OTR Interviews

Obama Birther Debate Not Dead with Donald Trump

Trump explains why he's not convinced on the validity of the president's birth certificate, blasts on Obama's campaigning and reveals whether he'd be a GOP candidates VP pick and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 25, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, Donald Trump tweeting about President Obama. This time, though, he's not accusing the president of doing a bad job, he's accusing him of not working at all.

We spoke with Donald Trump about it a short time ago, but first we asked him about another campaign controversy that isn't over yet.


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to talk to you.


VAN SUSTEREN: I've got a lot -- a long list today of questions for you, a lot of topics. Let me start with...

TRUMP: You always do, Greta. You always do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, this time, I wrote them all down.

TRUMP: Well, that's good.

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, Governor Rick Perry said that he had dinner with you recently and that you do not believe the president's birth certificate is real or not. Is the governor correct that you don't believe it? I thought that you were satisfied.

TRUMP: No, I'm not a major believer. I mean, I don't know how it just miraculously appeared, and we'll see what happens. But I'm never -- I've never been a major believer. All of a sudden, after years and years, it was produced out of nowhere. Some people have serious, serious doubts as to its validity.

And I frankly really want to get on to much more important subjects, although that's a very important one because if, in fact, it's not 100 percent, he's not supposed to be the president of this country, which is a pretty important fact.

But nevertheless, I want to talk about jobs. I want to talk about the economy. I want to talk about how China and OPEC and others are ripping us off. But I'm not a fan.

VAN SUSTEREN: I thought last April that it was finally put to rest with you?

TRUMP: No, no, never to rest. I'm at a point where I say, Look, the country is going to hell in a handbasket, and something has to be done about it. And we shouldn't be talking about the birth certificate. But people love to talk about it.

For instance, it's your first question. I guess at a luncheon or in an interview, Governor Perry had mentioned that I said that I'm not a big believer, and I'm not. I mean, you know, people look at the hospital. There are no records that his mother was ever there. There are many other things that are really suspect.

So you know, out of -- after years of Hillary wanting it and McCain wanting it and everybody wanting it, and I put the big pressure on, all of a sudden, it appears. And people have real questions about the validity.

Now, I don't want to talk about that. I want to talk about jobs. I want to talk about how to get this country great again. But I'm not a big fan.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, I actually -- I'm convinced it's the real deal, so you know, that...

TRUMP: Well, that's good. I'm glad you are. That's OK. And some people are and some people aren't. And you know, I'm just not as easily convinced.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. The other thing, you're very active on Twitter. You just tweeted recently, "Does Barack Obama ever work? He's constantly campaigning and fund-raising at both the taxpayers' dime and time. Not fair."

What provoked that?

TRUMP: Well, it is not fair. I mean, I watch television every night, he's making speeches, he's taking Air Force One and all of the great planes that we have with huge crews and huge amounts of security and limos and everything else all over the place. He's not paying for it with his campaign, and yet he's campaigning.

And I think it's very unfair. I mean, Air Force One, which is a 747 airplane, a Boeing 747, costs hundreds of thousands of dollars an hour to fly and hundreds of thousands of dollars an hour just to sit at airports. And why isn't he paying for this? I mean, he's going all over the place. He's campaigning. That's all he does is campaign. He ought to focus -- he ought to sit behind his desk in Washington and get the country properly running again.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does it make a difference to you if, A, the campaign pays for part of it -- it's part official business, part campaign -- and B, that that is what presidents have historically done? My guess is that President Bush 43 likewise, because when he traveled to fund-raisers, he had to travel on Air Force One, but I'm under the understanding that campaigns pay a share of it and the taxpayers, for any official business that's done along the way, pay that.

TRUMP: Well, nobody's ever done it like this. I've never seen anything like it. I mean, he's constantly out campaigning, and he'll make a speech and he'll make another speech. They're campaign speeches.

I mean, there's a different between work and campaigning. Now, campaigning is work, too, but that's work that he should be paying for out of his -- all the money that he's raising from I don't know who because it's hard to believe people are contributing, but out of all of the money that he's raising.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Flat tax versus "9-9-9," compare and contrast. Tell me, you know, which you think is a wiser idea or not such a good idea, which do you think is more likely to pass, which is a better strategy. Tell me what you think.

TRUMP: Well, there are a lot of different concepts of taxes, including the one we currently have, if you take away deductions and simplify it. But the code is so complex right now, it's thousands and thousands of pages, and simplification would be a fantastic thing, even if you took the existing code, and that starts getting into the flat tax.

The only problem I have with the "9-9-9" -- and I like Herman very much, but the sales tax I think is going to be a little bit tough on people of middle income and lower income status. I really think the sales tax aspect of it is pretty tough for them to handle.

VAN SUSTEREN: What if there were some sort of modification? And I don't know if there is -- for instance...

TRUMP: Well, it's very hard to modify that because how do you tell somebody you can buy so much stuff? I mean, it's very hard to modify the sales tax aspect of the 9-9-9. You know, what you need is simplification, and ultimately, a flattening out of the tax, and that would be a very positive thing for the country.

Too complex, too many pages, too many rules and regulations that are just -- I mean, it's a very, very complicated tax. It's too much so. And people don't do things and they don't do deals and they don't do business because they don't even understand their own tax code.

VAN SUSTEREN: I read someplace that Warren Buffett pays 17 percent on his earned income, not capital gains but earned income. I pay 35 percent. The flat tax that Governor Perry is suggesting at 20 percent would be a tax cut for me, but it'd be a tax raise for Warren Buffett.

TRUMP: That's true.

VAN SUSTEREN: He got a 3 percent tax raise.

TRUMP: That's true. That would be right. And it's very simple. It's a very simple tax, that's true. A lot of people like the idea of the flat tax because it's a simplification.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the interesting thing is, you know, you can pay more taxes if you want, which, of course, is the criticism of Warren Buffett, who has been complaining about -- about the very wealthy not paying taxes.

TRUMP: Well, people use that and they say that, but you know, that's sort of more of a -- I think it's just verbiage. It's really nothing. It's not going to happen. But certainly, a simplification is what this country needs because it's too complicated.

VAN SUSTEREN: One of my colleagues, Griff Jenkins, says you got to ask Donald Trump this. I said, OK, I will. He said, He said that he -- that he's not likely to run for president, not completely thrown it out, but at least you told us no pretty much. But Griff wants to know, what about vice president? Because all these people coming up to talk to you -- would you consider the nod as vice president on the ticket?

TRUMP: Well, you know, it's interesting, they do come up, and I've really developed some friendships, I think, over this, and I have a lot of respect for a lot of the people I've seen. The fact is, I represent millions and millions of people that don't want to see this country ripped off. We're just being ripped off by so many other nations.

And they talk about education. They talk about all of these things, but the fact is, we can never be great again if OPEC is going to raise prices of oil. You know, they sit around a table and they raise the price of oil every time the economy gets a little bit better, and it drives the economy to get worse.

And China and so many nations -- we don't make good deals. You know, in the good old days, in the good old days, we made all good deals. We were the smart ones. Now we're the dummies. We have leadership that's not smart, and we're the dummies sitting around the table.

Everybody makes good deals against the United States, and that has to stop. So what I said -- and I represent a lot of people, and that's why people want my endorsement because I think I do have millions of people with me in that way -- they're smart. The public is smart. They see what's happening to our country. And if we choose the right person, I am all for it and I will be the happiest guy in the world. And intend to endorse somebody I believe.

But if we don't, if we choose somebody that's not right, and if the economy continues to be bad, which I think it will because we have leadership that doesn't know what it's doing, I would certainly consider running as an independent, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, that's running as an independent. Suppose that -- suppose someone's nominated who you really admire and think is a strong candidate, and that person says, Donald, I'd like you to be my vice president. Is that something you would consider?

TRUMP: Well, it's so far-fetched right now. You know, you know me. And you've been over in my office and you know I love what I do. I've done it really well, just about better than anybody, and I'm having great years in business. And I love business and many other people love business. But it's hard to do business nowadays because of rules, regulations. I mean, so many different obstacles are put in front of the United States businessperson.

So I just love what I'm doing. I don't see that happening. I think I'd do a good job. I tell you what. Our country wouldn't be ripped off any longer. It would be -- those days would be over. But I don't see that happening.

I mean, they'll pick some very good political guy, hopefully, the right person. You know, people don't tend to vote for the vice president, as you know. Hopefully, some great person gets the nomination and can take this country back from Obama because he's destroying the country.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, but you say you've got, you know, millions of people who support you. So actually, I mean, you know, it might be an unusual time -- you know, this might be an unusual choice to get a businessperson like yourself. But if you've got -- you know, you might help the ticket if you've got the millions of people.

TRUMP: You know, Greta, I don't think they support me, I think they support my ideas. They know what I'm saying and they're tired of seeing what's happening.

If you look at today's newspapers, you'll see -- I mean, I don't -- it's inconceivable, but tremendous amounts of money go to China. We're supporting China and subsidizing things that are taking place in China.

Now, who would believe this when they're making trillions of dollars and we're losing trillions of dollars and we're supporting China? Who would believe this? Then you get into the car that's made in Finland and you get into the solar, where they put up $535 million. This is tremendous amounts of money!

And -- and it's -- it's weeks later, the loan is wiped out, weeks later! What are we doing this for? So people see what I say. And I don't think they support me, I think they support my ideas.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you're you are probably the only person who could squeeze a dime out of Qaddafi. You got...

TRUMP: I did, indeed. I did, indeed.

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed, you did. And so I wondered whether -- what your thoughts are as we look at what's been going on in Libya with Qaddafi dead and there's a controversy, of course, as to, you know, how he died. I just want to get your thoughts on what's going on there.

TRUMP: Well, you know, in this country, where we've become so weakened and so pathetic and so politically correct, and you always say, Oh, did you read his rights? Did you read her rights? Oh, it's -- and here's a guy gets two bullets through the head. There were no rights read to Mr. Qaddafi.

I will say, though, if you take Libya and you look at what's going on with Libya -- we spent over a billion. They say a billion. That means many times more than that. What do we get out of it? What do we get? You have absolute radicals taking the country. They've taken the shoulder missiles which are very, very dangerous and horrible. Thousands of them are now gone. The arsenals are empty. We have no idea where that stuff went.

You look at what's going on in Libya. China gets their oil from Libya. We don't get oil from Libya. We spend all of this money, and it's going to be worse than Qaddafi! At least he had control over his weapons. He had control over the country. I think what's going in there is going to be worse.

And you know what? When you look at him -- I don't care -- I couldn't care less for Qaddafi, but when you look at the way they treated him -- I mean, these are the people that we're going to be dealing with. Do you think we really made a bargain there? We spent billions of dollars. We got nothing.

Now, what I said, and I think it's 100 percent correct, when the so- called rebels -- you know, nice glamorous term like from "Gone With the Wind" -- when the so-called rebels were being routed five months ago, just routed -- it was over, Qaddafi had won -- they came to us and they said, We need help, we need help. We could have said to them, We're going to give you help, but we want 50 percent of your oil for the next 25 years.

You know what they would have said? How about 75 percent of the oil? We'll give you that, too. And we would have said, Thank you very much. What do we get out of it? We get nothing! We get nothing!

So you know, people talk about like Libya is a victory. Libya is not a victory. I think it's a disaster. But why didn't we ask for things when they were being routed? It was over. And you know, when they fight, sure, they fought, but we go into the areas, we bomb the hell out the people that they're fighting, and then they walk in and they take all the credit. Isn't that wonderful?

The fact is, we should have asked for their oil. We should have asked for certain safeguards. We asked for nothing! All we did, Greta, is we went in, we spent billions of dollars bombing people and then they go in, they raise their flag like they're great soldiers. Give me a break. We are very -- we are being led by very, very stupid people!

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, as always, thank you. Hope to talk to you next week.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Greta. Bye.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thanks, Donald.