OTR Interviews

Trump: A Weiner Comeback Will Be 'Tough to Make'

Trump on Weiner, the economy, Obama


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 16, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: So what does Donald Trump think all this? Now, you know he's called Congressman Weiner a "psycho" in the past -- that's his word, "psycho." And earlier today, Donald Trump went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to have you join us again.

DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (Via telephone): Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, do you have any thought about why Congressman Weiner thought it was necessary to have a press conference? I mean, I understand resigning, but why a press conference?

TRUMP: Well, I guess probably he still has ambitions in a certain way. It's a very sad situation, whether he has a press conference or just does it some other way, but a very, very sad situation. I've known him for a long time. I've never been a fan. But whether you're a fan or not, it doesn't get a lot sadder than this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he almost seems like a glutton for punishment because I don't know if you could hear it, depends on your -- whether you had your television cranked up or not, but there were some pretty crude things that were yelled out at him. I mean, he's almost a glutton for punishment, showing up and doing that.

TRUMP: Well, it probably would have been better just sending out a memo and saying, you know, I'm doing it for this reason or that reason, but the reasons are obvious. And his own party really started coming after him, and that was pretty unusual for the Democrats, frankly. You see it with the Republicans. You don't see it with the Democrats. So it was pretty unusual.

He really had very little choice. And I'm sure his wife, probably, who's a rational person, probably had a big role in what he did and how he did it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, there was a little bit of a "Huma watch." People are wondering whether or not he would bring his wife. You know, that's sort of a -- the side note to all of these politicians who resign in disgrace is whether their wives show up and stand beside them or not.

TRUMP: Well, I think she made a great decision in not doing it. Somehow, it just doesn't play. And in this case in particular, this was sad because so many things that were done that were just -- I mean, it was -- it was almost beyond what other people have done and get caught doing. This was -- there was a sickness to it that was really terrible, and I'm sure she's having a very hard time with it. But it was good that she wasn't there.

VAN SUSTEREN: So where does he go from here? What are your thoughts? I mean, you know, people thought he might be the next mayor of New York. That seems at least out of the cards, at least in the short run, although people sometimes surprise us and make comebacks. But what's his next job?

TRUMP: Well, this is a tough comeback to make because of what he did and the way he did it and the things he sent. It was almost a death wish, if you really looked at what he did, sending nude photos of himself to women he didn't even know, to women he didn't even know. It almost was a death wish.

And I think as far as his political future, you can write it off. As far as the future generally speaking -- he's not a lawyer. He doesn't have very many friends. He's got a tough row to hoe. It's a very sad situation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Women have been talking -- sure men have, too, as well, as this has unraveled. Women -- and many women think that this is different, for instance, from cheating with another woman or cheating with a prostitute, that this one is different. Do you feel that way or not?

TRUMP: Well, I think it's more suicidal. And I think it's actually sleazier, in a certain way. It's sicker. It's actually sicker. What he was doing was very, very strange. And I'm sure he's going to work on it, and hopefully, he can correct it. But this to me was far worse.

I mean, when you look at all of the different -- they talk about different people. I was watching one of the shows on Fox, of course, and they were talking about different things and different acts being caught. But there was something very suicidal about sending a nude picture with your face on it. And here you are, you know, essentially a celebrity, a congressman, a man of power and importance. Very, very strange and really quite sick.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I hold the women accountable when it's cheating. You know, if a woman cheats and the man is married or something, you know, in my mind, she's just as up to her eyeballs and immoral as the guy. But this is -- this is interesting because this really is a solo act. I mean, these women didn't ask for anything. And it's much different, I think.

TRUMP: Well, they were leading him on, but they didn't even know him, but they did know who he was. And it's hard to believe that he could think that he's going to be running for mayor of New York, that he's a well-known and very out there congressman, and that one of them wouldn't say, Hey, you know, he sent me all these pictures, take a look. Hard to believe that he wouldn't think that that could happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the economy. President Obama is getting heat from some. He made a comment the other day in North Carolina that the shovel-ready projects weren't quite "shovel-ready." That has -- some people are scandalized that there was a joke. I actually think lots of us have laughed at really bad jokes, so I'll give him a pass on that. But I think the thing that was disturbing is that he admits that the shovel-ready didn't work. And that tells -- that sends a signal that maybe he admits he's on the wrong track with our economy. You agree or disagree?

TRUMP: Well, I think the worst thing about it was the laughing between himself and the others that were in the group. They were all laughing about it. And I think that probably was almost worse than the statement. Lots of things in life don't work, but when you start laughing about them after spending $800 billion...


TRUMP: ... was pretty sad.

VAN SUSTEREN: But that could have been a sheepish -- I mean, it's hard to interpret that. As I listened -- when I listened to it, I thought to myself, Oh -- you know, I'll set that aside and maybe it was a stupid, nervous laugh or whatever. But when he said the shovel-ready weren't as shovel-ready as we expected, that said to me, Hey, guess what? I didn't know what I was doing or I did it wrong. And then I think, Well, OK, if you come back to me with another request for shovel-ready, you know -- you know, should I in any way validate what you're saying?

TRUMP: You know, Greta, speaking as a builder -- I build buildings and I go through a lot of red tape and a lot of permitting and lots of other things. And I was sort of wondering about it to start off with because when you say, Let's get going, and when you talk about shovels, you're talking about roads and lots of other things.

It takes so long in this country to do anything, between the environmental permits that you have to get and all of the government agencies and approvals that you have to get, that when they put out all that money and they say shovel-ready -- I don't think anything is shovel- ready. It takes in many cases many years to get things started.

So I wondered about that, frankly, when it first got made, when the statement "shovel-ready" first got made. And this is something the country has to do. We have to cut back on this permitting process which makes it almost impossible for us to get things built in this country.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I worry more about whether or not someone knows whether or not -- knows what he's doing than whether or not he might have boorish or even nervous conduct. So that's why, you know -- you know, I'm fixated on that.

Let me ask you this. In terms of the economy, there's an array of Republicans who are seeking the nomination, very early on. Many people think -- and this is sort of my description -- that Governor Romney is a wizard when it comes to the economy. Do you think that he knows what he's talking about when it comes to the economy, or do you think that people are overstating it or understating it?

TRUMP: Well, he's got some problems because forgetting about "Romneycare" for a second, but when he was the governor of Massachusetts, Massachusetts was not a very stellar state. Massachusetts had the third worst record of all the states in employment. A lot of jobs were lost during his tenure, and frankly, he didn't run for a second term because his poll numbers were so low.

And to me, I'm not sure which is worse, that and those statistics, or the fact that he did "Romneycare." So it's not going to be an easy election for him. I mean, he's going to go out and he's going to do his best, but it's not going to be very easy. That's a tough one to knock. When you're third worst in the country, that's a tough one to knock.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, so are you saying that -- I mean, people sort of, as they sort of wax eloquent about his -- and within the Republicans (INAUDIBLE) sort of wax eloquent about what -- you know, what he knows about the economy -- overstated?

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to be -- you know, I don't want to be throwing cold water on anything, but if you look at his governorship, he had a hard time. I mean, it was a tough period of time. And again, in terms of employment, when you're third worst in the nation, that's not good.

If you look at his popularity at the end of his term, it was bad enough that he decided he just wouldn't run again. So you know -- and most people said he wouldn't be elected. That's a very, very tough thing to overcome, in my opinion. I don't know him. I've never met him. But I think that's a very, very tough thing to overcome.

VAN SUSTEREN: Some people are dazzled by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Some might say it's because they -- you know, that she had been underestimated going into this debate in New Hampshire. Your thoughts on Michele -- on Congressman Michele -- Congresswoman Michele Bachmann?

TRUMP: Well, I do know her, and I actually met her about three weeks ago. And I think she was great in the debate. I think she looked great. She sounded great. She said a lot of really terrific things. And I think she did a good job, a really good job, and I think she's been highly underrated.

VAN SUSTEREN: So who may -- out of that whole group, just on the question of the economy, who makes you feel most secure? And I realize a lot can change and you may even get into the field yourself, but right now, that field -- who do you think is really on the mark in getting us out of this mess?

TRUMP: I think it's too early to say, but I do get a little bit discouraged when you have OPEC, that has just absolutely destroyed our economy with their oil prices, and not one person mentioned OPEC. And you have China, which is making many of our products and taking away our jobs, and other countries, and that's not even mentioned when they asked the question about how do you fix the economy, how do you get jobs. It's pretty discouraging when nobody mentions OPEC, China and other countries because that's what it is all about.

VAN SUSTEREN: So nobody -- so who out of that crew -- none of them -- none of them mentioned it, but if you had to go with one just on the issue of the economy to get us out of this mess, who's your money on?

TRUMP: Well, I wouldn't say yet. It's just too soon. But I was a little bit discouraged by the fact that OPEC wasn't brought up, that many other things weren't brought up. I mean, we're spending all of our money in Afghanistan, but we can't do anything for this country? We can't help tornado victims? And yet we spend billions and billions of dollars a month in Afghanistan and Iraq? It doesn't make sense. And these things aren't brought up. It's hard to believe.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, thank you for joining us.

TRUMP: Thank you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I'll talk to you next week. You'll come back next week, right?

TRUMP: I'll do any time you want. These telephone calls are easy and they're fun, and I love your show.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Donald.

TRUMP: Have a good time.