Christianity under siege in America? Donald Trump weighs in

Republican presidential frontrunner joins the debate on 'The O'Reilly Factor'


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 19, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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TRUMP: We're going to protect Christianity. And can I say that. I don't have to be politically correct. And if you look what's going on throughout the world, you look at Syria where if you're Christian, they are chopping off heads. You look at the different places, and Christianity, it's under siege.


O'REILLY: Joining us now from Des Moines, Iowa is Mr. Trump. So, let's stay in the U.S.A. for this discussion. Do you believe Christianity here is under siege?

TRUMP: Absolutely, you just take a look what's going on. Even from something that is less important but very important to a lot of people, including me, the words "Merry Christmas". You go to a department store today you don't see "Merry Christmas" anymore. We are under siege. We are losing ground. Christians are losing ground in this country.

Now you get outside of the country and they want to come into this country as you know whether it's ISIS or anybody else and you have their heads being chopped off. We are definitely under siege.

O'REILLY: How does a president of the United States change the culture of secularism? Because that's what this is all about. It's about we don't want judgments and religion. It's not just Christianity. It's all religions. We don't want judgments. We want to be secular. And how does the President change that?

TRUMP: Well, I think you have to change it almost with a different spirit than we have. We don't have that spirit anymore, you know. We have a president that is much more committed, in my opinion, to Iran than he is committed to Israel as an example. Much more committed to certain things that you or certainly me would not be committed to than what he would be, according to what we believe.

And you look at things that are happening within the country, outside of the country, but, little things like our friends that aren't Christian, that love Christmas. I mean, they say oh, Christmas is coming. And they are not Christians. And it's ok to say Merry Christmas and happy holiday, but now stores aren't even able to say Merry Christmas.


O'REILLY: Yes. But we won that. You know, look, you know I have been in the forefront of that. I think we won that deal because we said to any major department store chain if you forbid your employees to say Merry Christmas we will tell everybody and they are not going to buy at your store.

TRUMP: But they don't do it, Bill. I mean they don't do it.

O'REILLY: Most of them do now.

TRUMP: I don't know why. Maybe they are afraid legally. They are afraid they are going to be sued. They're afraid of retribution of some way. They're afraid a customer won't buy a bag of goods. They are not doing it and that's a small thing but it really is a telltale sign of what is going on.

I mean we're just -- somehow, you know the power of Christianity is amazing in terms of the political power. I think it's because they are afraid they're going to lose their tax exempt status that they won't get together but the Christians have to get together. There is a problem.


O'REILLY: It's political correctness.

TRUMP: Bill, there is a problem they have with that. But they do have a problem with tax exempt status. I mean they are afraid to get too political because if they get political, they're going to have to all of a sudden -- they will lose that status and they don't want to do that.

O'REILLY: You are talking about the churches fighting back. The churches though are free to say what they want to say.

TRUMP: I'm talking about for the church to fight back.

O'REILLY: Yes. But they can say what they want to say within the church.

Let's change to the Clinton Foundation. Some of your owe opponents have said look, Donald Trump gave $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. You say.

TRUMP: Well, over the years I have been called a great businessman. They just said in one of the articles, a world class businessman, which is what I was and what I'm not now. I'm a politician, if you can believe it. I hate the term politician but I guess that's what I am.

And I would take care of everybody. I give to everybody. I get along with Clinton. I get along with the Speaker of the House. I get along with everybody. That was my obligation.

I got along with Democrats and liberals and Republicans and conservatives. And they called me and they loved me and if they wanted to have dinner they would call me and whatever I wanted I got. That's part of being a successful businessman.

O'REILLY: So you bribed them. As a businessman you bribed them.

TRUMP: It's not a bribe. It's just the fact that I get --

O'REILLY: You bribe them.

TRUMP: -- well, in some cases some people do that. Bill --

O'REILLY: Well, you gave a $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

Now, she is in trouble, Hillary Clinton, with the Clinton Foundation. She is in trouble now.

So if you are the Republican nominee how can you attack her on that when she will turn around and go you gave me $100,000 to do what I did.

TRUMP: It's very easy, it's very easy. And I have to tell you this in all fairness. I thought that money was being put to very good use. I assumed it was being put to whether it's Haiti or all of the different things that I heard about. I didn't know about the private airplane rides all over the place. And if you look at the kind of expenses that they charge and the way they lived, I had no idea of that.

But I will say that as far as the foundation is concerned, I assumed it was being put to good use and so did everybody else that gave and there were a lot of people that gave. They never really did anything for me, but I will say this, if I think they probably would have liked me and, you know, whether you give here or give there, I got along with everybody, Bill. I get along with everybody.

O'REILLY: All right. Do you want your money back?

TRUMP: I think it's important.

O'REILLY: Do you want your money back?

TRUMP: If they want to send it back, I will take it gladly. I would love to have it back. By the way I wish it was put to good use. You want to know whether it's through that foundation or any other -- I wish it were put to good use.

O'REILLY: Sure. All right. But they're going to hammer you with that, you know that.

I think we corrected the record last night.

TRUMP: I don't think so. I think people -- by the way, Bill, I have to tell you just before, I think people really understand. I was a businessman.

O'REILLY: I got it, I got it.

TRUMP: I get along with everybody. It's the job. But I think -- no, I think the public understands that and there has been no retribution.

O'REILLY: Ok. We cleared up the Glenn Beck Obama vote thing last night. I don't know whether you saw it last night. It was pretty clear --

TRUMP: By the way I did. I did and I respect the fact that he was willing to do it so quickly.

O'REILLY: Yes. He did the right thing and we are a fair program here and we correct the record.

TRUMP: He did the right thing. I respect that.

O'REILLY: But I just want to go on the record did you vote for any Democrats in the last 30 years for president?

TRUMP: It's probable. I mean I would always vote for the best person.

O'REILLY: Did you vote for Bill Clinton?

TRUMP: Don't forget -- no, I didn't.

O'REILLY: So you didn't -- both times you didn't vote for Bill?

TRUMP: Wait a minute. In New York City, you practically couldn't vote for a Republican.

O'REILLY: Oh, come on. I live in New York, you can vote for who you want. So you didn't vote for Bill Clinton, right? No Bill Clinton.

TRUMP: You mean when you have a vote of 98 percent to 2? You're going to waste -- a lot of people didn't even bother voting.

O'REILLY: I'm a lone man standing in the wilderness. You know me.

I'm not saying I didn't vote for a Democrat. By the way I have voted for Democrats because I thought they were the best problem solvers. So you didn't vote for Clinton.

TRUMP: I've said that I voted for the best person. I voted for the best person.

O'REILLY: Did you vote for Bush twice? The younger twice?

TRUMP: I voted -- I did vote for Bush twice, yes. I mean, I don't think he did a particularly good job. I think he got us into Iraq which was a disaster. But I voted for Bush, yes.

O'REILLY: I just want to get the record. Ok. And then you voted for McCain against Obama the first time.

TRUMP: I was on his committee. I raised a lot of money for McCain. I was on his committee.

O'REILLY: All right. That doesn't mean you voted for him. I just want to get it on the record.

TRUMP: In all fairness to McCain, I don't think Abraham Lincoln could have won that election. But I voted for McCain.

O'REILLY: Ok, good.

You know, all we do here is get things on the record.

Ok. Now -- in New Hampshire.

TRUMP: By the way not only did I vote for McCain I raised a lot of money for McCain.


O'REILLY: Yes, but the problem with that is you gave it to the Clinton Foundation after you raised it. No, that's a joke.

TRUMP: No, I raised money for McCain. Wise guy.

O'REILLY: Ok, now, I have said on this program that I believe you are going to win New Hampshire, ok? And the polls show that you are way out in front in New Hampshire. So that's good for you.

But in Iowa, you could lose. It's possible because Cruz is very formidable there. Does it matter? Does it matter if you lose in Iowa?

TRUMP: It only matters to me. I mean Iowa is a place that I'm at right now. I mean we're doing this interview I'm sitting in Iowa. And I have a lot of meetings today. Tomorrow I'm going to be here for a long time. And it matters to me because I have a great relationship with Iowa, the people of Iowa. I have a great relationship with evangelicals and the Tea Party.

I think I'm going to do really well in Iowa. I would like to win Iowa.

O'REILLY: All right. So if you lose by a little -- You're not going to like be mad and call all the Iowans pinheads and stuff.

TRUMP: No, I won't be mad. I will not be mad but I would love to win Iowa. I mean I really have a great relationship with the people of Iowa. And I think we are going to do very well here but who knows?

O'REILLY: Did you watch the Democratic debate on Sunday night? Did you see that?

TRUMP: I did. It's actually the Democrat debate. Why do the networks call it the Democratic Party?

O'REILLY: Because the Democratic Party is the traditional way to say it. I don't buy into that.

TRUMP: It sounds better but it really isn't the right way.

O'REILLY: Who do you think is more qualified to be president? Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton?

TRUMP: I think it's very weak. Let's start off with the third guy. I mean he was the mayor of Baltimore, he's a total loser. He's got like one percent and he's a disaster. He shouldn't be up there.

O'REILLY: Sanders -- if you had to vote for one. Sanders or Hillary?

TRUMP: Well, I wouldn't vote -- I think I would take a pass on that election to be honest.

O'REILLY: You would stay home.

TRUMP: Hillary shouldn't be allowed to be in the election because of e- mails -- ok.

O'REILLY: Hillary shouldn't be allowed?

TRUMP: And Sanders is a socialist --

O'REILLY: She is innocent until proven guilty though.

TRUMP: -- I think what she did with the e-mails is criminal. I think what she did with e-mail -- Well, I think if she gets indicted she will drop out of the race because obviously if she's under indictment she's not going to be running.

And you know, it's amazing that whether it's General Petraeus or many of the people that have done about 2 percent of what she has done and their lives have been destroyed. So, I don't think she should be allowed.

The other one, he is a socialist/communist. If you want to pay 90 percent in taxes you vote for him. So I think I would have to pass on that election to be honest.

O'REILLY: All right. Ok. Anything else you want to say? I have got all my stuff down. You were very cogent tonight, very pithy tonight. You didn't go off on me. That's good.

TRUMP: No, no. You are a great guy.

O'REILLY: Stop it. You are ruing my reputation.

TRUMP: I have a meeting. I know I will destroy your reputation but we have a meeting in a little while and another speech and I'm here today, I'm here tomorrow and we are having a great time in Iowa.

O'REILLY: All right. I think Palin endorsed you. That means you are carrying Wasilla, Alaska.

TRUMP: She's a terrific person and she did --

O'REILLY: Of course. And I'm a great guy -- you've lost all credibility by calling me a great guy. So it doesn't matter what you say now.

TRUMP: Maybe just a little.

O'REILLY: Donald Trump, everybody.

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