OTR Interviews

Trump: Voters smart, even while being misled by biased media

GOP presidential nominee goes 'On the Record' on what has surprised him most in his campaign, the latest swing state polls, what he wants in the debates with Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, George P. Bush's surprising endorsement and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 10, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Right now, everything that you haven't seen in our interview with Donald Trump, here it is.


DONALD TRUMP, GOP 2016 NOMINEE: They're talking about coal mining and we're talking about the miners being put out of business and totally put out of business. And as you saw Hillary wants to put them out of business. Wants to put the mines out of business. Wants to put a lot of things out of business. And we're not going to let it happen.

So, we have a lot of mining equipment behind us and around us, and we have a lot of equipment that's not being used because the mines are in very bad shape.

VAN SUSTEREN: I know the criticism of Secretary Clinton about mining. It erupted, I think, in March. But back in November, she did put forward an energy program that I think -- I think perhaps more people might have thought it was not so anti-miners. She did have a program.

I'm curious for you. Do you have any sort of concerns about the environmental impact of mining? And do you have any concerns about the danger to the miners who work down below in these mining -- in these mines?

TRUMP: Well, the miners want to work. And they want to do it. That's what they love. In fact, I've asked them, you know, in West Virginia, where we had such tremendous turnout and tremendous returns.

I spoke with the miners. That's what they love to do. And the safety now is really, you know, they have really brought it to a new level. So it's really wonderful from that standpoint. But that's what they want to do. They want to be miners.

And Clinton said not so long ago, as you know, a few months ago, she wants to put the miners -- you know, she wants to put the mines out of business. And it's ridiculous. Then she tried to retract it. But it was a little bit late.

And if you remember, she was sitting around the table with a beautiful mining family, a man who is a miner. And she was not very successful. And she certainly was not very successful in West Virginia. That, I can tell you.

No, she is looking to put them out of business. There is no question about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: I know the miners are very unhappy with her, but just on some sort of broader perspective, in a Trump presidency, would you be focusing on other alternative forms of energy as well?

I'm wondering, sir, of what your short program is on this.

TRUMP: All forms, yes. All forms of energy. I want everything.

I mean, frankly, you know, coal, clean coal is really a new thing that really does work. And you look at China. What they're doing with coal. They are using coal, and I doubt they are cleaning it. In fact, they are not cleaning it. But they have technology now that's wonderful.

We're just not being able to use it. We are having a tremendous hard time with the environmental protection agencies and all. Federal is putting -- look, putting a lot of different kinds of industries out of business.

But, in particular, when you get to energy and the coal and even natural gas is having tremendous problems, we could be energy independent. Energy independent within a very short period of time. But they won't let that happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, George P. Bush, the son of Governor Jeb Bush has endorsed you. And that's -- a member of the Bush family.

But at the same time, Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, she says she is not going to vote for you.

So tell me your thoughts about -- you are getting some Republicans inside the tent, but some Republicans are leaving the tent.

TRUMP: Well, I'm very honored by George P. Bush. I thought that was really terrific. I saw it. And I watched the statement. I thought it was really terrific.

I don't know Susan Collins at all. I know nothing. You know, I don't know anything about her. But she came out, but, you know, people don't talk about all the people that are supporting me.

We have tremendous support in Congress. We have tremendous support in the Senate. Jeff Sessions as an example.

I mean, we have tremendous support in the Senate. And, frankly, you look at the polls the way they are tightening up. People are starting to get it. And then you look at what's going on with Hillary, with selling government and, you know, all of the things that have come out today on the front page of a lot of the papers and you look at what she is doing in terms of pay for play and play for pay and all of the different things and they name it different. You know, all of the different things she's doing.

I'm telling you, it's starting to come out. And look at the way the polls are tightening up. And they are tightening up very fast. And I think a place like Virginia where I am now or a place like as an example Pennsylvania. I think Pennsylvania is going to be very strong for us.

Now, she is spending tremendous numbers of dollars. I mean, tremendous amounts of money on ads. Like I just got here and they say ads are all over the place and I haven't done that yet. We will be doing it, but I haven't done it yet. We have been very successful in raising money from small donors. We're getting $61 a shot. Last month we raised $82 million. We haven't done it yet.

But i will say this. I think we're doing very well and we have a long way to go.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Let me turn to the debates, and they're just being set up. I mean, they are being arranged.

I happen to like the sort of the concept of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, where there is no moderator. But that's just me.

I'm curious, you know, do you have any sort of thoughts on how it can be -- the debates can be more effectively done for the American voter?

How would you like to see them done?

TRUMP: Well, I just like to see a fair moderator. That's all I'm looking for. Because, you known, we have a lot of very unfair people treating us as Republican and as conservatives.

If you are a Republican and a conservative, you get very unfair treatment. Look at what the "New York Times" said the other day. They practically admitted it. I mean, I have never seen anything like that. They practically admitted it.

But you look at the unfair treatment by the media. It's incredible. But the good news is people understand that. People know it's unfair. And I think that maybe we'll reverberate and we'll see what happens.

But no, I want to do the debates. You know, I did very well in the other debates. Obviously, otherwise, I wouldn't be sitting here.

And I think we are going to have very good debates. I do think this. I don't think they should put them opposite NFL games, because I think that's really unfair to do that.

And, you know, I -- probably, Hillary Clinton would like that. But, I don't think they should be opposite NFL games. And I want to see a fair moderator. And whatever else, we'll look at. But certainly I want to do the debates.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. What about the format? And what about selecting the moderators?

Are you going to -- I mean, what's sort of the impact? What are your thoughts on that? Are you dealing with the debate commission now? I mean, any part of this?

TRUMP: We have just started. In fact, I think Rudy Giuliani will be working with them, and Paul and a couple of my people. But Rudy will be very much involved in terms of that.

I just think we should have them similar maybe to what we did with the Republican debates except there will be two people instead of ultimately there were 17, I guess. In the end, we had what, 17 people we started. We actually had two stages. So we don't have to worry about that.

But I think that debates between the two of us would be very good. I think it would be very interesting. I think it's going to be very revealing for the public. And I look forward to it. But I would think something like what we had with the Republican debates, or what they had with the Democratic debates.

I thought that those debates, you know, they had Hillary and they had Bernie, and they were standing up, talking, and I think that's probably about as good as you are going to do. You want to have a fair moderator. That's all.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. You mentioned the swing state polls, and I looked at the Quinnipiac polls.

It's close in Florida and Ohio, which of course is very important to the Republican ticket. Pennsylvania, not so much. The one I saw was about, I think about a 10-point difference.

But what is -- do you have a ground game? Have you already gotten started on that? What are the plans there?

TRUMP: We do. And I think we're going to do very well in Pennsylvania. I was a little surprise to see a 10 point gap in Ohio. We're doing well in Florida. We're doing well.

But we haven't really started yet. You know, we haven't started any ads. She is spending a fortune on ads.

I mean, I literally came to Virginia and I had five people say all you see on here are ads. And the ads are false ads, by the way. They are ads that are just absolutely in many cases. Many of the things they say are absolutely false. Not 100 percent, but much of it.

And I will say that I think that's disgraceful. And they know it's false. They know it's false. They're putting on ads where they know some of the things that they are saying are wrong, but they put them on anyway. But we haven't started that process yet and we will be starting it pretty soon.

I think Pennsylvania with the mines, with the coal miners, with the steel workers and with how poorly those elements of business are doing -- and, you know, I think we are going to do very well in Pennsylvania.

So I was a little surprised. Now, Pennsylvania hasn't been won by the Republicans for quite a while, but I think we are going to win Pennsylvania. I think we are going to win Pennsylvania easily.

Hillary, again, you look at -- you have a lot of miners in Pennsylvania. You have a lot of steel workers in Pennsylvania. Look at what's happened to steel production in Pennsylvania. Look at what's happened with the mines of Pennsylvania. They're really becoming nonexistent. And she is totally against them.

So I think we are going to do very well in Pennsylvania and all over the state, not just with the two industries I talked about.

VAN SUSTEREN: You have never run for office before. This is the first race you've ever run.

What has surprised you the most to date about the process?

TRUMP: How smart the people of this country are because they are reading false narratives, they are reading false newspaper articles and seeing false things on television. I mean, really, a really biased reporting.

And, you know, here I am. I'm sitting here in a very close race, what will be and what already is shaping up to be a very close race. The people are so smart. They get it. They really get it. And they are seeing it more and more. And I think they are going to get -- I think they are going to get a great lesson. And it's not a fair situation. It's a rigged situation. In a certain way, it's rigged by the media, if you think about it.

Now the other day in North Carolina, I was there yesterday. And we had amazing crowds in North Carolina as you probably noticed. But we were talking about voter I.D. Voter I.D. was -- seems to be eliminated in North Carolina. I think that's, you know, very unfortunate. Voter I.D.

That means -- does that mean that anybody can just go and walk in and vote? That's very unfair. That's very unfair. So, we'll be working on that situation with the governor of North Carolina who is, I think, going to be asking for a stay.

But, when you see that you don't need identification to go in and vote, or a proper identification to go in and vote, a lot of states fortunately have been upholding it. But in the case of North Carolina, they didn't. So, that's a problem.

But, look, you know, when I look at the media, how one-sided it is, how biased it is, it's incredible. I mean, it's incredible.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, thank you very much for joining us. And I hope Secretary Clinton joins us as well.

We have invitations out for her to join us as well to talk about these issues.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.