Transcript: Donald Trump's Take

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This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," September 8, 2005, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The monumental task of rebuilding the Gulf: Who better to ask than this guy, real estate magnate Donald Trump? (search) He joins us on the phone from his offices in midtown Manhattan. Of course, he's the chairman and CEO of the Trump Organization and behind that, oh, "Apprentice" show you might have heard one or two things about.

Donald, good to have you.


CAVUTO: How do you think this is going thus far?

TRUMP: Well, I think it's starting to go better.

What I really look to, you know, when they look at blame, whether you blame presidents or senators or mayors or whoever, I blame the people that were looking after the so-called dam or the levee (search), because, I mean, for a wall to break, for a concrete wall to break, where a city is dependent on that concrete wall holding back essentially the ocean, somebody is to blame.

Now, it was built 100 years ago, but you would certainly think that this was examined once a year, like you do with airplanes and everything else. So, here is a city dependent on this concrete structure that should be strong enough to hold any kind of hurricane and any amount of water. It's all it is, is engineering.

And for a wall to break — you know, when the hurricane passed, Neil, the people were in good shape. They were rejoicing in the streets. They said, we made it. We made it. It hasn't been that bad.

And then, all of a sudden, the wall broke, and a tremendous, you know, millions and millions of gallons just poured in. And the water is what caused all of the death and all of the destruction. So, whoever was responsible for the maintenance of that wall should really pay a very, very heavy price.

CAVUTO: Now, what about development in the area? That's something you know a thing or two about. Would you ever look to this region?

TRUMP: Well, you know, I just looked to it, because, about two weeks ago, we announced that we're going to do a building in New Orleans. And it was the first major building to be built there. We have wonderful partners in New Orleans, great developers. And I know they want to go forward with it. They still want to go forward with it, despite the tragedy...

CAVUTO: Do you? Do you want to go forward with it?

TRUMP: Well, I would have to see. But I can tell you that I'm doing business with a great group of people in New Orleans and a wonderful developer. And they want to go forward with it, and they continue to want to go forward with it. And I say, hey, if you're game, I'm game.

CAVUTO: But, in order to go forward with it, Donald, this levee issue, I would imagine, has to be addressed for you, does it not?

TRUMP: Well, they are going to have to do something about those walls. They're going to have to make those walls so that they could withstand 10 times the kind of pressure, because it's only structure.


TRUMP: If they add more steel and if they add more concrete, they can handle many times the water that broke this particular wall.

It's a dam. Essentially, it's a dam. And the dam burst. And how can that happen, especially when this isn't just a dam bursting in a little area that gets wet? This is a whole city is dependent on that wall. And how is it possible that that wall could break?

CAVUTO: Let me ask you about the future of New Orleans. There are some who say, given the levee risk, given the problems, given the expense, it isn't worth it, rebuilding. What do you say?

TRUMP: Well, there is no levee risk if you built it properly. And it can be rebuilt properly and it can withstand anything, frankly. You know, what we can do today in construction is amazing.

CAVUTO: Right.

TRUMP: But you can't just let a great city like New Orleans go. I mean, that was a great city. That was a great place. It had a certain spirit for this country. It was just amazing — I don't know if you have ever been down there during the really good times.


CAVUTO: Many times, yes.

TRUMP: But they were pretty good times. And I don't think you can just let a great city like that go.

CAVUTO: Donald, always a pleasure. Thank you very much.

TRUMP: Have a good time. So long, Neil.

CAVUTO: Donald Trump of the Trump Organization.

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