OTR Interviews

Trump: The IRS scandal has stopped resonating with the public

'Second Term Scandals': 'The Donald' believes the uproar surrounding the embattled agency has waned, sounds off on whether it should be dismantled


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 14, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: When the federal government has that much power in our individual lives, it's an invitation to being abused. And I think we ought to abolish the IRS and instead move to a simple flat tax where the average American can fill out taxes on a postcard.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Should we abolish the IRS? And does Donald Trump like the IRS just the way it is? Let's ask him. Donald joins us. Nice to see you, Donald.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Donald, is the IRS fine the way it is, or you agree with Senator Cruz?

TRUMP: You know, there a lot of different people with a lot of different ideas, and some are good and some are bad. But the tax code at a minimum should be a lot simpler. As far as abolishing the IRS, that's a very, very big move, and it could be a dangerous move, frankly. In a lot of ways they have done a very good job over the years. But the fact is to abolish it you're talking about an entirely different tax and an entirely different tax code, and that can be dangerous.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, how much does the IRS targeting scandal really matter to American people other than those who are specifically targeted, who are very unhappy, as they should be?

TRUMP: You know, it's been amazing. I thought when I heard the big three -- you had the AP scandal, you had Benghazi, and I really thought Benghazi was horrible because the deaths of the ambassador and other people. And it was a terrible thing, terrible. You really would have to say because of that, the worst.

But with Benghazi and AP, and the IRS, I really thought IRS would resonate the most. And it was resonating the most until about four or five days ago, and now, other than you, Greta, it doesn't seem like people are talking about it so much. It is fading.

And I would say this, you talk about Teflon, the president is really - - it's an amazing phenomenon. It doesn't seem to be resonating like it did a couple of weeks ago. But this first came out, it was the biggest story, and they talk about the scandals. This was the biggest scandal, and all of a sudden it does not seem to be resonating anymore. Do you see that too?

VAN SUSTEREN: I think there is a lot for the American people to talk about in terms of the recent NSA and Benghazi. So I think there is a lot on the plates of the American people. Plus you have the problem with the economy still very sluggish. But I'm curious. Why do you think the IRS has not resonated? I'll throw it back to you.

TRUMP: It just seems it. And I'm not talking about at the beginning. At the beginning it was a massive point of discussion, and a lot of people very upset in both parties, as they should be. But over the last three or four days I noticed that it's not really being talked about by the liberal media or the NBCs and the ABCs and the CBSs. They're not talking about it. And I am a little bit surprised. It seems to be going away like so many other things seem to go away.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you grade Congress in oversight of the IRS and the president in his response to this IRS scandal?

TRUMP: They are making a response. It's a strong response, but, again, the issue is not the same issue we had two weeks ago, Greta. I think you know that as well as anybody. You are talking about it, Sean Hannity talking about it, and Bill is talking about it. But a lot of people aren't and a lot of people incensed at it have given up the issue. And I'm surprised they have given it up.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which matters more to you, when have you a discussion around the dinner table, which is more concern, the NSA discussion or the IRS or even Benghazi at this point, or the journalists?

TRUMP: They are all big. Benghazi is so terrible with what happened to the ambassador. Not only the death, but there are stories coming out about the way he died, just like nobody -- this should never be allowed to happen. And the biggest problem I have with Benghazi is the fact that there is no retribution. We know the people that did it, there's been no retribution. How do you allow this to happen? So Benghazi to me is something that is really beyond anything very disgraceful the way it was handled.

I would say this, the IRS scandal should be the biggest, and it's not. The other is a real mess. You really talk about national security. Is it national security, is it not national security? Who wants to have people looking every time you make a call? Who is listening? It is a really big scandal. And I look at the factory virtually, you can call it, that they are building. I have never seen anything like this. If it's a matter of national security, Greta, that's a very important thing. But it can't be, not to this extent.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does the president seem engaged in terms of addressing these, or should he even be engaged in these scandals that aren't necessarily his problem?

TRUMP: He doesn't seem overly engaged and they don't seem to really - - just happen one after another. I've never seen anything. I've never seen so much stuff. We've seen scandals and some beauties, but I've never seen so many happen at one time.

And in a way, you know, having this many, somebody said, this is what they want because nobody focused on anything, or nobody focuses on the one that would resonate the best. A lot of people think it was done on purpose. I don't happen to believe that way.

I will say this. You have a tremendous number of bad things happening in this country right now, Greta, tremendous. Call them scandals, and that's what they are. They are all happening at once and people aren't focusing.

VAN SUSTEREN: And why not?

TRUMP: You'll have to answer that question, Greta. You are trying to get them to focus, but the fact is -- as an example, the AP, that was such a big deal. And the interesting -- the liberal media hated that more than anybody, and that almost got them going on other things. But now they have calmed down, and everything seems to be just hunky-dory on that one.

So it's amazing that this kind of stuff that these scandals, they just don't seem to last for a very long period of time. When you have 161 people going to the White House, you know, when you have 161 visits from the commissioner, that's to me, like, amazing. And you have --


TRUMP: And you have the secretary of defense going there 15 times or 20 times. That to me is amazing. But Greta, it's not resonating.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, always nice to talk to you.

TRUMP: OK. Thank you, bye.