OTR Interviews

Trump: Republicans need the 'perfect candidate' to win back the White House

Uncut: 'The Donald' weighs in on potential candidates in 2016, whether he likes teasing his potential White House run in the media, the rise in Americans giving up their citizenship and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 13, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Just in, rich Americans giving up their citizenship. They are fed up with our tax code. How about Donald Trump? Donald, nice to see you.


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, there are apparently reports that there are a soaring number of Americans renouncing their citizenship and moving to other countries. What are your thoughts about that?.

TRUMP: People are very discouraged by everything that's happening in this country. We have a lack of leadership. We don't have any leadership at the top, and people are very, very discouraged. So while that's surprising, perhaps when you think about it, it's not so surprising.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would you ever consider anything like that? Would it ever get so bad for someone like you the thought would even cross your mind?

TRUMP: No. I would never consider it no matter how bad it gets, and it's pretty bad, but I would not consider that, no.

VAN SUSTEREN: I know 2016 seems like a long time away, with everyone in Iowa last weekend, including yourself, first of all what are your thoughts about Senator Rand Paul and Senator Ted Cruz both serving the Tea Party side of the Republican party.

TRUMP: They're both interesting guys and they have something to say. And everybody has something to say, I guess, but some of their ideas are good. I met actually Ted Cruz the other day for the first time in Iowa. I thought he was a terrific guy. I met his father, also terrific. And we had a great conversation.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is it going to take for the Republicans to win back the White House in 2016?

TRUMP: It's going to take the perfect candidate -- tough, smart, compassionate. If you don't have the perfect candidate, Hillary will be president. I assume she's going to get the nomination, it looks like that way, assuming good health and lots of other things. It would certainly seem Hillary's going to get the nomination and she will be tougher to beat. Actually, she'll be tougher to beat than president Obama in my opinion. So they need the perfect candidate.

VAN SUSTEREN: Two questions. Let me ask you the first one. What would a Hillary Clinton presidency look like? The second one is, who could beat her?

TRUMP: Well, a lot of things, we're dealing with years away, and it's very hard to say who could beat her. It could be a person that hasn't emerged. It could be something we're talking about. It could be a lot of different people maybe. But I think she's going to be tough. What would it look like? Probably very similar to what we have now.

VAN SUSTEREN: I was asked the other day, because people obviously see that I interview you often, whether or not I thought that you were serious about running. And I said my guess is every day Donald Trump wakes up and thinks, I could do bigger and better deals than anybody else and so that you're tempted. But there's also a part where you like to mess with our heads in the media and you like to play us. Am I half right or part right on all of this?

TRUMP: I don't like to mess with anyone's heads. I do think I can make fabulous deals for the country. I think I could make the country great again. I think I could make the country rich again. I don't think I'd be cutting Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. I think what I'd do is make the country so rich you wouldn't have to bother. I would certainly try to stop the fraud and abuse. But when I look at some of the things that the Republicans, and in certain cases the Democrats say, that's not about greatness. So what you have to do is make this country great again.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do we need someone with business experience, whether it is a Republican or Democrat, is that critical? Or can some of it come out of policy?

TRUMP: You never know where they come from. People with policy, you can emerge as being a great mind in terms of the business of the country. The fact is our country is in serious economic trouble and you would ideally think that somebody coming out of business who has done very well in business who understands debt, who understands payrolls, who understands problems, you would think somebody like that would be good. But that doesn't mean they can't come out of policy. Maybe it's a combination of both.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you look historically at candidates whose names get batted around, whether it's Governor Christie in the Republican Party or Senator Rand Paul or Senator Marco Rubio or Senator Ted Cruz or anyone in the Republican party, they all seem to have a policy legislative background, not real rich in terms of business. And then have you Governor Romney who did, but he hit the skids. So I'm thinking, what's your ideal candidate?

TRUMP: I think Governor Romney just didn't stress the business enough. That was his strength, and he should have gone out there and bragged about what he did. He did a good job. What he should have done is told people this is what we can do. And for some reason that just got lost. It never really came out the way it should have come out.

I think that all of the candidates, I really think all of the candidates you mentioned, you never know who it's going to be. Somebody will emerge at some point, but it's certainly early to be discussing. I was listening the other day. Somebody said it might be somebody you've never heard of. Look what happened with Barack Obama. It was going to be Hillary, it was an easy Hillary victory, and Barack Obama emerged. And you have to give him credit for that.

VAN SUSTEREN: You mentioned President Obama. I'm sure you've seen the picture of him golfing. Frankly, I think that picture is one that the White House probably would have preferred not to have out there. And actually I think they're complicit in letting the camera people near the president golfing. Your thought on this picture?

TRUMP: I thought he had a good chipping motion. I know a lot about golf. I've won many club championships. I thought he had a good chipping motion, so I was impressed, and maybe he'll like to hear that. But his motion as a chipper looked very good.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think the issue is a little more, with people unemployed, the president talking about taking a bus tour and talk about middle class in New York and Pennsylvania last week, and the fact that Congress is on a five-week vacation and the continuing resolution is still not resolved, we're approaching the debt ceiling, and then we see, although we don't begrudge people's vacations, but we see this picture of the president, I think that to many Americans who don't have the ability to play golf a lot that they may not be so impressed as you are.

TRUMP: It's a tough kind of thing to be doing right now. When you're having a problem like we're having in the country, you see what's going on with Russia and Snowden, you see what's going on with frankly China, the way they're just eating out lunch, they're taking advantage of us like nobody's ever done before, it a little bit tough to see people taking. And I'm not just talking about the president. A lot of people are taking vacations right now that should be out there working for the country. So it's not that easy a situation. There's no question about it. And I don't think it looks great for the president to be taking this extended vacation right now, no.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would you take a vacation now if you were president or are you in the House or the Senate in light of all the demands on all those offices and where we stand?

TRUMP: I probably wouldn't. I have never been a big vacation person. When I take vacations I go to my places, whether it's Doral in Miami or Los Angeles on the ocean. I can do it in a half a day I've got my vacation. I really have a lot of different places I go to, so that's a little bit unfair.

But I've never been one to take three-week extended vacations. I think I go a little bit up here. I just couldn't do it. I wouldn't want to be away that long. I noticed some of the politicians and the president certainly fits into that category. They really like those long term vacations. I don't get it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there a disconnect between the very rich and very poor in this country? Can a very rich person ever understand a very poor person's problems in order to be an effective president for him or her?

TRUMP: I do, I think so. I absolutely think so. In fact, actually, the people I resonate best with are poor people and people that are really blue collar. That seems to be a base that I have. I have a tremendous base. Those are the people that like me, because I discuss this country. I know what's going wrong with this country. We're losing our jobs to other countries. We have countries that manipulate their currencies so incredibly well, so much better than we could ever do, and they take our jobs. My base and the people that like me best frankly are poor people and working people, working class people, and I'm very proud of that. I think the people that like me the least are the rich people.