OTR Interviews

Trump on US economic woes: 'We're the big, dumb bully now'

Donald Trump on the grim Gross Domestic Product report on the US economy, the GSA scandal, the 1-year anniversary of bin Laden's death, John Edwards and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 27, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: First, here's Rush Limbaugh.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: In February of 2009, in August, they had a half year -- stimulus is in force for a half year. Then they issued their forecasts. And they credited the stimulus. Yes, this stimulus going to bail everybody out. Stimulus going to get 4.3 percent economic growth. We are at 2.2, half of what Obama forecast in 2009.

In its 2010 forecast, the White House said that it was looking for 3.5 percent GDP growth in 2012, followed by 4.4 percent next and 4.3 percent in 2014. Again, we are at 2.2 percent economic growth.

In its 2011 economic forecast, the White House predicted 3.1 percent growth that year, 4 percent growth this year and 4.5 percent growth in 2013. In its most recent forecast, the White House predicted 3 percent growth this year and next, and then back to 4 percent after that.

Every one of Obama administration forecasts has been way wrong. They have been predicting that a boom is right around the corner. They make their predictions after such things as the stimulus or other Obama legislation, like the American Jobs Act, the health care bill, after much - - then they come out with a forecast. This is going to cause a boom. And all it's doing is destroying the U.S. economy!


VAN SUSTEREN: So what will it take to turn the economy around? Businessman extraordinaire Donald Trump joins us by phone. Nice to talk to you, Donald.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Donald, rather grim news, the GDP 2.2 percent. We had hoped that it would be faster -- expected that it would be greater, rather. Your thoughts on the 2.2 percent GDP report?

TRUMP: Well, Rush is 100 percent right. I mean, the fact is, the report was very bad. The economy's not doing well. If you look at other economies, they're doing unbelievably well. China's probably going to be close to 10 percent, the real number. And others are way, way up there.

And a lot of that is at our expense because they're taking our jobs and they're manufacturing our products. So you know, how can we have a good report when things are made for us in other countries?

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, give me sort of a -- you know, a four or five-point policy change that you would make if you were president to sort of accelerate that GDP so it's more than 2.2. What would be the four or five things that you would do?

TRUMP: Well, we have to have an energy policy that makes sense. We have to let our people drill because it turns out that we have much more under our feet than we ever thought possible. And we have to get away from the grip of OPEC because OPEC is destroying us. OPEC is probably a worse abuser than China, if that's possible.

The other thing is you have to make deals with China where either they stop with the manipulation of their currency and making it impossible for our people and our companies to compete -- they're making it impossible, very intelligently for them, but not for us. And unless do you something about that -- and what you do is you say, If it doesn't stop immediately, we're dropping a 25 percent tax on your product.

And this is nothing to do with free trade or fair trade. This is all to do with common sense. You have to stop China from systematically taking us apart. And basically, you know, so many of the problems that we are talking about in this country, including Social Security and including Medicare and Medicaid and all of the costs that we can't afford -- you can afford them easily if the economy turned around. The economy solves all problems.

VAN SUSTEREN: You say that these are sort of common sense ideas. If they're common sense ideas, what is your theory as to why the president isn't doing it? Is it different ideology, he doesn't understand it, he has a different plan? What's your -- what's your response to why the president doesn't take what you say is common sense?

TRUMP: I have no theory because it's impossible to figure. It's absolutely impossible. It's so simple, when you look at what's happening from outside and how other countries are just absolutely taking -- every country that does business with us takes advantages! We're like the big patsy that doesn't know how to defend.

And it's so often that you see where a country like, as an example, Colombia, the country of Colombia, a small -- they call them trading partner. They're going to make $4 billion. So often that you see this, and nobody does anything about it.

You know, it used to be in the old days, when we really had a country that knew what they were doing, we were the big, smart one. Now we're like the dumb bully. And it's very, very sad.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Dumb bully now. What are the -- just as a frame of reference, what were the old days when we were doing so well? Do you have a sort of a time when you...

TRUMP: Well, you don't have to go back too far. You can go back to Reagan, when we were respected. I mean, you look at what happened during the Reagan years and how he really did turn things around. And taxes were very high, and they brought them down very substantially and then really got them down.

And I would think that the country during that period of time was just highly respected. And that seems to be a zenith, relatively speaking, in the modern age. I guess you'd call that the modern age. And I think that was a good period of time for this country.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, you have a huge business empire. I realize it's not as big as the federal government. But I'm curious. If I worked within your huge business empire, is there a way I could have slipped past you spending about $820,000 on a lavish party? Or are there accounting and auditing done internally so that this $820,000 that was spent by the GSA is just so irresponsible by our government. Could I slip it past you if I worked for you?

TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you something. The GSA -- we've had some experience with the GSA. We found them to be very, very responsible and very professional, to be honest. And you know, when we cut a ribbon, like we cut a ribbon recently in Toronto, we cut a ribbon in Hawaii -- you cut ribbons for buildings. And people do go to those things and they do have parties.

So I'm not looking to be the defendant -- you know, the -- the - - or come to the defense of anybody, but you do on occasion have to go and travel. And if GSA has property or if their top people have property and they're responsible for it, people do go and cut ribbons and do things and they do spend money on parties like that. So...

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, but you know what, Donald? I don't have any problem with you spending your dime, your private dime going to the party, your private done to do the ribbon cutting or even in the case -- let's take the hypothetical -- let's take the case where the GSA went to Hawaii and took, like, a whole week to go cut a ribbon that took about an hour.

They could very easily have outsourced that to a member of Congress who was making a trip home anyway, who could have -- who could be the sort of the stand-in for the GSA. So I totally disagree with you on this. This is the most extravagant waste of taxpayer money, so you and I...

TRUMP: Well, I just know nothing about it. I mean, I do know, though, when I do open buildings and when I build a building and have -- we do have openings and we do have parties and we do celebrate the success of a job and all. And that does happen, though, Greta. We have to be fair to all sides, and that does happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that's your -- that's you spending your dime. And like I said, I'm all for you spending your dime on this stuff, and maybe I'll even get invited to some of these parties, if I'm lucky. OK...

TRUMP: Well, I'll do that. I would love to do that. You'll have a good time.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me go to your Twitter account. You -- your tweets today. One of is Admiral McRaven had full operational control of the bin laden mission. Barack Obama gave vague directions, is what you're sort of -- you're -- you're -- you've retweeted. What's your -- what are you tweeting about?

TRUMP: Well, look, when a decision is made, when a group of very, very talented generals or whoever it may be says, Listen, we have -- we have Usama bin Laden. We have him. One of two -- one of three things is going to happen. Leave him alone, go with a missile or go in and get him.

Now, I think almost anybody would have made the decision to either go in and get him or go in with a missile, both of which would have been acceptable. So I think a lot of credit is -- and that was basically an article that was written. And I think a lot of credit is being given -- and credit should be given to a certain extent, but anybody sitting in that office would have, I believe, made the same decision, meaning one of those two things.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you saying that the president doesn't get sort of the nod from the American people for making that decision, or he's getting too much credit? Is that what you're saying? Or you don't like that it's being used as -- you know, in politics as we approach 2012 election?

TRUMP: I think anybody that was the president of the United States, when they're called by the generals or whoever happened to call, say, We have this man, he's sitting in this wonderful, beautiful -- I wouldn't say so beautiful -- but he's sitting in Pakistan with our so-called allies, where they're not telling us because they knew all about it -- and in fact, you could go and you could make the case, How are you president and you were paying billions and billions and billions of dollars a year to Pakistan and they don't tell us about it?

But regardless of that, I think anybody sitting in the White House and they're approached by the generals that we have Usama bin laden, and we have him, he's there, that's it. Anybody would have made that decision. I mean, who would have said, Let's leave him alone? I don't think too many people would have done it.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, and another tweet today which I found particularly intriguing is this one. I have never been a fan of John Edwards," referring to Senator John Edwards, former senator John Edwards, "but it's time for the government to focus on more important things."

Are you becoming chairman of the John Edwards defense committee, I...

TRUMP: Not at all. I'm not a fan at all. I never liked him. I never trusted him. I always thought he was a sleazebag, frankly. But you know what? With all that's going on in this country, they're going out -- and this is a very, very tough trial, to start off with. And a lot of people are saying it's not a trial that the government's going to win.

But with all of that -- everything going on, with the money that is being -- just billions and trillions of dollars being thrown out the window, I really think we have better things to do.

And frankly, a lot of people say, and a lot of very good lawyers have told me, that the government doesn't have a good case. They're spending months and years on this case.

And I am, again, not a fan. I don't believe him at all. But I hate to see resources wasted to this extent. His life is destroyed anyway, regardless. And I hate to see this kind of money and effort. We could put money and effort into something else that's a lot more productive.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I'm certainly not a fan of Senator John Edwards. I'm a fan of trying to sort of keep the integrity of the system. And I am somewhat curious, since he is -- you know, this is such -- he's such an unlikable guy -- he's, you know, cheating on his wife -- she's dying of cancer and lying about a baby, that I wonder if -- you know, I do wonder if it's humanly possible for jurors to sit there and look only at the evidence, knowing in the back of their mind that he's such a cad.

And I wonder if sort of our personal opinions have so poisoned us to - - away from looking coldly and dispassionately at the evidence, and fairly.

TRUMP: Well, I think despite what the lawyers are all saying, that it's not a very good case from the government, he may lose just because of what you just said. I mean, people are not thrilled with him.

And they really tended to like the wife. I just -- I had a lot of respect for her. I met her once or twice, and I sort of had this respect for her. I thought she was very strong, very solid.

And you know, he was a bad guy in a lot of different ways. And he could take a case that really shouldn't be won, he could make them win it. So let's see what happens. But with all that's happening in this world and in this country, I just think that maybe they have better things to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Got any idea on the Secret Service, any thought?

TRUMP: Well, I think it shows great disrespect for the president. And I think it's really very sad. And it's hard to believe that this hasn't been going on for years and years, but it does show a great disrespect for the president of the United States.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, as always, thank you.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Greta.