with those teachers.
Where is he? He's all talk. He's all talk. Unfortunately, he's also action but it's always the wrong action.
HANNITY: All right. Let's talk a little bit -- you mentioned recently that you are a Christian, that you go to church. How important is your faith to Donald Trump?
TRUMP: Very important. I'm a Protestant, I'm a Presbyterian. Very important. I'm also busy and probably busier than I should be. But I am a Christian. I'm Protestant. I'm Presbyterian.
TRUMP: I'm pro-life.
HANNITY: Gay marriage, what do you stand?
TRUMP: I'm against gay marriage. And, you know, not easy to do in New York, but I'm against. And I have changed views on different things over the years.
TRUMP: Well, like pro-life. I was sort of -- I have always torn by it. I was always torn by it. I'm very much, to take the other extreme, very much, very much in favor of the death penalty, especially for terrorists and especially for people that, you know killers that you see so many where the girls are being killed, and then they capture these guys. I'm so for the death penalty. And I think as far as terrorism is concerned, death penalty with a speedy trial.
Look at the guy that knocked down the World Trade Center. They are still negotiating. I mean, last week I heard they are finally going to try him in a military camp, this after years. So he'll go for years and years, probably die of old age before they even try him. I'm for speedy, but fair trials, fair, but speedy trials, speedy.
HANNITY: You support military tribunals over bringing him to New York?
First of all, what is the purpose of bringing him into New York? You will have riots, you have this, you have that. You have the military. Our military is great. Another thing I'd do, I wouldn't cut the military. I would increase the military. We would have, with me, the strongest -- I hate when they say, we are going to cut the military. Why, because China is taking all our money? Because Colombia, little Columbia, they made $4 billion on us last year. Columbia in South America, fourth largest in South America, they made $4 billion.
HANNITY: Who are past presidents that you admire most?
TRUMP: Well, I really like and knew a little bit Ronald Reagan, and I really liked him. You know, not only his policies, smart guy and so much smarter, you know, I always sort of have to laugh to myself when people try and criticize that level of intelligence. And I loved his style. I loved what he represented. I said, there's our president.
I would see him sometimes, he once gave a speech, I think it was at the Lincoln memorial. And he was dressed in a tuxedo. And I said, you know there's something to that. There's our president. I thought he represented something very special for this country.
And it was a much more special time. What I loved also about him, was no games. When Jimmy Carter lost the hostages, when they were in Iran, they would still be there. And Reagan said, essentially, they will be back the first day -- they were let go the next day.
HANNITY: They were afraid of them.
TRUMP: Because as I say, it is the messenger. People say what would you do to OPEC? It's plenty you do. They wouldn't even be there if it wasn't for us, OK? So they say, what would you do? It is the messenger. You know, I have business people that I deal with all the time. I can send one guy into a room and then another guy into the room. Say this same thing, one guy comes back with the bacon the other doesn't, all the time. It's the messenger.
HANNITY: You would drill on ANWR, you drill in the 48 states.
HANNITY: You would build nuclear facilities.
HANNITY: You build refineries.
TRUMP: And now, I will tell you this, nuclear, and I always say that you have to be a little bit flexible in life, you can't just say boom. I'm a big driller. OK. And with care. You know, I've gotten many environmental awards. I build these great golf courses as I build great buildings, I get a lot of awards for what I do. So, I know the environmental thing probably better than anybody.
I also know it is carried to an extent that is absolutely insane. I mean, I've seen jobs stopped that would have employed thousands of people, but they can because there's a piece of grass that they found.
HANNITY: There's a turtle egg.
TRUMP: I have seen incredible developments with tremendous job producing capabilities stopped, many times because of swamp pink, a little piece of grass like this that doesn't even look good, OK? I mean, I've seen things stopped environmentally that are absolutely -- and I also know, I really play the game at a very high level, I have many environmental consultants. And when they come to me and tell me why they can't do something, and why we have to do this and why we have to do that, and then they laugh. And I say, this is ridiculous. They say yes, but that's how we make our money.
And they go up to Albany and they go to Washington and they make it impossible, so that we have to hire them in order to get around all these rules and regulations. It is hurting our country. You go to China, they are filling in a section of the ocean to build a city. I say to the guys doing it, how long did it take you get your environmental permits?
HANNITY: A week.
TRUMP: They don't even know what I'm talking about. They go, this is the ocean. You know, they're filling in a section, a quarter of a mile by a quarter of a mile, big. And I say, in order to build other things, a lot of things, buildings, in order to build cities. But when I say -- because we are so used to it. You know, if you drop a pebble into the Hudson River, you get the electric chair, OK? A pebble. So here they are filling in, and you see thousands of trucks, just trucks. I mean, literally, thousands. They have dump trucks lined up miles long, dumping, dumping, dumping. And we don't see that in this country.
HANNITY: I cut down a tree on my property, I got a $15,000 fine.
TRUMP: Oh, it's unbelievable.
HANNITY: It's unbelievable.
TRUMP: And you see this and I say these guys how long did it take to get these approvals? Because, you know, growing up in this country, they don't even know what I'm talking about. They said Donald, it is the ocean. They are right. It is a speck. It's so little. You can't even see it from, you know, from our great space platforms that we used to have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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