Trump: Obama an economic 'ignoramus,' energy policy a 'complete and total disaster'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 16, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.



VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to talk to you. And there's an interesting exchange of insults going back and forth between almost between your Twitter account and the president himself. You referred to the president as an ignoramus with his economic policy and corrupt because he has so many fundraisers or supporters at the state dinner. And you talked about leaders being dumb.

And the president, for his -- he's getting right into it. He's calling -- he's insulting people, calling -- if you disagree with his energy policy, that you're part of the Flat Earth Society, and he's mocking his opponents, saying they only help the rich.

So you want to sort this out for me and find out how we -- how we get above this?

DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (VIA TELEPHONE): Well, his energy policy is a complete and total disaster. It's going to lead to higher prices all over the place. And I can't even understand how he gets away with saying it with a straight face.

His energy policy is there is no energy policy. And frankly, we're going to be in worse trouble in two years and three years and four years if this continues.

Now, as far as his campaign is concerned, all he does is campaign. That's all he does! He goes on a Boeing 747 called Air Force One, the most expensive plane you can get. He goes in the Boeing. He travels all over the country in the Boeing at taxpayers' expense in order to go and raise money for his campaign!

And at some point, somebody should say, you know, How do you do this? How do you allow a president to use Air Force One as his campaign vehicle?

Then he's got his millions of dollars of buses that they bought so that he can travel nicely to different destinations. The whole thing is a sham!

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, $5.5 million is the amount that he's supposed to be raising today. And I'm sure that most Americans haven't missed that, and when they go to the gas pump, they're not going to be particularly happy. But he does have to raise money for his campaign. Would you agree to that?

TRUMP: Well, he can raise money for his campaign, but he should pay for the transportation. You know, $5 million is a lot of money, but it's nothing compared to the cost of a 747 flying all over the country. I guarantee you that's much more money than the money he's raising.

So it's actually costing the taxpayers more money than the amount of money he's raising for himself. Don't you think he should reimburse the taxpayers?

VAN SUSTEREN: I think the rule actually is, is that the campaign does have to pay for that portion which is for campaigning. So I think that does happen. I think what some people are, you know -- are focused on is the fact the amount of time he is spending campaigning right now and -- and not -- and raising money. I think...

TRUMP: But Greta, he's not reimbursing...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... it's the time.

TRUMP: He's not reimbursing the real cost. He's reimbursing a fraction of the real cost. If he was reimbursing the real cost, he wouldn't be campaigning with a 747, believe me. He's not reimbursing the real cost of travel with all of the security, with that tremendous plane. He's just reimbursing a certain percentage, and it has nothing to do with the actual amount of that certain percentage.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you about something that Vice President Biden said. He was put on the campaign trail to start talking, start campaigning.

This is what he said yesterday. He said, "Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich -- these guys have a fundamentally different economic philosophy than we do. Our philosophy -- ours is one that values the workers in the different -- our values the workers in the success of a business. It values the middle class and the success of our company. Simply stated, we're about promoting the private sector, they're about protecting the privileged sector. We're for a fair shot and a fair shake. They're about no rules, no risk, and no accountability."

What do you have to say to the vice president about that?

TRUMP: Well, I think it's absolutely ridiculous! Frankly, as far as Mitt Romney's concerned, he's the most -- I mean, you get into the words "free enterprise," there's nobody better than Mitt Romney. He understands business better than any of them. He certainly understands business better than the president or than the vice president.

And I think he's going to end up getting the nomination. He should get it sooner, rather than later because it's time to start campaigning against Obama.

VAN SUSTEREN: What the -- what the Republicans are facing, though, is that the Democrats are saying that they only care about the rich.

TRUMP: Well, I think it's ridiculous. Look, they don't want tax increases, the Republicans. They don't -- that's good for everybody. They don't want tax increases. And frankly, they're right because the economy is so weak right now, it's so fragile, that if you start giving tax increases on top of this weak economy, you're going to have a major problem, maybe a problem like we had three years ago.

So if you look at the Republicans, and in particular, Mitt Romney, he doesn't want to see taxes raised. That's a good thing, not a bad thing. And that has nothing to do with the rich. It has to do with everybody.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, gas prices -- they are soaring and they affect everybody, not just those who have automobiles, but it's going to be a -- it's going to be a drag on our economy if these prices continue to go up.

Are you critical of the president in terms of what he is doing or not doing about gas policy? Is there something he could do to relieve the pain now?

TRUMP: Well, I think he did a disastrous -- and gave a disastrous statement recently when he essentially said the president of United States has absolutely no power over gas prices.

And he's totally wrong. If he had whatever it is, that ability that you're supposed to have as a leader, he would get OPEC to stop ripping off our country and other countries. He would get OPEC to behave. And you would see changes in prices like you wouldn't believe.

Number two, he'd let people drill. He'd let people take out the natural gas and the gas and the oil right under our feet in this country. He would have approved the pipeline, which we don't even need if we allowed number two. Point number two is let us drill in our country.

But to not allow the pipeline from Canada not only in terms of bringing the oil, but maybe almost as importantly all of the jobs that it entailed -- and I don't get it from the standpoint that, politically, it would have been great for him. He doesn't allow the pipeline, that's a real negative for him.

But to think that the president actually made the statement last week that the president of the United States doesn't control oil and there's nothing you can do about it -- if that's the case, we need somebody else because the president, right president could have a huge impact on oil.

And if they don't get the price of oil and gasoline down, we're going to have another depression in this country like we had three years ago!

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you're critical of his green energy program. And look, Solyndra has been an unmitigated disaster, costing taxpayers over $500 million. And there were a lot of red flags that that was bad business investment to begin with. But if green -- are -- is there -- everything about green energy that you don't like, or are there some parts of it that you think are worthy to pursue?

TRUMP: Right now, green energy is way behind the times. You look at the windmills that are destroying shorelines all over the world. Economically, they're not good. It's a very, very poor form of energy. Solar, as you know, hasn't caught on because, I mean, a solar panel takes 32 years -- it's a 32-year payback. Who wants a 32-year payback? The fact is, the technology is not there yet. Wind farms are hurting the country.

There's a lot of problems with the so-called green energy. And I told you the story where a friend of mine moved into a so-called green office building and he freezes in the winter and he's hot in the summer and he's losing his vision because there's not enough light. I mean, give me a break!

Green energy is wonderful. It sounds great. But you need oil. You need natural gas. We have so much natural gas in this country, and we're just not allowed to go and get it.

We need somebody that knows what he's doing, he or she is doing, and we need it fast because our energy policy is a total and complete disaster!

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now we loop back to your recent tweet, where said to the -- said about the president that he's an economic ignoramus. Now, I looked it up to see what...

TRUMP: Well, if you look at what's happening -- excuse me, Greta. If you look at what's happening with China, how China is just absolutely eating our lunch -- they're laughing at us like we're stupid people.

I mean, I have many friends in China, believe it or not. I do a lot of business with China. They cannot believe what they're getting away with. China is ripping off this country! They're manipulating the currency!

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that any different -- is that any different policy than we've had with -- with former presidents, with President Bush 43 or President Clinton in terms of China?

TRUMP: Look, as far as President Bush is concerned, you know my attitude on President Bush, so we don't have to get into that.

The fact is that China is -- we are rebuilding China! They are taking so much money. They're draining -- this year they're going to make $350 billion from us. But worse, they're taking our jobs. They're manufacturing our products. What they're doing is incredible, and they're doing it through a brilliant manipulation of their currency.

And it's a very simple thing and somebody with basic understanding of business and knowledge would be able to put an end to it so easily! So easily!

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you...

TRUMP: You know, they're worried that, Oh, China has our debt. China has a trillion dollars worth of our debt. That is such a small amount relative to the overall economy. They don't have any power over us. We have power over them because if we stop doing business with China, China would go into a depression the likes you've never seen.

So we have all of the cards. They don't have the cards. We have the cards. But we have a president that doesn't know how to use the cards because I don't think he understands it.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you've said -- you've also tweeted today that Senator Rick Santorum is not a team player. What is that? Do you -- are you suggesting he should get out of the race?

TRUMP: Look, he can't win no matter what. Under any circumstance, he can't get the votes, he can't get the delegates. He can't. There's just no way he can do it.

Mitt Romney has the best chance by far of beating Obama. In fact, I think what's going to happen, and especially if the gasoline goes up, when gasoline hits $5 and $6 a gallon, which it very well could this summer, the Republicans in the form, I believe, of Mitt Romney are going to end up winning the election. I don't even think it's going to be that close.

But Santorum is a man who in Pennsylvania lost by the largest amount, running for Senate, the largest amount in the history of the modern-day Senate, 18 or 19...

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, does that...

TRUMP: ... points. No, I don't think...

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think that...

TRUMP: ... he should be -- and he has no knowledge of the economy. He has no knowledge of economics. And he has no knowledge of business. And more importantly...

VAN SUSTEREN: What about Speaker Gingrich?

TRUMP: More important -- excuse me. More importantly, he won't get the women's vote. The women are going to be voting against him like you wouldn't believe. So he's going to lose.

Gingrich is a friend of mine. It's hard for me to speak negatively. But it's going to be hard for him to win. I happen to like him. He's a member of my club in Washington. How can I dislike somebody that's a member of my club?

But the fact is, it's a tough road for Newt. It's going to be a very tough road. But I will never speak negatively because he is a friend of mine.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Donald. Always nice to talk to you.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Greta.