Donald Trump On The Day He Took The Pledge
Donald Trump joined me today:
HH: Joined now by Donald Trump. Donald Trump, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you.
DT: Thank you, Hugh.
HH: I would thought that today, this is our sixth interview, I’d turn to some of the commander-in-chief questions. Are you ready for that?
DT: Okay, fine.
HH: Are you familiar with General Soleimani?
DT: Yes, but go ahead, give me a little, go ahead, tell me.
HH: He runs the Quds Forces.
DT: Yes, okay, right.
HH: Do you expect his behavior…
DT: The Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated by …
HH: No, not the Kurds, the Quds Forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Forces.
DT: Yes, yes.
HH: …is the bad guys.
HH: Do you expect his behavior to change as a result…
DT: Oh, I thought you said Kurds, Kurds.
HH: No, Quds.
DT: Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you said Kurds, because I think the Kurds have been poorly treated by us, Hugh. Go ahead.
HH: Agreed. So Soleimani runs the Quds Forces. Do you expect his behavior is going to change as a result of this deal with Iran?
DT: I think that Iran right now is in the driver’s seat to do whatever they want to do. I think what’s happening with Iran is, I think it’s one of the, and I covered it very well. I assume you saw the news conference. I think Iran is, it’s one of the great deals ever made for them. I think it’s one of the most incompetent contracts I’ve even seen. I’m not just talking about defense. I’m not talking about a contract with another country. I’ve never seen more of a one-sided deal, I think, in my life, absolutely.
HH: Well, Soleimani is to terrorism sort of what Trump is to real estate.
HH: Many people would say he’s the most dangerous man in the world, and he runs the Quds Forces, which is their Navy SEALs.
DT: Is he the gentleman that was going back and forth with Russia and meeting with Putin? I read something, and that seems to be also where he’s at.
HH: That’s the guy.
DT: He’s going back and forth meeting with other countries, etc., etc.
HH: That’s the guy.
DT: Not good.
HH: And so do you think…
DT: Not good for us. And what it shows is a total lack of respect, I mean, that the other countries would even be entertaining him, and they’re entertaining him big league, big league.
HH: So when you went before the Senate, and I always tell people my favorite testimony of all time is when Donald Trump just schooled the Senate on the construction of the U.N. remodel.
HH: You know that stuff. You know every developer in Manhattan. You know everything about building buildings. You could build the wall. I have no doubt about that.
DT: Right. By the way, and nobody knows how easy that would be. And I mean, it would be, it would be tall, it would be powerful, we would make it very good looking. It would be as good as a wall’s got to be, and people will not be climbing over that wall, believe me. Go ahead.
HH: You know, I’d buy that, because you’re a builder. But on the front of Islamist terrorism, I’m looking for the next commander-in-chief, to know who Hassan Nasrallah is, and Zawahiri, and al-Julani, and al-Baghdadi. Do you know the players without a scorecard, yet, Donald Trump?
DT: No, you know, I’ll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they’ll all be changed. They’ll be all gone. I knew you were going to ask me things like this, and there’s no reason, because number one, I’ll find, I will hopefully find General Douglas MacArthur in the pack. I will find whoever it is that I’ll find, and we’ll, but they’re all changing, Hugh. You know, those are like history questions. Do you know this one, do you know that one. I will tell you, I thought you used the word Kurd before. I will tell you that I think the Kurds are the most under-utilized and are being totally mistreated by us. And nobody understands why. But as far as the individual players, of course I don’t know them. I’ve never met them. I haven’t been, you know, in a position to meet them. If, if they’re still there, which is unlikely in many cases, but if they’re still there, I will know them better than I know you.
HH: That’s what I’m getting at, because the Islamist extremism is metastasizing. Nasrallah’s been there a long time, and al-Baghdadi’s running ISIS. And so I wonder if you’re going to throw yourself into the details of this during the campaign the way you did into the U.N. deal, because you knew that stuff cold.
DT: Well, you know, and unfortunately, I said I’d build it for $500 million. They were at $3 billion. And it ended up costing $6 billion, and I told them that would happen. And it was a disgrace. Frankly, that whole U.N. situation was a disgrace. They ended up spending $5-6 billion dollars to renovate a building that I would have done for $500 million, and I told them I would have done it, and it would have been better. Now as far as what you’re talking about now, I will know every detail, and I will have the right plan, not a plan like this where we’re probably going backwards based on everything that I’m hearing, but we’re probably going backwards, zero respect. We have, we are not a respected country, and certainly as it relates to ISIS and what’s going on, and Iran.
HH: Now I don’t believe in gotcha questions. And I’m not trying to quiz you on who the worst guy in the world is.
DT: Well, that is a gotcha question, though. I mean, you know, when you’re asking me about who’s running this, this this, that’s not, that is not, I will be so good at the military, your head will spin. But obviously, I’m not meeting these people. I’m not seeing these people. Now it probably will be a lot of changes, Hugh, as you go along. They’ll be, by the time we get there, which is still a pretty long period of time, you know, you start, let’s say you figure out nominations, and who is going to represent the Republicans in, let’s say, February, March, April, you’ll start to get pretty good ideas, maybe sooner than that, actually. But that will be a whole new group of people. I think what is really important is to pick out, and this is something I’m so good at, to pick out who is going to be the best person to represent us militarily, because we have some great people, militarily. I don’t know that we’re using them.
HH: All right, well, let me expand it, because you know, it’s not gotcha. I’m trying not to do that. But I wanted to see if you…
DT: Well, it sounded like gotcha. You’re asking me names that, I think it’s somewhat ridiculous, but that’s okay. Go ahead, let’s go.
HH: All right, good. Now have you ever been to Israel? And how often?
DT: Yes, I’ve been to Israel once.
HH: And if Israel acts unilaterally against Iran because they view this deal as so bad, will you unequivocally stand by the action of the Netanyahu government?
DT: Of course, I will. In fact, he’s a friend of mine. I did commercials for his reelection. And according to what he said, I’m the only celebrity, he’s used the word celebrity, this was a while ago, that did commercials, that he asked to do commercials. But he’s a good man, and I would absolutely stand with him. But you know, we have a problem, because according to the deal, and this is hard to believe, but we’re supposed to be protecting Iran against any invader. And if Israel invades, nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen, because if Israel invades Iran, I don’t know if you know, but we have a clause in that agreement that the way I read it, it’s almost like we have to go, and by the way, I can guarantee you that clause, first of all, should have never been there, maybe they had it taken out, but we didn’t win anything. But do you know there’s a clause in there that in theory, we’re supposed to help them fight Israel?
HH: Yup. Yeah, it’s in Annex Three. We agree to cooperate in the security of their nuclear installations. It’s remarkable, and I’m glad you know about it. And I’m glad you’ll stand with Israel. Let me ask you about Saudi Arabia and Egypt. I don’t know if you’ve been able to get to those countries, yet, have you?
DT: I have, yes.
HH: And so do you…
DT: Well, I think the biggest, you know, I think it’s terrible, first of all, with Egypt, and with Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia in particular, was making a billion dollars a day, one billion dollars a day. Now let’s say they make half of that number because oil prices have been so depressed. But Saudi Arabia was making a half a billion dollars. It was a billion dollars a day. Why aren’t they helping us out? When they asked, and you may not like this, but I like it, because when we owe now $19, we’re up to $19 trillion dollars, I certainly like it, and I like protecting…why aren’t they helping us with the costs? We get virtually nothing from Saudi Arabia. Every time somebody raises a rifle in the air and points it in the direction of Saudi Arabia, or, by the way, South Korea and other places, every single time that happens, and I mean without exception, we start loading up and getting ready and sending ships and sending all sorts of things. We get nothing. And you know, maybe you’ll explain why, but we get nothing. And I don’t like that.
HH: I’m curious, though, if we need them, in your opinion, as strategic allies – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan. Do we need them even if they’re not paying us money for their defense?
DT: Well, you need, I think Egypt and Israel get along, and they’re starting to get along pretty well. Mubarak should have been frankly, probably, taken care of better than he was. That sent a bad signal around. But I think in terms of Israel, Egypt starts getting very important. Maybe we don’t need the oil to the same extent as we did, and pretty soon, if we allowed, if we allowed what we have, technologically, to go forward, we wouldn’t need them at all. You know, we have potentially the greatest oil reserves in the world right here, and we wouldn’t need them at all. You know, we used to need Saudi Arabia for oil, and that part of the world. It all started with the oil, and it sort of ends with the oil. But now, we’re at a point where we’re going to be doing ten million barrels. It’s very interesting. We’re probably, very soon, if we allow our people to get going, we’re probably not going to need them for the oil. So we don’t need Saudi Arabia nearly to the extent that we needed them in the past.
HH: Okay, looking to Asia, if China were to either accidentally or intentionally sink a Filipino or Japanese ship, what would Commander-In-Chief Donald Trump do in response?
DT: I wouldn’t want to tell you, because frankly, they have to, you know, somebody wrote a very good story about me recently, and they said there’s a certain unpredictable, and it was actually another businessman, said there’s a certain unpredictability about Trump that’s great, and it’s what made him a lot of money and a lot of success. You don’t want to put, and you don’t want to let people know what you’re going to do with respect to certain things that happen. You don’t want the other side to know. I don’t want to give you an answer to that. If I win, and I’m leading in every single poll, if I win, I don’t want people to know exactly what I’m going to be doing.
HH: Fair response. Good response.
DT: Part of the problem with Obama, he says we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that, we’re going to attack here, we’re going to do this. Every time they capture somebody, they make a big deal out of it, and all of the other people, like for instance, they hit somebody with a drone, and they start making a big deal over the fact that they took out a mid-level accounting person, and now everybody else goes and runs, and it makes it harder. I don’t want to explain, and I think it’s a very bad thing. I think we do too much talking, and not enough, do you understand what I’m saying in this, Hugh?
HH: Oh, it’s a great point. It’s a very good answer.
DT: We do too much talking. General Douglas MacArthur, I was watching as President Obama was talking about, I won’t go into great detail, was talking about attacking at a certain time in a certain place, and I’m saying can you imagine General Douglas MacArthur, General Patton, they must be spinning in their graves when they hear it. So when you tell me a ship is attacked, I don’t want to tell you exactly what I’m going to do. I don’t want people to know my thinking on that, and I do have very spoken…thinking on it.
HH: Fair play.
DT: But I don’t want people to know my thinking.
HH: All right, next question. Presidents respond to disasters. Governors respond to disasters. What disasters have you, Donald Trump, responded to?
DT: Well, I’ve responded very much to disasters. I’ve had, you know, fires in buildings, big buildings. I’ve had economic changes where the world crashed in the early 90s, and I came out stronger than I was before. And I didn’t go bankrupt like many people they were forced into bankruptcy, and they were forced into, like, you know disasters never to be heard from again. I came out stronger than I was before. There was an old expression in the early 90s – survive ‘til ’95 that I made up, and I gave. And I actually became much stronger. But I’ve gone through, I’ve watched economic problems happen. Eight years ago, nine years ago when I was buying and everybody else was selling because they had no money and I did have a lot of money and I bought a lot of great assets. And you know, I’ve gone through a lot of different things, and I’ve come out on top always.
HH: Very good. Now some political questions. Do you own a gun?
DT: I do.
HH: What kind?
DT: I’d rather not say.
DT: I have a license to carry. I have a license, you know, I have a concealed license, I have a license to carry concealed.
HH: Didn’t know that. How do you define assault weapon? This is important to our 2nd Amendment friends out there.
DT: Well, yeah, I think that you know, the word assault weapon, and a lot of people, there’s been a lot of controversy, but I wouldn’t give you exact, I am in favor, I have two sons that are members in very high standing at the NRA.
DT: And I would ask them for a definition, but I am in favor of allowing, I’m very, very pro-2nd Amendment. And if you want to ask that, I would go to the experts. All I can tell you is that I am totally a 2nd Amendment person, and totally in favor of not doing anything. You know, an interesting thing happened. When the two prisoners escaped in upstate New York, Hugh, people that really were very much against guns all of a sudden, they have these two prisoners, and they are someplace up there and nobody knew where, and a woman who said she used to fight with her husband all the time, she didn’t want guns, all of a sudden, they felt so safe because they were sitting with guns, and they were able to protect themselves. Now nothing ever happened, and ultimately, they caught the one and they killed the other. You know the case I’m talking about three months ago.
HH: You bet.
DT: But it was very interesting to watch this woman who was totally, and I mean absolutely totally against guns, and all of a sudden, she felt safe because they were able to have guns in the house. So it’s interesting. No, I’m totally pro-2nd Amendment.
HH: All right, now the age question. Hillary’s had to face it. You should as well. You’re 69. How’s your health? And is it legitimate for people to worry about you being president at 69?
DT: Well, my health is very good, and my father was 94. My mother was 89 when she passed away, and my father was in great shape until he was really like almost 90. My mother was in great shape almost until the end, and mentally, her capacity was 100%, so from a genetic standpoint, very good. I’m in the process of getting some documentation from doctors that have taken care of me over the years. I’ve never had a major problem. I’ve had almost no minor problem as I knock on wood. But my health has been very good and very strong. And maybe you get to see that, because people say boy, you have a lot of energy. You’re able to do so many things. Don’t forget, in addition to running a campaign where it’s number one in every poll, I’m also running a business, which I’m rapidly giving over to my executives. I have a very big business, and I’m rapidly giving that over to my executives and my children.
HH: All right, now every GOP candidate for high office gets this question, Meg Whitman most recently. It’s the illegal alien employment question. Usually, about six weeks before an election, so Donald Trump, have you or any of close member of your family hired an illegal alien in close proximity to your family?
DT: Not that I know of, no.
HH: Okay. Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia blasted you yesterday without naming you –he’s a very well-respected Catholic cleric– for belligerent bombast about illegal aliens. He’s a man of the cloth. What do you say in response?
DT: Well, I think that’s fine. I mean, he can feel that way, and I understand that. And he’s not the only one, but I feel we need borders. I feel that we have to, the word illegal means we’re a country of laws. You saw that at my press conference today, and illegal means illegal. They’re not supposed to be in the country. And we’re either going to have a country or we’re not. And if we’re not going to have strong borders with a wall, which will make it very strong, by the way, and walls do work if they’re properly built, not the little 11 foot walls that we have up right now, and they’re not walls, they’re fences. There is a difference. But you know, I can understand him saying that. And other people have said it, too. But I believe we either have a country or we don’t. We either have laws in the country or we don’t.
HH: All right, now some personal stuff in our last few minutes, because people are curious about Donald Trump. What’s your, what was your worst health crisis to date?
DT: None. I mean, none. I really haven’t had…
HH: Wow, are you blessed. What’s your worst business decision that you’ve made?
DT: Worst business decision? Well, I’ve made some business decisions where markets changed, but in virtually every case, I was able to take those decisions and make them good, and take those jobs and make them good, which I think is a great test. I mean, I’ve had buildings going up and the market crashes, which is not my fault, and I go back and I negotiate with the banks, and I negotiate tough and I negotiate hard, and I’ve taken some jobs that were, that could have been disastrous and made them better than if the market had stayed the same. So I don’t know, I view business, I view that question as something you have to learn from it, and you can never make a decision that’s going to take you down. In other words, you’re not going to do something that if it doesn’t work out, because the best businessmen in the world, I know all of them, the best businessmen in the world have had difficult times, and they’ve had bad deals. And you can never allow a deal, Hugh, to take you down. You just can’t do it. So you have to know what you’re doing. But one of the things, and I get a lot of credit in the world of business, I’ve taken deals that should have been bad, and I’ve made them great, better than if the markets stayed good.
HH: Made them work.
DT: And I’ll tell you one thing, I bought deals for very low prices, like recently Doonbeg in Ireland, this incredible piece of land on the Atlantic Ocean, and other things, I’ve taken deals and bought deals that, and I bought them for very low prices, and turned them around and made them fantastic. So you know, I think you have to learn from business, and ideally, you want to learn from other people, not from yourself.
HH: All right, now President Obama is President Obama today, because when he ran for the United States Senate, his principal opponent, Jack Ryan, had divorce and custody records that had been sealed unsealed. Is there any smoking gun sealed away in records that could come out about Donald Trump down the road to destroy the Republican nominee after you’re the nominee, if you’re the nominee?
DT: No, I don’t think so, and I think one of the things you know about me, I’ve been a very public person. While I’m private, I’ve also been a very public person over many years. I mean, people know me. I’m very well known, and whether it’s the great success on The Apprentice, where it was one of the top shows on television for a long time, and by the way, NBC renewed it, and is not in love with the fact that I didn’t do it, but they renewed me for The Apprentice for many, many shows on The Apprentice, and you see the kind of money I made on The Apprentice, and I turned it down. I said I’m going to run for president, I’m going to make America great again. They were not happy that I did that, so they’re stuck in limbo. But they renewed The Apprentice. I didn’t do it. No, I think nothing. I’m a very public person, even though I’m private. I think you have seen me, and long before we met and spoke, you’ve seen me, and you know exactly what I’m talking about. So I would say nothing.
HH: all right, last question, I want to go back to the beginning, because I really do disagree with you on the gotcha question thing, Donald Trump. At the debate, I may bring up Nasrallah being with Hezbollah, and al-Julani being with al-Nusra, and al-Masri being with Hamas. Do you think if I ask people to talk about those three things, and the differences, that that’s a gotcha question?
DT: Yes, I do. I totally do. I think it’s ridiculous.
HH: That’s interesting. I just disagree with that. I kind of figured that…
DT: All right, I think it’s ridiculous. I’ll have, I’m a delegator. I find great people. I find absolutely great people, and I’ll find them in our armed services, and I find absolutely great people. And now on the bigger picture, like the fact that our Kurds are being treated so poorly, and would really is the one group that really would be out there fighting for us, I think, and fighting for themselves, maybe more importantly to them, I understand that. But when you start throwing around names of people and where they live and give me their address, I think it’s ridiculous, and I think it’s totally worthless.
HH: Well, I wouldn’t do that. That’s crazy. I agree.
DT: Well, and by the way, the names you just mentioned, they probably won’t even be there in six months or a year.
HH: I don’t know. Nasrallah’s got such staying power.
DT: Well, let’s see what happens.
HH: And so I think the difference…
DT: And you know what? In that case, first day in office, or before then, right at the day after the election, I’ll know more about it than you will ever know. That I can tell you.
HH: Oh, I hope so. Last question, so the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas does not matter to you yet, but it will?
DT: It will when it’s appropriate. I will know more about it than you know, and believe me, it won’t take me long.
HH: All right, that, I believe.
DT: But right now, right now, I think it’s just something that, and you know what, if you ask these candidates, nobody’s going to be able to give you an answer. I mean, there may be one that studied it because they’re expecting a fresh question from you. But believe me, it won’t matter. I will know far more than you know within 24 hours after I get the job.
HH: Donald Trump, congratulations on taking the pledge today. Your numbers are going to go up as a result of that.
DT: Well, let’s see what happens. I mean, I’m not sure that that’s true. I think my numbers are very high now. But I’m not really sure that that’s true, but I know you feel that. I hope you’re right. I mean, let’s see what happens.
HH: Donald Trump, thank you, always a pleasure.
DT: Thank you very much.
End of interview.