OTR Interviews

Trump: Chief Justice Roberts tried to 'curry favor,' will be 'haunted' by ruling on ObamaCare

Donald Trump blasts Chief Justice's pivotal opinion in the Supreme Court's decision on ObamaCare and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 3, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight: Donald Trump. He is not happy about the Supreme Court's health care decision. How do we know? Well, immediately after the ruling, he tweeted, "The USC" -- meaning United States Supreme Court -- "made a terrible decision today. How can a requirement to buy private health insurance logically be a government tax?"

And Donald Trump wasn't finished with that. He fired off more tweets with extra harsh words directed at Chief Justice John Roberts. He tweeted, "Justice Roberts turned on his principles with absolutely irrational reasoning in order to get loving press from the Washington establishment. He should be ashamed of himself."

Why such tough talk? Donald Trump joins us. Nice to talk to you, Donald.


VAN SUSTEREN: And I should say you cannot -- you continued today. You posted or tweeted, "Justice Roberts changed his vote in order to make the media happy. He was intimidated by the press."

How do you know that?

TRUMP: Well, it's what I've heard. It's what I'm hearing from the press. It's what I'm hearing from some of your brethren that cover the Supreme Court. And supposedly, a month ago, he was all set to go, and then all of a sudden, he changed his mind.

And frankly, Greta, I was watching and I was watching the kind of horrible press the so-called conservative judges were getting. And I said, You know, I wouldn't be surprised if one of them -- and I sort of thought in terms of Roberts, but one of them -- changed just to curry good favor with the press. And that's what happened.

He was totally against -- his decision made no sense whatsoever. It wasn't even rational. And you know, it's come back to haunt him a little bit. Two things have happened. Number one, the decision itself is not a respected decision even by his opponents because they can't believe he did it. And so that level of respect that he was seeking I don't think he got.

And of course, the good news for Mitt Romney -- I think this could really be a huge positive. I've never seen the Republicans so energized as they have been over the last four days.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, for me, Donald, it's a little tough to think that a Supreme Court justice would go outside the record and be weak-kneed and be influenced by the crowd, essentially. So it's very -- you know, it's very troubling when I hear that. And I know that everyone seems to believe that and I know people are pointing to irregularities in the decision.

But you know, I certainly think that is -- if that's true, it certainly is a terrible destabilizing for our judicial system and for our system of government.

TRUMP: Well, Justice Roberts is a smart man and a smart man could not have made this decision because you look at his decision, it's just fraught with ambiguities and inconsistencies and it doesn't make sense. He knows it doesn't make sense. He grasped at the tax concept so that he could justify it.

But I have no doubt that he read that unbelievable barrage of -- I was actually saying to myself, I said to other people, You know, somebody is going to come out and do something where they're going to support Obama in order to curry favor. And that's what's happened.

But actually, I think it's turning out to be in reverse for him. I think people have lost respect for what he did. And I have no doubt that he was in favor -- look at what happened during the argument. I mean, he was vocal and vocally against. Now, I'm not saying you can predict judges, and you never really know what's going to happen, and sometimes you get some very, very strong statements and then that judge goes against you.

But in this case, everybody knew what was the right thing, and he did the wrong thing. He thought he did the right thing for himself, but I think that's going to turn out to haunt him.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, what's unprecedented here is that the leaks are coming out of the Supreme Court. We never get leaks out of the Supreme Court.

TRUMP: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: And there seems to be incredible, you know, discontent there and a lot of accusations flying. Assuming the leaks are correct, it does -- you know, it is very -- you know, it's a very -- it's a stain on the court if the court is so vulnerable to outside influence.

Now, it could be that Justice Roberts, Chief Justice Roberts, simply intellectually changed his view, but the press he's getting today is rather painful.

TRUMP: Well, the funny thing is that the leaks are coming from the liberal media. That's the ones that seem to have -- I don't know, you know, I've dealt with press all my life. Some is honest, some is good, some is just horrendous and totally dishonest. So you never know necessarily what to believe.

But the leaks are coming mostly from the liberal side of the media, and it's very interesting what they're saying. But they're basically saying that he was a done deal, and that Kennedy, who should be, by the way, very, very proud of himself for sticking up for his deals and for what's right, maybe even more importantly -- but Kennedy was the one that everybody was concerned about, and he was this way from the beginning. He was strongly opposed from the beginning.

And Roberts changed his tune. And I have no -- look, we're not computers. We're not machines. He decided -- and this has nothing to do with week-kneed. Maybe the opposite, but he decided that he was going to curry favor. And he has! I mean, he's gotten...

VAN SUSTEREN: But his job is not to curry favor. That is simply not his job!

TRUMP: Absolutely. Of course not.

VAN SUSTEREN: His job is to decide -- however the cards fall within the courtroom, within the record that's presented to him, with his intellectual abilities, looking at the Constitution, looking at precedent. But if he's paying attention at all to what is going on outside and listening to the crowd, that's a very different situation.

TRUMP: Greta, his job is to do the right thing and he didn't do the right thing. And that's why they don't have elections and that's why they get -- they're in there for life because they're not supposed to be influenced at all. They're not supposed to -- I guess, in theory, they shouldn't even be reading newspapers.

They should be doing what's right. I have no doubt -- as a human being, I have no doubt that he read the papers and he said, You know what? I'm going to do something that's going to shock people. And man, am I going to be popular in Washington and Georgetown.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think he wants to be popular? I mean, that's such a -- I tell you...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... that's so unlike my impression of what the court has been historically. And I guess that's because I'm a lawyer and I -- you know, I have respect for the court system. But to think that a chief justice would be want to, quote, "be popular" with the crowd in Georgetown -- do you really believe that?

TRUMP: Yes, I do. Absolutely. And I think less him than -- you know, I -- I really think that some maybe moreso than others, but in this case, I have no doubt that what the liberal media reported was true. He was totally against and strongly against it. He changed his tune all of a sudden. Kennedy was very angry at him, supposedly not talking.

And what is interesting is for the first time that I've ever watched this -- and I've been watching it all my life -- I see that reporters seem to have access to the Supreme Court. Very interesting. I've never seen inside reporting on the Supreme Court before this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think it's because the justices, the colleagues are so furious is why I think that we're hearing things. I mean, the leaks are coming not because everything is fine and dandy inside the court. It's because there's great dissension and people are troubled by what went on inside. I think -- I think that's why we're getting leaks.

TRUMP: I think Justice Roberts did a very dishonorable thing. I think what he did was dishonorable because there was no justification for he what did. His decision didn't even make sense. If you read his decision, this is not the decision of a smart man. And frankly, the Kennedy decision was an unbelievably well written, well crafted, and actually angry decision, I suspect angry because of what Roberts did. But it was an angry decision, but it was also a correct decision.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I don't -- actually -- you know, Donald, I don't have any problem with the justice, during the course of deliberations and writing opinions, changing his or her mind on how a case should be decided. The only thing that troubles me is if it's outside influence.

TRUMP: That's right.

VAN SUSTEREN: If someone wants to be popular...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... or someone is trying to curry favor, that's what's troubling, not that someone might change his mind.

TRUMP: It's called the "why." Why did he change? How come he changed? What was he reading? What was he looking at? What influenced him to make this change?

And there's no question that he changed. I mean, it's not, like, Oh, gee, he felt this way from the beginning. There is no question that he changed. And I would tell you that I would think that President Bush, who appointed him, is a very unhappy camper at this point and very embarrassed by it, but he has to be a very, very unhappy camper.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you think that this -- you said earlier that you thought this helped Governor Romney. Governor Romney has through his spokesperson -- not Governor Romney, but Governor Romney through his spokesperson says that he agrees essentially with the White House that this is not a tax. Does that not put him in the wrong position in terms of his -- his constituency?

TRUMP: Well, Justice Roberts said it was a tax. And I heard the representative say that. I have not heard Mitt say it. But you know, as far as I'm concerned, Justice Roberts said it was a tax. That was the only way he could justify his ridiculous decision.

So I would be more inclined to say it was a tax. I think it's frankly better for Mitt if he views it that way. And what was said was said. But that's up to him. I haven't heard what -- I haven't heard Mitt's take. I've heard people talking, and maybe talking for him, and maybe not. Nobody even knows. But I have not heard his take yet.

I will say this. It has energized -- because Mitt is saying he will absolutely knock it out. As soon as he gets in, they will start from day one to knock it out. The Republican Party is energized like it was not. It was fine. It was good. Things were going good and there was energy. But now it's got super-energy. And I think in the end, this could really be something very important for Mitt Romney.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does it matter -- or should Governor Romney come out and say what he thinks it is, whether it's a tax or not a tax, and does that matter?

TRUMP: Well, he will come out and say. I mean, obviously, you and everybody else that speaks to him -- and I'm sure the first time the reporters speak, this will be the first question. So at some point, he'll come out and say, My preference would be -- and my -- what I say means nothing, but I would just stick with the decision. They call it a tax. So President Obama brought a tax on all of the millions and millions and millions of us that he said he wasn't going to be taxing.

So the people of this country were taxed by somebody that says he was not going to be taxing. Not only is it tax, it's 21 separate taxes. If you look at this, there are 21 separate taxes, smaller ones, bigger ones. You add them all up, it's a group of anywhere from 19 to 21 taxes going up through the line.

And he said he wasn't going to tax. Well, ObamaCare is a major tax as far as I'm concerned. Now, Mitt may have a different view on it. He may have a different take on it. And I think that's fine.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me switch topics now. Today -- earlier today, the news that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has apologized to Pakistan for the loss of life having to do with the NATO strike last November. The apology has been sort of a bit of a rub between our country and Pakistan because -- and as a consequence, they closed down our supply routes. Your thoughts on this?

TRUMP: Well, you know, I have no objection with apologies when somebody does something that was a mistake or something happens. But you know, we should be apologized to also because they housed Usama bin Laden right next to their major military base, and he was there for years and they knew it. And to think that they didn't know it is idiotic.

So I mean, maybe they should be apologizing to us. We've been feeding them billions and billions of dollars, tremendous amounts of money. And they'd been housing, you know, at the time, I would say, psychologically, at least, our worst enemy. So maybe they should apologize to us.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we -- are we sort of cornered on this, though, because apparently, it's cost us about $2 billion to go through a different supply route for our troops, going through -- going through Russia. It's cost us a lot more money because of Pakistan closing down their routes. So we've sort of gotten into a little bit of a squeeze. Either we apologized or didn't. It saves us a lot of money.

On the other hand, you know, they didn't -- you know, we have not heard an apology from them at all for housing and giving safe haven to Usama bin Laden.

TRUMP: Well, they don't apologize to us because they don't respect us. It's very simple. And frankly, if it cost us $2 billion -- and I hadn't heard that number. I had heard a smaller number. But if it cost us $2 billion, let's deduct it from their foreign aid. Very easy to solve. We just deduct it out from their foreign aid -- if we should be giving them foreign aid at all because I'm looking at what's going on over there, and they are certainly not our friend.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, earlier today, you also tweeted this. It says, "Just as I predicted" (INAUDIBLE) that "I" is you -- "Barack Obama is preparing a possible attack on Iran right before November."

Do you believe that the president is looking to take us into military conflict?

TRUMP: Well, he's a lousy negotiator, so if you can't negotiate peacefully an do -- I mean, we have all the cards because, I mean, Iran is crazy if they don't sit down and negotiate because the same thing is going to happen to them as happened to Iraq and so many other places. And it'll be long and nasty, but ultimately, it's the end of Iran as you know it today. So we have all the cards.

And frankly, this is a great time for the right person to negotiate something without having to do this. But I've been predicting -- and I did it on your show first -- that, yes, I believe that we will end up in a war with Iran because I think Obama views that as politically good for him.

He's in a poll, and I see the polls that just came out this morning, where he's actually losing really for the first time, and he's losing in swing states, most importantly, and he's losing fairly substantially.

Now, maybe that's accurate, and maybe it's not. And polls are oftentimes wrong. And I've watched them all different ways. But he's losing in swing states.

I have said for a year-and-a-half that in the end, we'll end up with - - somewhere before the election, we will end up in a form of war with Iran. And I think he's doing it for political reasons. There is no way -- if you send in the right person to negotiate -- we'll win much more than we ever could win through war. And we have all the cards. They have no cards right now.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Donald -- Donald, you know, it gets mean and ugly in this city and people fire shots back across the bow all the time, Democrats and Republicans. But when it comes to the issue of war or military conflict, you're saying that the president is really thinking about doing the unthinkable for political advantage, for himself, taking us to war. And that -- I mean, that -- you know, I think most people would say that's -- that's -- that's beyond.

TRUMP: Well, I don't think...

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, that's beyond (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: ... it's beyond. That's my opinion. And I think that's my opinion, and let's see what happens. I hope that doesn't happen.

By the way, if that happens, oil prices are going to shoot up like never before. But I think that's what will happen. But we'll see. I mean, look, what should happen is Iran has to be -- despite their bravado, they have to be scared stiff right now because, I mean, they've just looked at what's happened to other countries because we are the most powerful and what we've done to others, whether we should have been there or shouldn't have been there, is unbelievable.

So what should happen is the right person should negotiate a phenomenal deal, everything. We should get 100 percent of everything. I have predicted that I think it's not going to go that way. We don't negotiate. We don't know how to negotiate.

Why didn't we ask Libya? We say, Hey -- you know, when the -- when the rebels came in, they said, We're being routed. We've only got one day left. Why didn't Obama say, We want half your oil? They would have given us everything. Instead, you know who's getting their oil right now? China.

We spend the money -- we -- let's not say free Libya because the ones that take over Libya are going to make everybody else look very bad, believe me, and it's going to be the group that dislikes the United States the most.

But the point is this. We could have said as an example, We want half your oil. They would have said, Where do we sign? We don't do that. So we don't have negotiators. We don't have the right people. And if we did, we wouldn't have war and we'd get much more than we could ever win through war. And as you know, I'm a fairly militaristic person, to put it mildly. But we can do better without it.

But I have said that he would use that, in my opinion, for political purposes, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, one quick last question. Who's on the top of your list for who you think the -- Governor Romney should pick as a vice president? Who do you think would be his best choice?

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to say, but...


TRUMP: Right. I don't want to say, but there's some very good choices. I feel we have some very, very...

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, give me a hint. Come on! Give me a hint.

TRUMP: Well, I think Rubio is a good choice. I think Chris Christie is a good choice. I think Portman is a good choice. I think we have some really good choices, I mean, some very good people, each bringing very different things to the fore.

But you know, in the end, it's all about Mitt because people don't really go for the vice president. You know, they don't -- and this has been proven over many, many years of history. They don't vote for the vice president, they vote for the president.

But I think he's got great -- whether it's Chris Christie or Portman or Rubio, I think he's got some great choices.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, if have -- if you have the governor's ear for just a second, you could give him a piece of advice tonight, what would it be?

TRUMP: Well, just hold the course. Stay the course. He's doing well. He's solid. He's very, very smart.

I really think that, to a large extent, this is a referendum on Obama. He said he was not going to have deficits. He was going to cut the deficit in half. The deficit is through the roof. We're up to almost $17 trillion now, a word that we never even heard before, the word "trillion." But we're up to almost $17 trillion.

If you look back to the early days, he said, I will cut the deficit in half. Well, the exact opposite's happened. So this is really something where I think if Mitt just stays the course, we will have a new president. And he'll be a great president.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, thank you.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.