OTR Interviews

Trump: Ron Paul Wouldn't Have a Chance of Beating President Obama, Would Cast Black Eye on Iowa if He Won Caucus

Donald Trump on the Iowa caucuses, whether he's willing to get behind any GOP candidate and if he's truly willing to still enter the presidential race


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 2, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: If Donald Trump wants to endorse before the Iowa caucus, well, he better hurry up! Right now may be his last chance for pre-Iowa caucus endorsement. Donald Trump joins us by phone.

Good evening, sir. And you have said so often that your endorsement is very powerful. On the eve of -- we're about 22 hours away from the doors opening, are you interested in endorsing a candidate?

DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (Via Telephone): Not at this moment, Greta. I'll be maybe making that decision soon. But I have not decided as of this moment to endorse anybody.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. There is a report today that you are even considering, still considering running. Is that still in the mix?

TRUMP: Well, there's a group of people, a large group of people that want me to. I think they did some filing or something out in Texas because you had to have it filed prior to January 1st. And I'm honored by that. But it's nothing that I've been involved in. And we'll see what happens.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'll fill in the blanks a little bit. The Texas activists have filed paperwork to create the, quote, "Make America Great Again" party, and with the single purpose to encourage you to run for president.

TRUMP: Well, I do love the name. I think the name of the party is fantastic because that really is what it's all about. America soon will not be great. A lot of people would say right now it is not great. You look at what's happening in the world, you look at what's happening with other countries, they're eating our lunch. We don't have any leadership. And it's really a very sad thing, what's going on with this country. So I think the name is a great name. I will say that.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's your reflection on what's going on in Iowa, the caucus, and in part the level of vitriol between and among the candidates, and also the presence of the super-PACs which have only added fuel to the vitriol?

TRUMP: Well, a little bit, and to a certain extent, it's playing into Obama's hands because the level of dislike -- you know, I just listened to Rick Perry talking about his friend. And you know, they're all friends. They all talk about friends, friends, friends. But they're not friends, obviously. They're doing very negative campaigning.

And it really plays in the hands of Obama to a certain extent. And that's what we can't allow. We can't allow Obama to win. This country has been set back so far under his leadership or lack of leadership. And we cannot allow that to happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Governor Sarah Palin was on our air earlier today, and she had this to say about you. I'm curious what you think about it. Let me play what she said first.


SARAH PALIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR/FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Donald Trump has a lot to offer. He is a businessman. He understands that government's overreach just quashes the ability for him and others to create jobs for the rest of us, who so desire to make it on our own and not to look to government to make it for us.

So you know, for those who have continued to cut down Donald Trump, I say, you know, Enough is enough. Just shut up about it and don't vote for him if he's a third party candidate. Work even harder for your candidate.


VAN SUSTEREN: Two things. One, is obviously, you've got an ally. She's certainly a fan. Secondly, is that she's sort of hinting that if you -- if indeed you run as a third party candidate -- and of course, then that leads to the problem is, if there is a third party candidate, is that playing into the Democratic playbook and guaranteeing a Democratic win in November?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, I think she's a terrific person. I've gotten know her, and she loves this country. And she's really an amazing woman. And I have a lot of respect for her. So I appreciate her words.

I was leading in the polls when I left. You know, when I decided that I wouldn't run as a Republican, I was leading in the polls and leading even substantially in the polls. And that was literally as I left. In fact, I was watching "Meet the Press," one of your slight competitors, and I was leading in the polls.

And then the next day, I said I'm going to be doing what I'm going to be doing. So it's sort of interesting. I have a lot of people that I don't know if they like me. I think they like what I'm saying. They don't want to be ripped off by the world. We're like a whipping post for OPEC and for China and for India and for anybody that does business. You know, we used to be the kings. And we're not the kings anymore. We're the...

VAN SUSTEREN: So do you -- do you -- do you regret pulling out tonight, as you watch on the eve of this caucus and you see everyone sort of, you know, running around the state and trying to convince voters to vote for them and a little blood on the floor in the process? Do you wish you had stayed in a little bit?

TRUMP: Well, what people don't realize is that I really have a legal responsibility. You know, I have a very successful show. And if you haven't -- I think it's very unfair because, you know, Obama can go around, do television programs, can fly around in Air Force One, can raise funds and using our money to raise funds for his own campaign, which is about the only thing he's good at. And frankly, I think it's very unfair.

But because I have a show called "The Apprentice," I'm not allowed to run. It's an equal time provision. I'm not allowed to run. So I wouldn't been allowed to run as a Republican because of the show, as you know.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you taking this, though, dead serious, or are you just sort of playing with people in terms of, because, you know, the intrigue, because you got a lot of followers, or are you really in your mind dead serious about considering running as an independent?

TRUMP: Well, you know, as I've said to you and others, Greta, if the Republicans pick the wrong candidate, which is a possibility...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, what is that?

TRUMP: I mean, you look at what happens...

VAN SUSTEREN: What is that?

TRUMP: Well, we're going to see very soon whether or not it's going to be the right candidate, in my opinion. I mean, number one, it's got to be a candidate -- the biggest thing, it's got to be a candidate that can beat Obama. If that candidate is not going to, in my opinion, beat Obama...

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, we know...

TRUMP: ... and if the economy continues to be bad, which I think it will be because we have no leadership whatsoever, then I will certainly consider it very strongly.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. In terms of the group of candidates that are running now, is there any Republican candidate running in Iowa now who you think can't beat President Obama?

TRUMP: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.


TRUMP: Well, I don't think...

VAN SUSTEREN: Who can't beat President Obama?

TRUMP: I don't think Ron Paul would have even a little chance of beating him. I don't think he'd...

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyone else?

TRUMP: I think that the fact that he's doing so well in the polls -- I can't imagine he does well. But if he won, I think it would be a tremendous black eye for Iowa, and I really think it would bring Iowa down as the first great state in terms of the process. I really think it would be a very, very bad thing for the reputation of Iowa.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any other candidate who you think couldn't beat President Obama in November?

TRUMP: Yes, but I'm not going to mention the names of them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Give me a hint.

TRUMP: I'd rather be positive. I'd rather see -- let's see what happens. But at a certain point in the fairly near future, I'll be letting my views be known. But certainly, there are some that I think could win and there are some that I think could not win.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. One last question, and I'll stop beating a dead horse. All right, so you say Ron Paul. You say there are others. How many more of the others do you think couldn't beat President Obama out of the universe that are running?

TRUMP: Well, I don't really want to make a big deal of that tonight, Greta, because it doesn't matter. But I don't think Ron Paul would have even a little bit of a chance. And you know, I don't think he'll run as a third party candidate, by the way, because I don't think his son could allow that.

VAN SUSTEREN: With 41 percent undecided tonight, do you think it's fair to say that nobody knows who's going to win tomorrow night?

TRUMP: Probably, that's true. And if you look at it, it's like a bunch of yo-yos in terms of it goes up, it goes down. One person's leading -- I mean, you go from 1 percent -- and you know, whether you like Rick Santorum or not, I mean, he never gives up. I write books about, Never give up, never quit, never, ever, ever quit.

Well, he never quit. And it's sort of amazing when you look at what happened. I'm not saying love him, like him or anything else, but he never quit. And you see somebody going from 1 percent to being number three -- it's a very, very unstable process. There's no question about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. And are you going to stay up to midnight to watch our special live "On the Record" tomorrow night?

TRUMP: Only if you're on the show.


VAN SUSTEREN: I am! We're going to expect you. We're going to have lot of coffee. We'll see you at midnight. We'll talk. Thank you, Donald.

TRUMP: Very good. So long, Greta.