Donald Trump on a Potential Presidential Run

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NBC Today Show
Meredith Vieira
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Video News Report
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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Donald Trump talks about his possible White House bid, his 'doubts' about President Barack Obama's citizenship and his views on foreign policy.



"Donald Trump on a Potential Presidential Run." Meredith Vieira, correspondent. NBC Today Show. NBCUniversal Media. 7 Apr. 2011. NBC Learn. Web. 8 September 2018.


Vieira, M. (Reporter). (2011, April 7). Donald Trump on a Potential Presidential Run. [Television series episode]. NBC Today Show. Retrieved from


"Donald Trump on a Potential Presidential Run" NBC Today Show, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 04/07/2011. Accessed Sat Sep 8 2018 from NBC Learn:


Donald Trump on a Potential Presidential Run


Now to the race for the White House in 2012. The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows a surprising surge for one potential Republican candidate, and it is a name that you will recognize. Donald Trump is in a tie for second with Mike Huckabee among likely voters in a Republican primary; Mitt Romney leads. But among Republicans who consider themselves tea party supporters, Trump is the number one choice. On Wednesday we sat down with him for an exclusive interview, and I began by asking Trump about his potential run.

DONALD TRUMP: Well, this is very serious. I admit I always take things seriously, but I've never taken it seriously like this. This is a very serious time in my life. I hate what's happening to the country. I wish I didn't have to do it. I wish this country was running so great, and I wish Obama was the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln and I wish this was the greatest place in the world. What we're doing is unbelievable. If you look at what's going on, where our jobs are disappearing to foreign countries, where the oil--you're going to be paying seven or eight dollars a gallon for your oil very soon.

VIEIRA: But do you blame this all on Barack Obama?

TRUMP: Well, I blame a lot of it. It's been a terrible presidency. Look at Libya. We go in, we don't want to really remove Gadhafi, but we're going to go fight and we're going to this, and now nobody knows what's happening. And it looks like Gadhafi is going to beat the United States?

VIEIRA: Would you as president say `let's get more aggressive? Let's put boots on the ground if we have to?'

TRUMP: I'm only interested in Libya if we keep the oil. If we don't keep the oil, I'm not interested. I don't know who the rebels are. You know, they make the rebels like it's some romantic, beautiful novel, the rebels. I here the rebels are al-Qaeda, I hear they're Iran-backed and Iran-influenced. Where were they getting those weapons before we came

along? From Iran. Gadhafi's going to go around saying he won the war against this country. When you ask me what I'd do, I'm only interested in Libya if we get the oil.

VIEIRA: All right, so everybody wonders what the Obama doctrine is, asking a question. What...

TRUMP: He doesn't have a doctrine. He doesn't have a doctrine.

VIEIRA: Would you?

TRUMP: Do you truly believe...

VIEIRA: What's your doctrine? What would your doctrine be?

TRUMP: About what? With respect to what?

VIEIRA: Foreign affairs.

TRUMP: Foreign affairs is we take care of ourselves first, OK? We don't build schools in Afghanistan. We go to Afghanistan, we build a road, we build a school. Two days later they blow up the road, they blow up the school, we start building the road and the school again. In the meantime we can't build schools in Alabama, in New Orleans, in Texas, in New York, my place where we're always fighting to try and get school money. We're spending trillions and trillions of dollars. My thing and my doctrine would be build, build, build.

VIEIRA: Some positive news for you this new poll, NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that shows you surging to second place among potential GOP candidates for 2012. Why do you think that you are connecting with voters?

TRUMP: I think that I connect with people because I happen to be smart, I happen to have a lot of common sense, I happen to know what I'm doing, I built a great company. And, by the way, if I run, I look so forward to filing a declaration because it's a great company. I built a great company. And I'll make that decision sometime prior to June.

VIEIRA: What are you waiting for? What are you waiting for?

TRUMP: But I think I was--well, I hate to say it. I have the number one show on NBC. Is that the correct statement? I mean, "The Apprentice" is doing great, "The Celebrity Apprentice." And I am not allowed to run...

VIEIRA: What does that have to do with...

TRUMP: Well, it has a lot to do. It sounds so trivial and I hate to even bring it up, but I'm not allowed to run during the show. You know, you're not allowed to have a show on and be a declared candidate. It's a great show and it's got phenomenal ratings, and until that show is over, I can't declare because otherwise NBC would have to take the show off the air and I think that would be very unfair to NBC.

VIEIRA: Recently you spent a lot of time talking about President Obama's birth certificate, or lack thereof. You don't seem convinced that he has one.

TRUMP: No, I'm not convinced that he has one. I've had very smart people say, `Donald, stay on the China issue, stay on the Saudi Arabia issue, stay on the India taking our jobs and the Mexico, which is NAFTA, which cleaned out New England.’

VIEIRA: Get off the birth certificate issue.

TRUMP: Get off the birth certificate issue.

VIEIRA: Why don't you?

TRUMP: Because, you know what? Three weeks ago when I started I thought he was probably born in this country, and now I really have a much bigger doubt than I did before.

VIEIRA: But based on what?

TRUMP: And you know what? His grandmother in Kenya said he was born in Kenya and she was there and witnessed the birth, OK? He doesn't have a birth certificate or he hasn't shown it. He has what's called certificate of live birth. That is something that's easy to get. When you want a birth certificate it's very hard to get.

VIEIRA: But it's considered...

TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me.

VIEIRA: ...the equivalent and in...

TRUMP: It's not the equivalent.

VIEIRA: No, wait, in the state of Hawaii they said they have seen this...

TRUMP: Meredith, it's not the equivalent.

VIEIRA: ...document, it is evidence that he was born in the United States. That's good enough for them. Scholars have looked at...

TRUMP: A birth certificate is not even close. A certificate of live birth is not even signed by anybody. I saw his. I read it very carefully. It doesn't have a serial number, it doesn't have a signature. There's not even a signature.

VIEIRA: Do you believe he's lying?

TRUMP: And I'm starting to think that he was not born here.

VIEIRA: Do you believe he's lying?

TRUMP: He spent--listen, Meredith...

VIEIRA: Donald, come on, just answer.

TRUMP: Meredith, he spent $2 million in legal fees trying on to get away from this issue, and if he weren't lying why wouldn't he just solve it? And I wish he would because if he doesn't it's one of the greatest scams in the history of politics and in the history, period. You are not allowed to be a president if you're not born in this country. He may not have been born in this country, and I'll tell you what. Three weeks ago I thought he was born in this country. Right now I have some real doubts. I have people that actually have been studying it and they cannot believe what they're finding.

VIEIRA: You have people now down there searching--I mean...

TRUMP: Absolutely.

VIEIRA: I mean in Hawaii.

TRUMP: Absolutely. And they cannot believe what they're finding. I would like to have him show his birth certificate. And can I be honest with you? I hope he can. Because if he can't--if he can't and if he wasn't born in this country, which is a real possibility--I'm not saying it happened, I'm saying it's a real possibility, much greater than I thought two or three weeks ago--then he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics. And beyond politics.

VIEIRA: Do you consider yourself a tea partier?

TRUMP: I think so. I'm very proud...


TRUMP: ...I'm very proud of some of the ideas they put forth. And the big idea is they want to stop this ridiculous, absolutely killer of spending that's going on. What's going on in this country, the way we're spending money like drunken sailors, we are just absolutely going—and ultimately we're going to destroy our own freedom. You can't do it.

VIEIRA: But they want to stop it even at the cost of shutting down the government.

TRUMP: Well, excuse me...

VIEIRA: That's a possibility.

TRUMP: Excuse me...

VIEIRA: Are you in favor of that?

TRUMP: ...excuse me. It's really shutting down the government, it's cutting costs. The kind of money that you're talking about is peanuts. And I think the tea party has done an amazing service for this country because people now, even very liberal Democrats, are starting to think for the first time, well, maybe we can't just keep giving everything


VIEIRA: But if there were...

TRUMP: So I think they've performed a great service.

VIEIRA: So if there were a partial shutdown of the government come Friday, that would be OK with you.

TRUMP: In my opinion--you know, I hear the Democrats are going to be blamed and the Republicans are going to be blamed. I actually think the president would be blamed. If there is a shutdown, and it's not going to be a horrible shutdown because, as you know, things will sort of keep going.

VIEIRA: Well, it's a partial shutdown, right.

TRUMP: But if there is a shutdown I think it would be a tremendously negative mark on the president of the United States. He's the one that has to get people together.

VIEIRA: Right.

TRUMP: I'm a deal man. I've made hundreds and hundreds of deals and transactions. He never did deals before. How can you expect a man that's not a deal man that never did a deal, other than frankly becoming president of the United States, he never did a deal, how's he going to corral all these people to get them to do a deal?

VIEIRA: So how would you do it now? Now you're in the Oval office right now, it's Wednesday.

TRUMP: I would get everybody together and we'd have a budget and it would get done.

VIEIRA: They've all gotten together.

TRUMP: Well, that's because they don't have the right leader. You don't have the right leader. This is the President of the United States has to get this done, and I think he probably will. Now, I don't say "he." But I think he and the group probably will get it done, but it's pretty sad because the whole world is looking at us and laughing at us.

VIEIRA: You've criticized Obama quite a bit in this interview and in the past. What do you think he has done well?

TRUMP: Get elected. I think he did a great job when he ran for office.

VIEIRA: That's it?

TRUMP: Well, I think Obamacare is a total disaster. I think the thing that he did best...


TRUMP: of all is get elected. He got elected. He ran an unbelievable campaign. I want him to do well. If I had my choice of having Obama do great as a president and do a really great job for this country and not running as opposed to running and doing--I'd prefer that he did a great job. I love this country but this country is going to hell. I would run a great, great country. This country will be great again. It is not great right now. We have huge deficits, we have huge unemployment, we have a huge problem, and we're not respected. We're not respected in the world. The world laughs at us. They won't be laughing if I'm president.