Is Donald Trump exploring a 2016 presidential run?

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 29, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, is he or isn't he? Will he or won't he? Inquiring minds want to know, is the Donald exploring a run for the presidency in 2016?

Let's ask him.

We have got Donald Trump on the phone.

Donald, are you running for president?

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN/CEO, TRUMP HOTELS AND CASINO RESORTS: Neil, I'm looking at a lot of different things, including buying properties and fixing Doral and making it the best in the country. I'm looking at many different things.

I don't know. The story got out and I guess a lot of people are asking me. I made a speech in Michigan the other day, and they set their all-time record. It was a great, great event. It was an amazing event. And people in this country are just desperate for leadership.

So, whether it's me or frankly let it be somebody, but somebody has to come along and straighten out this country, Neil. We're in trouble.

CAVUTO: You had said, I think, at this Oakland County, Republican Party, Lincoln Day Dinner you're referring to Michigan, "I would be much happier if a great and competent person came along."

But you seemed to be saying that hasn't happened yet.

TRUMP: Well, I would be very happy if the president did a great job. And I said that also at the dinner. I said I would be really thrilled if President Obama was a great president and if he did a great job. I would be thrilled by that, because before I'm a Republican, I can tell you I'm an American.

I want this country to be great again. And it's not going to be great again. Even you look at what's going on today with Syria, we talk about fly zones and all of a sudden Russia's putting all sorts of things there, weapons there to shoot down our planes.

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

TRUMP: I mean, this is just crazy. What are we doing? What are we doing as a country? And we owe $17 trillion in debt. And what are we doing? And we don't even know who we're fighting for.

CAVUTO: You know, Michael Cohen, your executive vice president, I guess your special counsel, Donald, apparently commissioned $1 million in research to see your standing in each state and gauge those that you would presumably need to win to win. Is that true?

TRUMP: Well, you know, a lot of people are looking at a lot of different things.

And I can tell you I helped Mitt Romney a lot with the nomination, getting it in Michigan, getting it in North Carolina, getting it in five or six states where they asked me to help. After that, I was not really involved. And that was their choice. And, frankly I'm pretty busy, so I didn't mind that at all, but, unfortunately, they lost a lot of places where I would have been able to help them a lot.


TRUMP: But during the nomination and process, I made -- I think I had a major effect on the six -- six out of six different places that they asked me to help, between robo-calls and interviews and speeches, and I helped them. And that was good.

CAVUTO: Oh, no doubt you can fill a room. That's an understatement. And you have obviously a hit TV show.

But I do want to get back to what you might have gleaned -- maybe it's too early -- from this research state-by-state or what it's telling you or how you might be internally polling. Any idea?

TRUMP: Well, I have a group of people that hates seeing the United States being ripped off and taken advantage of by virtually every country in the world.

We used to be the smart ones. And we're no longer the smart ones. We're like the dummy. And it's very sad. And I have a group of -- a large group of people. And you understand that because everybody wanting to run comes up to see me and they want the support. And, frankly, I have a large group of people that really want to see this stop. We just can't keep doing it.

We're a debtor nation. Our airports are falling apart. Our roads and bridges are falling apart. You look at what happened even the other day with another bridge falling down.

CAVUTO: Right, the one in Washington State.

Well, when you look at this, you look at the field of prospective Republican candidates, there's Chris Christie. What do you think of him?

TRUMP: Well, he's a friend of mine. I like Chris and I like a lot of them. I know some of them.

CAVUTO: But if he ran -- I guess what I'm asking, if he ran, would you not run?

TRUMP: Well, it's too -- it's just too early to see. I just want to see what happens.


TRUMP: We have got a long way to go.

Hey, you're talking about two years before you really have to decide. Now, you and I know it's going to have to be sooner than that, because it just doesn't work that way.

CAVUTO: Right.

TRUMP: But you're talking about a long way out. I want to see this country be great again.

CAVUTO: So, assuming that the Republicans go a certain way, and it's not to your pleasing, would you run as an independent?

TRUMP: I don't think so.

Look, I'm a Republican. I think it's a lot better to do it and keep the two-party system. It really seems to have worked, but it hasn't been working so well lately. But I think the two-party system is good. It's very, very tough running as an independent. It's extremely tough.

CAVUTO: I raise this issue because a lot of people think that Chris Christie, who is very popular in New Jersey, would have a tough time getting the Republican presidential nomination and get past conservatives, although he could do well as an independent. What do you think of that?

TRUMP: Well, I don't know. I think it's much too early to...

CAVUTO: Right.

TRUMP: They weren't happy with what happened with Obama, but I can tell you Chris is a good guy. He's been a friend of mine for a long time, but I think it's just too early.


TRUMP: But there are some people that felt that way and we will see what happens. I think Chris will do very well.

CAVUTO: Now, in the meantime, one of the big issues that you were way ahead of a lot of folks on is China and how we treat them and they treat us in return.

The Chinese president is coming here just as we're getting word, as you know, that he's hooking up with a lot of Caribbean countries, some say getting the stage set for getting Chinese naval bases in the Caribbean, this as a Chinese company has just scooped up an American food concern or wants to, $4.5 billion for Armour Foods, a trend that continues.

How would a President Trump deal with the Chinese? If you were meeting with the Chinese president next week, and you were in the White House, what would you do?

TRUMP: I would be doing just the opposite.

You look at what's going on in Afghanistan, where China's taking out all the minerals from Afghanistan, and we're fighting like a bunch of fools and spending hundreds of billions of dollars, and China's taking out all the minerals, where you look at Iraq with the oil, where we get nothing. We spent $1.5 trillion in Iraq. We got nothing. And, by the way, the country's falling apart, just like I said it would.

And Iran will end up getting it, depending on what all happens with Iran. I mean, China has been a total disaster for the -- they're not our friends. And, by the way, I have many friends that are actually from China.


TRUMP: I do business with people from China.

I have done very well in business from China. They can't believe they get away -- so, I'm not knocking China. I'm saying I wish our people were smart so that we could compete with China, because right now we're not competing with China.

And China, what they do with the manipulation of their currency, though brilliant, nobody has ever done it better, China is taking total advantage of the United States, and they're making us look like fools.

CAVUTO: Donald Trump, thank you very much. Keep us posted.

TRUMP: OK. So long, Neil.

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