OTR Interviews

Trump: Sequester-inspired furlough backfired on Obama

Donald Trump sounds off on the end of the FAA furloughs, their impact and the military cuts under sequestration


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 26, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: After a week of inexcusable flight delays and a national public uproar, Congress finally green-lighting a bill to end air traffic controller furloughs. But is the damage to the economy already done? And what about all the other problems that are not fixed?

Donald Trump joins us. Nice to talk to you, Donald.


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, this whole mess with the furloughs, the air traffic controllers -- what's been the impact on business, and will it now be over?

TRUMP: Well, it's been very negative. I mean, people are waiting three, four, five hours at the airport. It was politics. And I think it backfired on the president and probably everybody else that played the game. But it's been certainly very negative for businesses all throughout the country.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you say it backfired on the president and it was politics? How does it backfire on the president? He's in his second term. He's not going to run again. So where there's -- I don't know what the political ramification is. Does it mean that he won't be as influential in other programs he would like to sort of marshal through the House and the Senate?

TRUMP: Well, they say he wanted this to happen from the standpoint that he wanted to show that he was right about the sequester. And actually, it's almost hard to believe that that could be possible, but there are many people and people that I know very much that he wanted this to happen, but it really backfired on him and it's a shame. But it's a shame that, really, for the people that are waiting five hours at an airport to take off. It's been a mess.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you say he wanted this to happen, what does he get out of it? I mean, I know what the rest of us -- I mean, this has been very painful to the American people. Whether you fly or don't fly, you want your products or you want your groceries or whatever it is that's carried in the -- the cargo bin of the plane to get to a destination. But you know, what does -- what does he get out of this?

TRUMP: Well, the word is that he would get out of it the fact that the cuts that he made are really bad for the economy. And this is one that people see, much moreso than some of the others where they don't see them. But it was something that hasn't worked out.

And I think that he didn't feel and nobody felt it could have been this bad. It has really been bad. And you know, you're also talking about safety. I mean, we're talking about waiting and waiting for hours in many cases, and many hours. But you're also talking about flight safety, and you just can't mess around with that, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the FAA coach -- the way the FAA discussed it, they said that it had to do with efficiency, which I -- you know, I frankly didn't agree on it and I thought that if anything did happen catastrophic, there'd be blood on the hands of every politician in Washington who wasn't pushing to have some answers to sequestration. So actually, I thought it was far more dangerous than people realize, and I think we got lucky that nothing happened.

But I still don't get what the president wins from this, you know, by pushing this through. What -- I just don't understand why inflicting the American people with this is in any way, you know, positive for the president.

TRUMP: Well, I would certainly think you have to ask the president that question because I don't see it, either. But many, many people are saying that's what happened. It just turned out to be much more serious.

And you know, the amazing thing is it's a very, very small amount of money relative to what's going on in this country and this economy. So you're dealing with a very small amount of money.

But it was painful and very painful to the business. Not only is it the money that you're talking about, it's the money that the country is losing because they can't function properly. And I know many people that canceled flights. They were doing business trips, they were doing trips -- even if you said vacations. I mean, those resorts aren't doing as well. A lot of things have happened, and the real number I think is probably untold. Nobody knows what the real number is.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm a little bit suspicious also it has an impact on morale, and morale matters because when the country is feeling really low, the economy seems to have a harder time getting revved up. You know, the consumer confidence goes down. I think the fact that when we see our politicians inflicting this pain on us and you see the president not showing the leadership to somehow rise above it and get the House and Senate to come up with a solution, I think it has a huge dampening effect on our nation's morale, and that happens. Do you agree or disagree with me?

TRUMP: Well, I totally agree. And I think in terms of the nation's morale, it wouldn't be very high right now anyway. But now, all of a sudden, you have a lot of people -- I'm talking millions of people waiting at airports for five hours to get onto an airplane? I would say their morale is not too good. I agree with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the impact on our military? Because that's the next area of cuts that everyone's looking at. And I know that you tweeted that -- you were reflecting on the sequester cuts to the military versus what's going on in China.

TRUMP: Well, I don't like the military cuts and I don't think it's necessary. What we need in this country is to get the country going again. You know, it's funny, if we could get this country going, if we could bring our jobs back to this country, everything is solved. You don't have problems anymore because we'd be taking in so much money. We'd be so rich again.

Right now, we're a poor nation. We're a debtor nation. But we would be so strong and so solid again.

I hate cutting military. I mean, how do you cut military when the things are happening to us that are happening and when the world hates us? You look at the world, they hate us. So we shouldn't be cutting military. I hate to see it. We have to get the country working again.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, how do you do that? I mean, let me go back to the old discussion we've had a million times, this whole business about jobs and how much attention really is being focused? Do you have the sense that the government really is focusing on the problem that so many Americans are unemployed? And of course, I always go right back to the inner city where the unemployment rates are anywhere from 16 to 26 percent in some neighborhoods.

TRUMP: Oh, it's the worst, and the inner city is the worst. But other countries are making our products and they're taking our jobs, Greta. It's very, very simple. And they're not necessarily playing by the rules.

And frankly, in most cases, they're not playing by the rules because there's nobody to say you're not playing by the rules. And what we have to do and we have to do it strongly is if we don't get them to play fair with their currency, their currency manipulation -- and I'm talking about China and I'm talking about other countries -- there are other countries, not just China.

And when you look at OPEC, where the oil is $90 and $100 a barrel and there's so much oil around. It's a monopoly. I mean, they're just setting the price of oil and it's a killer for this country.

I've always said, if oil is more than $40 a barrel in this country, I don't think the country can do well, so -- and that's what's happening.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are we weak in the sense that we don't -- you know, we don't enforce different, like, currency? We don't go after currency manipulators? Are we just looking the other way? Are we trying -- are we trying to sort of please everybody, but we're not showing any leadership or protection of the American people?

TRUMP: Greta, we don't do anything. We don't do anything. And we have such power. We've made these countries wealthy. You know, if you travel -- and I do that, I do it a lot -- if you travel to some of these countries with the beautiful airports that you land at and the beautiful bridges that they've just built and the magnificent everything that they have, including roadways, highways, schools, and then you come back here, we're becoming like a third world country.

You land at LaGuardia airport, you land at Kennedy airport, you land at LAX, we're becoming like a third world country. You go to some of these countries where they have airports that are so magnificent, you've never seen anything like it. And then we arrive into our great country, and we're, like -- literally, it's become like a third world country. And it's very, very sad.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, to the extent the airports do tell something, there's nothing more spectacular than that airport in Beijing. That's a beautiful airport.

TRUMP: Well, there are many of them, but that's Beijing. But there are many of them like that, and they're all over China, but they're all over the Middle East. And you know, they built it with our money.


TRUMP: If you get right down to it, it's all our money, Greta. So let's get these people moving, Greta. Come on, Greta, you can do better.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Donald. I thought you were going to do better. But anyway, thank you Donald.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. Bye.