OTR Interviews

Trump: Obama an 'Arrogant,' 'Negative Force' Who Has No Reason to Be Arrogant

'The Donald' on why he wrote his new book 'Time to Get Tough,' his admiration for Ronald Reagan and whether he's really still mulling a White House run


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 6, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now to Donald Trump. He says he has the answers and that is why he's a magnet for the GOP presidential hopefuls. Later this month, the reality TV star plans to moderate a Republican debate. Donald Trump also just wrote a new book spelling out his ideas to make America great. It's called "Time to get Tough." Donald told us all about it.


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to see you, and congratulations on your new book.


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VAN SUSTEREN: Why did you write it?

TRUMP: I see what's happening to the country. I have ideas I think I believe very strongly in, and I put some of those ideas out there. I don't hear people talking about the kind of things we have to do to make this country great again. I just don't see it.

VAN SUSTEREN: A lot of your ideas, but I must confess one of my favorites is this one, a little boy picture.

TRUMP: That's young Donald.

VAN SUSTEREN: Young Donald Trump. That is a great picture.

TRUMP: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: One of the things that I learned reading the book is that Ronald Reagan is a political hero of yours. If I could point out on the wall a picture of you with Ronald Reagan.

TRUMP: That's him.


TRUMP: He always liked him. He had a great substance but also a great style, and we need some style in this country. It's just a country that's not respected. It's a country that, I mean, the world is taking advantage of us. And he really did, he had a certain style. Obviously substance most important in all of that, but he had a certain style that you just haven't seen since. It's really -- he was an amazing guy.

VAN SUSTEREN: But what is? How do you capture that? What made him different from other leaders?

TRUMP: Genetically he had the ideas, the right ideas. He was somebody that people respected. Even if you look at today the Democrats, they say about Reagan, Reagan, Reagan, sort of interesting. But somebody who people respected. And they respected Ronald Reagan.

VAN SUSTEREN: It is interesting, when I was reading the book I was thinking to myself OK why is he writing it? He has such a huge platform. You have this huge empire of businesses. Anyone who wants to -- I mean, every time we want to interview you it's sort of make a lot of calls to get time from you. So why another platform? Why a book?

TRUMP: Well, I really wanted to let people know what I think as to how to make us great again as a country. And I feel I have the answers. And a lot of people, millions and millions of people, and that's why everyone is coming up in terms of the candidates, are coming up to see me, people believe that I'm right about this.

When I look at what's happening with OPEC, how they just absolutely are destroying this country. They are taking our blood, the oil, and they are just doing numbers on it. Here we have a bad market, people are not doing well throughout the world, and oil is at a huge price. You know, close to $100 a barrel, unheard of.

And then you have my favorite of all-time is China, although they aren't as bad as OPEC but they are a major abuser of this country. They will make $350 billion this year on us. And you have many, many other countries. Every single one of these countries takes advantage of us.

And, you know, you can't have a strong country unless you are going to have a rich country, Greta, and we don't have a rich country anymore. We are a debtor nation. I'm a big man of Social Security and Medicare. You can't have these programs if we are going to make money. If we are going to make money, these programs don't even register. You will have -- you will do fantastically with your programs.

So I just feel that it has to be brought up, and I watch the debates and it's not brought up. I watch Obama, and it's not brought up. And the things I write in my book have to be brought up.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now the track question, because you said in the beginning of your answer you think you have the answers. And you say these things are not being brought up. So are you or not getting the sort of the itch to run for president? Because, you know, I come here and talk to you, and I sense some frustration.

TRUMP: Well, I do have. I have a great frustration with what is going on in the country. I have a tremendous frustration with our president just not taking us to where we should be taken. And there is a great frustration in that way.

I also have a difficult situation because I have a very successful show and I have an equal time problem where I'm not allowed to run unless NBC wants to put every candidate on for two hours every week in primetime. So I have an equal time law that says basically you can't do this. You are not allowed to do it, which, by the way, in May I'm a free agent. After that ends I'm a free agent. But as long as "The Apprentice" airs and it does, as you know, amazingly well, it's a tremendous success, I'm not allowed to run.


VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up, more with Donald Trump. Does he have a Christmas gift for president Obama? That's next.



VAN SUSTEREN: Once again, here's Donald Trump.


VAN SUSTEREN: Were you always disappointed with President Obama or when he was first expected did you have a different expectation?

TRUMP: Well, not disappointed. When he got elected I felt one thing for sure, he would be a great cheerleader. I thought he would be, at a minimum, a great cheerleader and hopefully he would be a great president. I don't care, I'm a Republican, but if he's going to be there for four years I wanted him to be the greatest, I said it, the greatest since Abraham Lincoln, let him be the greatest, and that's good for the country.

But it hasn't turn out that way. But the one thing I was almost that he'd be was a great cheerleader for the country, and that hasn't turned out either. In fact he's become a negative force.


TRUMP: Well, look what's going on with class warfare. Look at what's going on with the so-called Occupy movement. That's essentially a form of class warfare. I said it the other day, I sort of believe that President Obama got that started with his talk. Now, it may be a good way to get elected, but it's a really bad thing for the country.

VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of what?

TRUMP: Well, it's just bad. It's dividing the country. We have a divided country. I've never seen it like this. I've been doing this for a long time. I've been very political, as you know, for long before this kind of, what is going on now. And I will say that I have never seen this country divided like it is now. I have never seen it angry like it is now. I have never seen Republicans and Democrats hating each other. I know all these people.

VAN SUSTEREN: But why? Do you blame President Obama for that? I mean why is there, this between the two parties?

TRUMP: He hasn't been able to get them together, at a minimum.

VAN SUSTEREN: Could anybody?

TRUMP: Absolutely, the right leader. You have to do it. You have no choice. Otherwise we will stay away. We really have a problem in this country. And we have two parties, they used to be -- I remember 20, 25 years ago, they were best friends. You know, they fight a little bit on the floor and then have dinner together and everybody got along, they would make deals and it would be for the betterment of the country and the good of the country. And you don't have that today.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why? What happened?

TRUMP: Lots of bad things but, number one, you need leadership.

VAN SUSTEREN: But what changed? We used to hear stories about Reagan and Tip O'Neill.

TRUMP: They were great friends.

VAN SUSTEREN: What happened in Washington? What is different in the world?

TRUMP: Well, nobody really knows. It's really leadership. I would say leadership. If you had the right leader, and I'm talking about the top leader -- you have got to get people into a room and get them to make the right deal for the country. And we are just not doing it.

VAN SUSTEREN: What does it take? I mean, what does it take to sort of penetrate that logjam?

TRUMP: It takes leadership talent.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is leadership?

TRUMP: It takes people who respect you as a leader, they respect you, they respect the office, they respect the country.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you get that?

TRUMP: And I'm not only blaming Democrats. The Republicans have to do it, get together and make deals. On your show I said the Super Committee will never work.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's correct.

TRUMP: And it should have never been set up. They shouldn't have a Super Committee because what is it? It's just a way of passing the buck. But this should have been a group of people without a committee that got together and cut $4 trillion, not $1.2 trillion, cut $4 trillion and got the country back on track again. It's very sad.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you going to send President Obama a Christmas gift of your book, time to get tough?

TRUMP: Honestly, I would love to see him do great, even for the last year I would love to see him do great because that's good for the country. But it's just not working out that way. I'm not sure he would receive the book very well.

VAN SUSTEREN: You don't think so?

TRUMP: I have the feeling no.

VAN SUSTEREN: You ever met him?

TRUMP: I've never met him actually.


TRUMP: Here's the thing, you would almost think call up the guy. You can see he's getting a little angry with the way he's running the country. Call up Trump. I have a big voice. Call up Trump, invite him to the White House, get him on your side. People listen to me and people listen to others. You get some of these -- no calls. Not that it matters, but it does matter in terms of the country.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did the other presidents contact you? Do you talk to President Bush 43 or President Clinton?

TRUMP: I know -- yes. I mean, the answer is yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Because you said President Obama has never picked up the telephone to call you?

TRUMP: Well, President Clinton I know very well. He's a terrific guy, Democrat, terrific guy.

VAN SUSTEREN: You like him?

TRUMP: I do like him. And he had really -- he's a member of my club. I always speak well of members of my club, OK.

VAN SUSTEREN: And maybe we are joined for that reason. It's complete safety.

TRUMP: It's a safety net, join one of Trump's clubs. And he didn't start strong, but he was able to get people together and get the economy going. And sadly, under this president, you are just not able to do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it a personality problem because they are both Democratic presidents. The economy was in a much more vibrant stage in the '90s than it is now and president Obama inherit add poor economy. But is it experience, personality, what is it in your thoughts?

TRUMP: Well, you read things but there is a certain arrogance that Obama has that he shouldn't have, that he shouldn't have. As an example, coming to New York on the night of the Christmas tree lighting for a fundraiser. Not liking people maybe, but I hear from a lot of people, he really is not a person that seems to like people. And to be a leader, this kind of a leader, at least, you have to get them together and you have to like them and they have to like you.

You mentioned Reagan and Tip O'Neill. They liked each other a lot. But he's arrogant. And he's got no reason to be arrogant.

VAN SUSTEREN: I notice when we are sitting here all the magazine covers.

TRUMP: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: We know so much about your ideas. I forgot all these magazine covers.

TRUMP: Lots of covers.

VAN SUSTEREN: Lots of magazine covers and lots of trophies?

TRUMP: Lots of trophies.

VAN SUSTEREN: And this room has a lot of artifacts. It's a whole book in itself.

TRUMP: A lot of things. We've had a lot of fun in life.