Photo of Donald Trump

Interview with Maria Bartiromo and Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business News

August 20, 2015

MARIA BARTIROMO, FBN HOST: And now Mr. Trump, who has been leading the Republican primary polls, has nearly caught up to Hillary Clinton in head-to-head matchup, the latest CNN/ORC poll finding Trump has closed to within 6 points of Hillary Clinton after trailing 16 points just last month.

Joining me right now on the phone is Republican front runner Donald Trump. Donald Trump, great to have you on the program. Thanks so much joining us.

DONALD TRUMP: Well, thank you, Maria. Nice to be with you.

BARTIROMO: Congratulations on closing the gap on Hillary. I want to ask you about that and about this e-mail controversy.

Let me begin on the breaking news this morning, Donald, because the AP has uncovered a document showing that Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a site that has repeatedly been accused of developing nuclear arms. How concerned are you about this deal? And what would you do about it in the president's office?

TRUMP: Well, that's incredible statement. I've just heard this too. And, look, it's one of the worst deals I have ever seen. It's like negotiated by babies, by incompetent people. And now on top of everything else, on top of the 24 days and the long period before you get to the 24 days, on top of not getting our prisoners back, on top of all of the other things, the 25 different points, they can inspect their own site? I mean, you must be kidding. It's just hard to believe, hard to fathom.

BARTIROMO: How do you manage your own policy when it comes to foreign issues? We've got Iran. We've got, a fight with ISIS, not to mention other conflicts around the world. How would you characterize your foreign policy?

TRUMP: Well, I think my foreign policy would be very fair but very, very tough and I would strengthen up our military, I'll take care of our vets. Our vets are treated horribly, by the way. But we will strengthen up our military, and nobody is going to be messing with us. And I certainly wouldn't be making deals like we did with Iran. You know, we're going to make -- Iran is going to be absolutely a superpower. They're getting $150 billion, and sadly they get that whether the deal happens or not. That's like a signing bonus.

That's a tremendous amount of money. They're getting $150 billion and much more than that, over term. And it's just inconceivable that a deal -- I don't know, they just wanted to make it. You know, you do business, all right. And probably most of the people watching your show probably cannot understand how a thing like this could happen.

We were so desperate to get this deal. We should have doubled up and tripled up the sanctions and made a deal the way it has to be made. We dealt with -- from weakness, we had bad negotiators, we had bad everything. You know, one of the things I've done is, on trade pacts, I have spoken to Carl Icahn, who's a friend of mine, a good friend of mine, and others of the great dealmakers and negotiators, and they're going to represent me, if I win. And they're going to represent our country on trade deals. We're going to get best dealers in the world, and we have them.

I saw Charlie Gasparino on your show, and he understands when I mentioned Carl and I mentioned some of these other names -- these are the people that we need negotiating for us, not diplomats and not people that have no business ability. When you look at Secretary Kerry and the deal that he made, it's such an embarrassment to our country. And now you tell us that they can inspect their sites themselves? It's incredible.

BARTIROMO: In fact, you've mentioned Carl Icahn would be part of the Trump administration. Who would you have as Secretary of State? Have you thought about Cabinet positions?

TRUMP: No, I haven't done that. Actually what I have done is I said to Carl, I said Carl -- in fact, I had dinner with him the other night. I said, Carl, you're great at this. I'm great at this. We have -- there aren't too many of us. We need to bring our country back. Our trade deals are so bad.

I said would you like to -- supposing I let you run, you know, be involved with China, would be involved with Japan -- Japan sends us cars -- I was in Los Angeles, two weeks ago. I saw ships come in, the biggest ships I have ever seen, with cars from Japan. And, you know, we give them beef and they don't even want to take. We sell them wheat. It's ridiculous.

So I said to Carl what do you say? And, oh, I'd love it, I'd love it. Carl would love it. I mean, you should call Carl. I mean, Carl would love it.

And, you know, with people like Carl and others that we know, and others that you -- that are on your show, if you know the good ones and so do I, and we also know bad ones. We don't use bad ones. But with -- you know, you put let's say Carl in charge and some others in charge, you know you're going to come out, it's going to come out great. It is going to come out so good for us.

So, I mean, my policy would be a smart policy. It would it be tough but it would be fair. But we'd bring our country back; we'd bring our jobs back. We are losing our jobs, we're losing our base, we're losing our money.


TRUMP: And then the amazing thing is we owe China right now $1.4 trillion. You know they do this and w -- by the way, the same amount we owe Japan 1$.4 trillion. So it's like a magic act to them. They take everything and then we owe them money.

BARTIROMO: You've talked about Carl Icahn. What about a running mate? Would you -- have you thought about that? Rick Perry told me earlier he would ask Carly Fiorina perhaps to be his running mate. Is there anyone in the GOP field right now that you would consider as a running mate?

TRUMP: It just too soon. I mean, I've gotten to know a lot of the candidates. Well, I know so many people in -- as you know, because you have known me a long time, I've been very involved politically for many years, and I know -- I know tremendous people in the world of politics, too, although, generally speaking, the politicians are not going to bring us to the promised land. That I can tell you. It's not - [Crosstalk]

BARTIROMO: Let me ask you about -- you've mentioned obviously -- put this immigration story on the table, in particular with Mexico, we've heard all about your plans for neighbor to the south. What about our neighbor to the north, Donald? We've got security concerns about terrorists crossing that border with Canada, worries about terror cells in large cities like Minneapolis. Do we need a wall there too? And what's the answer to some of these open spots?

TRUMP: We don't need a wall there. It's a much different situation. And frankly in terms of Canada, what -- you look at what's going on with Canada, it's a much different kind of situation that we have with Canada. We have to police it; we have to be very vigilant; we have to be careful. But also the length, you're talking about a tremendous length, a tremendous distance.

You know, interestingly, the wall on southern border, it's -- really, if you think it's 1,000 miles but it's 2,000 miles, but a lot of it -- some of it's done -- it's done poorly by the way, what they have done is very poor, very poor work, a very poor job, and very -- not much of a wall. But you also have natural terrain which is automatically a barrier, which is a good thing. So you're talking about 1,000. And then you look at the Great Wall of China that was built 2,500 years ago. It's 13,000 miles. And we're really talking about something more than a little more than 1,000 miles.

So it is something that can be absolutely done, not done at tremendous cost. You know, it's been costed by politicians and they came out with these outrageous numbers. As you know, I know how to build. I know how to get it done. We'll have a great wall. We'll call it the Great Wall of Trump. We'll have a great wall and it will be -- it'll be actually -- it can be a good-looking wall, as walls go, but we will have a really terrific wall and it will be gone for the right price.

You know, for years, they've wanted to do it. I don't know if you know, even Hillary Clinton, I mean, for years they've wanted to do it, but they could never get it figured out how to get it done. And, you know, one of the things that stopped it was the environmental impact statement. Can you believe it?

BARTIROMO: Unbelievable. Well --

TRUMP: They couldn't get an environmental impact statement completed to get the wall built.

BARTIROMO: That's a whole 'nother conversation.

TRUMP: That's a whole 'nother conversation.

BARTIROMO: You said it's going to be the Great Wall of Trump. Does that mean you're going to put your name on it?

TRUMP: No, I'm only -- I'm only being facetious. [laughter]

BARTIROMO: You are a builder. You are a builder, Donald, and you've built so much in the city. You're a New Yorker. Have you seen the city change under Mayor Bill de Blasio?

TRUMP: Well, it is changing and some people are not happy about it. We're going to have to see what happens. It's still a little bit early but some people are not happy about what's going on.

BARTIROMO: Let me ask you about Hillary and the e-mail scandal. You just released this ad that we all just watched. Do you believe she broke the law? Do you think there is criminality here?

TRUMP: Well, I think there is no question about it. I think the one advantage she has is that the prosecutors are Democrats. And she seems not -- I think they maybe won't prosecute her. And a lot of people are watching to to see whether or not they are honorable in that respect, because if you look at General Petraeus , what he did is a tiny fraction of what she's done. First of all, those documents were far less important than the documents that she's talking about. And, you know, so many mistakes were made by her and so many lies were made, and you would think that if they did that to General Petraeus where they virtually destroyed his life, they went after him, I mean, and if hers is a far more serious set of documents, and far more documents, you would really think that something has to happen. But I think she is shielded. And interestingly she better hope that a Republican doesn't get in , because you have 6 year statute of limitations.

But she did something that is very serious and yet I have a feeling she probably, possibly, won't be prosecuted only because she is protected by her own party.

BARTIROMO: Yes, she was very flippant about it, too. You know, she made a joke about Snapchat, and she's got a Snapchat account that deletes --

TRUMP: Yes, she should not have made that joke, because that's sort of throwing in it their face. She should not have made that joke, but, you know, we will have to see. A lot of people are watching to see what they do.

BARTIROMO: Let me ask you about some of the issues that are important to the American people, Donald, and that is wages and tax reform. What's your plan for tax reform.

TRUMP: Well, we have to simplify because -- you know, I have a little cute statement. "I want H&R Block out of business." And it's so complicated, people that are making $50,000 a year, $60,000 dollars a year, they have go and pay a lot of money to tax, you know, these firms that do this stuff. It's ridiculous. We have to, at a minimum, we have to simplify. And I'm going to be coming out over the next four weeks with a I think a really comprehensive, like I did on immigration -- I'm very proud of that because now everybody is taking about immigration and illegal immigration. And if I wasn't involved, Maria, you know, they wouldn't be talking about it. They wouldn't -- I don't think immigration would even come up as a presidential point to be discussed.


TRUMP: I think that what I'm going to be doing with taxes will be similar, maybe less dramatic actually. But similar. We have to simplify our system. At a minimum we have to simplify our system and I would like to see a reduction in taxes. And we have to simplify our taxes.

BARTIROMO: Reduction in corporate taxes or all taxes, what?

TRUMP: Oh absolutely -- a reduction in all taxes but especially corporate and especially for the middle class. I mean, what we are doing to our middle class is inconceivable. It's terrible. You know, this country was sort of built by the middle class, it is one of those facts of life, and we are really treating them badly and they're disappearing, so we've got to take care of them.

BARTIROMO: So you're saying you could cut taxes. You would cut taxes.

TRUMP: I would cut taxes. And the other thing, in terms of cutting taxes, people think cut taxes? We pay the highest taxes in the world. At almost every level, we're the highest taxed nation in the world. And then when you add regulatory to it, from your standpoint from your ,you know, a lot of your corporate executives that are watching, the regulatory burdens that this country faces are second to none. And add that on, almost call that a tax.

So a lot of things will change, and we would unleash that is the greatness that is this country.

BARTIROMO: So, for example, on Dodd-Frank, would you move to roll that back? Would you change some of the --

TRUMP: I would at a minimum roll that back. We'd get rid -- you know, if people have a lot of money, if I go to bank, I can get whatever I want because you don't need money. If people are really good and they're building a company but they need some help from a bank, you can't get money today. Even at low interest rates, you can't get money. It's the weirdest thing.

The people that need money can't get money; the people that don't need money can have all the money they want. The regulators are controlling the banks. I wouldn't want to be banker, I'll be honest with you. It is so regulated and so tough, and these bankers, I deal with them, the biggest guys, they're friends of mine, and they're petrified of -- they're literally petrified of the regulators.

BARTIROMO: Yes, well, you make a really good point because certainly things have changed in that world.

Wages, Donald, they haven't moved in seven years. People are not feeling this economic recovery because they haven't seen any changes in their salary. What's the solution to moving the needle on wages for the American people.

TRUMP: I don't think there is a recovery, first of all. If you look, we have 93 million people that really are out of work. And if you look at the real number of unemployment -- you know, I actually heard a number the other day, 42 percent, but I've always -- I've been saying, from 19 to 21 percent, if you really look at the numbers. And this nonsense about 5.4, 5.3 percent, it's total nonsense. And what we have to do is bring jobs back. We have to stop with the China, with the Japan, with even Mexico. Nabisco now is moving their -- a big, big factory, they're moving a big plant from Chicago to Mexico. Ford is building a massive building, a massive assembly plant in Mexico, $2.5 billion. So many other things, like Mexico is becoming the new China. We have to keep our jobs, Maria. You see al the time. I mean, you are seeing it.

Another thing, interesting, and I'm going to start talking about it big, is corporate inversion. The money that's out there and the corporations that are leaving this country now.

BARTIROMO: So you mean a foreign company acquiring an American company just to improve their tax story?

TRUMP: Not even that. An American company buying a foreign company and then moving.

BARTIROMO: Same thing, right. [Crosstalk]

BARTIROMO: And they improve their tax story.

TRUMP: Whereas you have an American company going, and then you have -- they say probably and nobody really knows the number but it's massive, 2 and half trillion dollars out there where companies can't bring the money back. Some of these companies now, Maria, are going out to get money, which is bad because they're taking the company with them, and that means the jobs and all of the other things.

You know, a lot of the people that you interview, and I see it, they're international people. They come from London, they come from other countries. They run even -- they run American companies and they're from different -- they don't care about our country. They will move if lower taxes. If they have lower wages, if they have -- they'll move the -- and you see all the time. But they have to allow that money to come back into this country.

BARTIROMO: So how are you going to balance this? Because you are saying a lot of things here. I mean, on one hand, you know, you want to make sure that we've got trade deals in place, you want to do trade -- better deals with Japan, better deals with China. And at the same time, you're saying you don't want any illegals here and it sounds a little protectionist. Do you find that you're a protectionist?

TRUMP: No, I'm not. I'm a free trader, but the problem with free traders is you need smart leaders and we don't have smart leaders. You need great negotiators and we don't have great negotiators. We're not using our great negotiators; we're using diplomats, we're political hacks. We're using people to negotiating with China, and Japan, and we're using -- and the, by the way, I use them as examples, but we don't make good deals with anybody. Every country that does business with us walks away laughing.

BARTIROMO: Let me ask you about this space story. President Obama has been setting his sights on Mars, spending money to get U.S. there. But we have the Chinese trying to target our satellites in space, namely our military satellites. What would Trump space program look like?

TRUMP: Well, I wouldn't be thinking about Mars. I'd be thinking about getting our country fixed first, OK? Before we worry about Mars, wI'd be thinking about our infrastructure, our bridges that are falling down, our airports that are third world. You go to some of these places -- like you go to Qatar and you go to any -- I mean,, so many places in China --

BARTIROMO: Singapore. Singapore's gorgeous, the airport.

TRUMP: Singapore. You look at their airports and their highways and their roads, and their everything, their infrastructure, and then you come back at home and you land at LaGuardia, you land at JFK, you land at LAX or Newark, and it's third world airports. It's so sad what has happened to our country.

BARTIROMO: Right, that's absolutely right. But where does the money come from, Donald, to pay for it? You're saying all, you know, very important things, in terms of infrastructure in this country, but will you have to raise taxes to get there?

TRUMP: No, it comes from cutting costs. We are tremendously bloated. It comes from cutting costs and it comes from bringing back jobs from these other places. And it comes from fairness. You know, China devalued, as you know, because you covered it very big a few days ago, China devalued, the biggest in two decades. Nobody thought they'd do that again. They have been devaluing their currency now and they're making it impossible for our companies to compete. We can't allow this to happen. So we -- and as you know, we can do things. We have tremend -- we have so many cards over China.. People say, oh well, they have the power over us. It's really wrong. We have the power. We have rebuilt China. If you think about it, the money they have taken out from our country, alone. Now they have done it in a smaller way to Europe and other places, but they've taken out of the United States, we've rebuilt China.

BARTIROMO: Well, part of the issue is the dollar is so strong here. Do you think the dollar is too strong? Do you have a strong dollar policy?

TRUMP: Well, you know, the beauty that is China so we owe them $1.4 trillion. They did it when it was weak and now it's strong, so they're making it on that end and they're also making it with trade, all the money they're making. I mean, they're making it every different way. The dollar is hurting us, there's no question about it. I mean, these companies can't compete. A friend of mine is in the excavation business and he just ordered Komatsu tractors, Komatsu. He always ordered Cats, right? He's a big Caterpillar guy. And he ended up ordering Komatsu excavators. And I said, why? He said it was impossible for anybody to compete.

Nice equipment. I said is equal? Eh, maybe not. So it's not equal. He hated doing it. He was depressed over doing it, but he ends up buying Komatsu, which is Japanese, and it's all because they've cut the hell out of the yen also. So I think the dollar is going to hurt us very badly, the strong dollar.

BARTIROMO: What do you do though? Do you want to rein it in?

TRUMP: Well, maybe they're going to have to. Look, we're going to lose a lot of business with it. You know, the strong dollar sounds good. It sounds good to say we have a strong dollar.

BARTIROMO: That's what they always say, but they don't do it.

TRUMP: That's about where it stops, because, you know, if you look at it, you can say we have a strong dollar, we have a strong currency, and there are certain advantages to that, but there are certain huge disadvantages. And the disadvantage is our companies are really suffering. It's very hard for Caterpillar and a lot of these other companies -- look at their stock. I saw their stock the other day, it's bad. It's very hard for these companies to compete when you have, you know, China, Japan, knocking the hell out of their currency. It's very hard.

BARTIROMO: So as the leader the free world, what do you do about it, Donald?

TRUMP: You have to have respect. You have to have them not do that. And if they do that, you're going to have to put a tariff on their goods coming in to equalize it.

BARTIROMO: OK, so you're talking about tariffs. You're talking about --

TRUMP: You have no other choice. Well, you have no other choice. I don't want tariffs. Hey look, let's face it. China does tariffs on us like crazy. I have neater friend who's a manufacturer. He can't get goods into China. And when he does -- and he's a really good manufacturer, really good. When he does get them in they charge him a tariff and it's a massive -- he gave me a number which I won't even say because I can't even believe it. But they charge him massive tariffs to get his stuff into China. They've put their stuff in and we don't charge anything. So for people who think there's free trade, free trade is only good when you have smart people on your side.

BARTIROMO: Yes, it's interesting. Good analysis.

All right, Jeb Bush took a real shot at you last night in New Hampshire. Why don't you listen to this? Get your reaction to this, Donald. Listen to this.


JEB BUSH [R], PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When people look at his record, it is not a conservative record. Even on immigration, where it's, you know, look, it's -- the language is -- is -- pretty vitriolic, for sure, but hundreds of billions of dollars of cost to implement his plans is not a conservative plan.


BARTIROMO: Donald, are you a conservative?

TRUMP: I am. And, you know, interestingly Ronald Reagan was a Democrat. I was a Democrat also, and Ronald Reagan was a Democrat and he became not a very conservative president. He became a Republican and he was pretty consecutive, as we talk about conservatives.

I've really very much evolved over years. And, you know, coming from Manhattan, where you live also, there is no such thing as anything but a Democrat. You know that. We grow up in an atmosphere, but I have always been a conservative person and my bent has been conservative. And over last number of years when I started getting very political, I starting seeing more and more that that is my -- that is my leaning and that is my strong leaning. And I think people see that, and I think they see that with the various plans and my various statements over a period of time.

BARTIROMO: So are you a moderate conservative? I mean, would you say that you are liberal on social issues and conservative on fiscal issues? Is that a fair statement?

TRUMP: Well, I'm certainly -- I'm conservative, I'm very conservative on fiscal issues. I would say on social I'm, you know, I'm on the conservative side. I would certainly say on something like immigration, I'm very conservative, because what's happening at the border and I -- look, I was the one that pointed it out. If it weren't for me, they wouldn't be talking about immigration right now, Maria. And I was the one that pointed it out.

We are having a crime wave, we are having tremendous loss of jobs, and other things, and we have to solve the problems of illegal immigration. Illegal immigration has turned out to be -- and on that I'm very conservative.

BARTIROMO: So that's going to be your first item on the agenda in the Oval Office, immigration?

TRUMP: I would really say first of many. We have to do so many things. We have to repeal Obamacare and come up with a much better solution, you know, it's just a disaster, it's turned out to be a disaster. I don't know if you know but Obamacare really kicks in in '16. The numbers are catastrophic for this country in terms of what it's going to cost. It's unaffordable and it doesn't work. It's not good. I mean, the premiums -- look at the premiums. Look at what's happening to the premiums of people. Look what's happening to their deductibles, how high their deductibles are. I mean, you got to get hit by a Komatsu tractor in order to use it.

So I -- so many things. Maria, there are so many things that have to be done to bring this country back. Our country is really in bad shape, on top of which it might --

BARTIROMO: How difficult is it going to be to do all this, Donald? I mean, you're saying it's the first of many things. You've got immigration reform. You've got Obamacare you're going to repeal. You say you're going to roll back Dodd-Frank. I mean have you thought about the timing in terms of priorities your first year in office?

TRUMP: Well, things could be done quickly. You have great people. You get great people. I know great people. Many of those people are on your shows, you know, to be honest with you. But -- and, you know, these are people that make a lot of money, but when they get the opportunity to serve the country, every single one of them -- like when I call Carl Icahn, I said, Carl, if I had you involved in the negotiations with China, would you do it? Oh, I would love it.

He would love to do it. As rich and as busy as some of these people are, they would love to do it. Not money, it's not a question of money. They get nothing for this. But --

BARTIROMO: There is a real movement in terms of short termism versus long termism and Carl Icahn is part of that on the short termism. I wonder what you have to say about that, and this article in "The Journal" today that basically says, look, let's do away with quarterly earnings. Are we too short term thinking when it comes to money? And what about the private equity part of business, which basically is being criticized for, you know, activist investing and short term thinking?

TRUMP: Well, I think the short term is terrible and I think it is hurting the company. You know, the nice part about a company like mine, I'm a private company, I can do whatever I want. I can paint the ceiling and say what's my return on investment? I don't think about it. Whereas they don't want to do that. You know, just to use a, you know, as an example, they don't want to spend 10 cents on doing anything because they're so worried about the border.

So, look, I think you're not going to change the system. The system is the system. They want quarterly reports. I mean they want daily reports, frankly. If they could get daily reports, they would be happy with it. But ultimately in many cases it's not a great thing for a company.

BARTIROMO: Who do you admire in foreign policy, in the military, and in business, that you would like to emulate some of those policies? Putting Carl Icahn aside; I know you're a big fan and highly complimentary.

TRUMP: Well, I mean, you know, it's such a big question because you're talking about many, many names, and I'll leave out so many and they'll be insulted. But when you look at business, a guy like Jack Welch. I've always been a fan of Jack; I've always liked Jack. I actually did deals with Jack when he was at General Electric. And somebody like Jack Welch was certainly a great example.

And there are so many of them. I've met so many corporate leaders, over the years, over the last four or five years in particular, and so many that are so good. And people like, as an example, Larry Fink, I invest money, I put money with different people, and Larry Fink -- done a great job, you know, he's done a great job for me. And, you know, with the money that I have given them to invest.

And others -- there are so many people that I have great respect for. Unfortunatel, there are far more people that don't do a very good job.

BARTIROMO: What would you do in terms of all of your wealth? I mean, in terms of avoiding any conflict. Would you put it in a blind trust? How would you deal with that?

TRUMP: Well, I'd do whatever you're supposed to do. I guess I would put it in a trust or a blind trust, and you know Ivanka and my boys, and I have a lot of great executives. They'd run the company. The company is -- you know, you saw the numbers. I mean, the company is a great company. It's very liquid. We have very little debt. We have tremendous cash flow, and it's a great company. I tell them don't do deals. Just don't do anything. Just relax and run it properly. You know, it's a big company and I'd want them to run it properly.

BARTIROMO: So you wouldn't be interested in putting any family members in the administration?

TRUMP: No, I wouldn't do that. I think that would probably not happen. I think that frankly if I did, if I put Ivanka in some position, I think she'd do it fantastically. You know her; she's -- probably she's a friend of yours, actually. She thinks the world of you.

But if I put Ivanka in just about any position you name, she'd do a great job. But I don't think I'd do that, no.

BARTIROMO: Well, let me get your one word sentence describing your opinions on each of these leaders. I'd love to get you to sort of respond to some -- your quick thoughts on somebody like Angela Merkel.

TRUMP: Fantastic leader. She's -- I was with somebody the other day who thinks she is greatest leader in the world today. She's the most -- she's the smartest and the greatest leader in the world today, and this is a person that has great knowledge of her and deals with her.

BARTIROMO: David Cameron.

TRUMP: Um, good. Fought back a tremendous threat because that would have been the whole Scotland situation I think good. I deal with him a little bit. I think very good. I think he's becoming better with time, actually.

BARTIROMO: How about Vladimir Putin?

TRUMP: Uh, I actually think that he is somebody that can be dealt with. I think his dislike of President Obama is so intense that it really has affected the whole relationship. We've driven them into the arms of China, so that now these two are together, which is also a been the great sin. Don't ever let Russia and China get together. We've driven them together. I think he is somebody that I would have a very decent relationship with if I ever win.

BARTIROMO: How about Xi in China?

TRUMP: Always smart. Chinese leaders are -- they have a different system than ours. They don't do it by television, they do it by a different route to get up there. Always smart and certainly he's been very smart. I think what he did with the recent devaluations, which a lot of people said were market driven, they are not market driven. They did it to keep it going. But the -- the leaders in China always turn out to be smart, and he's certainly one of them.

BARTIROMO: What would you do to deal with the devaluation of the currency there? I mean, what's the solution there?

TRUMP: Well, what you're going to have to do is you're going to have you talk to them and say, folks, you can't do this and you're going to have to tariff it. Because if you don't, we're going to lose all our business, and that goes with Japan also, by the way. You're going to have to do -- look what they're doing with the yen. And they brag about it. And it's almost like Obama, he's got so many other problems or he's asleep at the wheel, and he's not doing anything, Maria. He's not doing anything about it, but look at what's happening with the yen. They're doing the same thing.

M: Donald, we've got a lot of questions for you on Twitter and Facebook. And J.F. Evans is asking how you stand on the Second Amendment. A lot of gun owners want to know, and if he is for it and whether or not you have an opinion here.

TRUMP: Very strong on the Second Amendment; I am a Second Amendment professional. I love the Second Amendment. We have to protect our rights -- and very, very strong. He will be very happy with me on the Second Amendment.

BARTIROMO: Donald, when doing polls throughout the first debate and after the debate, the polls centered on two major issues that were important to American people -- wages and jobs, and No. 2, race in America. We saw another unfortunate, horrible tragedy in St. Louis this morning and last night. What's the answer to bringing us together and -- and improving race in America?

TRUMP: So when Obama got elected, the one thing some people thought, including me, I thought that he would be a unifier. He'd be, you know, a great really unifier. He would bring that together, he would get people together, and I really saw that and I really hoped that and I think he had the ability to do that.

And unfortunately he has been a great divider. There has been a great division. We are far worse than we were before he took office. And I'm surprised at that and that shouldn't have been. But we need spirit. You know, the country does not have a lot of spirit.

There is a lot of -- there is a lot of division, there is a lot of hatred. There is a lot of horrible hatred. You look at Baltimore, you look at -- actually what happened last night was very bad in St. Louis -- you look at Ferguson, you look at all of these different places and the there are many more, and they're ready to explode. They're ready to explode.

BARTIROMO: So what do you do? I mean, what's the answer --

TRUMP: You need spirit, you need the right attitude, but you also need jobs. You have to bring back jobs and you have to get them back quickly.

BARTIROMO: What is the single most important answer to getting jobs back in America, creating jobs, and putting more opportunity out there for people?

TRUMP: We need better trade deals we have to we can't let China and Japan and Mexico and all of these countries -- and I am not just -- you know, I talk about those three because they are more obvious, but we can't let all of these countries. I mean, so many more -- continuously take out -- You know, Vietnam now is a very big source, doing a tremendous job for them but not for us.

Vietnam, who would believe this, but Vietnam is taking tremendous amounts of business from the United States and producing goods for us. We have to produce our goods. We are not going to be producing anything, Maria. So we have to get better trade deals and we have -- We need much smarter people. You know, it is very -- Right now, it is a very complex situation. We have to get better people, we have to get better negotiators, we have to use our brightest, we have to use our best, and we don't do that.

BARTIROMO: How do you find those people? I mean -

TRUMP: I know those people.

BARTIROMO: Government jobs, people don't want those jobs. How are you going to get the smartest people?

TRUMP: I know those people, Maria. I know those people and you know those people, and -- I know people that are better than the people that are on your show. Better. But you've never heard of them.

BARTIROMO: Let me get your take. You mentioned Charlie Gasparino earlier. You know, yesterday he reported that right after Labor Day, the GOP contenders are going to do a big attack against you --

TRUMP: I heard that.

BARTIROMO: And -- How are you going to fight back?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, I am a fan of Charlie and he is only a modest fan of me. I was surprised -- I thought he was a huge Trump fan. He's only a modest Trump fan and I was surprised because I'm a big fan -- Is that Charlie in the background?

BARTIROMO: Yeah. He's in the background here.

GASPARINO: I think you're a great businessman.

TRUMP: Well, I love you. So far I am a good politician, too, Charlie, because I am leading in every poll. So I am going to get you to change your mind, OK?

GASPARINO: All right.

TRUMP: But, anyway.

GASPARINO: All right. I can be convinced.

TRUMP: But I do have great respect for Charlie and I like him, so -- I heard that, actually yesterday from Charlie, OK, and I know nothing about it other than what he says. In fact, I had mentioned it to somebody that I'm hearing they are going to attack me, they said where did you get it, I said I got it from Charlie. So I don't know, I hope he is wrong and if he's wrong, that's good and if he's right, I think I will survive.

GASPARINO: Donald, the fundraisers are saying that, the campaigns now are so scared of you, they're coming out no, no, we are not going after Donald.

TRUMP: Well, Charlie, they are getting killed. I mean, they are getting killed. The new polls -- I mean, they're getting killed. These are professional politicians but they don't have energy, they don't have life, and you know, one thing we know -- this -- we're doing badly, as a country, and one thing --

BARTIROMO: Are you worried about Joe Biden coming in?

TRUMP: Wait a minute. One thing we know, Maria, for sure, we need somebody with energy, and these people don't have -- I mean, they don't have energy. We need smarts, we need everything. But you also have to have energy. When you look at Jeb and you look at some of these people, they don't have the energy that you see from some of our business leaders. You just don't see it.

BARTIROMO: How about Joe Biden? The word is he's --

TRUMP: Well, maybe he comes in, I really don't know, I really don't care if he comes in, personally. I think Hillary is in trouble. I think she could be in big trouble. We will see what happens. Charlie would actually have a good bent on that, I would imagine. But I think she could be in very big trouble. I think Biden might come in at some point.

BARTIROMO: Let me get your take on some off-topic headlines. Some of the lighter stuff. Tom Brady, is he getting a raw deal from the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell? What do you think?

TRUMP: I think it's ridiculous the way they've treated him. He's a friend of mine, he's a great friend of mine. He's a great guy. I think it is terrible the way they've treated him. They've got -- you know, to go -- to spend 10 million dollars in legal fees, and now it's probably much higher than that, it is crazy what they are doing. He's their great star, let -- They ought to go back to play football. This country has bigger problems.

BARTIROMO: What about your players? Who are you taking first in your fantasy football draft?

TRUMP: As far as I'm concerned, you just mentioned one of the guys. I mean, Tom Brady is just a great guy and I always take Tom Brady. I have taken him for years, and if you have done some friendly bets on Tom Brady, you've done very well.

BARTIROMO: Donald, how are you going to raise these numbers? I mean, you know, we are really getting into the nuts and bolts now of the issues. What is going to be, you know, to really move the needle for you, to continue gaining?

TRUMP: Well, you know, I have 25, 26, 28 percent. One poll came out, I am 32 percent. And in all fairness, Maria, there is 17 people. You know, I mean, when you have 32 percent -- I am going to Mobile, Alabama, on Friday and we were thinking about 400, 500 people, so we took the ballroom and it turned out that was sold out in about two seconds, so they took a bigger ballroom -- then they took a convention center. Now they're talking about -- and Charlie, you have to hear this one -- like 30,000 people. They are taking the football stadium.

So this started out with 500 people about three days ago, and about 10 minutes later the hotel called, they said we can't handle the crowd that is calling. And literally, it could be 30,000, it could be more than 30,000, but it could be 30,000 people and they have actually had to take the football stadium. So you know, there is something going on out there. There is a movement and even though Charlie considers me a great businessman but not necessarily a politician, I don't know, maybe some day you will say I'm a better politicians --

GASPARINO: Well, you're --

TRUMP: Actually, I love being a great businessman.

GASPARINO: What I admire about you is you probably haven't really spent a dime and you're No. 1 in polls. How much have spent?

TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you. It's a very funny thing -- just have to report it so I can tell you -- I will do a little bragging, but, you know. So I've had so much television, like this interview -- I thought this was going to be -- Maria is brutal, Charlie.

BARTIROMO: Oh come on Donald.

You know, I thought this would be 3 minutes. I just got back from New Hampshire last night where we had a tremendous success, and you know, Maria might keep me on this phone all day trying to be nice. But Charlie -- So it is funny - [Crosstalk]

BARTIROMO: Well, this has to be a total education for you. I mean, I know you've been all around the world and you've done a lot of stuff, Donald, but this is totally different. What has been sort of your big takeaway from this whole running for president?

TRUMP: Well let me just answer Charlie's question because it's sort of an interesting-- So what happened, I figured I would have spent 10 million by this point, right?


TRUMP: I spent nothing!

BARTIROMO: You spent nothing?

TRUMP: No -- nothing -- Charlie, I've spent zero.

GASPARINO: You know what? You are the best politician out there.

TRUMP: I mean zero.

GASPARINO: You are the best politicians out there.

TRUMP: No, no, listen -- No, no -- I was going to -- I figured by this point in advertising, which is the biggest expense -- I thought I would have spent 10 million dollars by about this point. But how can you do that if every show, from Fox to CNN to you guys, if every show has everything Trump and then on top of it, they have a Trump commercial, people will get sick. They'll get sick.

BARTIROMO: It's amazing.

TRUMP: So I haven't spent anything. I couldn't. If I did I would be -- they would laugh at me. So, so far I've been saving a lot of money.

BARTIROMO: Then, you know, you answered a question that you would be willing to spend up to a billion dollars. Really?

TRUMP: Well, I'll spend what I need. Look, if I am doing well, I'd spend what I need. Now, also, when you do well, you know, between the party and everything else, the money pours in. It does pour in. But I don't take, you know, I don't take. -- I've turned down a lot of money from lobbyists, guys that I know, guys that I've hired, you know, they're very good, some of them, some of them not so good.

But I had one guy last week, he said, I want to put 5 million dollars into your campaign. I said I don't need it, I don't want it. You know, I don't want it. You know, this is a guy, Charlie, you know, somebody that you probably know, who doesn't do it because, like, he thinks I have a wonderful personality --

BARTIROMO: How has the GOP been treating you, Donald?

TRUMP: They've be treating me very well. Well, you know, as the frontrunner, they've been treating me very well. And that is why I keep that other door open because if they don't I have that other door open. And not that I want to use it -

BARTIROMO: When you say I have that other door open, don't you think -- but don't you think running independent would just destroy the opportunity for the Republicans? I mean, are you are willing to do that and then give the election to Hillary --

TRUMP: I think it would -- I think it would be bad, it's something I don't want to do. I'm leading in every poll, I am leading in every state. Florida just came out, I am leading -- it was just reported that in Florida, I am leading Bush by a lot and I'm leading Rubio by a tremendous amount. No, I have a lot of properties in Florida. I own Doral, I own, you know, many, many properties in Florida. I love that state. It's an amazing state. But, you know, when you're leading the two people, you're leading the current senator and the ex governor by a lot, that's sort of nice. But it just came out 10 minutes ago.

BARTIROMO: Would Rubio be an idea for you as a running mate?

TRUMP: I mean, it could be. Certainly it could be. I like him, he's a nice guy. I have gotten to know him a little bit over the last couple months, you know, I have seen him in the dais during the debate. We had really a very good -- We have a good relationship. We'll see what happens. But, of course, he's one of the people that Charlie says is going to spend some negative --

GASPARINO: That is what his fundraisers are telling me. But they're so scared of you --

TRUMP: Once that happens, you know, I will no longer like him. You do know that, right? [Laughter]

BARTIROMO: Right, right. Sure. We know that.

TRUMP: Then I go after him. Then I go after him.

BARTIROMO: Then it's all guns blazing.

GASPARINO: They are all afraid of you. Why -- you know, you seem to take a certain amount of glee in poking Jeb Bush in the eye. It's like, like -- he's like the Pillsbury doughboy and you just like to stick him.

BARTIROMO: Yeah, why is that?

GASPARINO: Why is that? It's funny, too. I have to admit it.

TRUMP: I actually like him. I find him to be a nice person, I really do. I met him, I don't know him well, but I have seen him and met him a little bit on the trail, as we call it, right. And I find him to be a nice person. In New Hampshire he was sort of expected to win New Hampshire and now he's really not doing well in New Hampshire but he was expected -- so you know, I am going to hit the guy that I thought I should hit.

And frankly, you know, I am leading New Hampshire by quite a bit, and in Iowa it was Walker, and he was expected to -- you know, he was there, he grew up there, he was the governor of the adjoining state, and I hit him very hard, and frankly, you know, I get along with him, he's a nice guy, but I said certain things that are true -- all true -- and now I am leading Iowa by a lot. So I'm leading Iowa and New Hampshire. I really go after the person -- like in business, right, you go after the person that -

BARTIROMO: And then there is John Kasich. You know, Charles Barkley was on the radio yesterday saying his pick is John Kasich

TRUMP: Charles said that over me, that is really surprising.

BARTIROMO: Charles Barkley said that yesterday.

TRUMP: Well that's good. Hey, look, he seems like a nice guy. I don't know him and he has been very respectful of me. In fact, he said that Trump has hit a nerve like I have never seen before. He said that. You know, it is hard to hit -- I don't want them to do that. I want them to hit me, you know -- Walker was -

BARTIROMO: What do you mean you want them to --

TRUMP: I will tell you, Maria, Walker was very interesting because he came up to see me like six, seven months ago, before this all started, and gave me a plaque because I supported him a little bit and all that and he gave me a plaque in my office. And he was so nice and then one of his guys said something a little nasty about me. I said, oh, thank goodness, and then I was able to hit him. That is what changed Iowa. You know, once I said that, that's what changed Iowa poll. So, you know, so Kasich has been so nice, and you know, I am really a counter puncher. If you look at what's happened with me and the people that I hit, it is really the people that hit me first. I don't think I hit anybody first.

GASPARINO: You never take the first shot.

TRUMP: I never take it. I just -- I can't. Maybe it's my weakness.

GASPARINO: You're the Floyd Mayweather.

TRUMP: Yeah, you know what? I think it's my weakness. If they're nice to me, I am never going to say anything bad about a person. It is terrible. I keep hoping for them to hit me, but it's one of those things.

BARTIROMO: Donald, when you get into the White House, we want to know what your agenda will be. What is the most important issue that you are going to tackle?

TRUMP: This is longest phone call I think I've ever had, Charlie. Can you believe this? [Laughter]

GASPARINO: Yeah -- [Crosstalk]

TRUMP: I thought this was going to be a little quickie -- This is unbelievable.

BARTIROMO: Yeah. We're trying to get you priorities because --

TRUMP: I mean, I know you are going to get great ratings -- but this is getting crazy.

GASPARINO: Donald, I could never keep you on the phone this long.

BARTIROMO: Donald, we appreciate it.

TRUMP: Charlie, I will meet you any time you want.

GASPARINO: Thank you, sir.

TRUMP: Look, he was the source of great information. Somebody's going to spend 10 million dollars trying to kill me, OK? So what can I tell you?

BARTIROMO: Well, we hope that the next time - [Crosstalk]

TRUMP: Maria, just to finish this -- But you know, look, there are so many things. Obamacare has to be repealed and replaced, the military has to be strengthened, the vets have to be taken care of. We have to do, you know, we have to do new trade deals, we have to renegotiate our trade deals, we have to do something with Iran, because what we are inheriting is a deal made by very stupid people. And then on top of it you tell me that this report just came out where they can do their own inspections. Hey, Charlie, would you -- You are a very trusting person, right?

GASPARINO: Yes, of course.

TRUMP: Charlie is a very trusting person. He trusts nobody. He might trust his mother, but I am not sure about that, Maria. OK?

GASPARINO: You guys should have met my mother.

TRUMP: Charlie, would you trust -- would you trust Iran to do their own inspections?

GASPARINO: You know, Donald -- I mean, this is why you are hitting a nerve because you boil this down to its bare essentials.

TRUMP: Right. But isn't that incredible, though? I don't know if this report is a joke. Maybe it is false, but I wouldn't be surprised -- This is like, you know, Sergeant Bergdahl, right? We get Bergdahl, a traitor. They get five guys that they wanted desperately for years who are right now back in the -- You know, that is the way we -- I call him the five-for-one president. We get a traitor that we don't want -- we ought to throw him back -- and they get five guys that they want. That's the way we deal.

Do you think that is enough questions for this morning, Charlie?

BARTIROMO: Yes, it absolutely is. Donald, we so appreciate your time this morning. We hope that you come in person next time.

TRUMP: Thank you. I will. I will. And take care of yourselves. You both are terrific.

BARTIROMO: We'll be watching, Donald. Thank you very much. Donald Trump there.

Donald J. Trump, Interview with Maria Bartiromo and Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business News Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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