Trump May Run as Independent if GOP Picks 'Loser'

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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 14, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Billionaire Donald Trump was at one time the leading candidate to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012. But now that he's decided to continue his television series "The Celebrity Apprentice," his presidential ambitions are on hold at least for the time being.

Now earlier today, I visited him at his Trump Tower offices in New York to talk about the possibility that he could make a surprise entrance into the 2012 race as an independent and much more. Let's take a look.


HANNITY: We've got to start with the big question here. Because had announced you are not running for president. And now you seem to have opened the door again. Where are you in this process? Are you thinking that you might run for president again?

DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: Well, I'd love for the Republicans to choose somebody who is great. So far, I'm not seeing it, I have to be honest with you, Sean. But I would love for them to choose somebody who is great.

I think the Republicans have a death wish. When I watched what happened in December, with the lame duck. When I watched Paul Ryan come out with his plan, which the timing was the worst I've ever seen in the history of politics. There was no reason for him to do it. He could believe it. He could think it. He could do everything. He could even act on it at some point. But for him to come out so soon in front of these elections was a disaster.

When I look at $100 billion turning out to be $300 million in cuts of a budget, I said the Republicans are not doing a very good job. OK.

HANNITY: Disappointing.

TRUMP: I'm trying to be nice, they are not doing a very good job. Now, on top of that I have NBC calling me, and, you know, having a hit show is cool, you have a hit show. I just showed you your ratings, your ratings are fantastic.

HANNITY: I love when I get my ratings from Donald Trump.

TRUMP: I used to do your show when you didn't have ratings. So, I guess, you know, but your ratings are fantastic. You have a big hit show. It is really cool to have a hit show. And I have Comcast and NBC calling me, please Donald, please, we want you, we love you, we love you. So, I had to make a decision. So, I said I'll do it, primarily because when I watched the Republicans self-destruct or death wish, as I say, I said, I'll do the show. I'll see who they pick. If they pick a loser, I may very well run as an independent.

HANNITY: All right.

TRUMP: Because it is totally vital to get Obama out of office. He's a terrible president. He's doing a terrible job. And I don't think he has any concept to what he's doing.

HANNITY: All right. Let me go back and focus on this because this is important. If you run as an independent, you wouldn't consider getting back in the Republican primary? You would run as an independent.

TRUMP: Well, it is a little late to get back. Because I would make my decision sometime during May of next year. And that's a little bit late to get back in, number one.

HANNITY: That's late. So, you have to run as an independent.

TRUMP: So, you have to really run as an independent, so.

HANNITY: Do you not worry that what my premise would be right, that you would split the anti-Obama vote?

TRUMP: I think two things would happen. I would win or Obama would win. I don't think the Republican could win.

HANNITY: You see the field of candidates we currently have.

TRUMP: Right.

HANNITY: Is there anybody that impresses you in any way that is running?

TRUMP: Well, I thought last night Michele Bachmann did very well.


TRUMP: She looked very good. And I thought she did a very good job. I will say this. Pawlenty, who is a nice guy, but he was given a softball. It was like, oh, hit it out of the park, having to do with Romney's, you know, whole thing with Medicare. And he was given an, you know, just a softball and he didn't take it.

And yet, on Sunday, on Chris Wallace's show, he gave a nice answer. I don't understand what happened. I don't understand it. All of a sudden he decided to go soft.

HANNITY: What about Palin, would you be able to get behind her?

TRUMP: Well, she hasn't asked me to. And we have a very good relationship. And she a special person.

HANNITY: If she called you today?

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to do the hypothetical thing, because it is unfair to other people also. But I specifically -- what we went for the famous piece of pizza where I got killed because I used a fork. And what I'm trying to do is keep the weight down, you know, I just don't want to eat the crust and I can't take the stuff off with that. So, I got absolutely killed on the fork, but that's OK.

But I specifically asked her, I said, Sarah, are you running? And I really don't think, in her own mind she knows yet. She's a terrific woman who loves this country. Who happens to be very smart. Now, the press doesn't want to say that. I mean, it is unbelievable, they are going through 24,000 e-mails and they don't find anything. I mean, can you imagine going through 24,000 e-mails and you haven't made one little mistake, that's unbelievable. What a great tribute to her. She's got to be the greatest person --

HANNITY: I don't want my e-mails gone through like that.

TRUMP: I wouldn't want to see your e-mails.

HANNITY: And by the way, they are not like Anthony Weiner's.

TRUMP: No, no, no. Well, nobody's are. But how about that? And I called that, I was the first one.

HANNITY: You did.

TRUMP: I said he's a psycho. He ought to get out. I've known this guy for a long time. He's a bad guy. And it turns out he's a sick guy.

HANNITY: Why don't they force him out?

TRUMP: Well, I called him a psycho long before it was fashionable. By the way, before this whole scandal. I said, you will never be mayor of New York, Anthony, and for all of the wrong reasons it turns out I'm right. He should immediately resign. And the bigger question is, what will his wife do? Because the guy is mentally, something wrong with him.

HANNITY: Yes. I agree.

TRUMP: So, the real question is what will his wife do, who is a highly respected woman. And it is interesting, this guy is going through turmoil like nobody has ever gone through turmoil, and his wife isn't with him.


TRUMP: You would think in all fairness that the wife would sort to say, excuse me Hillary, I'm going back.

HANNITY: I want to go back to this. So, Donald Trump will consider, after your next "Apprentice" sometime in May if you are going to run as an independent. And your decision will be based on if you --

TRUMP: Two things.

HANNITY: Two things.

TRUMP: If the Republicans put in somebody that I think won't win and is not going to be very good, based on my feeling. And also, if the economy continues to do badly, which I think it will continue to do badly. Because our people in Washington have no idea, they don't have a clue what is going on. So, if the economy is bad and the Republicans put in a person that I think is wrong, I will run as an independent.


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