OTR Interviews

Trump: The Obama campaign doesn't like the birther issue at all ... and neither do I

'The Donald' responds to Obama campaign attack ads that revive his birther charges, his feud with George Will and his campaigning for Romney

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 29, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Right now, Donald Trump is here, and there is blood on the floor. Donald Trump is headlining a brutal verbal boxing match, and Governor Mitt Romney is betting on the Donald. Trump is at the center of a new fight in the presidential race. Here is Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to talk to you.

DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (Via Telephone): Hello, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: I have a lot of things I want to talk to you about, including one that's apparently electrifying everybody, but I'll get to that one in a second.

But first I want to talk about tonight's event with Governor Mitt Romney. It's in Vegas, this fund-raiser. Why Vegas? Any particular reason?

TRUMP: Well, I think it really represents something. If you remember, when Obama came out very, very negative to Nevada and to Las Vegas, and it was a terrible thing and it really had a huge impact and a negative impact, Don't go to Las Vegas, and it was a disaster.

And I don't know why in particular this location was chosen. It wasn't chosen by me, but it does represent lots of jobs, a big industry, the tourism industry, and I think it's probably a very appropriate place. We have a very, very successful evening, and it's really something I think that's going to be very special.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I note that Vegas has been particularly hurt by the downturn in the job market. Or in fact, Las Vegas last in March had a 12.4 percent unemployment rate, which is above the national average, and there's no secret that Vegas has -- that Nevada in particular has been hit hard. So I wondered if that was the particular theme, but apparently not.

TRUMP: Well, it was very badly hit when the president came out and said, you know, Don't go there. And I will tell you that had a very, very negative impact on Las Vegas and Nevada. And you know, it was a pretty shameful thing, I think. And he's been trying to recover, but he has never really recovered from that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, is there any money to be had in Vegas for a fund- raiser if everybody's hurting? I guess there's some big high rollers. But tell me, I mean, how much money do you expect to get tonight?

TRUMP: Well, we're going to raise a lot of money tonight, millions. And I think it's going to be a terrific evening. I think it's also going to be really very helpful to a person who's a very, very fine person, a very good person, a -- is going to be a wonderful candidate and a fantastic president.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you like him so? You say he's a fantastic person. I mean, there are a lot of nice people in this country, but you know, that's not a reason to vote for somebody. You know...

TRUMP: Well, that's true. By the way, that is absolutely true. But I've just gotten to like him over a period of time. I like what he stands for. I like his values. I like what he represents. I like very much the fact that he understands what China is doing to this country, understands what OPEC is doing to this country. They are really, really hurting us badly. And I think that, you know, more than anybody else, Mitt Romney understands that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, he understands that. He doesn't agree with you about everything. He made that very plain in a sound bite, where he said that he doesn't agree with everybody who supports him and he doesn't expect everyone who supports him to agree with him.

So let me turn to the sort of the electrifying issue, and that's this whole issue about birther. You and I have disagreed about this in the past, and I assume that Governor Romney has, as well.

What has brought this back up on the radar screen? This has been pretty silent for a while.

TRUMP: Well, it wasn't brought up by me. It was brought up by somebody releasing a statement from the 1990s by Barack Obama, when he was not even thinking in terms of the presidency, and strongly stated that he was born in Kenya and that he was raised in Indonesia.

So after that came out by Breitbart and some others who did actually a pretty good job on it, I must tell you -- but when that came out, everybody started calling me and I gave my 2 cents. I mean, I've always felt that there were a lot of holes in this whole situation.

But he made that statement himself. And the publisher wrote it, and he wrote it down, and he -- it was -- it was going to be part of a brochure to sell a book. That's a pretty strong statement. And that was made by somebody that wasn't running for president and probably had no intention of ever running for president. So I think it probably a very honest statement.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, as I've noted, you and I disagree about it. And recently, there was a fuss about whether or not President Obama would be on the ballot I think in Arizona, and there was another sort of round that preceded this business about the brochure.

And Hawaii apparently convinced Arizona, if Arizona had any doubt about it, at least the representative, that he was born in the United States. Does that -- are you still not satisfied? I mean, what is it that you want to be satisfied?

TRUMP: Well, look, it's not up to me. It has nothing to do with me. But the fact is, if he wasn't, he's not allowed to run for president. He's not allowed to be the president. So this is not up to me.

This was something that came out last week. People called me about it. I gave my 2 cents. There's a lot of questions as to the authenticity of the birth certificate. So you can believe it or you don't have to believe it, but certainly, there are many, many questions.

You have had people on your show. You've heard people. There are many, many questions as to that. And we'll just have to see where all the chips fall.

I can tell you that this is not an issue, despite what he says, that President Obama likes. This is hitting very close to home. This is not something that he enjoys.

With all of that being said, I think it's much more important at this point to talk about what's going on with OPEC, what's going on with China, what's going on with virtually every country in the world that is just ripping the United States and making it to a point where we can in many cases not properly function.

We have $16 trillion in debt soon to be, and we have to do something about it. And I would much prefer -- and you know this because I've told you this many times. I would much prefer discussing that than discussing anything else. And that's also my expertise.

VAN SUSTEREN: But see, I think, though, that the campaign, that the President Obama campaign actually enjoys that this issue gets up and gets pinned to you.

TRUMP: I totally disagree with you. I think they hate the subject.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I'll tell you why.

TRUMP: Well, I disagree.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'll tell you why. Because they released a statement - - Stephanie Cutter, who is the deputy campaign manager, just released a very strong statement referring to you as talking about disgraceful conspiracy theories, demonstrating your lack of moral leadership, calling you a charlatan and pinning that to Governor Romney as though -- as though -- because you said it that it's pinned on Governor Romney because you hold the fundraiser.

TRUMP: I totally disagree. I think they hate it. I think they don't like it at all. And what they're doing is saying, We love it. And frankly, I think they hate the subject, and I -- you know, I actually sort of semi know for a fact that they hate the subjection. This is not a subject that they want brought -- now, in politics...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, wait a second. But wait a minute...

TRUMP: ... as you know, you're talking about...

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald...

TRUMP: ... sin...

VAN SUSTEREN: If they want -- if you think the more important job is OPEC and jobs and China, every single time we get sort of this distraction, where we get into this sort of name-calling on both sides -- and I saw the -- I saw the fuss with Wolf Blitzer that you had on CNN -- every time we get into that, we're not talking about OPEC. We're not talking about jobs. We're not talking about China. We're doing all this name-calling.

TRUMP: But that's because you and Wolf, whose ratings are just a tiny fraction of yours, you'll be happy to know -- but that's because you and everybody want to bring this up. I don't bring it up. You didn't call me -- and you asked me if I'd do the show, I didn't ask you, and I said yes, I would do the show.

And frankly, if you would have not brought up the birth certificate or the place of birth, I wouldn't be discussing it with you. Every time I speak to you or every time I speak to whoever, they bring it up.

I would much prefer talking about jobs because I'm really good at that. I'd much prefer talking about the economy. I'd much prefer talking about other nations and what they're doing to us and how they're hurting us and how we can solve that problem. But in all fairness, Greta, you brought it up, I didn't bring it up.

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed, I brought it up. Indeed, I witnessed the sort of the -- the showdown at the OK Corral you had with Wolf Blitzer. But it has also become part of the campaign. If you've got the deputy campaign manager issuing a statement, where -- where -- where now the Obama campaign is saying that Governor Romney lacks moral leadership in a statement -- they're now using this whole birther controversy, which is electrifying to many people -- they're now using that as a way to suggest that Governor Romney is somehow -- is -- lacks any moral leadership.

TRUMP: By the way, electrifying both ways because I will tell you, you have many, many, many people out there, millions and millions of people, who totally agree with it. I mean, you know, so you're not talking about electrifying one way, you're talking about both ways. Now...

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm talking about both ways.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm talking about both ways.

TRUMP: Yes. It is both ways. The Obama people constantly refer to Senator McCain, who came out and strongly, you know, did certain things. Well, unfortunately, that worked out very well for Obama, not very well for Senator McCain, unfortunately. And that's the way it is. And they said, Well, why don't you do what Senator McCain did? Well, maybe people shouldn't do what Senator McCain did.

But again, you asked me about this. I didn't ask you. And frankly, I would much prefer talking about what to do about lots of different places throughout the world that are taking advantage of the United States because we are not doing well as a country.

VAN SUSTEREN: There is no question I brought it up. I don't dispute that. And you and I, of course, we disagree on this whole birther thing. But it's not exactly like, you know, you don't bring it up. I've got a tweet from today where you say, "Barack Obama is practically begging Mitt Romney to disavow this place of birth movement. He is afraid of it, and for good reason. He keeps using Senator John McCain as an example. However, Senator John McCain lost the election. Don't let it happen again."

So you yourself bring it up on your Twitter account. So it's not like all of a sudden I've imagined this and pulled it out of the air.

TRUMP: But that was in response to other reporters, Greta. I mean, other reporters are asking the same question, so I have a large number of Twitter. You know, my Twitter is very large.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's millions. It's very large.

TRUMP: It's millions. And frankly, people ask me to discuss certain things. But in this case, the reporters bring it up all the time, so I was responding to reporters on Twitter.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. OK. Well, and I was just sort of responding to the controversy because it is -- it has somehow morphed from an issue of -- morphed into a campaign strategy, a campaign strategy...

TRUMP: Well, I actually think it's a very good issue for Mitt Romney. I actually do. Now, I may be different. And again, I'm not a politician. I'm somebody that's done very well in business. I understand what life is all about.

I actually think it's a great issue for Mitt Romney, but he might not think that way. And we certainly can disagree on that. We don't even talk about that issue, by the way. We talk about jobs. We talk about lots of other things.

One of the reasons I support him, I think he's a fine person who also understands China, understands OPEC, and understands what it's going to take to bring this country back. That's really what we talk about. We don't talk about this particular issue. I don't like to use the word "birther" because I think it's very condescending to a very important issue. But you know, I think it's a very condescending term to a really very important issue. But we don't talk about that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, what has happened -- I mean, it sort of -- the campaign in many ways -- we've got a lot of name-calling going back and forth. We've got George Will referring you to as a "bloviating ignoramus." We've got...

TRUMP: Yes, but I know George Will and George Will is probably the most overrated political analyst there is. I mean, George Will is somebody that I have zero respect for. I don't think he's very smart.

And you know, if you listen to George Will -- this all started with him six months ago, when he said the Republicans aren't going to win the election. And I took offense to that and I disagree with that. And if you look at the polls, you can understand why I would do that because the polls are doing very well and they're looking very well. So you know, George Will is not very high on my list, and he understands that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, you've also called -- you tweeted about him today and saying he may be the dumbest political commentator of all time. But you know, it used to be...

TRUMP: There are a few others.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, but...

TRUMP: But he's right up there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Actually, can I ask some -- why did you pull Rosie back into this? You pulled Rosie back into this at one point. She wasn't even part of this.

TRUMP: Well, because she referred -- she referred to me again. I only bring people -- when they go at me, I go at them. Rosie did something with me, so I did it again. Rosie likes to bring me up. You know, she hasn't got her show. It failed due to very poor ratings. She's off the air. She's sort of in never-never-land. And she continuously talks about me. So rather than just turning a cheek, which perhaps I should do, I on occasion will refer to her.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, she seems sort of almost -- this one's sort of gratuitously -- I mean, I didn't even -- I don't...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: No, no, this was in reference ... . I only refer -- when they say something about me, I say something about them. This was in reference to what she said. This was not brought up by me.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let's go back to...

TRUMP: By the way, Rosie did start that whole thing, so -- and I...

VAN SUSTEREN: This one? This one?

TRUMP: She truly wishes -- just so you understand, she truly wishes she hadn't.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I got so many notes in front of me, people going back and forth, calling each other names, whether it's getting -- you getting a charlatan. They're trying to pin it on Romney. This is the Obama campaign, George Will calling you a "bloviating ignoramus." Then you've got -- you're calling someone a loser. It's sort of hard to keep track. It almost feels like we're -- you know, we've really gotten off the sort of the -- off the issues about...

TRUMP: Well, again, Greta, you continuously talk about this. You know, I really...

VAN SUSTEREN: I brought it up.

TRUMP: I thought we were going to be talking about the economy and jobs and other countries...

VAN SUSTEREN: We did.

TRUMP: ... and what they're doing to us.

VAN SUSTEREN: We did.

TRUMP: And you just sort of like this subject and -- well, we did -- we talked about that for about what, 20 seconds, and we talked about the rest for the entire show. But whatever is good for your show is good for me because I happen to think your show is terrific.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me go back to the whole issue of jobs and the economy. You know, is -- you know, is -- do you see any sort of trending in the right direction? Is there anything that, like, gives you sort of a sense, like, OK, this is good?

TRUMP: No, I don't think we're doing well as a country. I don't think we're creating jobs. I think the numbers are false numbers. I think the numbers are very bad because if somebody's looking for a job and they give up, we take them off the unemployment roll. We take them off the numbers so you're not really looking at real numbers when they get it down to 8.2 and 8.3. It's not -- those are not the real numbers. And it's almost like they're just creating lists for the sake of creating lists.

So, you know, I feel very strongly that, unfortunately, the country is not doing well. We're losing jobs to other countries through lots of different things. If you're running a credit card company, it's very possible that India is referring your New York credit card person to -- that you're talking to somebody from India. You know, we outsource our jobs instead of having them -- why, we can't have them in this country? So if you look what's going -- if you look at what's going on with respect to our country, we are certainly not doing very well.

And when you hear 8.2 and 8.3 percent, well, that's not very good. The number is far worse than that. The number could be as high as 18 or 19 percent, Greta, and that's a horrible number.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, if -- if your candidate, Governor Mitt Romney, is elected in November, sworn in in January, I'm curious to what extent, looking -- stepping back and looking at the economy, and how much it's like an aircraft carrier, that it takes so much to sort of turn and -- you know, and get some progress -- I mean, how soon, if your candidate is sworn in in January, will we see the economy show a significant rebound? Because I assume you think he will do that.

TRUMP: I do think so. I think that he'd do a lot of very, very powerful things with respect to China. We have all the cards. People don't know that. I think that he'd do a lot of very powerful things with respect to other countries, and also OPEC.

And I think he'd open up energy very quickly. Look at the jobs that can be created. We have -- we didn't realize this two, three, four years ago. We have energy right under our feet. We can't get it. I think he'd open up jobs very, very rapidly with respect to energy, get fuel prices down, get oil down, and that will be a tremendous boon for the economy.

So I think a lot of things can happen quickly. I think this is a country with tremendous potential, unbelievable potential, but we're not using it. Regulation, so many different things that are happening are so bad for this country, not to mention high taxes.

So you know, I really believe that it can happen quickly. The potential of this country is enormous, if we'd let it go.

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed, let it go. And maybe even if we can sort of bury some of these unusual disagreements. By the way, do you like a good fight? I'm curious how you endure all this.

TRUMP: Well, I've always liked a good fight. I think it's a fight that's a very important fight. You know, some people don't think so, but I think it's an important fight because, you know, essentially, you're right down to the basics. The answer is if you're not born here, you can't be president. So it's not like, Oh, gee, let's not discuss it.

But a lot of people -- and I think you know this as well as I do, millions and millions of people happen to agree with me, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I know that a lot do. But I'm just curious -- let me get back to this. ... What would it take to convince you otherwise? I know that you're -- are you convinced he wasn't born here or are you suspicious?

TRUMP: Well, I think that it's more likely that he wasn't born here. But I would also say that if you look at his college records, they may have some good information on his college records that would say place of birth, and it would be very interesting to see what happened.

I think that that was a real killer last week when it was announced that when it was released that in the 1990s, he said he was born in Kenya. I mean, he said it. His grandmother said it. His mother didn't spend time in the hospital. It's hard to have babies when you don't spend time in the hospital.

So you know, there are a lot of things, Greta, that are very suspicious and you know, it's a big issue, a big issue. Took him a long time to release the so-called birth certificate. Didn't do it for McCain. Didn't do it for Hillary Clinton. Did do it for Donald Trump. Did do it. You know, I'm very proud of that, and you know that, and I got a lot of credit for that and probably some scorn, but I got a lot of credit for that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Hypothetically, is there anything that he could produce that would convince you that he was born in Hawaii? Is there some sort of singular document or piece of evidence or any other information you could think that could defeat your suspicion or even your thoughts he was born elsewhere?

TRUMP: Sure. Good, solid proof would be wonderful.

VAN SUSTEREN: Like what, though?

TRUMP: And so far -- so far, they haven't been able to do that. You know, good, solid proof. And let's get back to jobs. Go ahead, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right.

TRUMP: Good, solid proof.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'll take that cue is that that's the end. Thank you, Donald. And talk to you soon.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)