OTR Interviews

Trump: A Third Party Candidate Could Win the Presidency

'The Donald' on how he'd perform in a presidential election, how a 3rd party candidate could win, why he'd fare well with black voters and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 21, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: New Jersey Governor Christie is blasting President Obama, Governor Christie calling the president a bystander -- again. And here's what he told Fox News.


MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS HOST: You called the president a bystander in the Oval Office and a cynical Chicago ward politician. Do you think it's appropriate to speak about the president of United States that way?

NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE: Well, once the president puts himself in campaign mode, yes. I got a lot of nice things to say about the president over time, too. But the fact is, he's put himself into campaign mode and I think much too early. And I think it's unpresidential for him to be acting that way this early on, but he's decided to do that.

And so if he wants to put himself in the political arena, then he is open for political criticism. And the fact of the matter is, this election's going to be about his stewardship of America over the last three years. And I would say absolutely, and would repeat again today to you, that on the issue of core leadership, he has been a bystander.


VAN SUSTEREN: So is President Obama in campaign mode? Donald Trump joins us by phone. Good evening, Donald.


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, I realize that with Twitter that there are a certain amount of characters. You have to be concise. But I can't help but note that you really zinged the president today in a tweet in which it says, "He is delusional. Barack Obama believes that he is the fourth best POTUS" -- meaning President of the United States -- "ever."

Why the bruising tweet?

TRUMP: Well, I think it's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard. Here we have a president that, as Chris Christie just said, is gone. I mean, he's not even there. He's not a leader. He's not leading at all. The country's a mess. We're doing horribly. We're being laughed at throughout the world. Other countries are just eating our lunch economically and in every other way.

And he talks about -- I mean, it's just words. It's only words. And honestly, he could be the worst. Now, I don't know if he's going to go down as the worst, but it's going to be very close to that. So I think he really is delusional.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, a lot of people were disturbed or distressed or caught off guard, maybe some even, you know, support him when he made the remark on "60 Minutes" in which he praised his own presidency, and I guess it was in quite glowing terms. Would it behoove him to be a little bit more humble with the American people as we go into this election season?

TRUMP: Well, I think he's trying to convince people that he's doing a good job. And that's his job right now. He is in campaign mode. And it is his job. But to say that he's the fourth best president is just so ridiculous that I guess it's laughable by most people. I would say even his supporters laugh at it. I have friends, many friends that do support him. And when they heard that statement, they themselves laughed.

VAN SUSTEREN: Rumors are that there's a lot of, you know, suggestion of what if there's a third party candidate. And of course, every time there's a discussion of a third party candidate, your name comes up, and your name comes up so much that it was put into a poll. You were compared with President Obama and in the field with President Obama, Governor Mitt Romney and you. And without making any sort of announcement at all, or not saying that you're in, you come in 19 percent of the vote in this poll. What do you think about that?

TRUMP: Well, I was honored that it was by far the highest number of all the people who were put into the poll. But you know, again, somebody who's very knowledgeable said to me, If you ever actually announced -- because I've never announced. People want me to do it. People want me to run. They want me to run as a Republican. They want me to run as an independent. And this has been going on for a long time.

And people do say and some very good political people say if I ever actually announced, those numbers would double immediately. But you know, a lot of people don't want to give me credit in terms of a poll number when they think I'm not going to do it. But I certainly would consider doing it. If the country keeps going the way it's going and if the Republicans pick the wrong person, which is a possibility, I would certainly think about doing it.

VAN SUSTEREN: In 1992, Ross Perot ran as an independent and I think it's pretty fair to say is that he denied President George H.W. Bush a second term by virtue of being an independent and in collecting Republican votes. Would a third party candidate in 2012 automatically mean that President Obama would receive a second term?

TRUMP: No, I don't think so at all. I think if it's the right person, very high-profile, somebody respected, somebody that built perhaps a great, great business, which I have, in my case, I really think that a third party candidate could win.

I think the Republicans would not win. I will say this. I think the Republicans would not win. I think the third party candidate could win. I think in my case, I take a lot of votes from Obama, a lot of votes from Obama.

But it's a very interesting process that is going on with third party. Look, the Republicans are disliked by everybody. The Democrats are disliked by everybody. The president's numbers are terrible. Certainly, a third party, the right third party candidate, could come in, in my opinion, and win. I do think if it's somebody like me or the people that they even mentioned, I think it would mean the Republicans can't win, but the third party candidate can.

And interesting about Ross Perot. Had he not cracked up, which is what he did -- but had he not cracked up, he could have won. He was at 35 percent and 36 percent. He could have actually won. But when he quit the race and then got right back in, that really hurt him.

VAN SUSTEREN: What portion of the -- you said that you could get some of President Obama's vote. What portion of what area of President Obama's vote would you get? Would it only be sort of the rich Democratic developer types, who -- the business type, or could you get other votes from him? And how big a number -- what percentage do you think this is of his overall vote?

TRUMP: Well, I think I'd get a great cross-section. I think I'd get Hispanic vote, frankly. I think -- and people smile when I say it -- I think I'd do great with the African-American vote. I think I'd do great with that. Now, I'm not going to beat him with that vote, but I would get a large number of African-Americans. I really believe that.


TRUMP: I also think I'd do...

VAN SUSTEREN: How could you?

TRUMP: I also think I'd...

VAN SUSTEREN: How could you? I mean...

TRUMP: Well, you just have to look at poll numbers. I do very well with African-American voters. And I also think I'd do very well with the unions, with certain unions. I've done amazing well -- New York is a union state and I've done great over the course of years, many years with the unions. I have fantastic relationships with the unions.

And you know, when you see him ending the pipeline and not wanting to approve a pipeline, where so many jobs are going to be produced -- the unions all want it to happen and the environmentalists win over in this case. I think I'd do very well with the unions.

VAN SUSTEREN: You say that you think you can get a big chunk of the African-American vote, and I'm curious how because the African-American vote has traditionally been, for the most part, the Democratic vote, and of course, President Obama being African-American, it's -- you know, it's been -- you know, it's been fun for African-Americans, like a woman candidate is fun for the women. Why do you think that you could in any way pull those votes from the president?

TRUMP: I just have a great relationship with African-American and African-American voters. And I think I'd do very well. Now, I'm not going to beat him. But I will tell you I think I'd get more than any other candidate that I can think of. I think I'd do very well...


TRUMP: ... with the African-American vote.

VAN SUSTEREN: What would you -- what would you tell them to get -- to go to you and to leave him?

TRUMP: Well, look at the inner cities. Look how badly the inner cities are doing. I mean, they are absolutely dying in the inner cities! Obama hasn't done anything, if you really look at it, for the African- Americans. And you know, that he gets their vote is to me almost amazing.

I think I'd do very well with that vote. I do things about the inner city. You just look at what's happening, Greta, with the inner cities of this country, and it's really a shame. It's terrible. He's done very little for the African-Americans, believe me.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so when do you make your decision whether you're going to jump in as an independent or not? I take it it's after the -- after "The Apprentice" season? Is that when we can expect a decision either way, or have you made your decision?

TRUMP: Well, you know, we have equal time provisions. I don't think we should have. I mean, the fact that I do a show means I'm not allowed to run until after that show ends. And there's nothing I can do about it. Some people think it's trivial. It happens to be "The Apprentice," a huge show and a very successful show. So it's not trivial. But I sort of agree. But there's nothing I can do until the show ends, which is around the middle of May.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well...

TRUMP: Goes on after Super Bowl and it ends the middle of May.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, thank you. And we'll talk to you many times before then. Thank you, sir.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Greta.