Donald Trump On His Foreign Policy, Tax Policy, And The Campaign
HH: I begin this hour with the best interview in America, Donald Trump. Mr. Trump, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
DT: Well, thank you very much, Hugh.
HH: I am a season ticket holder to the Browns, and I want to begin on football, because I could use some of that winning so much that we’re sick of winning. Did you watch that game last night?
DT: I didn’t watch it. I heard about it. But you know, the Browns, I don’t know, tell me about it. What was the final outcome of that game, Hugh?
HH: We lost on the kick six. They blocked our winning field goal, they ran it back, and we lost on the last play.
DT: So sad, such a great history in the past. Of course, you could say that there’s been a movement of a franchise and then a new franchise, right?
HH: That’s correct.
DT: So it’s a great football area, and they’ll be fine. They’ll be fine.
HH: Okay, if you drop out, I’m just saying, Jimmy Haslam could use some help. I was on CNN this morning, Donald Trump, and I said your campaign could be a Harvard Business School case study in marketing a brand. Yesterday, you were at Trump Tower with all of the African-American pastors. Have you raised rents there given how much publicity Trump Tower has gotten in the last six months?
DT: You know, it’s funny, I just had a call from a major reporter, not as big as you, of course, nobody’s as big as you, but I just took a call from a very big reporter asking me the very, a business reporter, saying you know, you’re leading in every poll, Mr. Trump, could I ask you a question? Has this had a positive impact on your properties? And I said you know, I haven’t really thought about it, but the answer is yes. Doral in Miami is doing phenomenally. My projects all over the place, somehow it has. I mean, it’s been, it’s been good. I didn’t do this for that reason, Hugh, but it’s had a very positive impact on my other things.
HH: I think it’s arguably true that the Trump Tower, which already was famous, may be the most famous property in the world now. Do you think I’m right?
DT: Well, it’s getting right up there. It’s certainly not far behind, that I can tell you. There are a couple of pretty good ones, but it’s right up there, Hugh.
HH: Have you raised rents in it since this started?
DT: No, I think I’ll try and keep people happy by keeping it. They were pretty high. Honestly, they’re pretty high to start off with.
HH: (laughing) It’s a big address. You’ve mentioned the advantages of unpredictability.
HH: And that, could you unpredictably exit this race and just say you’ve accomplished your goals? Or are you in it to win it?
DT: No, I would never, I’m not leaving this race. You know, it’s such a great, because I use the word unpredictable. And our country has to be more unpredictable. And sometimes, even when you will ask me a question in terms of military or military strategy, I don’t like to tell people, because you know, I’m being the leader, and you know, having a real shot at it, and a real shot at winning. You have to be unpredictable to the enemy like when President Obama sent 50 people over two weeks ago. Number one, who’s bragging about 50 people? But the enemy now is looking for those 50 people. Why would he announce that he’s doing 50 people and sending them over to Syria, Iraq, wherever they may end up? Everybody’s looking for them, and there’s something really good. We need unpredictability. You know, George Patton and General Douglas MacArthur, great generals, they didn’t talk about what they did. They did it, and then they talked afterward. And so there is something awfully good about unpredictability from the standpoint of our country. But we are totally predictable. We announce when we’re leaving, we announce who we’re sending and how many, we announce all sorts of things, when we’re attacking. It’s hard to believe how incompetent our leaders are, and leader in particular.
HH: Sometimes allies need predictability, though. Japan needs to know if they’re attacked, we will rally to them. Taiwan needs to know that. I’m sure…
DT: Well, that’s okay. That’s a different thing. I agree with that.
DT: That’s different.
HH: If Russia shoots down one of our F-18s off of a carrier, or one of our A-10s out of Turkey, what must the President do? I mean, what must he do if Russia does that with the missiles they’ve just deployed?
DT: Well you know, the way we’re going about our foreign policy right now, and the dislike, obviously dislike that Putin and Obama have, although it seems to be perhaps a little bit warmer than it was. But I would certainly look at different options, but I wouldn’t want to tell you what those options are. It would really depend on a lot of circumstances. You know, you can’t phrase a question like that. You really have to talk about very specific circumstances. But let’s hope it doesn’t happen, because that’s not something we want, and believe me, it’s not something that Russia’s going to want.
HH: But it’s spiraling, don’t you think?
DT: Well, it could be.
HH: When Turkey shoots down…
DT: I mean, you could have, with our very stupid leaders, you could end up in World War III over Syria.
HH: Yes, you could. And so if it goes that way, what do you want the people of the American electorate to know about how a President Trump would react to that kind of an incident?
DT: I would be strong, I would be forceful, I would be respected, and maybe so much so that it wouldn’t happen, because that’s what you really want. You don’t want things like that to happen.
HH: All right, fair enough. Are you sticking with your Jersey City estimate?
DT: Oh, yeah, sure. I will tell you that an article came out recently that was, meaning we found it recently. I think it was on September 13th of obviously that very terrible year, and it was a story in the Post. I put it on Twitter, @RealDonaldTrump. And I have another one, @RealDonaldTrump, where Curtis Sliwa, you know, the Guardian Angels…
DT: He was doing a show of some kind, either a television or a radio show, and he talked about what was happening over in New Jersey. And yeah, people know, and I have been called by hundreds of people, Hugh. I have been called by literally hundreds of people, and also, you know, the Twitter, which is so big, between Facebook and Twitter, I have ten million people. And it’s been, in fact, I should have said I’m doing the show. You would have gotten ratings that would have been five times greater, okay?
HH: You can do it. You can still tell them.
DT: I should do that. I should have said I’m doing the show at a certain time. That would have been a good thing. Next time, Hugh, just remind me. I’ll do that.
HH: All right.
DT: But you know, it’s sort of an amazing thing. But Curtis Sliwa was talking about it two or three days after the event. So I’m right, and you know, many people, I was in Sarasota, Florida. We had, you probably heard, we had 12,000 people. Four of those people in just walking through said Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump, we lived in, you know, and I walked through, and I signed, and I do a lot of things where we have a lot of fun together. And considering we’re talking about very negative subjects, which is, you understand that, but four people said to me I used to live in New Jersey. You’re absolutely right. That happened. And you know, it’s become such a big deal. People are talking about it. And all I’m saying is we have to surveil. We have to be very careful. There are a lot of bad things happening, and we have to be very careful.
HH: Mayor Giuliani was on CNN before I was this morning, and he said there were demonstrations of celebration. They were isolated. One happened in a candy store, but that hundreds and hundreds did not demonstrate. I personally believe that you are remembering the Gaza celebration, which was vast, and conflating events, but that you genuinely do remember it. And I don’t doubt your sincerity one moment. I don’t…
DT: Well, you know, look…
HH: I don’t know that, but, go ahead.
DT: I have a great memory, and there were people that were tailgating, as they said. You know, the Washington Post wrote about tailgating, and he said, you know, tailgating means a lot of people. And they would also talk about on rooves, that they were celebrating on rooves. They were celebrating in the street. So I mean, regardless of how many people, I can’t tell you how many people, but it was done. And then if you look worldwide, Hugh, it was definitely done, because…
HH: Oh, sure.
DT: …because as you know…
HH: Oh, Gaza…
DT: …that was well-reported.
DT: That was well-reported, and you look well, I mean, look, a week ago, when they had the soccer game, and the two teams were stopped for a moment of silence, and many, many, many people were shouting things that you’re not supposed to be shouting. This was a minute of silence for the people slain in Paris, so horribly.
HH: Yeah, that happened in Turkey. I saw that, too.
DT: And you know…
HH: Let me ask you about…
DT: That was a pretty bad thing that happened. In fact, all of the players, they didn’t know what to do.
HH: Yeah, let me switch subjects on you to the President today. Before he left France, he warned about climate change. He said that the seas, I think he said, I think this is a direct quote, I could be wrong, and I think it’s a direct quote, that they were rapidly rising.
HH: Do you believe that sea levels are increasing dramatically, Donald Trump?
DT: No, no I don’t. I don’t believe that, and I don’t think…
HH: Do you think his claim will be fact-checked…
DT: I think there are changes, because the changes, and you can have changes up, changes down. You’re going to have warmer, you’re going to have cooler. It’s called weather. It’s called other things. But no, I don’t believe that. I think that, you know, they may be going up a little bit, and they’ll at some point be going down a little bit. And the end result is when he talks about climate change as being the single greatest problem confronting our country and the world, this man is really out of it.
HH: Do you think his claim about rising sea levels will be fact-checked to anything like the degree your claim about New Jersey was fact-checked?
DT: No, they won’t fact-check him. You know, the thing about what he says about climate change, nobody, I watched two people last night on Hannity, I mean, on your friend, Sean Hannity’s, show.
DT: And you had one that was pro-climate change, or whatever you want to call it. You know, they come up with so many different names, Hugh, between they start with global warming, that wasn’t working so well, then they go climate change. Now, they have extreme weather, which I see quite a bit. You know, they want to make it, because a lot of these terms that they come up with don’t work so well. So they had one as saying a lot of things are happening, and they have another one saying no. And the one who said no, the one that believes as you do and as I do, absolutely beat the hell out of the other guy. And it was really actually very interesting to watch. But if you were watching as an impartial observer, you would not be a big fan of climate change after watched this…
HH: I just don’t think the President will be fact-checked on sea levels rising, because I don’t see any levels of sea levels rising, and I think you could prove that if it were true, but we’ll see.
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HH: Let me switch over to national security. I always ask you this question, Donald Trump. Are you ready to roll out your national security advisory team, yet?
DT: Well, I’m meeting with people. We’re going to let you know over the next two or three weeks who they are. I think they want to be known, but I’m meeting with people. I have, you know, I feel I have a very good grasp of national security. You know, and you and I have not discussed this, but I wrote a book, The America We Deserve. And in the book, I mentioned Osama bin Laden.
HH: We did. We did talk about that once.
HH: And you were way ahead of the time.
DT: And you know, a lot of people are saying well, Trump mentioned that in his book before the World Trade Center came down, two years before the World Trade Center came down. I said you’ve got to get him, and he was a guy that was just a nasty guy talking big stuff. And I said you’d better get him, you’d better watch out for him. I didn’t like him, and you know, it was mentioned. I talked about terrorism before terrorism was terrorism.
HH: But I’d like to know your generals.
DT: And that got some current from some people.
HH: I’d love, you know, like Ben Carson has General Dees, and other people have different generals advising them. Have you got any two-stars, three-stars, four-stars that are going to sign up with Trump?
DT: The answer is yes. Oh, yes, I do. Yes, I do.
HH: And when do we get them, because I want to talk to them.
DT: I would say within the next three to four weeks.
DT: And I’m working with them, and I’m, you know, I feel I have a very good grasp. One of them said wow, you really understand foreign policy, and you really understand military policy. A general told me that. He was shocked, actually, if you want to know the truth, because he assumes that I’m, you know, really great at real estate, and really good at deals, but I really do have an understanding of that, and I know what to do. And I see what’s happening, and I listen to some of our so-called experts on television, and it makes you nauseous to listen to them, because they don’t know what they’re talking about. So you know, I think it actually could end up, you know, every poll shows that I’m the best on leadership, I’m the best on the economy, I’m the best on the borders, and you know, and the best on terrorism. Some people have me as the best on the military. I think the military is going to be a very strong point if I win. I think the military is going to be a strong point, Hugh.
HH: You make the media uncomfortable. I was on the set with Chuck Todd when he said Mr. Trump, you’re running for president, your words matter. And you make the media uncomfortable, because you are so blunt and straightforward, and you say controversial things. Is that a help in a general election like it is in a primary election?
DT: Well, it’s certainly a help in the primary. I guess some polls are coming out today. We’ll have to see. But I’ll bet you they’re pretty good. And I think it certainly is a help, and Chuck is a nice guy, but boy, he was really trying, I said Chuck, cool it, just relax, take it nice and easy, take a deep breath, because he was really trying to go at me, and I said what are you doing? What’s the purpose of this? But you know, I think being a straight talker today, with all of the crooked talk, with all of the dumb talk, with all of the people that are incompetent talking, I think it helps, Hugh. I think it’s a positive.
HH: All right, now let me ask you about the big debate between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. I had Senator Cruz on yesterday, Senator Rubio the week before, and I’m sure they’ll all be back before Las Vegas, on metadata collection. Ted Cruz is glad that the NSA got out of it. Marco Rubio wants it back. What’s Donald Trump think?
DT: Well, I tend to err on the side of security, I must tell you. And I’ve been there for longer than you would think. But you know, when you have people that are beheading, if you’re a Christian, or, and frankly, for lots of other reasons, when you have the world looking at us and would like to destroy us as quickly as possible, I err on the side of security. And so you know, that’s the way it is. That’s the way I’ve been, and some people like that, frankly, and some people don’t like that. But I think, and I’m not just saying that since Paris, I’m saying for quite some time. I assume when I pick up my telephone, people are listening to my conversations anyway, if you want to know the truth. It’s pretty sad commentary, but I err on the side of security.
HH: All right, so you would be in favor of restoring the Patriot Act?
DT: I think that would be fine. As far as I’m concerned, that would be fine.
HH: All right, now a couple of economic issues. If there is tax reform, will Donald Trump argue to save the home mortgage interest deduction…
HH: …the charitable interest deduction…
HH: …and the state income tax deduction?
DT: Well, the home interest, let’s go one at a time. Yes, because I know, nobody knows housing like I do. Nobody knows jobs like I do. And nobody knows the economy like I do. If you take the interest deduction away, you’re going to destroy the housing industry.
HH: Amen. God, thank you. Would you call some Republicans and tell them that?
DT: Well, they don’t get it. Look, these are people that never produced a job, most of them, I guess. You know, I’m not talking about all of them, but you know, most of them. And you know, I was going over it. I’ve produced tens of thousands of jobs. I have thousands of employees. But I’ve produced over my life tens of thousands of jobs. Nobody knows more about that than me. You get rid of the interest deduction, interest mortgage deduction, you will see a housing industry that crashes. And it’s, in a sense, our biggest industry. You understand.
DT: You add it all up together…
HH: Four jobs for every one created, yeah.
DT: It’s our biggest industry.
HH: How about the charitable deduction?
DT: I would say that I would leave the charitable deduction. People do use it. They do give to charity. Some abuse the deduction. I’m sure we can do certain work on it. But the charitable deduction would be fine, as far as I’m concerned, to leave.
HH: And the state income tax deduction, because I live in California, and I think the state will collapse if that goes away.
DT: Yeah, no, I think you’re going to have to leave it. You’re going to have to leave it. Otherwise, you’re going to see some states…now the problem with that is, you know, you have some states that have really been well-behaved, and they do it right. And those people are actually, you know, not benefiting by this, whereas you have other states that are over-levered, over-borrowed, and they’re taking maximum advantage of the federal government, which in a way is unfair. You know, you have other states that don’t even have the problem because they have so little debt out there. So those people or those states are being punished by, but in the meantime, I think you have to leave it. You’re changing the ballgame so rapidly that I could see leaving it, and I would be fine with it.
HH: Last question on taxes, last question for today, and I’ll see you in Las Vegas.
HH: The Forbes 400 has you listed at 121. I went through and added up the top 50 today, you know, beginning with Gates and then Warren Buffett and the Koch Brothers and Larry Ellison. The top 50 have $1.1 trillion dollars in wealth. Shouldn’t we have a wealth tax in this country, Donald Trump, to redistribute? That’s a lot of money in the hands of 50 people.
DT: No, I don’t think so. These are job producers, and I don’t think so. And I’m not saying that because I’m on the list. I’m just saying I don’t think so at all. I think that when you do that, you really, you know, there was a time years ago when I wanted to pay off the deficit, and I said I would be okay if they took a certain percentage of what I had, and which was much smaller than what I have right now, but took a certain percentage and let’s pay off the deficit. But now, our deficit is so humongous, nothing’s going to matter. I mean, the only thing that’s going to pay off our deficit is having a raging, great economy, which under my tax plan, and by the way, the great Larry Kudlow agrees with me, he loves my plan, you know that, and he’s a friend of yours and he’s a terrific guy.
DT: But under my tax plan, I think we’re going to have a really dynamic economy. That’s what we have to do.
HH: But the income inequality, the wealth inequality, not income inequality, when you’re got people with $50 billion dollars, and you’ve got people with $50 dollars, it does produce incredible disturbance. I think actually that’s what’s behind Black Lives Matter, is that there’s income inequality. It’s behind Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Doesn’t a wealth tax at least take some of the sting out of that?
DT: Well, but then you do take away the incentive to go out and become great, and you take away a lot of incentive from a lot of people. So it’s a double, you know, it’s very much of a double-edged sword. Where you can solve the problem and really solve your problems is make the economy great, and make the economy strong.
HH: More on that in Las Vegas. Donald Trump, always a pleasure to talk to you, thank you for spending time with me today. Feel free to tweet out they can listen to it this afternoon.
DT: I will. Next time, I have to do it before I speak to you, though. That’s the only problem. You know, doesn’t help right now, right?
HH: Oh, it does. They can listen to the podcast anytime.
DT: Okay, well, I’ll do something.
HH: Thank you. Talk to you soon.
DT: Thank you very much, Hugh, great honor, thank you.
HH: See you in Vegas.
End of interview.