Trump on the looming sequester: 'It's being overexaggerated'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 22, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Donald Trump has a warning. He's predicting a big, fat explosion. We spoke with Donald Trump a short time ago.


VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to see you.


VAN SUSTEREN: OK, Donald, tell me, what happens if sequester goes into effect and we have these across-the-board cuts? What's going to happen -- what's going to happen with the economy, with jobs? There are lots of things people are saying are going to happen. So you tell me.

TRUMP: Well, I think not a lot is going to happen. It's a very small percentage of the cuts that should be made, and I think, really, it's being overexaggerated. A lot of things are not going to happen that people are thinking are going to happen. Frankly, this is a very minor amount of the cuts that have to be made, ultimately, and a lot of people are saying that. Even Democrats are saying that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's hard to sort of understand because there are sort of a lot of scary things that are being said. The president says, you know, the lines at TSA are going to be very long and we're going to have to cut down on prosecutors prosecuting cases. And what I don't get, though, is this, is that -- sequestration is a slowed growth, it's not really a cut. So I'm having a hard time understanding why we don't even just maintain the status quo, how it would have any impact.

TRUMP: Well, I think, actually, that's going to happen and I think that the cuts are not going to be steep, as you see. I think you're going to have to do a lot more cutting. If you're going to balance budgets, you're going to be doing a lot more cutting, and there's no question about it. Everybody knows it. The president knows it. Congress knows it. And this is just the beginning.

VAN SUSTEREN: What happens if we do no cuts at all, and you know, in the next year, two, three, four years, let's say that we continue to balloon our debt -- debt and deficit?

TRUMP: Well, eventually, you're going to have a big, fat explosion and it's all going to come to an end. If we don't get -- we're up to $17 trillion in debt. Nobody thought that was possible. If you look back 7, 8, 9 years ago, nobody thought that would have been possible. We're at $17 trillion.

And you know, the word "trillion" -- we've been talking a long time, you and I, Greta. That was not a word that was in the vocabulary. Now it's a very common -- it's a very common word. And we have to get our debt at least way down. I mean, we should be ashamed of ourselves for what we've let happen.

Now, the biggest losers are going to be our children, our grandchildren, but it will never be the same unless we do something. And this is the time to do it. Right now is the time to do it. If we could get the economy rolling, if we could get China and other countries and take the business away that we've just handed them on the silver platter and get our country great again -- because it's not great right now -- then that would take care of a lot of problems.

But we're not doing that. You look at what's going on in India, China, so many countries. You look at what OPEC is doing to us, Greta, with fuel. I see on your show and on other shows where fuel is going to be setting records right now, records in terms of what's happening. And OPEC is laughing all the way to the bank. You look at what's happening with this country, and we're just not going to come back unless somebody that knows what they're doing is in there.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, you used the term ashamed, that we should be ashamed of ourselves, you say, unless someone knows what he's doing is doing the work. I'm curious. Why are we in this mess? Is it because we've -- incompetence, lack of understanding, it's politics, it's about winning or this is a very complicated issue? Why are we in this mess?

TRUMP: Well, I think you could say it's all of the above. It's everything. I mean, we're in it certainly because of incompetence. We're in it because we have people that don't know what they're doing. We're in it because we allowed people -- we allowed other leaders of other countries to take our steak off our plate, to take our business away.

And you go to places -- I mean, I go to other places. You go to Brazil. You go to so many other countries, I mean, China being the number one culprit, and you see what they're doing. It's a miracle. The government has to roll it back. The government has to keep it back. They could go up to 10 percent, 12 percent. The government does things to keep the business back.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is President Obama -- does he have ultimate responsibility because he's the leader or do you cast it to Speaker Boehner and the House Republicans because they have so much -- they have so much power, a well. I'm who's -- who's -- who can drive this?

TRUMP: Well, it's really everybody, when you think of it. But the president is your leader. He's the person that has to get everybody into a room and say, Hey, folks, let's make a deal, let's get things going, we have to bring things back.

You know, all of the things that we've talked about over the last couple of years, whether it's Medicare or Medicaid or Social Security, it all does take care of itself if we could get the -- you know, the engine of this country going again. But the engine is -- it's broken. It's really a broken country from an economic standpoint.

In 2016, China will become the big economic factor of the world. That was unthinkable if you think back 10 years from now -- you know, from now, you go back 10 years, it was unthinkable. But China will become the big economic power. 2016, that's right around the corner. And we let that happen. And they've become the economic power on our back!

VAN SUSTEREN: You mentioned 2016. So one last question. Are you interested in running in 2016?

TRUMP: Well, I'm not, frankly. I mean, I was really enjoying myself. I really thought that Mitt Romney would do well. He's a wonderful man. But he didn't resonate. Somehow, people didn't catch on. He didn't catch on. It just didn't work. And that was an election that should have been won. It should have been won really easily. But there's a long time to go. There's a long time to wait. We'll see what happens.

I would love to see our president do a great job. I mean, before everything else, I love this country. I would love to see our president take back our country and make it great again. But right now, it's just not happening. If that did happen, all of these problems would automatically be solved.

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, always nice to talk to you. Thank you, sir.

TRUMP: Thank you, Greta.