Trump: 'I'm Incredibly Tempted' to Run for President

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 14, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: He's really successful, he's a real estate tycoon, a reality star, and now, is he a presidential candidate? Maybe. Donald Trump got a lot of cheers at this year's CPAC. So will the White House soon become a Trump property? We caught up with "The Donald."


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to see you.


VAN SUSTEREN: Beautiful view of Central Park.

TRUMP: Good view, great city.

VAN SUSTEREN: Can you imagine what it would be like to see the Washington monument?

TRUMP: I love that view.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's the one you get from the White House.

TRUMP: That's true.

VAN SUSTEREN: You caused quite a stir. You were at CPAC and you really stormed CPAC.

TRUMP: They are really my people. They love the country. They have great respect for this country, and they see what is happening and they hate to see what is happening. We are no longer respected.

Even if you look at Egypt -- I'm not blaming anything or anybody for Egypt, although I would like to know how a man worth $70 billion is working as head of a country. That's an interesting case. Hopefully they get the money back.

The fact is, they don't list own to us. We give them billions and billions of dollars a year. And Obama, and I'm not blaming him for this, but they don't listen to us. Nothing that happened took place because of what we said in terms of the United States. And we do feed them billions a year. So there's just something wrong. It is not resonating. The country has lost. We just are not respected any longer.

VAN SUSTEREN: What would you have done different Egypt? We were giving them billions of dollars, as you said. We were also doing it in part to buy friends because they were protecting Israel because they are part of the peace treaty, on the other hand, horrible human rights issues. How do you juggle that?

TRUMP: You said it. We try and buy a friend. When you buy a friend, it is not a real friend. They use us. The money we gave went into this guy's pockets based on all reports that I see. He's taken more money than we give. So he's been having a field day. They ought to do something about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: How would you have handled it differently in the last two weeks?

TRUMP: I would have said unless you do what I want you to do, whatever that may be. We are not paying you any more money. We are giving them money like crazy.

VAN SUSTEREN: He has enough.

TRUMP: But the country doesn't. An expression I heard the other day was interesting -- some countries have oil and other countries have us, meaning, we keep supporting them, meaning we are their oil well. In the case of Egypt, we're their oil well.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about Iran? Protesters in opposition to Ahmadinejad want to protest, and the U.S. is watching what is going on there.

TRUMP: They handle it tougher. People go in the streets and they start shooting right away. I think with Iran we have a major problem. I think maybe this is a great time. If they protest, we should maybe and try and protect the protesters. And by doing that, that means harsh measures. We let him know, you are going to hurt those protesters, we are going to come after you. That way maybe they can actually protest.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you were at CPAC you had not made the decision to run for president. Correct me if I'm wrong, you are tempted if you don't like the other candidates. Is that fair?

TRUMP: I'm tempted, because of what I see was with the United States. We are a laughing stock, a whipping post. Look at the trade agreement we made with South Korea. They didn't even want to sign it. They wanted it to be better, and it was only when North Korea attacked them that all of a sudden they said we will sign and we sent our ships over to protect them.

And by the way, you know what it cost to turn off that aircraft carrier and start sending it? Why aren't they paying us for protection? We have troops in England, Germany, we have tremendous numbers of troops in South Korea. Why are we doing this?

VAN SUSTEREN: If we don't, what happens?

TRUMP: Nothing. Nothing is going to be different. If we're going to protect South Korea, who makes a lot of money off us -- you use the word "profit," they make tremendous, selling their television sets and everything else. The agreement we made is so bad, we don't have the right to sell but they have the right to sell to us.

Why aren't they paying us for protection against North Korea? What are we doing? This isn't General Douglas McArthur getting off the plane and he looks great. This is a different time. Why are they, a wealthy nation, we are not a wealthy nation any more. We've blown all of our money, stupidly. But why are we protecting them and why aren't they paying us for that protection? It's hard for people to answer that, even you.

VAN SUSTEREN: I can tell that you have passion about this and you are very determined. Let me go become to the question. It sounds like you're incredibly tempted?

TRUMP: I'm incredibly tempted. I'll be making a decision by June. We'll see what happens.

VAN SUSTEREN: What factors into this?

TRUMP: Very simply, I love this country. I hate what it is happening to this country. It is not like even when we I was growing up whether it was Ronald Reagan or somebody else, Eisenhower, Reagan.

You look at some of the -- I'm not even saying some of the presidents, some of the times, during these times we were really a country. Now, China is ripping us off. We are rebuilding single-handedly China, because we buy so much of their product. What is going on is insane.

You go to China you see these cities rising out of nothing. Of course, it is worldwide money, but it is really this country's money is rebuilding China. But we can rebuild our own cities. Highways outside of New York are disgusting. They are like third world countries. You go to LaGuardia, it is like an airport from the third world country. You go to China and other places in the Middle East, their airports are the most incredible things you've seen.

I see this because I travel. I know all of the people that we are talking about. I'm not blaming China. If I were China I would try to do the same thing. We have either stupid, foolish, or very heavily lobbied people that allows China, OPEC -- OPEC to me, worse than anything what they are doing with the oil. It could be interesting to see because I was the only one who said all of these riots taking place maybe it will start affecting some of the OPEC nations it could lower the price of oil, because it will kill OPEC at least for a period of time. So we'll see what happens.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is President Obama stupid, foolish or heavily lobbied?

TRUMP: He's not a stupid man. He could be a foolish man. And he certainly is heavily lobbied.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is he any different from any other president or even anyone who is in the list of contender?

TRUMP: Look, I was never a big fan of a lot of presidents. I've seen them come and go. I've seen a lot of them. The one I liked was Ronald Reagan, he didn't play games. When Iran had hostages, Jimmy Carter was defenseless, it was pathetic. Our country was -- it was a sad, bad time for this country. Ronald Reagan got in and said they won't be there for one day. All of a sudden they were released, gone, and he got them back. Believe me, if he didn't get elected, they would still be there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Any candidates impress you? There's no one who has announced, any on the Republican list?

TRUMP: Look, I know many of them. And they are nice people. But can they do the job? Perhaps not.


VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up, something very special for you. What you did not see in Bill O'Reilly's Super Bowl interview with President Obama. The president apparently shows he loves "The Factor" so much he's willing to play Bill's culture quiz, sort of.

But first, your interview continues with Donald Trump. Which of the past four presidents does Donald Trump admire and why. The Donald tells you next.



VAN SUSTEREN: Here's more of our interview with Donald Trump.


VAN SUSTEREN: If you were to run for president, have you thought about Iowa and New Hampshire and the mechanic?

TRUMP: I have thought about that. If I run I would definitely go to Iowa. I'm a registered Republican, a very conservative person. I'm very big into the military, a great guy for defense. I'm probably as conservative as anybody on your show, and that's going a pretty strong step. I'm Republican, a very conservative Republican. I believe strongly in just about all conservative principles, just about.

VAN SUSTEREN: All issues too?

TRUMP: I'm pro-life. I think that's a big social issue.

VAN SUSTEREN: Gay marriage?

TRUMP: I'm not in favor of gay marriage.

VAN SUSTEREN: You sort of hesitate when you say that. Any doubt?

TRUMP: No, I'm just not in favor of gay marriage. I live in New York. New York is a place with lots of gays, and I think it is great. But I'm not in favor of gay marriage.

VAN SUSTEREN: Back to Iowa. Would you start knocking on doors showing here I am, I'm Donald Trump?

TRUMP: I don't know I would do that. I'm very well known. I'm pretty much of an open book. I've done very well. Don't they want to elect somebody that's done well? I'd like to put my talents, if I decide to do it, to work for this country.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you ran would you self-fund?

TRUMP: I would put up a lot of my own money.

I think it is very interesting. I made a deal with General Electric to do a building. They wanted me to invest in the building, to be a partner. On Park Avenue, I did a job with a company. They wanted me to have some little money in the game. I think when people invest in a campaign that's a good thing. You are investing in thought. You are investing in a process.

I would put up a tremendous amount of money, but I get letters all the time, I send it back now because I'm not a declared candidate. I get letters and checks and money sent to me all the time. I think that's a good thing. I think they should have sort of a feeling they are part of that campaign.

So I would put up hundreds of millions if I have to. But I also think it's good when people that are supporting you contribute to your campaign.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you have thought as far as thinking you might run, thinking about Iowa, New Hampshire, sort of given it, this is a wild thought, I won't hold it to you, vice president, who would you like to run with?

TRUMP: I would rather not say right now. So many things are going to happen. The first thing is before June I have to announce that I'm going to do something. Part of the reason is "Celebrity Apprentice" goes on and you are not allowed to be campaigning as announced candidate until after the show goes off. So that ends sometime prior to June. Then I will have to make a decision.

As to a vice president, honestly, I can think of a few that would really be good but I don't want to say right now.

VAN SUSTEREN: "Celebrity Apprentice," how is it doing?

TRUMP: I think it is going to be the best year ever.


TRUMP: We have a tremendous cast of people. I think it is one of the best casts ever assembled for a reality show. I think it is going to be special. It airs on March 6th, Sunday evening for two hours. I think it is going to do great at NBC.

VAN SUSTEREN: We are glad it is on Monday to Friday 10 p.m.

TRUMP: Yes, I won't compete with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Last question. You said you admire President Reagan so much. Out of President Bush 41, President Clinton, President Bush 43, and President Obama who do you admire the most and why?

TRUMP: Are you including Clinton?

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, the last four.

TRUMP: Other than his other difficulties, Clinton did a pretty good job. I was also a fan of Bush one. I thought he was a good man, a solid guy. I was not a fan of Bush two because of what happened. He gave us Obama. He did so poorly that he gave us Obama. He got us into a war we shouldn't be in, which is now the longest running war in the history of the country. The country has been drained of its assets because of it.

Amazingly, Obama is now carrying forward and he has become a warmonger that is worse than Bush. So, look, you can always say they all have something good and they all have something bad. But let's go back to Reagan. I liked Reagan.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Donald, and you'll be back before June, I hope.

TRUMP: I hope so. Thank you.