OTR Interviews

Trump: 'We Have to Make Our Own Products' to Boost the U.S. Economy

Donald Trump sounds off on the Christmas shopping season and how to get the U.S. economy back on track


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 24, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Holiday cheer may be hard to come by for many people this holiday season. A 9 percent unemployment rate still grips the nation. And the national debt recently hit $15 trillion. So how did we get here? We're going Donald Trump for the answer.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Donald, typically the Christmas holiday season a good time for business. How do you get people out to buy things and rev up the economy come holiday season?

DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL: Well, it's very sad when we have almost record unemployment. And if you look at the real numbers, it's probably 21 percent, not 9.1 percent. So it's a sad time for a lot of people, there's no question about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what do businesses do? Shopkeepers, you see some people going in and out of these stores, but it doesn't seem to be the volume.

TRUMP: I think there will be certain volumes, but there are people it's tragic what's happened to them, what has happened to their job, what's happened to the factories where they used to work and they've worked all their lives and they are closed up and those people and those companies have moved into other countries. So it's a really tragic situation for this country in my opinion. It's very sad time for a lot of people.

VAN SUSTEREN: I see a lot of people especially like camera stores, people go in and look at cameras and try them out. Then they go home and buy it on the internet.

TRUMP: You know where the cameras are made, they are not made in the United States. That is what I think about it. I agree with the internet. I know it affects the stores, and affects them very badly. But I also look where the cameras are made. They are not made in this country.

VAN SUSTEREN: Japan, China?

TRUMP: They are made everywhere but here. Find a couple of places that makes cameras in this country. It's not easy to do. Look at Kodak. I'm not saying bad decisions weren't made and they were late to embrace digital. But Kodak is going bust. Would you ever have thought that it was possible?

VAN SUSTEREN: They stuck with film. But did it sneak up on us. When we were looking the other way did these the products get manufactured overseas?

TRUMP: It was a period of time. Everybody talks about free trade and it sounds so good. But it's stupid trade for this country. You look what is happening. As an example, Japan, they have done very well with us. They sell their cars over here but the millions. How many Chevrolets do you see in Japan? How many Chevrolets do you see driving down the boulevards of Tokyo? I don't think too many, if any.

And you look at the television sets out of South Korea. I like South Korea,but they have so out negotiated us. Thousands of television sets, thousands, I bought thousands last year. Everything from South Korea and other places, not from this country.

At some point, we have to make our own products. We have great people in this country. I have some factories currently that makes some incredible things, very complex things, weaponry. We can do it, but we're not given a chance. We let these companies and these countries, from other countries just come in and take our jobs and make our products. It's very sad. When you mention Christmas and presents and buying, how can we create jobs in this country? How can we have jobs in this country when our products are being made overseas? It's a terrible thing.

VAN SUSTEREN: So options, you said you buy television, you say you buy thousands of them and you can buy them overseas and buy them $300 and you would have to pay $400 here, you basically would have to out of your mind to buy them here.

TRUMP: Except it's so many things. If you look at toys for children there is so much manipulation. I'm not saying stupidly from the standpoint of other countries. But we don't do it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Should we do it?

TRUMP: We have to fight to game. Or a very easy way to handle that situation, it's called we tax the products coming in from companies that manipulate or companies that give us unfair trade.

VAN SUSTEREN: That is a trade war?

TRUMP: Who cares? Greta, it's like this terrible thing, a trade war. Who cares? We're doing $350 billion with China. We have a trade imbalance with China, $350 billion. So the stupid person interviewing me recently said that is going to be a trade war with China. That would be the best thing happened. If we don't do business, we don't lose $350 billion.

VAN SUSTEREN: As I read the "Wall Street Journal" there are a lot of companies, they hire a lot of part time people for the holiday season. Some companies are literally cut in half. It's devastating effect on many families that expect to get some holiday work.

TRUMP: When India is doing outsourcing to India, when we're doing so much business out of this country, it sounded so good when they came up with it. I take criticism when I mention this.

VAN SUSTEREN: And your holiday wish list for the five top pro-business legislation -- what do you want?

TRUMP: I would say many things. I would like tax China and various other countries that are taking advantage of us. I would like to do a serious thing with OPEC. They wouldn't be there except for us. Their streets are paved in gold. You look at some of these countries, they have streets paved in gold.

There are many things you can think of. I seriously think we have to immediately open up our natural resources. You look at Abu Dhabi, they are going to a strong system of natural gas in their own transportation, because they can sell to stupid Americans, as they call them, stupid Americans can buy our gas and oil and our other products because they are using natural gas and they can do so well by selling other products. Why aren't we doing that? They are calling us the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. Other countries are going to natural gas and we're not because the environmentalists are not allowing us to take it out.

VAN SUSTEREN: Any banking legislation you would like to see.

TRUMP: The legislation that has been passed over the past years Dodd- Frank has been very bad for the country.

VAN SUSTEREN: Dodd-Frank came into effect of July 2010, well after we had hit the skids.

TRUMP: I had never seen the banks so afraid to make a deal.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are they being honest, or are they gaming us?

TRUMP: I think they are gaming you. I am disappointed in banks from the standpoint that you have a house and you have great credit and if you have always done well. I know people that have a mortgage for 25 years, their mortgage comes due and the bank is demanding payment due or they are going to foreclose. That's really crap, because the banks were bailed out by the government, and now the banks don't loan money to these people. So that is really a terrible thing.

I'm not talking about people have been under foreclosure their whole life, but really good people that have paid, have done a fantastic job and now their mortgages come due. They just want an extension. The banks have been very bad.

I will say this. A lot of the banks are afraid, however, because of the regulators to make a deal. Here is the problem. Our system has come to a halt because the banks are not loaning money. If a man wants to start a business, he can't borrow money. so it's tough. Somebody wants money, if you have money and you are really rich and you need money, even if you don't need it, you can have it. You can have all the money you want if you are rich. But those aren't the people that need money. The people that want to build a business or finance a house, they have no chance of getting money. The banks have behaved very badly.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, thank you.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.