The GOP frontrunner returned to the program today:
HH: I am so pleased to begin today’s show by welcoming back Donald Trump, who remains atop the polls as the favorite to become the nominee of the Republican Party. Donald Trump, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
DT: Hi, Hugh, nice to talk to you.
HH: A fair debate, yes?
DT: I thought it was really good. I didn’t like the three hours. You didn’t, either. I mean, it was just too long. It was too long. Let’s be honest.
HH: It was very long.
DT: You know, they did that commercially. This has nothing to do with you or me, although you probably got paid so much money, they needed the commercial income. But you know, it sold out. The first two hours sold out so quickly, thank you, Donald, and they made so much money, you know, they were going to ask, I guess, $4,000 for a short ad, I think a 30 second ad. I’m hearing they got $200 and $250 thousand. So when they sold out the first two hours, they said we don’t care about anybody else. Let’s go out and make some more money. And maybe Hugh will go along.
HH: I want you to…
DT: But the fair analysis was it was a little long, I think.
HH: I want you to know, Donald Trump, I didn’t make a dime. I didn’t make a single nickel off of that. So you and I are in the same boat.
DT: Oh, I’m surprised at you. That’s all right. That’s fine. You did a very good job.
HH: No, that’s, I’m just there for the joy.
DT: You did a good job.
HH: I’m just there for, thank you.
DT: I wish they gave you a little more airtime, to be honest with you, right?
HH: I was happy. Jake ran a very complicated, he’s the quarterback.
DT: Yeah, that’s true.
HH: He’s Cardell Jones. I’m the wide receiver.
DT: Right. He did a good job. He’s a good man.
HH: What did Ivanka say to you during the break, because she came up to you during the first break, and I thought she’d talk to you. And was she giving you a little pep talk or?
DT: Well, she really thought I was doing very well. You know, I was being hit by a lot of questions, Hugh, and you know, every question, and if I wasn’t, the question of the people, of the other candidates, was you know, Mr. Trump said this, Mr. Trump said that. So in fact, somebody estimated it was 47% of the questions that was either to me or the other people with my name in them. And Ivanka thought I was just doing well. She, well, she wouldn’t, if I was doing badly, I don’t think she’d want to come up and say that. But she thought I was doing very well. And I got a lot of good reviews on it. You know, NBC said I came out second in their poll that they came out with yesterday in terms of who won the debate. But most of them, as you know, Drudge and Time Magazine and all, they had me down as coming down number first. But you know, I was, it was a little bit different, because so many of the questions were related to me. I don’t know whether they should be. I don’t think they should have been, other than I’m running number one. But I don’t think that’s the reason for it. I think the reason for it, you know, maybe it’s ratings. Who knows what it is?
HH: Well, you are the frontrunner. And so when I asked you, for example, when you’re going to have your national security team ready to roll out, and do you have a rollout date, it’s because people want to know who’s going to help you. Have you figured out that, yet, when you’re going to…
DT: I have, and we’re going to be announcing something very soon. We have a great team of people. You know, it’s interesting, because maybe of the frontrunner status, so many great national security people, including generals, have come to us and called us, and at the top level, and they want to be involved. And I think they like what I say about other things, also. But they want to be involved, and we have a great team in place, or shortly will be in place. But they’ve actually come to me and said we’d like to be involved. So you know, I’m a little, I’m a little bit maybe not that surprised, but we’re going to have a great team in place, absolutely.
HH: Now I’m kind of a hardliner on this stuff, and Frank Gaffney, General Jerry Boykin, Andrew McCarthy, they’re all my buddies. They come on the show. Do you think when you roll out this team, I don’t know if you’ll have McChrystal and Mattis on there, all these great warriors. Do you think people like me who are national security minded will be reassured about your quality of your people?
DT: I do. I think you’re going to be impressed, and I think some of the people that we have, I won’t even mention whether or not some of the names that you mentioned are involved. But I will tell you I think you will be very impressed by the team. Again, you know, the most important is the person atop, because you have to know what suggestions to take, etc., etc. But I think you’ll be very impressed with the team, really top of the line.
HH: Interesting conversation. Again, I think Tapper did a wonderful job, and he was talking to you about Putin, and Dana did a wonderful job as well. Now Putin eats oligarchs for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
HH: What makes you different from a Russian oligarch, that you’ll be able to take him on?
DT: Well, I just think we’re going to, look, first of all, the oligarchs are under his control, to a large extent. I mean, he can destroy them, and he has destroyed some of them. And you know, with me, it doesn’t make any difference. I was in Moscow not so long ago for an event that we had, a big event, and many of his people were there. It was the Miss Universe contest, which I actually sold, which worked out incredibly well for me. I sold it last week, the Miss Universe pageant. And two weeks ago, it was a tremendous, we made a tremendous deal on it. And two weeks ago, I was in Moscow, I mean, two years ago, I was in Moscow. And a lot of the people, Hugh, they were there, and they had an amazing time. And they’re terrific people. You know, I was getting along with them so great. I really loved my weekend, I called it my weekend in Moscow. But I was with the top level people, both oligarchs and generals, and top of the government people. I can’t go further than that, but I will tell you that I met the top people, and the relationship was extraordinary. And we just don’t have relationships in this country. You know, relationship is very important, whether it’s congressmen or whether it’s senators, or you know, whatever it may be. Relationship is a very important element, and we don’t have it in this country anymore. You know, you can talk about Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan, and you can talk about it, there was two people that were very different in terms of their views, but they got along, and they got things done. We don’t have that anymore, Hugh, which is a problem.
HH: I agree. I agree. Now I want to do sort of a Trump case study, because people don’t know how you get done what you do, and I want to use the old Post Office as my case study. It’s like a Harvard Business School thing.
HH: I told you offline last week that I was, after we had our little disagreement, and then we talked offline, I told you I’d been by the old Post Office, which used to be my office building. I don’t know how anyone can turn that into a hotel. It was the worst office building I ever worked in.
HH: It’s empty, it’s old. So how did you get control of it? What are you going to do with it? And what’s it tell us about the Trump way that you got it?
DT: All right, great question, actually, because it does have to do very, it’s very political. You know, it’s the, you would say it’s about the best location there is in Washington, right between Congress and the White House.
HH: Amen, yup.
DT: And I’ve wanted it for a long time. Many people have wanted it. It was one of the most hotly-contested jobs ever in the history of the GSA, government services, as you know. And they had many, many, many bidders. The wealthiest people were bidding, the biggest hotel companies were bidding, big office building companies were bidding. And it’s an incredible building, other than the fact that it hasn’t been fixed in about 50 or 60 years, so I can imagine if you had an office there, it might not have been so good. But we gutted it out, and it’s going to be incredible. It’s going to open as a Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C., it’s called, and it will be great. But I will say, the getting of it was a long process. And one of the things I talk about is how did Trump get it in the Obama administration?
DT: Because everybody wanted it, and as you know, Pritzker wanted it, and Pritzker has been, I think probably we could say they’re number one, his number one backer, and the Hyatt Hotel Corporation is Pritzker, and they wanted it very badly. And Penny Pritzker is now Secretary of Commerce, and that’s a whole story, because she was not a happy camper when Hyatt didn’t get it. And many other friends of Obama wanted it, and I got it. And I think the reason I got it, I could tell you lots of reasons I got it, but number one, we have an amazing plan. We’re now under budget and ahead of schedule, and substantially ahead of schedule. It was going to open in ’17. Now, it’s going to open up before the election, and maybe substantially before the election. So we’re way ahead of schedule, and that’s the way the United States should be. When it’s finished, Hugh, it’ll be one of the great hotels of the world. You know, the building is magnificent. I think you would say that, right?
HH: Oh, I was on the 5th floor, but it was falling apart back in the 80s when I worked there.
DT: Yeah, well, it’s all demolished now. I mean, basically, it’s gutted out on the interior, and it’s being rebuilt. It’ll be brand new inside, I mean, other than certain obvious landmark features, which we’re saving.
HH: So I raised this because…
DT: But it’s going to be an amazing building. It’ll be one of the great hotels, I think, of the world. It’ll be certainly maybe the best or one of the best in this country, but it’ll be one of the great hotels of the world, and we’ll be very proud of it.
HH: Now how does pushing through…
DT: And we’re saving the building, which is important.
DT: And the GSA people were very professional, but we’re saving the building, and we’re doing something good with it.
HH: How does saving a building and pushing through a design and getting the permits and getting the bid play into being the president?
DT: Well, it’s a very similar process in terms of many versions – very political, everything’s involved, if you think about. It’s financing, which we didn’t need, frankly, but it’s financing, it’s dealing with unions, dealing with non-unions. It’s dealing with construction, infrastructure of the United States – the bridges, the roads, everything falling apart. So it’s really a mini-version of fixing up the United States and the infrastructure of the United States. And you know, the beauty is I’m doing it for the right price, and we’re way ahead of schedule, so that’s what should happen here. I see some of the things that they give out, Hugh, roads that cost so much per square foot to build, and I say I could do it for one-third that price and do a better job. You know, the numbers that they talk about when they talk about reconstruction are absolutely insane. So we have a country that needs rebuilding. We have infrastructure – the airports and the roads and the schools, so much, so much. And that’s, I mean, nobody can compete with me when it comes to that subject.
HH: All right, let’s go back to foreign affairs. A lot of presidential candidates do the three I’s – Italy, Ireland, Israel. You’ve got your own plane. Why not put John Dickerson, Chuck Todd, Jake Tapper, the three big anchors, Chris Wallace, number four for the Sunday shows, put them on the Trump Express and go visit the three I’s, and do what every presidential candidate has done before to burnish their foreign policy chops?
DT: Well, I think something like that could happen, to be honest. We certainly have the right aircraft to do it, but I think something like that could happen. And you know, my relationships have been very good with most of the people you just named. And they’re starting to treat me more and more fairly. Zogby, I don’t know if you just saw, but Zogby just came out with a poll that has me very high, has me actually gone up quite a bit since the debate. Have you seen that poll, Hugh?
HH: Yeah, I did, and I also saw that you won the Morning Call report. You’re ahead in all four polls, in fact, this morning, what I saw.
DT: Yeah, we’re leading in all of them, but the Zogby was pretty substantially up since the debate, and they did it from, and he’s a highly-respected, you know, it’s a very highly-respected poll. The NBC poll was great, also. They’re all good.
HH: I was on the set of Meet the Press when they showed that.
DT: I mean, we’re leading in all of them. So I think something like that could absolutely happen, and it would be my honor.
HH: All right, now I’m not perfect, I like to say. I’m just the best on radio, and you weren’t so happy with me last time, so I want to go back to foreign affairs now, but with fair warning. No gotchas, no tricks.
HH: Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world, long term, other than Iran, because it’s got 90 or more nuclear weapons, and they got the Taliban. If it goes unstable, and you’re the president, Donald Trump, what are you going to do?
DT: Well, number one, it is probably the most dangerous, because of the fact it has the nukes. And you know, you might add North Korea to that group, because they have a total madman. At least in Pakistan, you have some semblance of sanity at this moment. But it could go rogue, and something like that could happen. And I think you have to get, and it’s involved right now anyway, but you have to get India involved. India’s the check to Pakistan. And you have to get India involved. They have their own nukes, they have a very powerful army. They seem to be the real checkmate. They seem to be the real group, and I would start talking at that level very, very quickly. But look, you cannot have a rogue group with nukes. You can’t have it. We’ve got it already. You know, one of the things I brought up at the debate, I got no credit for it, and now everybody’s talking about it, is North Korea. I said wait a minute, folks, we’re talking now, during the debate, and I think you remember, I think you remember when I mentioned it.
HH: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.
DT: I said we’re talking so much about Iran, and they don’t have nukes at this moment. They might have them fairly quickly based on this ridiculous deal that was made, but they don’t have nukes. You have a madman over in North Korea who actually has nukes and he says he’s going to use them. Every two weeks, he pops up and says he’s going to use them. Nobody ever talks about it. So since I said that, I’ve noticed that Rubio and others have been talking more about North Korea. You have a lot of hot spots, but Pakistan is a serious problem. They have weapons that work, and they have a lot of them, and I think we have to deal very closely with India having to do with Pakistan.
HH: No, that, I agree with that. Would you be prepared to send American troops, as President Obama did to get Osama bin Laden, to go and get their nukes if it became an unstable…
DT: Well, let me tell you, Hugh, it’s so important to me. If I won, I don’t want to be talking to Hugh Hewitt and all of these people about what I want to do. You have to have a certain, you know, people can’t know exactly what your intentions are. And I tell people the process that we have is so ridiculous – give your exact, what are you going to do against ISIS, what are you going to do against this. Well, you want to have a certain amount of, you want to have a little bit of guess work for the enemy. And I just don’t want to be telling people, and this is, by the way, this has nothing to do with lack of knowledge, because I think I know as much about Pakistan as most other people. But I will tell you, I don’t want to broadcast my intentions. I don’t want to have, I’m so transparent, I’m so open, here’s what we’re going to do. They have to guess. They have to be able to say you know, he’s unpredictable. One of the articles came out recently about my business dealings, and a very respected man said that Trump is one of the greatest businessmen in the world, because he’s totally unpredictable. We never know what he’s going to do. And you know what? I want to be unpredictable with this, too. I don’t want to be like Obama, where he’s always saying you know, we’re going to do, in two weeks, we’re going to do this, and then we’re going to do that. And I’m saying to myself, can you imagine General Douglas MacArthur or General Patton, they’re spinning in their graves. So when you talk about Pakistan, and let’s say they go rogue, I don’t want to really be saying what my initial thought is. Also, my initial thought may be much different from what I want to do at the time. But I want them to not know what my thought process is. Does that make any sense to you?
HH: It makes perfect sense. It’s Nixonian, actually, and I said that the last time, even in the interview that people thought you’d stumbled around in, I said actually, he gave a very Nixonian answer on China. You just did again. Last question, you did not get to answer the global warming question. We ran out of time. And again, 11 people on the stage, you got the most time, but it was still not enough time for everyone. Do you believe that the temperature of the Earth is increasing? And what would you do if you do believe that, vis-à-vis global climate change?
DT: Well, first of all, I’m not a believer in global warming. And I’m not a believer in man-made global warming. It could be warming, and it’s going to start to cool at some point. And you know, in the early, in the 1920s, people talked about global cooling. I don’t know if you know that or not. They thought the Earth was cooling. Now, it’s global warming. And actually, we’ve had times where the weather wasn’t working out, so they changed it to extreme weather, and they have all different names, you know, so that it fits the bill. But the problem we have, and if you look at our energy costs, and all of the things that we’re doing to solve a problem that I don’t think in any major fashion exists. I mean, Obama thinks it’s the number one problem of the world today. And I think it’s very low on the list. So I am not a believer, and I will, unless somebody can prove something to me, I believe there’s weather. I believe there’s change, and I believe it goes up and it goes down, and it goes up again. And it changes depending on years and centuries, but I am not a believer, and we have much bigger problems. You know, I talk about global warming. You know, to me, the worst global warming, and I mentioned this to you once before, is nuclear warming. That’s our global warming. That’s what I see, because we have incompetent people, and we have these rogue nations, and not even rogue nations anymore. You know, we had a case where Vladimir Putin about three months ago threw out the nuke word. And I never thought I’d hear that from a Russia. But he said they’d better, essentially, they’d better be careful, because you know, we are a nuclear nation. That was a hell of a statement for him to make. And that’s a statement that’s made because of a lack of respect.
HH: Donald Trump, it’s great to have you back. I assume you’ll be back again?
DT: I will. I will. You’re very fair, and I appreciated what you said about me during the debate.
HH: Donald, good to talk to you.
DT: That was very much appreciated.
HH: You’re still the best interview in America.
DT: Well, you’d better believe that.
HH: I told that to Politico over the weekend. If they gave me Tiger, Oprah and Donald every day, I’d open with Donald every day. Thank you, Donald Trump.
DT: Ah, that’s beautiful. For you to say that is beautiful. I appreciate it, and we will be back.
HH: Take care.
DT: Thanks, Hugh, bye.
End of interview.