Interviews

Trump: Romney can beat Obama

'The Donald' on his endorsement of Mitt Romney

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 2, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: Now first on Fox, Donald Trump in his first interview since making that, to many, a stunning surprise announcement.

Donald, welcome. Good to have you back.

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & CEO, TRUMP HOTELS & CASINO RESORTS: Well, thank you very much, Neil.

CAVUTO: Why Mitt Romney? Everyone thought it was going to be Newt Gingrich. What happened?

TRUMP: Well, I like Newt very much. But over the course of the last number of months, I have seen Mitt and I have seen what is going on, and I see his stance toward China and OPEC and various others, and I like it a lot.

You know I am a big strong believer in the fact that China is draining our wealth and OPEC is draining our wealth as a country. And I thought it was very important to step up. And I think Mitt has stepped up more than anybody else on those issues.

CAVUTO: Have you ruled, then, a presidential run for yourself because of this today?

TRUMP: Well, certainly, if Mitt gets the nomination, and he runs, I wouldn’t be running. I can’t endorse someone and then, say, oh, by the way, I am endorsing someone and I’m going to run.

Now, if for some reason, something happens, then it is open season after the show is finished, which would be mid-May. But I don’t see that happening. And we had an amazing day today. There was an amazing turnout. And I represent millions of people that are tired of seeing this country ripped off. And that is what it is all about.

CAVUTO: He wasn’t -- that is Mitt Romney, Donald -- among those -- I don’t the right way to -- he didn’t suck up to you. In other words, he admired you; always spoke very highly of you.

When you were planning that debate last year featuring the presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich said yes. I think Rick Santorum said yes. Mitt Romney took a pass. He was very respectful about it; I guess called you about it. You took his call and you were respectful about his respectful call to you.

But in the end, he gets the Trump brass ring. It is a little weird, isn’t it?

TRUMP: Well, no, I don’t think so.

He did call me. And I think I could have talked him into doing it. He did say that he would have preferred -- he was leading in the polls and he had a lot to lose, frankly, and he did say what he would prefer, but I think he would have done it had I put some pressure on.

And he decided that -- and we both decided it was fine. He was very respectful. And that is not what it is about, though. It is really about who will do a great job. And I think that he will do really well. I loved his performance in the last two debates. I thought they were great.

And if he performs that way, he will beat Obama very, very decisively in the debates and, I think, the election.

CAVUTO: I want to go back to Newt Gingrich, because today when he heard this news, he seemed flabbergasted. This is from Newt Gingrich earlier today, Donald.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am just watching in amazement.

QUESTION: Why is it amazing?

GINGRICH: Because some people have this knack of gathering attention.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: Some people have this knack of gathering attention.

What did you think of that?

TRUMP: Well, I have always had the knack of getting attention. And I don’t do it myself. For some reason, you will have to ask you -- I mean, you called me, Neil. I didn’t call you. You’re the one that wanted me on. I didn’t want to be on.

CAVUTO: You are absolutely right. You are absolutely right.

TRUMP: And I can say about 10,000 other reporters, it’s the same thing. I’m not looking at them. They’re looking at me. So, I don’t know what it is.

CAVUTO: I guess I -- I don’t care about -- his take on this, he was ticked off and he seemed pretty peeved.

TRUMP: Well, I can understand it, because I do like him and I do respect him.

And he is a member of my club in Washington, and he is a good guy. But I do think that Mitt Romney, who is also somebody that I like and respect -- and I have said that, also, from the beginning -- I think that he is going to do very well against Obama.

CAVUTO: What happens now?

We are going do into this later with my buddy Charles Payne here about the comments Mitt Romney made about the very poor, he doesn’t worry about them, worries about the middle class. It was kind of garbled. Some of his supporters said, well, he didn’t present the argument that clearly or well, but that he looks like an elitist snob.

What do you think of that?

TRUMP: Well, I think it was very unfair reporting, because if you let the sentence goes on for another three seconds, it is explained perfectly.

So I think the reporting was really unfair -- that and the "fire" word, where he really wanted to fire insurance companies, but they cut it off before he gets to the word insurance companies. I think it was very, very unfair reporting.

And, in a way, I am a little surprised that you would even say it. But if you listen to his statement, he also said, and he is going to protect them, and -- but they don’t let the sentence go on. They just take the first part of the sentence.

So, I think that it is very, very unfair reporting.

CAVUTO: All right, well, maybe so, but I am not the only one here reporting it, like you say.

And Charles Krauthammer, other, let’s say, conservative columnists, writers, thinkers, others have said that he just has trouble connecting on this issue and showing, I guess, the compassionate side of conservatism. If you were advising him on how to make a convincing argument for capitalism that can touch everybody, what would it be?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, I think over the last month, it has been someone that really has come a long way in terms of what he is doing. And I really think he is doing a great job.

I think the last two debates have been absolutely fantastic for him. And his explanations of everything, including capitalism, have been great.

CAVUTO: What about his views on China? He commended you for the kind of "in your face" position, we have got to quit playing games and kowtow to them -- I’m paraphrasing -- but I can’t picture him taking the same approach that you would take, that he might have a more genteel, more diplomatic way of dealing with it, and that Donald Trump wouldn’t like it.

TRUMP: I think he is taking a very tough stance on China and he knows China is ripping off our country. He knows OPEC is laughing at us.

And I think he has taken a very tough stance on China and OPEC and some others, really the toughest stance that I have seen. And one of the things I’m -- one of the reasons I decided to do what I did today, Neil.

CAVUTO: The attitude you get from people these days who look at this event, Donald, and then, say, well, maybe it is not just that Trump is hooking up with a guy who looks like he is off to the races, but everyone cynically goes in and says, what is Trump getting out of this, that your book is doing fine, "The Apprentice" is doing fine, so they keep banging their head against the wall, saying, what does Trump get out of this?

What do say?

TRUMP: Only one thing. I want to see this country great again.

We are not great now. We are being laughed at. And we are not great anymore. In two or three years, China will supplant us in terms of a great economic power. And we’re no longer the same country we were.

I’m getting one thing out of it. If the right person gets in, this country becomes great again. That is all I get out of it. And that’s a lot.

CAVUTO: So, when the White House sloughs it off and just dismisses it out of hand, what do you say?

TRUMP: Well, I think you know that I get to Obama, and I think Obama understands that I understand him better than most.

And I think that, frankly, I called Obama very correctly for a number of years. And, of course, they are going to slough anything off. They are going to slough anything. Why wouldn’t they? Why would -- are they going to stand up and say, oh, wow, this is a terrible day? Of course, they can’t do that.

CAVUTO: All right.

TRUMP: But I think they understand that this was a very important endorsement. And some people say it was the most important endorsement. Let’s see what happens.

CAVUTO: Well, it gave him a boost at the right time.

Donald Trump, thank you very much. Always good having you, Donald.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

CAVUTO: All right.

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