OTR Interviews

Trump on Santorum's surge: The people of Pennsylvania threw him out and now he wants to be president? Give me a break

Donald Trump sounds off on Santorum's surprising surge and Romney's disappointing results in the Missouri primary and Colorado and Minnesota caucuses


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 8, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Donald Trump jumped up last week and endorsed Governor Mitt Romney, but within days, Republicans in three states -- Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri -- tell Donald Trump -- well, he's wrong. They don't want Governor Romney. They want Senator Rick Santorum. And tonight, Senator Rick Santorum's three-state sweep is shaking up the GOP race.

Donald Trump joins us by phone. Good evening, Donald.


VAN SUSTEREN: It's nice to talk to you. Before I even get to the topic of Senator Rick Santorum, I'm a bit curious -- I saw your most recent tweet in which you said Jon Huntsman called to see me. I said no, he gave away our country to China. Now, that's the second Jon Huntsman tweet today. What's going on between you and Governor Jon Huntsman?

TRUMP: Well, nothing. I hate to see when people give up pieces of our country, and a big, big piece was given during his reign. So he wanted to meet with me. I just said no. What's the purpose? And that's it. And you know, I was very disappointed in the way -- in what he did, what he said and his attitude toward China. I think his attitude toward China is suicidal and terrible.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did he call after you first tweeted about him today, in which you said China did a major number of us during the reign of Jon Huntsman? He was easy...

TRUMP: No, no, no. He called...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... pickings.

TRUMP: ... a while ago. No, no, no. He called a while ago, Greta, and I decided not to see him. He wanted to see me, and I said no.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you're also poking a stick in his eye on Twitter.

TRUMP: Well, I mean, I'm just disappointed when people give away chunks of our country, and he gave away one big chunk of our country. The good news is we can get it back if we're smart and tough. But he gave away a lot. He did a very, very poor job.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, one last question. Did he call today looking to come to see you? It looks like from this tweet that...

TRUMP: No, no, no. Not at all, a while ago.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. OK. Was that -- was that before he got out of the campaign...


VAN SUSTEREN: -or since he...

TRUMP: It was before he got out of the campaign. Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Now to Senator Rick Santorum. He is your next -- you have a video out today in which you talk about Senator Rick Santorum. What do you say in the video, and why?

TRUMP: Well, essentially, I have nothing against Rick Santorum. I think he's -- he seems like a nice guy. I don't know him. I spoke to him once very briefly. He called me and -- just to talk about something, and whatever it was doesn't matter.

But he ran for the Senate. He was a sitting senator, ran again for the Senate as an incumbent. He lost by 19 points. It was a record in the history of U.S. Senate for an incumbent. He lost, and now he wants to run for president. And I made the analogy today, that's like a student that gets thrown out of high school for bad marks, but wants to -- and then decides to go to the Wharton School of Finance. I want to go to the Wharton School of Finance -- which is a very tough place and a great school.

So you know, it just doesn't work that way, in my opinion. He ran, he lost by a tremendous amount, almost record-setting. In fact, it was record-setting. And all of a sudden, he wants to become president. I just don't think it works that way.

The people in Pennsylvania threw him out and they threw him out by a wide margin, and they obviously weren't happy. And now he's going to be president. Tell me about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that's a very interesting point. He's been questioned about that. And I suppose if he were here -- let me just tell you what I think he'd say tonight because I did a little research. He would say that in 2006, the year that he was beaten by 17 points by Senator Casey, that 23 of 33 races nationwide the Republicans were defending in the Senate, they lost 23 of 33, that they lost just in Pennsylvania five conservative districts that year. And they lost the Republican governorship in Pennsylvania by 20 points that year, and they've now regained it by 10 points.

So I guess he's saying that 2006 was a really lousy, lousy year for Republicans in Pennsylvania.

TRUMP: Well, maybe it was and maybe it wasn't. All I know is he lost by a record number. And I think, you know, how do you lose like that? Maybe it's time to go into a different business, become a lawyer, but you're not running for president. The people of Pennsylvania didn't like him. They thought he didn't do a good job, he didn't represent them well. They threw him out. Somebody beat him by tremendous numbers. And all of a sudden, he says, Let's become president. Give me a break.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he -- apparently, they may not like him so much in 2006 in Pennsylvania, but they like him in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado, at least tonight, more than they like your candidate, Governor Mitt Romney. And he is ahead of Speaker Gingrich in the number of delegates so far. So he can't be doing that poorly.

TRUMP: Look, I have nothing against him. I just, you know, find it rather hard to believe that he put himself in a situation where he is running. And you know, it's very early. In theory, that did not matter yesterday. There were no delegates. And let's see what happens. I mean, maybe you're right, Greta. Maybe over the course of time, he'll be some great candidate and a great president, who knows, if he wins.

But I don't think that's going to happen, frankly. And I think when people look at his record in Pennsylvania, they're going to find out that, you know, there was a reason he got thrown out.

VAN SUSTEREN: Turning to the issue today about the contraception in the health care law and the HHS rule that has caused so much discussion, to put it bluntly, in the nation -- is this issue one that can have long- reaching political ramifications, or are we going to talk about this for 24 hours and move on?

TRUMP: No, I think it's going to be very bad. And I think it's a very bad issue for President Obama. And I'm not even sure that if he turned around rather quickly -- and it doesn't look like he's going to, at least not quickly -- I'm not sure he recovers from it easily.

You have a huge Catholic population in particular. And I think a lot of these people are going to be voting against Obama. I can tell you the officials of the church, as you know better than I do, they're very, very upset. So it'll be interesting to see, but so far, he's taken a hard stance, and a lot of good political people are very surprised by it.

VAN SUSTEREN: If -- if what -- some people are predicting, or at least there are rumors out there, and I think even Defense Secretary Panetta said it -- that it is likely that Israel could go alone against Iran in the next couple months -- does that -- with an international crisis like that -- and it would be a crisis -- would that -- do you see that as having an impact on the election come November?

TRUMP: Well, if you look at my Twitters and some of the things I've said, I have a feeling that this country's going at it and Obama might go at it because, frankly, he'll be very popular for a matter of weeks and maybe get elected because of it.

So I actually have predicted that. I said that we will go against Iran. Our president for a short period of time will be very, very popular because of what he does because if you look at Bush, after the Iraqi situation, I mean, nobody could have beaten him. Of course, about two months later, he became very unpopular again.

But I think that -- and I've said it and I hate to say it. I don't like saying it, but I think something could happen for political reasons. And that's pretty sad. The fact is that we hold the cards. Iran doesn't hold the cards. They know they don't hold the cards. And it seems inconceivable that we can't get them to the table and make an unbelievable deal. And I'm talking about from strength, not from weakness. We hold the cards, Greta. I'm talking about only from strength.

VAN SUSTEREN: You say political. Are you suggesting -- just so I have this clear -- that President Obama would make a decision on what we do vis-a-vis Israel and Iran for his own selfish political benefit, or are you saying something very different and -- that I misunderstood you?

TRUMP: No, you didn't misunderstand me. I think that there could be a political motive behind it, and we'll see if that happens or not. I would like to see it not happen. I really believe we're in such a strong position that, frankly, Iran should drop to their knees and make a deal with us. But for some reason, I guess we just don't talk to anybody.

VAN SUSTEREN: Gas prices going up between now and November or not?

TRUMP: They're going up tremendously. They've already gone up. If you look over the last four weeks, they've already gone up. And I think this could be a big factor in the election also. I really believe that the gas prices are going through the sky, even though less is being used, but the fact that OPEC is strangling us because we have nobody to talk to them and tell them what's going to happen and tell it like it is, our gas prices absolutely are going up. And they've gone up a lot in the last four weeks.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, thank you. And as you know, I'll be watching your Twitter account, as I always do. I follow you on Twitter. So thank you, Donald.

TRUMP: Well, thank you very much, Greta.