OTR Interviews

Trump versus Pres. Obama, Cher ... and once again, Rosie

'The Donald' takes on Obama campaign's attack on Romney's jobs record at Bain Capital, a war of tweets with Cher and Rosie O'Donnell and more!


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 14, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.



VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to talk to you.


VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think the campaign is starting in earnest. There are dueling ads out today. And I want wonder what you thought about the Obama campaign ad which is zeroing right in on Governor Romney and when he was at Bain Capital and handling the GST steel mill.

TRUMP: Well, it's certainly getting very nasty, and I would say perhaps on both sides. But in particular, when they make an ad like that, which is so unfair. They want to save companies, whether it's Bain or somebody else, in most cases. They want to save companies.

And Governor Romney did a fantastic job at Bain not only in terms of the jobs he produced, but also in terms of creating and saving companies. He did a great job. And it's very, very unfair to pick a company and say, Oh, gee, let's do an ad. Very unfair.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the thing that I was sort of curious about -- and you're a business guy -- is that -- there were two things. One is that GST apparently went under about 2001. He left Bain Capital in 1999. But nonetheless, you know, some of the things that Bain Capital put in place while he was there had an effect on 2001.

But I did a little research, and I found out that in 2001, about 17 steel mills went under, including Bethlehem Steel, which was the second largest steel mill at the time, because there was dumping by foreign countries of cheaper steel here in the United States, so nobody wanted to buy domestic steel.

TRUMP: Well, that's true.

VAN SUSTEREN: So does that make it unfair?

TRUMP: Well, it certainly makes it unfair. But it's -- you know, it's almost like what else is new? Because if you look what's going on with foreign countries and foreign companies right now, how they're subsidized over our companies, so it really is an unfair -- and frankly, if you look at that ad, I think that ad was extremely unfair. And it's really the topic of a lot of conversation right now. It was a very, very unfair ad.

But that was a time when steel was doing extremely poorly because of the dumping, I mean, dumping all over the place, and steel was being hurt. Many, many steel companies at that time were going out of business.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So a very significant omission in the ad -- and I'll get to a Romney campaign ad in a second, which I think there's an omission. But listen to what -- I'm going to play you a sound bite from what -- a part of it, about 23 seconds out of the ad, and tell me how potent you think this is politically in the five battleground states that are going to hear this part of this ad against Romney.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was devastated. It makes me angry. Those guys were all rich. They all have more money than they'll ever spend. Yet they didn't have the money to take care of the very people that made the very money for them.

TRUMP: Bain Capital walked away with a lot of money that they made off of this plant.


VAN SUSTEREN: There was even one point in that ad, Donald, in which the -- I think the term "vampire" was used. How do you tell the American people who are suffering so incredibly, when a company fails, even if there are legitimate business reasons for failure, in this case, dumping of cheaper steel -- but nonetheless, Bain Capital, very successful, very rich people, and it doesn't look good to people who -- who don't have that kind of success or that kind of money.

TRUMP: Well, I agree with that. It doesn't look good. It's not fair. It's really a misrepresentation, but it doesn't look great if people don't know the situation. I think a lot of people do know the situation.

And also, in business, you have hits and you have misses. Now, in the end, you have to have a lot more hits than you have misses. But that was a case where steel was doing terribly. And I saw the ad and I thought that it was, you know, very compelling from one standpoint, and certainly from a class warfare -- I mean, that's what it's all about.

I mean, let's take a couple of people that really did a good job, and honestly, that looked very sympathetic. And certainly, the gentleman and a couple of other people in the ad did look sympathetic. But if they knew the facts, I think they'd feel a lot differently.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, today President Obama is in New York at a private equity fundraiser. He also did a commencement speech at Barnard College. But one of the things that was said by one of his representatives is that that particular Romney ad wasn't a slight on private equity, but was to show Governor Romney's values.

And you want to take a stab on why that would show Governor Romney's values?

TRUMP: Well, I think no matter what you say, he's right now at a private equity fundraiser. You could give me every one of those private equity firms, and I can make ads that are much better than that ad. And I can show you things that were done that wouldn't look so nice for the people giving Mr. Obama -- or President Obama money.

So I just feel that it's -- you know, you can always pick a person, a couple of people or a company out of many. He wasn't overly involved in that company. It wasn't his start. There are a lot of things that were wrong with that ad. A lot of things were unfair with it. And I think when people see that, the ad will not go down as being effective.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the Governor Romney campaign, in response to President Obama, put out an ad in which they were touting Steel Dynamics as being a raised success and saying essentially what you said in the beginning. You have your hits, you have your misses.

But in the Steel Dynamics ad, one thing that wasn't noted is the fact that Steel Dynamics got a number of tax breaks and a lot of government subsidies, in the millions of dollars category. So there's an omission in the Governor Romney ad. Is that fair?

TRUMP: Well, I think that everybody in that case was trying to get tax abatements and tax incentives because, let's face it, as you just said it, every -- steel was being dumped by other nations, in particular, certain of our favorite nations. They were dumping steel on us like never before, and it was very, very hard to compete.

So the government was trying to help out, and sometimes, that's not the worst thing in the world. And that was omitted, but the government was trying to help out in order to compete. Now, frankly, I would have done it a little bit differently. I would have come down on the nations that were doing the dumping. And believe me, they should still come down because that's still happening in this country.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are both those adds fair, both dirty? Is one dirty and one's fair? What's your thought?

TRUMP: Well, I thought that the Obama ad was more unfair. I think that they picked a very, very small segment of something that took place with a company. They picked somebody who was very sympathetic and they put him on. I'm sure there are a lot of people that would have said, Well, it was really a good thing, and I moved on to another company and another job, or whatever they might have said.

But I thought that the Obama ad was actually more unfair, if you can use that term.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it not -- I mean, in looking at these ads, I mean, ads -- as a voter, viewer, whatever, I would have liked to have had the information in the Obama ad against Governor Romney that, number one, Governor Romney was out of Bain two years before that happened. He was off doing the Olympics. And number...

TRUMP: That's a big statement. By the way, Greta, that's a very big statement.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, no, I'm just saying that -- and I mean, I think it's a reflection on the candidates when they have these omissions...

TRUMP: Yes. No, but how can you do that...

VAN SUSTEREN: Because I think...

TRUMP: ... when he's gone from the company, he's not even there, especially when the big act took place and he's not there, and all of a sudden, they're knocking the hell out of Governor Romney. I think it's very unfair.

VAN SUSTEREN: We used to argue before juries that, oh, you know, omissions like that are intended to do one thing and that's to deceive, to mislead whoever the fact finder is or the voter in this instance.

But the other is was what was omitted from the ad was the dumping of the cheaper steel and the fact that 17 other steel mills, including Bethlehem Steel, went under that year, which shows the -- you know, the political pressure by -- in terms of the trade between the nations, that was putting economic pressure on these companies.

TRUMP: Well, it's not the kind of thing that Obama would be saying, but maybe you just don't do the ad. When you know it's that egregious, when you know it's that unfair, then maybe you just don't do the ad. You're not going to say those two things because those two things destroy the ad.

But I think people are getting wise to it. And I also think that's why Governor Romney is up in the polls. I mean, if you look at the polls, I'm seeing every poll seems to have him up. And I think people are tired of it now. They want jobs. They want real thinking. And they're not getting that from this administration.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, that's -- I mean, we hear this jobs, jobs, jobs, but I'm not so sure that we're seeing jobs, jobs, jobs in this country and whether...

TRUMP: Well, you're not seeing...

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, I...

TRUMP: ... real numbers, Greta, because certainly, you're not seeing real numbers. Every time somebody gives up looking for a job, they take them off the list. So it looks like we're doing obviously not very well, but it looks like we're doing better than, in fact, we're doing.

The real number -- I mean, I've heard numbers that could be anywhere from 19 to 21 percent. I heard 11 percent the other day. But certainly, it's not 8.2 percent.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, to be fair -- to be fair to President Obama, I'm curious, should Governor Romney in his ad, to be complete -- should he have included the fact that there were all these subsidies and tax breaks to the successful company that he is now putting in his ad to counteract the Obama ad?

TRUMP: I don't think so, necessarily. I think that's a much lighter offense. I don't think so. I think that that is something that everybody has done and continues to do. There are subsidies all over the place and there's incentives and all sorts of tax breaks, if you want to call them, or tax incentives, depending on where you're coming from.

No, I don't think he had an obligation to do that because everybody was entitled to them if they could get them.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you're back in a war on Twitter. You're going after Cher and also your old nemesis, Rosie O'Donnell. What's up?

TRUMP: Well, no, Cher said some very unflattering and nasty things about Governor Romney, and I think it was inappropriate, what she said, frankly. And you know, I've watched her over the years. I knew her a little bit. And you know, she reminds me of Rosie with slightly more talent, not much more talent, but slightly more talent.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, Cher said something wicked. She says if Romney gets elected -- this is on Twitter -- "I don't know if I can breathe the same air as him and his right-wing, racist, homophobic, women-hating teabagger masters," to which you responded -- I mean, you -- that she's -- that Cher is an average talent who's out of touch with reality. But then you threw in Rosie. I mean, You resurrected Rosie into the fight by calling her a total loser. She wasn't even in this fight with you.

TRUMP: Well, I likened her to Rosie as a loser. But I -- you know, I understand Cher and Cher is somewhat of a loser. She's lonely. She's unhappy. She's very miserable. And her sound-enhanced and computer-enhanced music doesn't do it for me, believe me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it seems like you get into these, these Twitter battles with these women, these...

TRUMP: No, with people in general.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... famous women.

TRUMP: Not women. In fact, usually...

VAN SUSTEREN: Not women...

TRUMP: ... women I prefer not because I find them much tougher than men. But actually, I do on occasion I get into battles. And I also have my great likes. I mean, I also greatly respect people.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it fun to do these -- I mean, is -- actually, it's sort of like if I follow you on Twitter, it's sort of interesting to see. You guys are hammering each other back and forth, you and Cher and Rosie. I mean, you're, like -- you're going after each other pretty heavily.

TRUMP: Well, I don't think they're hitting me. I don't know. I haven't noticed that they're hitting me very hard. I thought it was a very unfair shot at Governor Romney. And it -- you know, it took me about one second to give it -- to put it down. And I gave it to somebody, I said, Here, put this down. So it's not like a big deal. It takes me, you know, seconds. If it took me more than seconds, I wouldn't be doing it because I wouldn't waste my time.

But people certainly seem to like it because my Twitter account has millions of people watching it.

VAN SUSTEREN: It does have millions. It's -- it, indeed, does have millions. Donald, thank you, as always.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Greta.