OTR Interviews

Inside the Trump-Romney Meeting of the Minds

Donald Trump details meeting with GOP presidential hopeful, sounds off on alleged role as would-be 2012 'king-maker' and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 26, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: OK, Donald Trump -- he sure is one of the a kind, isn't he, and the guy all GOP presidential candidates seem to want to talk to. Just a few hours ago, his latest visitor, Republican nominee want-to-be Governor Mitt Romney, making that pilgrimage to Trump Tower to speak with Donald Trump. And then, of course, we spoke with Donald.


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to talk to you.


VAN SUSTEREN: So Donald, another pilgrimage to Donald Trump today, Governor Mitt Romney. So tell me, what struck you most about your meeting with Mitt Romney?

TRUMP: Well, I think we both enjoyed ourselves. I didn't know him. I met him once or twice briefly. But we sort of had a great time. I mean, we discussed lots of big issues, international, national, lots of issues, including the fact that the world is just ripping of this country like never before.

I mean, it's never happened to this extent. Probably happened before, but never to this extent. And he's a believer in that. He believes that they are, in fact, just ripping us left and right. And we had a good conversation that lasted for quite some time.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you're a billionaire, he's a millionaire. Did you feel sorry for him at all?

TRUMP: No, I didn't feel sorry for him. I think he's doing well. He did very well in the debate. I was in Australia, and I told him I came home and I watched the debate, and he -- I thought he did very well in the debate. And you know, he comports himself very nicely.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, there's no secret, Donald -- at least, you know, I believe this. I believe each one who is making this pilgrimage to you wants your endorsement. And I suspect that everyone sort of dances around it, maybe some are blunter and say, Donald, will you endorse me? And so I'm curious. You know, did that come up with Governor Romney?

TRUMP: Well, I think it comes up with all of the candidates that have come up. And frankly, I understand it and I don't think it's the way I say it, I think it's what I say. I am very, very strong on the fact that this country is being taken advantage of by the rest of the world.

China would be the number two culprit. OPEC, the OPEC nations, are number one. We can never be great again unless we do something with OPEC. We can never have that great economy because every time it gets good, they suck the blood out of us by raising oil prices. And nobody does a thing about it. I don't even think we make a phone call. We don't call them. We don't talk to them. We don't meet with them. They do whatever they want, and they wouldn't be there except for us.

And the other is China. What they're doing to us is just unbelievable, how they're getting away with -- they're getting away with murder. And I must tell you that Governor Romney very much agrees with me on those points, and I mean very strongly agrees with me. So do some of the other candidates. I think maybe Governor Romney is the strongest on that, although as you know, I met with Governor Perry, and he also feels that we're -- you know, we're a whipping post for the rest of the world.

So I just think it's very important because if they don't understand that, Greta, I would have just no interest in supporting anybody because I understand what's going wrong with this country. And you know, even with the Republican debates, the disappointing thing is that this is never brought up. They say, Well, what about jobs? And they say, Well, we want education, we want to educate our people, we want to this, we -- they don't say that China's sucking the jobs out of this country and manufacturing our product. And you know, I mean, what China's doing to us is unbelievable.

And they're manipulating the currency, which makes it very, very hard for our companies to compete. And it's never even brought up in the debates. So I just feel that this country cannot be great again until we negotiate hard, tough, really tough and get back a lot of the money that's been squandered in ways that -- China this year's going to make $350 billion on the United States. I used to tell you $300 billion, the $300 billion is now too low a number.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Donald, your office is beautiful. It's wonderful to visit. And you're very engaging to talk to. But I do believe these candidates are making that pilgrimage to you because of the "E" word. They want your endorsement. So I can't imagine that they don't come out and say to you, Donald, will you endorse me, or, What do I have to do? I mean, I don't -- I can't imagine that doesn't come up.

TRUMP: Well, you know, the funny thing, really, they don't want my money because they're not asking for money. They're asking for something more important. And again, I represent a large group of many millions of people. You know, you look on my Web sites and you're looking at millions and millions of people because they agree with what I'm saying about other countries and...

VAN SUSTEREN: But do these candidates ask? Are they -- are they -- I'm curious sort of the behind the scenes. Are they as overt to say to you, Donald, will you support me? Will you endorse me? Do any of them do that with you?

TRUMP: Well, different people say different things. But I don't want to get into -- specifically I don't want to get into that. But I think they would like to have my endorsement because I represent a tremendous number of millions of people.

And they're tired of seeing what's happening to this country. They're tired of seeing the people that make these trade deals -- and it's just destroying us. It's sucking the wealth out of our country! And you know, the word "wealth" isn't necessarily a nice word. But if we don't have a wealthy country, then we can't take care of Medicare and we can't take care of Medicaid and we can't take care of Social Security.

We're subsidizing the Chinese. We're rebuilding China. We're rebuilding other countries, but we can't build our own. I just got back from Australia, and Sydney and Melbourne, such -- and these aren't oil cities, but they're -- you know, it's a wealthy country. But these aren't oil cities. You have to see how nice -- no potholes, beautiful guardrails, everything in beautiful shape.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you know what?

TRUMP: Their bridges are immaculate.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's -- that's

TRUMP: Our country's falling apart!

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so the goal is to get the country back together. But each person who makes a pilgrimage to you -- and I know that Herman -- Mr. Herman Cain is going to do it Monday because it's been tweeted on his Twitter account or his campaign Twitter account. So he's coming Monday.

But each person that comes to you, there must be more that you do talk about. I mean, like, do you give them advice? For instance, did you give advice to Governor Romney about his performance at the debate vis-a-vis, for instance, Governor Perry or what he needs to do to reach out to the American people? Do you give advice, or do they talk?

TRUMP: No, I told him that he did a very good job at the debate. And I think that was pretty obvious to anybody that saw the debate. So I think he was complimented by that. But he did a good job.

And you know, they do ask my advice. They ask -- I'm somebody that understands -- I do understand the world. I do understand what's happening to our country. I deal with -- I'm very international. I have many, many people that I deal with, including China. I mean, I deal with China all the time in business. I understand the Chinese.

And they're getting away with murder. And they tell me they're getting away with murder. They tell me they can't believe that they're getting away with the kind of things that they're getting. And I let the different candidates know this. And some of them think it's very important and some of them possibly don't. But certainly, to my face, they all think it's very important.

But I think it's vital because our wealth is being sapped out of this country. We are being -- we are being -- and nobody even knows about it. And the saddest part about the Republican debates is we don't even talk about this!

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think -- I mean, obviously, it's no coincidence that the DNC today put out a video ad where they have you and Governor Romney and they have you at the end saying, You're fired. What's your reaction? Are you flattered, amused, annoyed by the DNC putting out a video ad like that?

TRUMP: Well, I thought it was amateur hour. I thought the ad was very bad. I thought it was an ad that wasn't very effective. I jokingly said I'm very insulted by the ad because they used plane that's not nearly as nice as the plane I have, so I laughed. You know, everybody laughed. Of course, now the press will say, Oh, he's unhappy about the plane that they portrayed. But the fact is that I thought it was a very ineffective ad.

And we need a competitive America. We don't have a competitive country any longer. It's not competitive. Even our countries (ph) are kowtowing to China. We're giving them our trade secrets. We're giving them out patents. We're giving them so many different things that we would have never, ever even have thought of 10 years ago.

You do business in China, they want all of your rights. They want everything. They want all of your intellectual property rights, things that nobody would have even thought about asking for. You do business with China, they want you to open a plant in China to manufacture the equipment. We don't want it if it's made in the United States. It's terrible, and they get away with it!

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think President Obama's policy or thinking is towards China?

TRUMP: Well, I don't think he has a policy. He's extremely nice to China. He is -- and they don't respect that. They respect strength. I understand China very well. It respects and they respect strength. We don't have a policy toward China other than be very nice to them and hold state dinners when the president comes to town.

You know, I always told you that I would never have a state dinner for somebody that is our economic enemy. Now, they're not our enemy yet in the sense of beyond economics, but economics is the ballgame. They're sapping the lifeblood out of this country. They are just ripping -- they are just ripping the life blood from the United States!

And we hold dinners and we have ambassadors that say how wonderful they are, how great they are, what a great group of friends. I looked at your recent ambassador, your most recent ambassador, your current ambassador, Gary Locke, saying the other day, talking about China and how they would love to see America get more jobs and they want to see America get healthy.

And I'm saying to myself it's just the opposite. He doesn't know what he's talking about. I understand because I dealt with Gary Locke, and believe me, he did nothing for me. Nothing! He has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to China. And I watched his statements last week and it was really laughable.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think that the complement of people running for office now or seeking the Republican nomination -- do you think that there will be more jumping into the field, or is your suspicion that we -- that the nation now has the field of Republican nominee candidates?

TRUMP: I think you have the Republican candidates. Chris Christie's a very good friend of mine. I don't see him running. I don't think he's going to run. And he's a great guy and...

VAN SUSTEREN: How about Donald Trump?

TRUMP: Well, look, if I were unhappy with the candidate chosen, which is possible, if I see somebody that just is not going to win, is not going to straighten out this country, and if the economy continues to be bad, which I think it will because we have incompetent leadership, I would certainly consider it. But we have a long way to go. And that would be as an independent. We have a long way to go before that happens.

VAN SUSTEREN: Anybody wow you yet? Like, you thought, That's the greatest nominee I ever saw in my life? This is the one I want?

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to say that because I think it's too early and I'm dealing with people...

VAN SUSTEREN: But so far, no...

TRUMP: ... and meeting -- but I was...


TRUMP: I will tell you I met with Rick Perry. I really liked him a lot. I thought he was a terrific guy. Today I met with Mitt Romney -- absolutely very impressive. I mean, we had some good -- and they're very different people. It's very interesting. And I don't want to get into it, but they are very, very different people. But I was very impressed today with Mitt Romney.

As you know, with the great pizza incident, I met with Sarah Palin. I don't know that she's going to be running. I doubt it, but you never know what's going to happen. But I met with Sarah and we had a great time. And Michelle Bachmann came up, and it was a very interesting meeting.

So I've really met with them, but you know, I'm not doing this for fun. I'm doing this because our country is in serious trouble, and I've been pretty good at picking people over the years. And you know, if I'm going to endorse somebody, I want to endorse somebody that really can turn this country around.

And by the way, if President Obama could do a great job and would do a great job, there would be nobody happier than Donald Trump. Nobody, Greta. I would be so proud if President Obama would step up and do a great job. Unfortunately, the first thing he'd have to do is end "Obama care," and I have a feeling he won't be doing that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice talking to you. Monday, you have Mr. Herman Cain and maybe perhaps you'll talk to us on Monday. Maybe I'll even come up and do the interview in your office.

TRUMP: That'd be fine, Greta. You take care of yourself.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, thank...

TRUMP: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Donald.