Donald Trump on the Economy and Why He's Supporting McCain 'On the Record'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," September 18, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Catastrophic economic problems, and a presidential election looms. Who better for us to ask about both than the one and only Donald Trump? Moments ago, Donald went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, I suppose we should start with the big news. You had a little house sale.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT & CEO OF TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Well, I did. I sold a house for a lot of money in Palm Beach, Florida, but I'm not sure that I could have done it today. This was about a month ago, and the Russian stock market has crashed and it happened to be a Russian that bought the house. So who knows what would have happened? But Palm Beach, it's certainly a great place, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, what happened? The market is in such upheaval. What caused this?

TRUMP: Well, you can say a lot of different things. And obviously, greed, obviously dishonesty, obviously you'd have to add the fast that there was hubris. People really have enthusiasm for doing deals and wanting to do deals, and they went overboard.

And that includes everybody, including middle-income people that wanted to buy a house that was beyond their means. So it really was everybody, and it's absolutely a mess, probably the worst since 1929, the Great Depression.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have we seen the worst, or are you a little bit nervous that it could get grimmer?

TRUMP: I think it can get worse, and then it will get better. It always gets worse and it always better. It never, ever changes.

Watch Greta's interview with Donald Trump

If you look at a chart for the last 100 years, it goes up, it goes down. So you never know.

Now, you'd like to be able to predict the bottom so you can go out there and buy whatever you have to buy. But that's awfully tough to do. It depends. It depends on the decisions the politicians are going to be making.

And, honestly, lately I think they've done some pretty good things. I think it was important that they saved AIG, and I also think they made a great deal, because they got 80 percent of a great company. They bought essentially 80 percent of a great company.

But we'll see what happens with their new round of whatever they're doing today. Nobody really knows exactly what it is or what it means.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you make of Senator McCain saying that if he were president he would fire Christopher Cox, who is head of the SEC?

TRUMP: Well, it's certainly a strong statement, and I guess he's saying that he wants tighter regulation. But a lot of people like Christopher Cox and I think he's done a very good job. But certainly it was a very strong statement today by Senator McCain, who's a very talented guy.

VAN SUSTEREN: You say he's a talented guy. You have now formally endorsed him. I know that last spring that you stayed a little bit out of it, and you donated some money to Senator Clinton. But now have you gone "On the Record" that Senator John McCain is your guy?

TRUMP: Well, I have. And I've known him for a long time, and I've known Hillary for a long time. But I don't have to make that choice any longer.

I was amazed that she wasn't chosen as the vice-presidential candidate. I think things might have been a lot different for Obama. Right now it's a very close race, and I even have seen some polls where McCain is leading.

But I've known Senator McCain for a long time. He's a great guy, a great man. He's just a very strong guy, a very strong leader, and he's very, very smart.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you endorsing him because you've known him for a long time, or is it--tell me the difference between Senator Obama and Senator McCain in your eyes.

TRUMP: Well, I can tell you one of the differences is that Senator Obama wants to raise taxes beyond belief, and senator McCain doesn't. And in a fragile economy like we're in right now, you cannot go around raising corporate taxes and lots of other taxes. You just can't do it. Then you really will see the great depression.

VAN SUSTEREN: But when we talk about taxes, you're a rich guy Donald. You just sold a house for an enormous amount of money. You're one of the richest guys. Senator Obama says he's not going to raise taxes on the people who aren't rich.

TRUMP: You know what I find? I find when people say that, and yet they're raising the taxes on the rich, they ends up raising the taxes on everybody. And ultimately, that's what would happen. Whereas John McCain is not going to be raising taxes and could even be lowering taxes.

And frankly, that's the language I like to hear, because the economy is very weak, it's very fragile. And any talk of tax increases, it's over, it's going to be over.

So I endorsed John McCain. I've known him for a long time. He's a brilliant guy, and I think he'll be a great president.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think Senator Obama did not pick Senator Clinton as his running mates? And I don't mean to take from Senator Biden.

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to take from Senator Biden either, because he's a good man and he's a good guy, from what everyone tells me, although I don't know him.

But he ran for office, and when he ran for office he got very few votes. He got less than one percent of the vote. And Hillary Clinton ran for office, and she probably got more than 50 percent of the vote. So it's a little bit of a strange situation how, she didn't get the nomination to start off with.

But she ran and she got at least 50 percent of the vote. So you would have certainly thought that he would have picked Hillary Clinton, and I think it would be much different poll numbers.

Right now the polls are even, and in some polls, I guess McCain is leading. I think if you chose Hillary Clinton you might not have that. But he decided not to do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why not? What's your theory?

TRUMP: I guess he didn't get along with her. I guess he didn't like her. I guess he felt uncomfortable with her and Bill. And I can tell you- I know both of them, and they're fantastic people, fantastic people, and they've already proven to be good team players.

Because she took a lot of abuse, in my opinion. I think she was pretty badly abused in that campaign.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about Senator McCain's choice of Governor Palin? She has certainly lit two sides on fire. She's got her incredible supporters, people rallying around her, and she's got a lot of people coming out of the woodwork who are not her fans.

TRUMP: I think it was brilliant, and I think it is a great testament to him.

He took a chance on somebody, and it's been amazing, the response. I don't think I've seen a response like this that people have to her--some negative, but mostly positive.

And she's just amazing. And she has totally united the Republican Party like I've never seen before. It was a brilliant choice, and I think she'll be fantastic.

VAN SUSTEREN: One final question. Where will you watch the returns on election night?

TRUMP: I'll probably be sitting right in my apartment in New York watching, because--I know I've been invited by a lot of folks, including you, but there's something very beautiful about sitting down and watching those returns I'm going to be a very, very interesting election.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess I should ask one other question. Where will you be watching, what network?

TRUMP: Well, I'll only be watching you.

VAN SUSTEREN: You're the best, thank you.

TRUMP: There's no question. Is there even a question about that?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I hope not, but I did have to push for that one.

TRUMP: Well, that's OK.

VAN SUSTEREN: It was a little rough trying to get that answer.

TRUMP: That's OK. No, FOX is terrific. All my friends, including Roger Ailes--there's nobody like them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Donald.

TRUMP: Have a good time.

Content and Programming Copyright 2008 FOX News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2008 ASC LLC (, which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, LLC'S and ASC LLC's copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.