OTR Interviews

Trump: Obama 'Missed His Opportunity'

Donald Trump on Obama's jobs speech, why the stimulus didn't work and whether it's too late for the president to turn around the economy before the 2012 election

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 7, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tomorrow is the big night. President Obama is expected to tell us and Congress his plan to jumpstart our economy. Earlier today, we asked Donald Trump what he thinks?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to talk to you.

DONALD TRUMP (Via Telephone): Hi, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tomorrow night, Donald, the president is going to give an address to a joint session of Congress. His critics say that it is a campaign speech. He denies it. Do you think it is a campaign speech? If so, what could he said or do that would change your mind?

TRUMP: It will absolutely be a campaign speech. Who can blame him? I think he's out there as hard as he can campaigning. The fact is he has made many speeches over a short period of time and continues to make speeches, but we get no substance. Everyone is saying there's not much he's going to be doing. We'll have to see what happens. What he's doing is campaigning, pure and simple.

VAN SUSTEREN: In a perfect world, let's say he has a Democratic house and Senate and of course he's a Democrat, could he turn the economy around and create jobs within 14 months? Can he move the economy that quickly?

TRUMP: What people forget is he had all of that. He could have done everything he wanted to do when he the Democratic House, Senate, he's the president. Instead of he focused on Obamacare. After Obamacare everyone took a vacation, nothing happened because everyone was so unhappy. The Republicans took over the House. Now he have -- now you have this situation that is untenable. And there's a lack of leadership.

So he really had all of that. Everything that you just said he had and could have made those things, including frankly, could have raised the debt ceiling without having to go through weigh went through and it would have been a lot easier. There would have been a revolt in the country but it would have been easier for him. Everything that you just said he had and he missed his opportunity.

VAN SUSTEREN: In light of that, are you saying that it is too late in your mind that he is -- he has had his chance let's wait out the 14 months and get a new president, or are you saying there's still something he could do to redeem himself between now and November next year?

TRUMP: I guess you could say there is always something you can do. But I think the public is fed up with speeches. I don't think they want that hear his speech. I think they want to see action not speech.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let's say he hadn't squandered the time leading up to this, he had 14 months when you look at the economy and policies that could be invoked, is it possible to create significant number of jobs in 14 months?

TRUMP: I think it is going to be very hard because even if things work out well, it takes a year to kick in. It doesn't happen the following day. It is not like, oh, gee, the following morning everybody is working.

Everything has been so far off, whether it is his dealings with other nations, whether it is the fact that so many other nations are taking our jobs and manufacturing our goods and manipulating their currencies. And so many different things are happening that is bad for this country when you look at OPEC what they are doing with the fuel.

Part of the problem we have is that every single time we start to make a comeback in terms of the economy, OPEC does a number on us and we have nobody that knows how to talk to OPEC. Believe me, it would be very easy.

VAN SUSTEREN: What happened with the stimulus bill in 2009? Was it not a good idea, no follow through why did the stimulus bill I 2009 that the president pushed and embraced, why has it been so ineffective?

TRUMP: People weren't ready for it. They talked about let's start digging. There was nothing to dig because it takes a long time in this country to get permits even if your government. If you want to build something in this country it takes years and years. You have to go through sometimes an environmental -- just, I do it. I have to go through it. You have to go through environment problems and environmental criteria that make it almost impossible to go quickly, let alone go at all. In some cases you can't even build. So they weren't ready in terms of the projects. And probably most of the projects and many of the projects were wrong.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that something that the building industry and something that the president's advisers should have known in February '09, or was there expectation they could bypass that and do other projects that would rev up the economy?

TRUMP: Somebody like me would know it because I'm a builder, I build things. I understand how tough it is to get anything built, even if you know what you are doing. And a lot of people do know what they are doing, but you can't get permits. And it gets back to the other factor we have, regulations.

But if you want to build a city in China, you can build it quickly, literally, a city. They decide one day and two weeks later they are building. If you want to build a city here, people would laugh at you. When was the last time you saw a great bridge being built in this country? Yet you go to China, some of the OPEC nations, you see bridge after bridge. Their streets are lined in gold. You see things that you haven't seen since we were a great nation. We were doing that many years ago. But we don't do it anymore. Right now our bridges are falling down, our roads are falling apart. It is very sad.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that the president's responsibility or fault for all those regulations? Is that something he should have seen? Is that insurmountable? Is that Congress? Why is it so difficult and shouldn't that had been anticipated?

TRUMP: You have to end regulation. You also have to stop building Iraq, Afghanistan, we are spending millions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan and everyplace else. In the meantime, you can drive on our roads because there are potholes and our bridges are falling and basic infrastructure.

I don't call that stimulus because I'm a big believer in rebuilding this country. I say it is something that has to be done. You can't have bridges where engineers are saying this bridge is dangerous for cars to cross. You have seen it recently where a bridge came down, killing people. So I don't even call that stimulus. I call that putting our country back into shape.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that though -- let me go back. We have to study history to figure out where to go. Is that something they should have known in February 2009 or not? Is that ideology on the part of the president? Is that naivete, bad advice, bad luck?

TRUMP: It is a lot of things, Greta. But it is certainly something they should have and could have planned for. In order to do it, maybe they have to pass a special regulation that -- this would be a regulation that would let member build. People stop projects for the wrong reasons. If you are building a certain project on a certain type of grass you cannot build it. If you are building something that you want built desperately and it's really need and a certain type of creature is in the way, you can't build it.

And you may be talking about thousands and thousands of jobs. You may be talking about something that is very, very important for the vitality of the nation and you can't build it. They have to do something about the regulations. They have to do something about the environmental protection, because it is wonderful, and I'm a great environmentalist. I believe I've gotten many environmental awards. But it has gotten out of control. You can't build in this country. It is almost impossible.

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