OTR Interviews

Trump: We've lost our mojo as a country, real unemployment level is probably at 17 or 18 percent

'The Donald' takes on the new jobs report, its bleak implications and why he believes the unemployment rate is higher than what's being revealed

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 5, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, strong winter, weak spring. No, this is not your local weather report. This is your economy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: We are living in a dying country.

BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: There is a dismal new report about the state of jobs in America. Employers adding only 88,000 jobs in the month of March. That's the fewest number we have seen in nine months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely not a good report.

LIMBAUGH: The number of people in this country who are not working is shameful.

STUART VARNEY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: We've got 132 million jobs in this country and a growing population. You got to do better than 88,000 new jobs.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We are disappointed they are not the better.

LIMBAUGH: Ninety million Americans are no longer in the workforce, 90 million.

CARNEY: The president is not ever going to be satisfied until everybody who's looking for a job can get a job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We overshot. It is a punch to the gut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm calling it the dropout nation. We see it in a lot of areas with the jobs report.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't want to make too much of any one month, but it's not a good sign.

LIMBAUGH: I think it's official, we have a dying country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: And the man famous for both hiring and firing, Donald Trump joins us.

Nice to see you, Donald.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Hello, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, those numbers, 88,000 jobs added in the month of March are ghastly. Who is causing this? Who is standing in the way? What is the problem and what should we do?

TRUMP: Well, they are shocking numbers and a lot of people are just absolutely -- they can't even believe it. I was watching this morning [and] some great economists, if there is such a thing as a great economist, and they just could not believe the numbers, they are so bad.

So, Rush or somebody was saying dying country, and to a certain extent, we do have a dying country. Our business is being taken away by China and others and we just don't have what we used to have. We lost our mojo as a country.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, we lost our mojo. Well, we even got Austan Goolsbee who used to work to the president's economic adviser, calling this a punch to the gut, the numbers today.

And you got Vice President Biden who apparently has a different view of it. He is more optimistic. He says the economy is now adding private sector jobs every month -- disappointing this month, but they nonetheless added jobs. So, he is putting a positive spin on this and nobody else is. Everyone else is absolutely freaked with these numbers.

TRUMP: Well, they've got to put a positive spin. They have no choice but to do that. But we really are a country that is in tremendous trouble.

I have people working for me at a lower level saying that, you know, Mr. Trump, we lost $45 this week. And I said, $45 out of what? They get paid about $350 and $400 a week. And they came up to me and they said, we didn't know the tax increases were going to affect us. We heard it was people over $250,000 and people making a lot of money. But, actually, everybody has been very hurt by really if you add it up, it's Obamacare.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, if you look at the numbers, we added 88,000 in the month of March. The unemployment level went down to 7.6, which means, you know, the real crime here of several crimes here, economic crimes is the fact that we've managed to discourage so many people out of the job market, we've so made their lives miserable that they've given up. So they aren't even counted, hence the number goes done.

So, we really put this incredible depressing film over the economic job market.

TRUMP: Well, that is the big fallacy. People give up looking for a job and they therefore stop and we don't count them in the numbers and we have this report that the numbers went down. The numbers haven't gone down. The real number is probably 17 percent or 18 percent if you really look at it.

The country is in trouble and we lost our incentives. We don't have the incentive like we used to have.

Other countries that are starting at a different level, all of a sudden, you know, they picked up our old formula. We've lost our old formula.

Also, you look at food stamps, you look at the different kinds of welfare programs going on. It's really unbelievable what's happened together country and we can't afford it as a country. And we have to start making things again because if we don't make things again, we are just going to fail.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, just think when you talk about unemployment numbers, you are talking about the people who really want jobs and if you look at the numbers and you break them down, demographics, African-Americans, the unemployment levels of those actually looking for jobs, 13.3 percent. Teenagers from the ages of 16 and 19, the ones who really want jobs and are out there hunting, 34 percent. It says 24 percent up there but the different number I have is much higher.

You know, it's astounding whether it's 24 percent or 34 percent is totally unacceptable. And yet, there's no -- there's no -- there's no bright light ahead.

TRUMP: Well, this is no bright. And you real le said something interesting because the African Americans have been just decimated by what's going on with the economy, and you would have thought it maybe would have been the other way around. They have been absolutely decimated and it's very sad.

Young people coming out of college, young people without education, without the big college education, they are getting just creamed. So, we have to get going as a country or we are really going to have problems. You know, we can solve all of our problems if we can get the economy going, whether it's Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid.

I mean, the big thing is to get the economy strong and robust and we can take care of things. Right now, we cannot take care of our people that need it. No matter what you do, no matter what you say, it is just not there. And I said it before, you know, the mojo of this country is gone.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who is the person who has the job, is it the head of, you know, is it the speaker, is it the House majority, the president, business leaders, I mean, who really has sort of his finger on the button that could change all this stuff or is there no single person?

TRUMP: Well, I always say it starts with the top. I mean, it starts with the president and I'm sure he is treeing very hard and wants to get everything going the way he wants it to go. I mean, this is certainly not good for him. He can't be thrilled by it.

But it is leadership at the top. And the leadership at the top gets the Senate, gets Congress generally to get going and pass things that they have to do. I mean, we have pipelines that aren't getting built. We have so many things that aren't happening.

You look at energy. You look at what's going on with energy. We could be the energy capital of the world about you can't go out and get the energy because the environmentalists are stopping it.

So, it really starts with the leadership at the presidential level.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, we also want to ask you about some other big economic news this week. Earlier this week, we reported that the electric car company Fisker Automotive may be preparing for bankruptcy. The company is backed by the United States Energy Department. That means, of course, taxpayers, and they could be on the hook for $192 million.

And today, "Bloomberg News" tweeting, "Fisker Automotive set to fire 80 percent of staff as deal evades plug-in carmaker."

Donald, that's another idea of the Energy Department lending taxpayer money for an idea that has gone belly up. How much more are can we take of that?

TRUMP: Well, I think it's terrible that the United States has become an investment banker, and virtually everybody they back goes out of business. You look at what's going on with the solar panels and the solar energy. You look at these horrible wind mills that are destroying every environment. They are destroying areas. They are destroying neighborhoods. They're killing all of the birds. The wind mills are the worst of all.

And we are backing all of this garbage that doesn't work and it's really destructive and they are all going out o of business. So, we're not an investment banker. We're a country, has to take care of its people. But every time we make an investment, it seems to go bad.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, if I needed heart surgery, I wouldn't go to a neurologist. I would go to a cardiologist or a cardiac surgeon. What I don't get is why the government which has maybe be bureaucrats or scientists or whatever, think that they are investment bankers all of a sudden. I guess it is because they are not playing with their own money. If these were great ideas, private capital would run in and snap up you these businesses. But they aren't.

That ought to be a red flag.

TRUMP: Well, Greta, I have gotten to know a lot of people in government, and government has a lot of fantastic people. But it's not their expertise. This is not what they're supposed to be doing.

And frankly even the great investment houses make mistakes, but at least they have to pay a price for it. The government isn't paying a price.

So, we shouldn't be doing this. We shouldn't be backing a car company that comes up with a new concept for an electric car. That's perfect for Wall Street. Let it happen to Wall Street.

And if it works, they benefit greatly. And if it doesn't work, they lose their shirt. And that's the way it's supposed to be.

VAN SUSTEREN: But how much more of this can we even take? I mean, we've got Solyndra. I mean, this is like almost no way to stop the government from just taking the money and making these investments. We hear about them when they go belly up, when they go out and start sniffing around looking for a bankruptcy firm. That's when we he hear about it.

TRUMP: Well, I think it's probably the least of our problems. It's hundreds of billions of dollars and that's a lot of money. But the big culprits are other countries and what they are doing for us.

You look at, as an example, Brazil gets the Olympics. We wanted to get the Olympics, we don't get anything.

You look at, as an example, South Korea. We are spending tremendous -- we'll spend billions and billions of dollars to protect them from North Korea. They're not giving us anything. What are we doing?

I mean, you know, they are competitor of ours. Hey, they're wonderful people. I've had partners from South Korea. They're wonderful people.

But why are we doing this all free? We're not in that position as a country. They should be paying us for this. We send those aircraft carriers and we send all those ships and those planes and the bombers, and we get nothing out of it, except -- in all fairness, they take most of our business. You know, they've made some unbelievable deals with our government. They are just taking our business to South Korea.

So, why aren't paying for this kind of protection? This is just one of many things.

So, when you talk about Solyndra, that's a lot of money. But the big money is what other countries are doing to us.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Who do you admire in politics right, who you think would be a good person to be a leader probably with the eyes on 2016. I mean, in light of, you know, where we are in the economy and how we are dealing with other countries?

I mean, who is your favorite of the day?

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to use names because I know everybody and they he have all been up to my office and ask for my support, and all that. So, it's just too early to name names, but there are a number of very good people, talented people, people that could do a good job, in my opinion.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, but I mean -- but we he have to start looking at names, we have to start examining people and see what their track records are, you know, take a close look at them. This isn't a popularity contest.

TRUMP: You're right.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, who's got the production record that you think, you know what, that person would do a good job?

TRUMP: Well, it actually turned out to be a popularity contest. When you say it isn't, it actually turned out. I mean, people liked the president, and unfortunately, Mitt, who was a wonderful man, but he didn't resonate with the voters and he lost -- he lost fairly convincingly.

So, you know, it turned out to be a popularity contest. I think there are some very good people, some very talented. But, Greta, you know, you are asking me a question. We just had an election. It's a little too soon. It's just something that we can't be thinking of right now. There is probably somebody that nobody is thinking of will end up getting the nomination and maybe on both sides.

But we do need leadership in this country because we are just going -- we are truly going awry.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, big night tomorrow night, WWE. What's going on there? Do you know?

TRUMP: Well, I was informed a couple of months ago that the world wrestling, it's a great group, Vince McMahon heads it and they are putting me into the Hall of Fame. You know, I've held two Wrestlemanias at different places that I have.

But perhaps even more importantly, we have the all time record, it's called the "Battle of the Billionaires," Vince and myself. We actually wrestled in a sense through different guys, and he lost and we shaved his head and it's to this day the highest rated wrestling program ever and the highest pay-per-view ever and it was great.

So, they are putting me into the WWE Hall of Fame and that's a great honor. It's going to be at Madison Square Garden tomorrow night at 8:00.

So, I'll look forward to that. That will be fun. Vince is a great guy.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, congratulations. Thank you, Donald.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Greta.