OTR Interviews

Trump: Obama a 'Habitual Vacationer,' Concept of Super Committee an 'Outrage'

Donald Trump objects to president calling Americans 'lazy,' gives take on Gingrich's surge and the state of the GOP 2012 race and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 15, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Donald Trump says, well, it's disgusting. Now, he's talking about President Obama calling America's business community lazy. And that is not the only thing that has Donald Trump all fired up. We spoke with him earlier tonight.


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to see you.


VAN SUSTEREN: OK, you've been busy on Twitter lately. Let me read you one of your recent Twitters. It's about President Obama. You said, "The habitual vacationer calling America lazy this past weekend while in Hawaii." He was at a big APEC summit in Hawaii. You take issue with it?

TRUMP: Well, I do, indeed, when he's using a 747 Boeing to go around, which is called Air Force One, to go around and campaign and raise funds. And I can't imagine that the Republicans aren't being stronger about he shouldn't be able to do that. But he's flying around on Air Force One, which is a plane that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars an hour to fly.

VAN SUSTEREN: But all presidents do this, both parties.

TRUMP: Maybe they do, but I've never seen anybody do it like this. I mean, I've been watching this for a long time and I've never seen any president work like this. This is crazy. He calls it vacation. He calls it this. He's campaigning. He's really campaigning and vacationing.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right...

TRUMP: I'm not sure which is worse.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the reference where he says -- he said when he was speaking on November 12th -- this is in part -- "But we've been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We've kind of taken for granted, well, people want to come here, and we aren't out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America."

TRUMP: Well, it's interesting that he calls people lazy. I mean, he's done one business deal in his life. That was his house. And there's a big question about his house. So it's very interesting that he's calling people lazy because he's really referring to the business community, and they don't give us the tools.

When they allow China to manipulate their currency, when they allow other people and other countries to do what they're doing against our country -- you know, it would be nice if the government could give a little help. But for him to call -- and I said it the other day on, actually, one of your shows. I said it the other day. For him to say that the business people of this country are lazy is disgusting.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do we want...

TRUMP: Especially coming from him.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do we want more of? Do we want more of American businesses going overseas and developing products and growing around the world, or do we want foreign companies to come here?

TRUMP: I think we want American companies to stay here and develop their products from here.

VAN SUSTEREN: That wasn't the choice. That wasn't the choice.

TRUMP: No, but that's what's going on. I mean, that's the problem. People don't even give that as a choice. Even you. I mean, you're asking me a question, Do we want to go over there and develop? No. I think companies should stay here, make their product and sell it to China, like they do to us.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we'd like it. That's ideal. But that -- I mean, that's not happening.

TRUMP: Well, the reason...

VAN SUSTEREN: At least not...

TRUMP: ... it's not happening is because of a simple manipulation of currency, and we do nothing about it. But we should be making product here and sending it out. You know, China says, You want to build a tractor? Good. We don't want your tractor. Go build a plant in China. We don't do this. We don't do this. We're not doing it properly in this country.

China says, Wait until you see what happens to Boeing. I have a lot of good friends at Boeing. And watch what's going to happen with China and Boeing. They're going to make their own aircraft. They're going to make everything. They're not going to be buying from Boeing very soon. They're going to be making their own aircraft. It's going to be made in China. And they're going to be competing with Boeing like you never saw before.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, new topic, 2012 -- give me sort of a highlight of what you think is going on in the race. Who's up, who's down, who's doing (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: Well, it's amazing because every day, it changes. Now, Newt, who's a friend of mine, is doing very well. Mitt Romney is doing very well. I mean, he's doing very well, but he just doesn't seem to get that extra little bounce that you would think he'd get.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why? Why doesn't he move up a little bit? He doesn't move down, but why doesn't he budge at all?

TRUMP: Well, you could say he's got a very solid base. I mean, he doesn't move down, and that's a big statement that you make. He doesn't move down. But you would think that he'd be bouncing like wild. He's done great in the debates. He's really done beautifully in every single debate.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, does he -- I mean, the pundits say that, but if the numbers don't reflect it -- I mean -- I mean -- I mean, he's a great debater. You know, all the pundits say he does really well. But how come the numbers aren't moving up? The voters are not showing that they think he's doing a great job.

TRUMP: Well, they think he's probably not as conservative as they'd like to see. And yet that's a very smart game, potentially, because if he gets the nomination, he's going to have a very good chance against Obama relative to other people that maybe are more conservative. So he's playing a very fine-line game, and it may be brilliant. We'll let you know in about a year, right?

VAN SUSTEREN: One of the things that the president -- that the Obama campaign is going to go after him for is things like flip-flopping, issues like abortion. When he debated Senator Ted Kennedy in the early '90s, he was pro-choice. He's changed his mind. And he got a little heat recently about the collective bargaining law in the state of Ohio. They called him a flip-flopper for that. He's getting a little bit of that, which is going to be very painful should he get the nomination.

TRUMP: Well, sure, and they're going to get him on flip-flopping. And other people flip-flop, and frankly, people change their minds over a period of time. And Obama was against the debt ceiling. He voted against it when he was a senator and did lots of different things that he's now advocating. So, you know, I guess they probably look at that as a weakness. I'm not sure it's a weakness or not. He changed his mind.

VAN SUSTEREN: So it's a tie. They both have flip-flopped.

TRUMP: Well, Obama certainly flip-flops. He was against the war. He was going to get us right out of the war. It was going to end immediately. In the meantime, he got us more into the war.

And by the way, as soon as we leave Iraq, as soon as that' over, that thing is going to be a mess and Iran's going to take over. So I don't think he's done us any favor.

But no, I mean, who flip-flopped more than Obama? Look at the war. Look at his vote on debt ceiling. Look at many of his other votes. He's flip-flopped more than anybody!

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you mentioned Speaker Gingrich, that he is at least currently surging. Every day is a little bit different for everybody. Why do you think he is doing better now?

TRUMP: Well, he's got some very good conservative views, but I think maybe more than anything else, he really is a very good debater. And you know I like him because he's a member of my great golf club in Washington, D.C. I love people that join my clubs.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is he any good at golfing?

TRUMP: He's good, and his wife is good. I mean, they're very nice. They're -- you know, they're really nice people. The people -- they're liked very much at the club. That I can tell you.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so why...

TRUMP: Because I don't know...

VAN SUSTEREN: On a serious note...

TRUMP: ... Newt that well.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... why he is doing well, besides the fact that he's a good debater?

TRUMP: Well, no, I think the good debater is really a big thing. It's not just -- the debates have never been so important as they are now, for some reason, both good and bad. I mean, you've seen what happened to certain candidates that didn't do well in the debate, and it's really been not a pretty picture. Newt has done very well in the debates and Mitt Romney has done very well in the debates.

VAN SUSTEREN: But the debates are interesting. They're fascinating to watch. But the idea that you can ask someone a foreign policy question or how do you correct the economy and give the person 30 seconds or a minute -- this little snapshot, does it really tell us anything about the person?

TRUMP: No, and it could be that your worst debater would be your best president. It's possible. But I think people want to see how a certain candidate acts quickly because, you know, it is a quick thing. It is something to do with this -- acts quickly, and how do they react under pressure?


VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up, more with Donald Trump. What happens when a candidate's personal scandal hits the GOP race? You will hear what Trump thinks about that next.


VAN SUSTEREN: Once again here is Donald Trump.


VAN SUSTEREN: What is the effect, do you think, and I realize this is a little bit of voodoo, but some of the personal issues? For instance, Speaker Gingrich confronting some issues from the '90s with his marriage. There's been an allegation against Mr. Herman Cain about sexual harassment. All this sort of, is this significant in the race or is this sort of going to be collateral come 2012?

TRUMP: It's not exactly a great boost. And I think Herman has worked very hard to get rid of that. It seems like a lot of things are unfounded. Nobody knows are they true or not true, but they don't have any evidence or any proof. And it certainly is not a positive for Herman, and it certainly is not a positive for Newt.

In fact, I just see now he's doing well. They were leaving him alone, but now that he's doing well I'm starting to see all the vicious stories come out about Newt. And it will be a tough period of time. But it is not positive. It certainly is not positive.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ron Paul, Congressman Paul. Out? Totally out?

TRUMP: He's an interesting guy. He has some interesting views of things. Whether you agree or don't agree, he does have some interesting common sense. I view it as common sense not libertarian views on things. But it will be very hard for him to win. There's no question about that.

A couple of the folks that are debating, I don't think we have to get too much into names, but it's almost like why are they taking up the time? You look at their numbers. They stayed at one percent for a long period of time, and you hear them answering the same question over and over and over in the debate, and you don't want to hear it from them. You really want to hear from the candidates that have a chance.

VAN SUSTEREN: Maybe the other will implode? We get surprises all the time.

TRUMP: It's happened before. But I think certain candidates are just not going to have much of a chance.

VAN SUSTEREN: But if I were running I would be focusing on Iowa and spending a lot time there and let everyone else be distracted by the national polls. Whoever has a really good ground name in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.

TRUMP: And a couple of people are doing that. We'll have to see if it works, but a couple of people are doing that. And they are focused also in New Hampshire.

VAN SUSTEREN: What would be your advice for Governor Romney?

TRUMP: Well, it's interesting. Probably the best thing he can do is get my endorsement, because I do carry a big endorsement.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is he going to get it?

TRUMP: I'm looking at a lot of different things.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you always say that.

TRUMP: No, no, I'll be making an endorsement at some point.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why are you waiting? You have a level of certainty, you are a determined businessman. I bet you know.

TRUMP: I'm looking. Do I know in my mind who it will be? I have an idea who it's going to because. I don't want to say yet.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's the criteria?

TRUMP: I'm just seeing what their attitudes are on certain things. For example, foreign policy. We keep talking about the economy. Very rarely do we mention all of the countries throughout this world, this great world of ours, that are ripping us to shreds because their leaders are sharper, smarter, tougher than our loaders.

VAN SUSTEREN: Stop right there. I suspect when they have all made the pilgrimage to see you, I suspect you have spent more time with them asking questions like that than we see on these sort of snapshot debates.

TRUMP: That's true.

VAN SUSTEREN: So I think they would be farther ahead of the decision than you are letting on.

TRUMP: No, I feel very strongly about it. We can say education and all sorts of things. It's interesting, what do we do about jobs? People say we can do education. I watch the debates and it's very sad. They talk about everything except what the primary reason is. We are losing our jobs to other countries because of stupid policies and actually very, very stupid politicians.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is this new or is this just the President Obama administration or is this something that's been an epidemic in prior administrations?

TRUMP: It's gotten worse. We honor China now. I watched Mr. Huntsman the other day and it's almost like roll over and let China take over this country. I watched him in the debate. I thought it was a terrible answer. Not that he gave it improperly. I think it's a terrible answer to a big problem.

I think that we have to focus from within. We have to start getting back to the core values of this country. The world is eating our lunch. They are taking our jobs, they are doing numbers on us, and our politicians aren't smart enough to even realize it. When we have the president of China coming to this country, Obama gives him a steak dinner. What he's doing to this country is unbelievable. I'm not talking about Obama. I'm talking about the president of China, but if you think about it, Obama also.

VAN SUSTEREN: And OPEC is the other one that gets you really going.

TRUMP: OPEC is the single biggest abuser of this country, absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which of the candidates has the toughest approach to OPEC?

TRUMP: I haven't seen anybody.

VAN SUSTEREN: None of them?

TRUMP: I haven't seen them using the word "OPEC." I haven't seen them discussing it too much. But I will say this, the candidate that wants to drill in this country without mentioning the word "OPEC" is OK with me also.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you must be following the pipeline dispute from Canada.

TRUMP: I certainly have been.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's been put on hold and the president is caught between the environmentalists and the unions.

TRUMP: Right. It's obviously political. He doesn't want to do it until after the election. He's caught between the unions, which is very interesting where they want it, and they are supposed to be on his side, and the environmentalists because they don't want anything in many cases.

And I'm an environmentalist. I have received so many environmental awards. I do a great job from the standpoint of the environment. But I'm an environmentalist that wants things to happen. You have some environmentalists that don't want anything to happen. And Obama is caught. So instead of doing what he should do, which is approve it and get fuel in this country and jobs in the country, he said I'll wait until after the election. That's purely political.

VAN SUSTEREN: I have a problem with the fact that no decision is made.

TRUMP: I think it's terrible. And it's so obvious. It's not like, oh, gee. It's obvious. He will wait until after the election and then probably approve it.

VAN SUSTEREN: And the Congress with the debt ceiling last August and the super committee, if they don't reach a decision by Thanksgiving that's approved by congress, that there are these huge cuts that will go into effect that the Republicans are unhappy with the Democrats are unhappy with, but that doesn't go into effect until January after the election because they don't want to offend their constituencies.

TRUMP: The concept of a super committee is an outrage. If we had a proper leader in this country he would get everybody into a room and make a deal. For you to have a super committee, which is highly political to start off with, is absolutely an outrage.

I'm hearing the committee is not coming to terms, they aren't doing what they think, I don't know. It's hard to believe they won't come up for me. Everyone says they won't come up with a deal. For me it's hard to believe they won't because I think there's a lot of political pressure on them to come up with a deal. But the super committee is an outrage that we even have a super committee.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you don't see my point, if they don't reach a decision, it's not like the trigger gets pulled January, it's not until in after election so neither party will feel the pain from not work out a solution.

TRUMP: The one that really went to bat the trigger after the election was Obama, and he totally out-negotiated the Republicans, and I'm a Republican. He totally out-negotiated the Republicans because the one thing he wanted in this whole deal was the decision to come due after the election, and he got it, because he knows -- I call it the great mess. We had the great mess six months ago. He knows if he went through that again prior to the election, he could not win the election. So he got the one thing he wanted, which was only for his own preservation.