OTR Interviews

Trump: Now is not a good time for vacation, leadership must come from the top from Obama

President and lawmakers are going on vacation with business left unfinished. Would 'The Donald' fire them all?


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

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Is this a good time for Congress to slip away from Washington and take a five-week vacation? And what about the president jetting off to Martha's Vineyard? Is this a good time for him to do that?

We asked Donald Trump.


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to talk to you.


VAN SUSTEREN: OK, Donald, any thoughts on Congress taking a five-week vacation?

TRUMP: Well, with what's going on in the country, and that includes the president, this is not a good time to be taking vacations. You lead by example, and vacations is not what this country wants to see right now.

You have a debt ceiling coming up. You have lots of other things happening. The country's a mess. We have $17 trillion now in debt, which is hard to believe, but $17 trillion. This is not a good time to be taking a vacation.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, I did a little research, which I also posted on GretaWire. The reason why they're taking a five-week vacation goes back to 1791, and that's because it was so hot in Washington in August, it was very tough on the legislatures. But I should point out that they've had air-conditioning in the U.S. Capitol since about 1950!

So we're -- the reason why they're taking a vacation dates back to 1791. What do you think about that?

TRUMP: Well, it's amazing how great air-conditioning systems work today. I'm just installing a big one in Doral, and they really do work very well. So that's no longer an excuse, although, I guess -- I don't know. This is the problem. When they use an excuse like that, we have problems.

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed, we do. Now, the continuing resolution is set to expire on the last date of September. That's very important to the government, to the economy. So they're not going to be around for five weeks to make a decision, so there's going to be a lot of pressure in September.

Would it make a difference to you if they actually did their work sooner rather than later, as a businessperson and a job creator?

TRUMP: Well, I think it makes a big difference because we go back to the word "certainty." We've had so little certainty in this country. We don't know what's going to happen with the debt ceiling. Is it going to be a war again or is it going to be easily approved? Well, we think it's probably not going to be easily approved. Will it be approved?

So you really have to get to work on this stuff. It's complex. There's a huge negotiation, and you know, many of the people we're talking about, they've never negotiated before. They've never been in private business. They don't know what it is to make a payroll or look at a balance sheet. And frankly, for them to be going away right now sets such a bad example for the country and even the world to watch.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think they do it? I mean, I know that they can do it. But you know, if I were in Congress and I saw the state of the country and I knew that I had the debt ceiling looming as we're going to hit that soon, continuing resolution soon to expire, that I sort of half started on an important issue like immigration, that I talk about the tax code, but all I do is put more specialties into it for my buddies -- I mean, I -- at some point, wouldn't you think that doing your job comes first? I don't care if they take the whole year off, but do your job first!

TRUMP: Well, I think the president has to lead. You know, it all starts at the top, and you have a man that's going to be the leader and he's got to call everybody together, and he's got to say, Come on, let's not leave. Let's all sit together. Come to the White House. Come to wherever you want to come, and let's get together and make a deal.

But there doesn't seem to be that kind of talk. A lot of people want to make deals, but the deals are so divergent and so different, and you have non-deal makers having to make a very complicated deal.

And yet, actually, if you look at it, it's not so complicated. It's pretty obvious what has to be done. But you're dealing with non-deal makers, and in the case of the president, you're not talking about a deal maker. You have to have great leadership, and if the leadership isn't going to come to fore, it's going to be a big problem. And I'll tell you what. Come later on, September 30th, you could have a real disaster in this country.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I suspect that what the supporters of the president would say, as the supporters on the other side would say, is that, you know, every president does that. Every president takes time off. So you know, how can you complain now if it's just not your guy?

TRUMP: Well, they do and some don't. You know, we've had some very, very hard-working presidents, and we've had some that are legendary for not having worked so hard.

But in this case, we really need leadership. We've never been in a position where we owe $17 trillion, a lot of it to the Chinese, by the way -- $17 trillion. We've never been in that position. And it can be solved.

This country has such incredible potential and economic potential. And by the way, you mention the word economics and you mention financial, that's good in terms of Social Security. It's good in terms of Medicare and Medicaid. We need wealth to take care of people. I mean, it's not a bad word. Wealth is not a bad word. We need it to take care of people. But you have to have somebody that knows what he or she is doing.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, it hasn't escaped my attention, the fact that you are going to Iowa this weekend. And so is someone -- I think that maybe Senator Rand Paul is going to speak, as well, and others, or maybe it's Senator Ted Cruz. But every time we see people going to Iowa, we in the media become suspicious that -- that there's 2016 on your mind. Is that one of the reasons, just a tiny bit of one of the reasons you're going to Iowa?

TRUMP: Well, the reason is that Bob Vander Plaats, who's a great guy, who's the leader there as far as that's concerned, and a religious leader and a great one, is a friend of mine and he asked me if I'd go. And I said yes, and a lot of people are reading a lot of things into that. But I did say yes, and I will say this in a very bragaddocious manner. Tickets are going through the roof. Are you surprised by that, Greta?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, I'm never surprised, Donald. I've also seen your Twitter account. I know about "The Apprentice," so none of this ever surprises me. And I've been to your office. So no, that doesn't surprise me.

But what does surprise me is I just can't get some sort of read on whether you truly have an interest in 2016 or if it's just sort of, like, you always like to make us crazy in the media and just tease us.

TRUMP: Well, I have an interest in the country, and the country is doing poorly. And it's probably never done so poorly, and yet it's disguised a little bit because the stock market is up and other things are up. But we have a real unemployment rate of 15 or 16 percent. You know that. I know that. Everybody knows that, not 7.4 percent.

VAN SUSTEREN: Can you change that? Could you change that as president? If Donald Trump were president, tell me what you -- tell me what the unemployment level would be?

TRUMP: Well, you have to put people back to work, yes. You have to stop foreign countries from making all our goods, all our products through manipulation of their currency. I mean, that's how they're making it. We make better product than China. We make a much better product. But when they manipulate their currency, it makes it impossible for us to buy in our own country. People are not going to be working.

So you have a vast unemployment rate, and we have to put these people back to work. We have to get foreign countries to stop outsmarting our politicians, which is what they're doing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, does that mean that had you been president in the last go-around, that you would have done a better job than President Obama? Are you saying that? Because I see that as sort of an indication whether or not you think that you'd be a good president beginning in 2016.

TRUMP: Well, if I decided to run -- I backed Mitt Romney. If I decided to run -- I was leading in all the polls. If I decided to run and if I won, I think we'd be in a lot better shape right now. And I wouldn't be on vacation.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, let me talk (INAUDIBLE) speaking about better shape, A-Rod -- the news tonight that he has been suspended for the remainder of this season and next season. Your thoughts about that.

TRUMP: I think it's great. Look, he's been taking this stuff all of his life, and when he stopped taking it, he became a lousy baseball player, or certainly just less than average. I think it's great. And it sets an example. And he's not very popular in New York. Nobody likes him. He lived in one of my buildings, Derek Jeter likewise and many of the Yankees. And many of the players live in my buildings, and I can tell you the ones that people like and the ones that people don't like. If I say to the doorman, What do you think of Derek? Oh, we love Derek. If I say, What do you think of A-Rod? It's, like, forget it.

So look, he deserves what he gets. He's been doing this for a long time. And frankly, I don't understand the Yankees. The Yankees should have stopped paying him two years ago because, obviously, on the contract, what he signed was not what they were bargaining for. So I don't understand why the Yankees kept paying him, but maybe they're very generous. Who knows?

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, very random: Should Pete Rose now be in the Hall of Fame? Would you let Pete Rose in?

TRUMP: Absolutely yes. You know, you look at some of this stuff and you see -- Pete Rose is the number one all-time leading hits leader in baseball, over 4,000 hits. He's paid a big price. Absolutely, it's time to let Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. And by the way, virtually everybody agrees with me. Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.

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

TRUMP: Thanks a lot, Greta.