OTR Interviews

Trump: Media Go All-Out to Protect Obama, Running as an Independent a 'Very Dangerous Thing to Do'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 9, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS "ON THE RECORD" GUEST HOST: All right, well, Donald Trump is getting a lot of attention, and he's talking about a potential presidential run in 2012, as you probably know. But Iowa GOP donors are not impressed. They are fishing for a candidate and they're courting once again New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. But can they get him to change his mind? A lot of folks have tried. No luck so far.

We're going to ask Donald Trump about a possible Christie run, about Congressman Paul Ryan and his budget proposal. People are also talking about Paul Ryan as a potential sort of, you know, last-minute candidate, if you can call 18 months the last minute. Also, we'll talk about going head-to-head with the president, with President Obama, which is what Donald Trump has done the last two Sunday nights in a row. That's coming up.


MACCALLUM: When you look over the last couple of Sundays, you've kind of had back-to-back appearances with President Obama. You had the announcement of UBL, the capture and kill mission, and that was -- that preempted your show. And then this weekend, you had "60 Minutes" right up against your big episode of "Celebrity Apprentice." You guys have kind of been in each other's grills a bit the past couple of Sundays.

DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (Via Telephone): Well, it's only coincidence. I mean, there's nothing to that other than coincidence. But you know, everything does well, and that's fine.

MACCALLUM: Well, you know, how do you feel about the things that have been said about you between the last couple of weekends? You know, some people said that you're kind of getting -- you're getting hammered from a lot of sides right now.

TRUMP: Well, no, I've said that, and I've been saying for a long time, Martha -- you know, I've heard for years that if you're a very successful person who's done a lot, made lots of deals, good deals, fair deals, put a lot of people to work, you cannot run for high political office, in particular the presidency. And I sort of see it where -- I mean, I have been hammered. Every article is -- if they say anything, it's only negative. And they really are very, very protective of the president. They go all out to protect the president. And to be honest with you, I've never seen anything quite like it.

MACCALLUM: How do you feel about it?

TRUMP: I feel fine about it. I mean, ultimately, the country supersedes all of it, and I feel fine about it. But I have heard over a lifetime that if you have really accomplished a lot and done a lot, you cannot run for high political office. And I can see why.

I can see now why Ross Perot dropped out. You know, he dropped out of the race, and then he went back in a week later. But he dropped out of the race. And I heard from people that were involved that he was just getting

hammered because he did a lot. He did a lot of deals, a lot of everything. And he didn't like it. And I guess he had a second thought and he went back in. But I can understand it and it's certainly not that pleasant, but it's something I can handle.

MACCALLUM: When you say "I can understand it" -- you know, how does all that feed into your own thinking? Because I know over the next 10 days or two weeks, you expect to make an announcement about whether or not you're going to run. You know, when you go home at night and you talk to your wife and you think about all this, how does get -- this hammering, in your words, how does that get factored into the decision?

TRUMP: Well, I think it's very bad for the country. And it doesn't affect my decision because I think I have a pretty thick skin. But I think it's very bad for the country because the kind of people -- and I'm not talking about myself, I'm talking about generally speaking. The kind of person you need to run this country has to be somebody that really has accomplished a lot because he's got to accomplish -- he or she has to accomplish a lot for the country.

They have to make this country rich again. We have a poor country. This is a country that's really a debtor nation. We have a country that is in serious trouble, a country that every other country practically in the world that we do business with is ripping us off and taking advantage of


MACCALLUM: I want to ask you one more question about the president because you talked about accomplishments, and there's no doubt that what happened last weekend with the capture and kill of Usama bin Laden puts a big accomplishment check on his side of the ledger right now and a lot of people are saying makes it very tough for somebody to run against him and that, you know, this whole experience with regards to you -- one of the quotes I read said, you know, this has slapped America back into adult-land, that the focus is now on more serious issues, and that was a reference to you and your possible candidacy. What do you say?

TRUMP: Well, look, I've made a tremendous amount of money, put tens of thousands of people to work and done a really good job. And by the way, if I run, you'll see that because you'll have very detailed financial disclosures, and frankly, I'd be very proud to show that if it's going to be necessary, which it would be if I ran.

The fact is that I think the economy is going to supersede everything. Yes, we're happy that bin laden has been caught. Bad guy. Would love to see the pictures. Would love to see -- I mean, it's -- I don't agree with some of the things that were done after the capture, and neither do you and neither do a lot of other people.

But the fact is, he's been caught and that is great news. That supersedes everything. That's really great news. The bottom line, however, is eventually, people want to see what's going to happen with gasoline. They want to be able to drive to their local supermarket and buy food, which they can't do. The dollar has been so weakened that inflation's going to go through the roof. And by the way, right after the election, if the wrong person gets in, interest rates are going to go through the roof. They're keeping artificially low...

MACCALLUM: Let me ask you...

TRUMP: ... interest rates and an artificially low dollar.

MACCALLUM: Is that...


MACCALLUM: ... want to talk to you about because there are these very significant talks going on with China right now and the United States. And Tim Geithner is saying that China is making progress toward a more flexible exchange rate, and China says they're concerned about our budget deficit. Weigh in on that.

TRUMP: Well, I think I've been the first one to bring up China. You know, the problem with politics -- and the nice part, I think, is that I haven't been a politician, although I've been dealing with politicians all my life -- the problem is, when you come up with an idea, come up with a major thought, if other people like it, they just take it over and they can claim it and people forget, you know, who came up. Nobody has hit China harder than Donald Trump over the last couple of months.

MACCALLUM: I think that's fair to say.

TRUMP: OK? And now, all of a sudden, Geithner and all these other people are talking about China, and basically, their manipulation of their currency in order to take jobs and manufacture all of our things. But

they're taking away so many of our jobs. But nobody hit China like I hit China. And now, all of a sudden, the administration's going after them.

The fact is, there are a lot of things -- I also said bin Laden is in Pakistan. And I've been saying that. I said it on Bill O'Reilly's show. I said it on Neil Cavuto's show. I said, he's in Pakistan and we should immediately stop giving them $3.2 billion dollars each year virtually every year, $3.2 billion, until they hand him over. Now, anybody that thinks that Pakistan didn't know where bin Laden was, they cannot be very serious people. So a lot of these things I've been saying.

MACCALLUM: All right, now, put yourself in the president's shoes. What would you do with Pakistan right now?

TRUMP: I would tell them -- look, the big problem, in my opinion, with Pakistan, they have nuclear weapons. And I would say, You don't get your $3.2 billion or more this year unless you get rid of the nuclear weapons. I would not be feeding a country that can be taken over very easily...

MACCALLUM: And then the next minute, they threaten India with those nuclear weapons. And then what do you say?

TRUMP: Well, India is India. And frankly, India is a strong nation that is very good at protecting itself, and frankly, in some cases, would have liked to have protected itself. But the United States keeps

injecting. We're supposed to be the policemen of the world and yet we can't build our own railroads, we can't build bridges, we can't build schools, we can't build roadways. We can't do anything because we're policing the world.

India is next to Pakistan. Maybe India should work out the problem, not the United States. But the fact is, we give Pakistan $3.2 billion, and they create -- what do they do? They go out and buy nuclear weapons. Unless they get rid of those weapons, I wouldn't give them 10 cents.

MACCALLUM: All right. You know, I think it's very -- one of the big questions, you know, with regard to you and whether or not you're going to run for president is, Will you run as -- will you run? And then will you run as a Republican or as an Independent? And one thing that cropped up this morning is that in Iowa, the leadership -- the GOP leadership in Iowa, is having another meeting with Chris Christie. They're coming to New Jersey to meet with him at this mansion. And the word is that they are not satisfied with the group of potential candidates out there. They're going to try to get him to run one more time. What do you make of their dissatisfaction with the potential -- the potential group of people who are looking at running?

TRUMP: Well, it's interesting...

MACCALLUM: Including yourself.

TRUMP: ... because every time I've made a speech -- and I've only made a few of them because I haven't declared anything yet -- but we have thousands showing up, people going wild, and they just love what they're hearing. So I can tell you that the response has been amazing.

At the same time, Chris Christie's a very good friend of mine. I think he's a terrific guy. And if he ran, I think that would be a very positive step for the Republican Party.

As to me running as an Independent -- a lot of people want me to run as an Independent. The problem is, I'm very conservative. If I ran as an Independent, I would take tremendous votes away from the Republican candidate. That would assure Obama's election, and that would not be a good thing.

MACCALLUM: Sounds like you're not going to do that, then.

TRUMP: It'd be a very dangerous thing to do.

MACCALLUM: All right. You know, so what goes into your equation right now? You're about to make this announcement very soon. So what are the things that you're weighing in your mind right now?

TRUMP: Well, I'm looking at polls that have me doing, as you know, well.


TRUMP: Some of them came out where I'm actually on top and I haven't even started campaigning yet, although people know that, you know, I do -- I do have a very strong campaign on what's happening with this country and how people are taking advantage of the country and how other countries are taking advantage of us.

I mean, as an example, when Paul Ryan, who I have a lot of respect for, but when he came out with the plan, I said, This is not a smart thing to do at this time. He's too far out in front. And anything having to do with Medicare and tampering with Medicare, you're going to end up with a tremendous loss in the upcoming elections. You can't do it.

And everybody criticized me for that, and now they're all backing away from that plan. So you know, I see what's happening. I am a negotiator. I would negotiate -- if I run and if I win, I would negotiate for the people of this country and I would make this country very rich again. And it has to be rich again. I'd make it respected again. I'd make it great again. But I have to make that decision.


MACCALLUM: All right, our thanks to Donald Trump joining us tonight.