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OTR Interviews

A tale of two Donalds: Is Trump heeding 'more presidential' advice?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 20, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer goes ON THE RECORD.

Nice to see you, Ari.

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Thank you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ari, last night it was "Senator Ted Cruz" and today it's "Lyin' Ted." What happened between last night and today?

FLEISCHER: Well, you know, last night, I was watching some analysts say that they could tell that Donald Trump's new staff is influencing what Donald Trump was saying.

And I was thinking to myself, you have no idea if that's the case or not. If Donald Trump has proved anything, he's proven he is his own person. He beats to his own rhythm. He'll say what he wants when he wants to.

The issue that I hope Donald Trump will consider is since he is likely to be the Republican nominee, he needs to unite the party at some point. And I thought he was starting to do it last night. His rhetoric today makes it harder.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I read something that his daughter Ivanka said, which I thought was quite interesting. I was trying to figure out what to do with here -- how to take it in. But she said that she knows a lot of women have criticized -- a lot of men and women have criticized her father for things that they claim are sexist, derogatory towards women. And what she pointed out is he does the same thing to men. It's sort of equal opportunity. It's not that he is sort of singling out women. He uses the same language both ways.

FLEISCHER: Look, I think some of the criticism label thrown at him for being sexist is unfair or racist is unfair. But what I hope Donald Trump will realize is he has about 70 percent unfavorable rating across the country.

Many Republicans question whether he is somebody they would support. If you are going to win in America, you need to build coalitions. What Trump has done amazingly well is rev up a 35 to 40 percent base of the Republican Party. But he needs to rev up more. He's going to have to move beyond just revving up what he's got and expand in some new ways to people he doesn't have.

After all, if he can't get 50 percent of the Republicans? How will he get 50 percent of the nation and win in November?

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I have been out to some of these states, though, to Iowa or to Milwaukee. What I hear from so many is that they may not like his language, but they like him because they think he is a straight talker, number one, and then he will get things done, you know.

And so it's like -- you know, it's like they are going to put all that aside. You know, his brashness or his language. They are looking for someone who will deliver.

FLEISCHER: Well, some are and that's why he has been so successful. I think that's 35 to 40 percent of Republican voters.

But, again, Greta, unless he is able to bring new people into his coalition, unless he is able to show that he can give policy speeches, that he can tone it down and be a person who can bring people to support him, who may not have supported him in the past, he is going to get stuck at that level. And that won't be good for Republicans in November if he is their nominee and he is stuck at that level.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ari, thank you.

FLEISCHER: Thank you.