Donald Trump in the No Spin Zone

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 21, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the Personal Story" segment tonight, Donald Trump. His program, "The Apprentice" starts up again tomorrow night, Thursday. You saw him on the Emmys dressed up like a farmer. And he has definite opinions on gas prices and the rebuilding of New Orleans. Mr. Trump joins us now.

Where can I get the little outfit you wore on the Emmys? Is that — can you buy that in the store?

DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION PRESIDENT AND CEO: Well, I think you'd have to go out some place out to the country. I don't know where they got it, but it seemed to have worked.

O'REILLY: You'll do anything, won't you?

TRUMP: Well, I just had a lot of fun.

O'REILLY: Right.

TRUMP: You know, they came to me, they wanted me to do it. It was fun.

O'REILLY: I would have charged them an enormous amount of money to do that.

TRUMP: I think that's a good idea.

O'REILLY: All right, let's get serious for a minute. Now you're one of the nation's preeminent builders. And New Orleans has to be rebuilt. Already, there's corruption charges. Haliburton, Bechtel, they're going to suspend wage stuff to get people in there. How do you see this?

TRUMP: Well, it's a mess. I mean, the country is in such a mess right now. Now you're looking at a new hurricane coming. I just see it's 165 miles an hour.

O'REILLY: Yes, Rita's coming in.

TRUMP: It's a number five. And it's going to Galveston or some place. And it's just a disaster.

And I think our president is almost snake bit at this point. It just seems so many bad things are happening to this country.

O'REILLY: Yes, I'd be shell shocked, absolutely.

TRUMP: Yes, so many bad things are happening...

O'REILLY: Right.

TRUMP: ...for this country and to this country. And it's a shame.

New Orleans is a city that's built under sea level. And to allow retaining walls, essentially retaining walls to collapse when they all knew if you had a large hurricane or a large amounts of water they were going to collapse, how come some — why didn't somebody fix them?

You know, the hurricane didn't do the damage, Bill. As you know, it was really the water. All of this water...

O'REILLY: Yes, Lake Pontchartrain, the lake. But they all knew it, but they didn't — the feds didn't want to pump in the $20 billion that it would take to...

TRUMP: I don't know why it costs $20 billion to fix walls. I just don't get that. You know, I heard $20 billion...

O'REILLY: Yes, it was $20 billion Army Corps...

TRUMP: I heard $100 million, I heard all different numbers.

O'REILLY: Army Corps — well, look, you — say they — you're — Bush says to you, "Look, Trump, I want you to be the rebuild czar in here. Number one, do you rebuild on that site? Do you think that's a good idea?

TRUMP: Well, look, you have a great city. You had a great city. It's perhaps going to be great again. It's going to take many, many years. They lost 600,000 homes.

You know, if I build 1,000 houses, that's a lot. That's a big, big development. Six hundred thousand homes have been just wiped out. And the rest — I mean, so many other things have been ruined.

The answer is, yes, you rebuild. Lots of tax credits, lots of other things are going to happen. I already know a lot of good developers are going down there. They think they're going to be part of it. You know, where does it stop?

O'REILLY: How do you keep with all the massive money going down there, how do you keep people from stealing? How do you keep people from stealing on your jobs? Because it's easy to steal.

TRUMP: Well, you watch. And you watch the individual jobs.

O'REILLY: Who — you don't.

TRUMP: But what you have to do and what they have to do is give developers the incentives. Because certainly the government isn't going to rebuild. If the government rebuilds...

O'REILLY: All right, so the incentives is if you build it at this price this quickly, we give you a bonus.

TRUMP: That is correct or tax incentives.

O'REILLY: Because look what happened at the big dig in Boston. I mean look at that — how — stealing massive amounts...

TRUMP: Right, but that was a government boondoggle. And that's what you can't get. You have to have lots of developers do their beautiful little developments all over the place. And when you add it up, it's one, big, beautiful, massive thing.

O'REILLY: You have confidence in Halliburton and Bechtel and these people can do that?

TRUMP: Well, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about residential developers. I'm talking about commercial developers, where they go and then they rebuild the city based on tax credits and based on...

O'REILLY: So you would hire all private developers?

TRUMP: I would do it privately. Certainly you're not going to have the government do it. But the government is going to have to do something about the levee.

O'REILLY: Yes, yes, right.

TRUMP: It's going to have to do something about the walls. Otherwise you're just...

O'REILLY: What's the point?

TRUMP: You're just wasting a lot of time and effort.

O'REILLY: Because the corruption in the home building, as you know, industry is huge. You can steal because nobody knows — you know, they put in a — you say you're doing one thing and you put in inferior material and all of that. Do you have any advice for the Bush administration on how to cut down on the corruption?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, the credibility of the Bush administration now is at an all-time low. And when you look at what's happened in New Orleans, when you look at the head of FEMA who I guess was thrown out of a horse association, it was sort of interesting.

I look at Mr. Brown. And they go to the association. They say this is the man. They said it couldn't be the same man. We fired him for incompetence. And I'm looking at this and he's the head of FEMA. The credibility of the Bush administration is very suspect right now.

O'REILLY: Well, what advice? They're watching tonight. Give them advice.

TRUMP: You're going to have to get some really talented people to rebuild New Orleans. And by the way, where is the next hurricane going? You know, this one looks like it's bigger than Katrina.

O'REILLY: Well, let's deal with that when it hits this weekend. All right, so you basically say private people have to rebuild.

TRUMP: It's got to be private. It's certainly not going to be governmental, but it has to be the incentives given by government.

O'REILLY: Incentives to do the job, right. But I think you've got to have the FBI in there watching these people.

TRUMP: Well, I think maybe that's right.

O'REILLY: You have to.

TRUMP: Certainly that's right.

O'REILLY: Right, because if they're going to get federal money, we have to oversight.

All right, when we come back, we'll talk about gasoline prices. Do you think I'm crazy on those?

TRUMP: I think you're 100 percent correct.

O'REILLY: All right, and we like to hear that. And there's plenty more ahead.

O'REILLY: Continuing now with Donald Trump, whose new program "The Apprentice" kicks off its season tomorrow, Thursday night, 9:00 p.m., NBC.

OK, I've been railing, and top of the show, I did it again tonight that we're getting hosed by the oil companies, that they're jacking up — taking advantage of the very, very, as you put it, very troubled times for America to make even more money. How do you see it?

TRUMP: I think you're 100 percent right. But I think it's beyond the oil companies. It's OPEC. It's Saudi Arabia.

You know, they used Katrina to boost oil prices at a record level, at a level that — and nobody from our administration or this government does anything about it. Every time there's going to be a rain storm some place, oh "we have to raise oil." It is so out of control right now. And nobody's...

O'REILLY: So what would you do to OPEC? We'll send you over there to talk to the OPEC pinheads and you say what?

TRUMP: You have to get a hardened business person, whether it's me or somebody else. And there 25 great people you could send. But you have to get somebody to read the riot act.

Saudi Arabia wouldn't exist for 24 hours if we ever left, if we weren't protecting them. They take advantage of us, and they go out and buy their 747's as private planes like other people buy a G-5 or they'd buy a Lear jet. They buy 747's.

We are letting them get away with murder. And they're using every time — watch Galveston, we're going to have to raise fuel prices by another dollar and a half...

O'REILLY: We're expecting that.

TRUMP: It has...

O'REILLY: You say the Saudi Arabia...

TRUMP: By the way, it has nothing to do with Galveston, has nothing to do with Katrina.

O'REILLY: No, I understand that.

TRUMP: It's an excuse to raise prices.

O'REILLY: It costs $4 for OPEC to get the thing out of the ground, put it in a barrel, and they're charging $65. So we all know what it is. And then on top of that the U.S. oil companies put on a premium when they refine it here.

So you say to the Gulf states and the other OPECs, "Listen, if you keep doing this to us, we're going to pull out our defense of you, and let you on your own."

And they say, "If you do that we'll sell our oil to China and India." And you'll be screwed. TRUMP: Let me tell you something. If it all fell apart we wouldn't be charged any more, believe me. If that whole mess fell apart, we wouldn't be charged more.

And what about Iraq? What's happening with the Iraqi oil? We're spending $400 billion...

O'REILLY: It's now up to about 98 percent of capacity. That's one success story in Iraq that hasn't been told; they are pumping the oil out.

TRUMP: How come they allowed Exxon and Mobil to merge? Who was the genius that said these two big oil companies could merge, OK?

O'REILLY: That's another thing. There's only five big oil companies and they collude, I believe. Do you believe they collude?

TRUMP: I totally believe it. I have no doubt about it. I would imagine they're members of the same golf course.

O'REILLY: Now this "Apprentice" thing. We've seen it. Do you know what I'm talking about? We have seen you firing people, yelling at people, scolding them.

TRUMP: And you have seen the ratings.

O'REILLY: Demeaning them.

TRUMP: And you have seen the ratings.

O'REILLY: Kicking them and all of that. All right. Why should we watch it again?

TRUMP: Because the ratings continue to be phenomenal. And actually, No. 4 — it is actually only No. 4, but No. 4 is the best we've ever done.

O'REILLY: Why is it the best?

TRUMP: Because No. 2 and No. 3 I wasn't involved in casting, and No. 4 I said, "You know what? I have to do it." I just was too busy.

O'REILLY: I love this. So you picked the people...

TRUMP: I picked 18 people.

O'REILLY: You picked 18 people. How many auditioned? How many did you see?

TRUMP: Over a million people.

O'REILLY: Over a million — you saw over a million people?

TRUMP: No, no, no. Over a million people applied...


TRUMP: ... to be on the show. They brought it down to 5,000. Then 2,000. Then about a thousand. And then I got involved. I went out to California. We picked — out of 1,000 people we picked 18 people.

O'REILLY: Eighteen.

TRUMP: And I think...

O'REILLY: And all the women are good looking, then, I assume.

TRUMP: Well, they're rather attractive, I've got to tell you. In fact in a couple of cases...

O'REILLY: If you're not a good looking woman, you're fired.

TRUMP: In a couple of case, serious looking, but of course this has nothing to do with why I picked them.

O'REILLY: Right. Of course not. So good looking women. And then men, what do you look for? Good looking men?

TRUMP: Well, it's never been my thing but actually, some of the men are good looking but it's, you know...

O'REILLY: What are you looking for?

TRUMP: Let me tell you what I'm looking for. I'm looking for really smart people, No. 1. If they happen to be attractive that's nice. But really, really smart people.

And I think the reason that "The Apprentice" has been so successful and has gotten such high ratings is because it's the only show where the people are really smart. You know, your audience is a big "Apprentice" audience. You do know that, right?

O'REILLY: We're a smart audience. I don't know how the crossover is. So you pick smart, good-looking people. Now are they afraid of you?

TRUMP: I'm the only one, actually, that beats you in the ratings.

O'REILLY: You beat me in the ratings?

TRUMP: Very substantially.

O'REILLY: I wouldn't be so sure about that. Anyway, are they afraid of you, these people?

TRUMP: I don't know if they're afraid of me or not. Some of them want to be stars. Some of them actually want to work for me, but we have a good time and the show has been just great. And No. 4 is the best one that we've ever done and that's tomorrow night.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, there's no truth to the rumor that you and Martha Stewart hate each other and are going to slug it out? Right?

TRUMP: It's just the opposite. You know, Mark Burnett and I own the show.


TRUMP: And...

O'REILLY: She's got an "Apprentice," too.

TRUMP: We looked at a lot of different people. We looked at Cuban. And then he did a show and he failed. We looked at Richard Branson.

O'REILLY: All right. You're dropping names. I don't know who these people are. But you and Martha, you don't hate each other?

TRUMP: We love each other.

O'REILLY: You love each other?

TRUMP: I did the show this morning. Excuse me.


TRUMP: She's been a friend of mine for a long time. I mean, I did her show this morning.

O'REILLY: You say hello to her and tell her to come on “The Factor." Donald Trump, "The Apprentice," everybody, Thursday night. Thanks for coming.

TRUMP: Thank you.

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