OTR Interviews

Trump: Pres. Obama trying to get re-elected through class warfare

Donald Trump on the latest on his own presidential aspirations, the Fla. primary, who he might endorse, the nasty Mitt-Newt war of words and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 30, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: In just eight-and-a-half hours, the polls open for the Florida primary, and Donald Trump just got back from Florida. He says the campaign there is brutal. Now, that is just one of the things we talked about with Donald Trump at Trump Tower today.


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to see you.


VAN SUSTEREN: And always glad to be in your office.

TRUMP: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: Or the conference room.

TRUMP: ... we love having you with this great crew.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I want to go to some recent tweets of yours. Have you -- you had a recent tweet in which you talked about food stamps being up 45 percent. Why is it up 45 percent?

TRUMP: Well, the economy is terrible. The world is not doing really well, although some parts of the world are doing incredibly well, but we're leading the world in terms of not doing well. And it's got to change.

So obviously, food stamps are going to be up and a lot of other bad things are up also, including, if you look at unemployment, if you look at the real number of unemployment -- you know, I see where they try and say it's coming down. I have a friend who's a very, very brilliant economist who said that our real number is probably 20 or 21 percent. But we don't count it like we used to in the old days. You know, in the old days, if you were unemployed, you were unemployed. Today, if you stop looking for a job, they don't consider you unemployed, so...

VAN SUSTEREN: Or if you're underemployed, if you were a CEO of a company and now you're a part-time job at...

TRUMP: Yes, they don't consider that, either.


TRUMP: Underemployed. Well, underemployed I leave out. But if you stop looking for a job, now all of a sudden you're not in the statistics. So it's a problem. The country has some very serious problems.

VAN SUSTEREN: Speaker Gingrich made a remark -- I think he referred to the president as the "food stamp president" and it set off a lot of people -- some people thought it might be racist and there was a horrible criticism of...

TRUMP: Well, Greta, everything is racist. If you ask any question or criticize the president it's always racist. If you ask how come he doesn't reveal his marks in school, was he bad student? The answer is yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you know that?

TRUMP: Because I've been told. And I hear that his one college he was a very bad student and then he got into Columbia where he was a great student. And then he got into Harvard. Maybe it's not but that is what I hear.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess I am less confident in my grades.

TRUMP: Maybe everybody could say that. But if you say that, you are a racist. If I say to you, you're a lousy student, I don't think you'd consider that racial or racist. But he did get accused of being racist because he mentioned the words "food stamps," which is interesting.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do we overcome that? The fact we have so many people on food stamps a lot of people are hurting.

TRUMP: It means the economy is not doing well. He was meaning the fact that people aren't getting out and working like they used to. You can make that case also. You can make a case that people don't have the same drive because there are incentives -- we have it where people that are unemployed don't want to go back to work because they can pick up many more months of unemployment insurance and various other things. I've seen that. I hired a person once who said could I start in three months. By the way, when they said, I said no thanks, forget it.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is going on? There is a difference. Some people want to go out and work and come in early and forgo benefits. Some are not. Why is there such a divide?

TRUMP: It's just happening more and more with this country. And maybe that is why the country isn't doing like it used to do. There are people that want to take maximum advantage of benefits before they go back to work. And that's a problem for this country.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that sort of a state of mind in the sense that if it's so easy to do, people don't care that much. They are willing to run it up. Is there a sort of malaise?

TRUMP: I can't say everybody. A lot of people are pitching harder and working harder than before. It's a state of mind for some people. Certainly some people are really not out there doing what they are supposed to be doing. I'm not the first one to tell you this, but there are many people that would rather stay unemployed for a certain period of time, pick up maximum benefits, and then go out and get a job.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess I'm focusing on that is a large part of the economy is people's attitude, inspiration. If people are feeling good, they might consume products. If more people consume products, the more we'll make those products. How do we inspire people to make people food feel good?

TRUMP: It's very important element. I'm a big fan of Steve Jobs and great fan of Apple. But wouldn't it be great Apple if they made these products in the United States? That would be the super Apple. We'd change the name, Super Apple. Their products are made for the most part in China. They get great credit. It's a great company, a cash machine, but their products are made in China. Wouldn't it be great if they were made in United States?

VAN SUSTEREN: But they are made so quickly in China, they can say we can get them done cheaper and faster in China, and so why not do it there?

TRUMP: I'm not knocking it, but the new leader of Apple said we're going to build plants in the United States. We can do great things in the country, but maybe the incentives aren't there or people aren't there. There is something. Virtually 100 percent of Apple's products are made outside of the country, it's pretty sad.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess that's why I go back to inspiring people to be enthusiastic and attitudes changing, a can-do attitude.

TRUMP: It starts from the top. It starts from the president. And people don't feel great about the country right now. You look at any poll, people aren't feeling good about our political leaders or the country.

VAN SUSTEREN: I remember when the president ran he'd get huge crowds. People were initially inspired. What happened?

TRUMP: We got change. You tell me. The word is "real change." We need real change. He did run. People didn't know him. He never did anything. The only thing he did, the only deal he ever made was for his house. And he never did anything so there was nobody to criticize.

It's very interesting. If you are a person that does a lot and really with great success, you have a big record where people can criticize. He came in with really no record. But he said he was going to give us change, and change has not been a good thing.

VAN SUSTEREN: The auto industry -- it's going down last two months a little bit.

TRUMP: It depends on how you look at it. We have tremendous unemployment in this country. As far as the auto industry, do you think it would be saved if they would have done nothing? I personally do. I think it would have been saved if they had gone through the rules and regulations of the court system and I think it probably would have been saved if they did nothing. You know if I look also and look at the bailout, hundreds of billions of dollars are still out there waiting to be repaid, as you know, including the auto industry.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is the biggest criticism of him on handling the economy?

TRUMP: I just think there's incentive. Lot of my friends are investing in other countries, going to Brazil, every place but the United States. I just don't see the incentive is given to this great country. It won't be great for long if we keep going like this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is he taking incentive away or was the incentive not there when he came to office?

TRUMP: I said this on your show. One thing I felt so certain, he was going to be great cheerleader for the country. He hasn't been a cheerleader for the country. He has been very negative especially the whole thing with the class warfare and what he is doing in order to get re- elected.

I always felt whether you liked him or didn't like him, whether you believe believed him or not, he was going to be a great cheerleader for the country. He hasn't been.


TRUMP: You'd have to ask him that question.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's your thought?

TRUMP: I think he wants to get re-elected and he wants to create a system where people dislike each other and hopefully more than 50 percent of the people like him.

VAN SUSTEREN: That is assigning a bad motive.

TRUMP: It's a bad motive and bad thing for the country. Whatever you call it, the common phrase being used is class warfare, but certainly a lot of people are saying that is the way he is going to get re-elected, because the economy stinks, unemployment is bad. A lot of things are going on in this country, whether it's Solyndra and lots of other things, they become investment bankers. Why are they investing in billions of dollars in different things? They are not Wall Street people who take risk and know what they are doing.

After than investment was made, I read things that anybody that had a little bit of knowledge would have known that Solyndra could not have made it. Yet we invest $500 million plus in Solyndra. Why did we do it? Because in my opinion, they were all his friends.

VAN SUSTEREN: The thing that is disturbing about that is the product Solyndra makes you can buy cheaper than they can make it. That a red flag.

TRUMP: You can buy much cheaper from other places than what they had to do in order to break even. Why wouldn't somebody say, this model isn't working?

VAN SUSTEREN: Beyond that is whoever was pushing that or advising it, I know the secretary of energy signed off on it, is that person still working and making decisions? People make horrible decisions in government and we never isolate who they are.

TRUMP: Take it to the ultimate. The president is still working. Nobody fired the president. I guarantee he knew about Solyndra.


VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up what question stumped Donald Trump? That is next.



VAN SUSTEREN: With the Florida primary a little more than eight hours away, Donald Trump says the GOP candidates are playing right into President Obama's hands. Our conversation with Donald Trump continues.


VAN SUSTEREN: Speaker Gingrich and Governor Romney down in Florida. Right now it looks like Governor Romney has double digital lead on Speaker Gingrich. Why?

TRUMP: One thing, there are lot of commercials, going both ways, but there are lots of commercials, and pretty effective commercials. I think people feel he did well in the last debate, and I do, and I told him so. I think he really did well.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor Romney?

TRUMP: Yes. And we also felt Newt Gingrich, they are both friends of mine. But Newt didn't well on last two debates and Romney did do well in the last two debates, and that really did have an impact.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who do you think would make a bigger change?

TRUMP: I think both would create change. I think anything and anybody is better than what we have right now. We really need change and we need it rapidly, because what is going on in, the country can't afford to continue down the path.

VAN SUSTEREN: Everybody seems to run into the same logjam. It's hard to navigate the waters in Washington. Who would be more effective?

TRUMP: I'm going to come out and endorse somebody, but I think both of them would be better than what we have right now.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything that President Obama does that you admire about?

TRUMP: That's one tough question. Again, I thought he was going to be a great cheerleader --

VAN SUSTEREN: I know. But what has he done that you admire? Anything at all?

TRUMP: Good campaigner.

VAN SUSTEREN: That is not a lot.

TRUMP: Look, he came where nobody knew who he was. You look at -- this is a Manchurian candidate. College people didn't know him. Nobody knew him. Nobody ever comes out, ex-girlfriends, nothing, nobody. And he came from someplace and he became president of the United States. Inconceivable, but it happened. So what did he do well? I guess he campaigned well is in. He's cunning. I just don't think he is putting that level of intelligence into gear for this country.

VAN SUSTEREN: You think Gingrich and Romney would be better than President Obama. Tell me what could possibly tempt you to run for president if you think both those candidates would be good candidates?

TRUMP: One thing that is important is the candidate would have to win. You have to make sure the candidate could win.

VAN SUSTEREN: You don't think they could win?

TRUMP: I think that maybe they could, and it's something I'm studying and watching very closely.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about being beaten up by the ads? Do you want that?

TRUMP: They were rough ads. It could happen and some people might believe them and some people might not. But if you look what is happening with this country. You know I love what I'm doing. It would rather not run. Frankly I wish Obama would be a great president. It hasn't worked out that way. You need somebody else. They have to be able to win. They're going to have to be able to win. We can't go through four more years of Obama.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let's assume one of the two is nominee, and I think that's a pretty good assumption. And it looks like the polls say the nominee cannot win against President Obama. Do you jump in at that point?

TRUMP: I have to make my own determination, and I would have to see who it is. I probably would come out and endorse somebody in the not too distant future. And obviously I'm not going to endorse somebody and then run.

VAN SUSTEREN: You say you are going to endorse or run?

TRUMP: I will only consider running if that person doesn't win. In the meantime, I can't do anything until as you know, May, because I have "The Apprentice" and you are not allowed because in my opinion of a very stupid law, you can't run if you have a show. You are allowed to go on shows and fly on Air Force One and do all the things but not to have a show. I don't know why they put it in. So I have a very successful show and I'm not allowed to run anyway until May. So I'll make that decision in May.

VAN SUSTEREN: One last question, what is your advice for Governor and for Speaker Gingrich?

TRUMP: I wish they would get along. They are really playing right into the Democrats hands if you look at it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who is worse?

TRUMP: They are both pretty rough. I watched this weekend, but I was in Florida and I watched some really vicious ads.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who is worse?

TRUMP: I think they each have their moments, Greta. There are moments where Mitt is brutal and moments where Newt is brutal. I can't say who is worse. They are both pretty bad.

In the end, now, it may not work out that way. It could be -- the whole concept it's a toughening process and who emerges is going to be tough and ready to go. You could say that is true. The other thing you could say, instead of having like a winner immediately and four or five months of dead silence, it keeps going on and the Republicans are in the news all the time. Maybe that is positive and it could very well be. But really they are going after each other and I think to a certain extent is playing into Obama's hands.

VAN SUSTEREN: Looks like blood on the floor?

TRUMP: A lot of blood.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Donald.

TRUMP: Thank you.