Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump visited the editorial board of The Washington Post on Mar. 21. Here is audio of the full, unedited interview.
FREDERICK RYAN JR., WASHINGTON POST PUBLISHER: Mr. Trump, welcome to the Washington Post. Thank you for making time to meet with our editorial board.
DONALD TRUMP: New building. Yes this is very nice. Good luck with it.
RYAN: Thank you… We’ve heard you’re going to be announcing your foreign policy team shortly… Any you can share with us?
TRUMP: Well, I hadn’t thought of doing it, but if you want I can give you some of the names… Walid Phares, who you probably know, PhD, adviser to the House of Representatives caucus, and counter-terrorism expert; Carter Page, PhD; George Papadopoulos, he’s an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy; the Honorable Joe Schmitz, [former] inspector general at the Department of Defense; [retired] Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg; and I have quite a few more. But that’s a group of some of the people that we are dealing with. We have many other people in different aspects of what we do, but that’s a representative group.
FRED HIATT, WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: Do you want to start out?
TRUMP: No, other than to say, we’re working hard, I think we’re all in the same business of trying to make our country better, a better place, so we have something in common. I’ve been treated very, very badly by The Washington Post, but, you know, I guess — and I’m your neighbor, I’m your neighbor right down the road, in fact we’re actually giving a press conference there in a little while, I think your people are going to be there. And by the way, Bob Costa is an excellent reporter, I’ve found him to be just an excellent reporter. I should tell you, because I have to give you the good and the bad. Not that he does me any favors, because he doesn’t, but he’s a real professional.
So we’re having a news conference today in the new building that’s going up, and the building is very much ahead of schedule, because it was supposed to open two years from September, and we’re going to open it in September. We could open it actually sooner but we’re going to break it in a little bit, so we’re going to open it in September, and it’s under budget, even though we’ve increased the quality of the finishes substantially, marble finishes, very high quality of marble, so we’re under budget and ahead of schedule. And I’m, you know, I am that way when I build, I know how to build, I know how to get things done.
The GSA [General Services Administration], I will say, GSA has been very professional, they’ve been very, very professional. They chose us over—I think they had more than 100 people who bid, you can imagine, because of the location, but they had over 100 people that bid, and it was broken down into ten finalists, and I got it. We got it because of the strength of my financial statement and also because of the strength of what we were proposing. So we’re having a news conference there today. What time is that, Hope?
HOPE HICKS, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SPOKESPERSON: It’s at 2:15.
TRUMP: 2:15. I hear a lot of the press is going to be there, we’re going to give them a tour of the building. It’s still a little bit rough — as an example, a lot of the marble surfaces all have sheetrock covering, and plywood covering on them, so a lot of people won’t see as much as they think. It’ll be like a miracle, you take it off and it explodes, like it’s finished, right? But that’ll be a fun news conference.
HIATT: If I could, I’d start by asking is there a secretary of state and a secretary of defense in the modern era who you think have done a good job? Who do you think were the best?
TRUMP: Well, because I know so many of them, and because in many cases I like them, I hate to get totally involved. I think George Shultz was very good, I thought he was excellent. I can tell you, I think your last secretary of state and your current secretary of state have not done much. I think John Kerry’s deal with Iran is one of the worst things that I’ve ever seen negotiated of any kind. It’s just a horrible giveaway.
HIATT: What in particular?
TRUMP: Well, I think, number one, we shouldn’t have given the money back. I think, number two, we should have had our prisoners before the negotiations started. We should have doubled up the sanctions. We should have gone in and said, ‘release our prisoners,’ they would have said ‘no,’ and we would have said, ‘double up the sanctions,’ and within a short period of time we would have had our prisoners back. And I think that was a terrible mistake. I think giving the money back was a terrible mistake. And by the way they are not using the money on us, they are not buying anything from us, they’re buying, you noticed, they didn’t buy Boeing, they bought Airbus, 118 planes from what I understand, but they bought them all from Airbus, they go out of their way not to spend any money in our country. So I wouldn’t have done that. And I think it’s going to just lead, actually, to nuclear problems. I also think it’s going to be bad for Israel. It’s a very bad deal for Israel.
HIATT: George Shultz, it’s interesting, was associated with a foreign policy of Reagan that was very much devoted to promoting democracy and freedom overseas. Is that something you think in today’s world the United States should be doing?
TRUMP: I do think it’s a different world today and I don’t think we should be nation building anymore. I think it’s proven not to work. And we have a different country than we did then. You know we have 19 trillion dollars in debt. We’re sitting probably on a bubble and, you know, it’s a bubble that if it breaks is going to be very nasty. And I just think we have to rebuild our country. If you look at the infrastructure — I just landed at an airport where, not in good shape, not in good shape. If you go to Qatar and if you go to (inaudible) you see airports the likes of which you have never seen before. Dubai, different places in China. You see infrastructure, you see airports, other things, the likes of which you have never seen here.
HIATT: Short of nation building, is there any role in promoting values or democracy? Or that’s not something…
TRUMP: Well, there is, I just think that we have values in our country that we have to promote. We have a country that is in bad shape, it’s in bad condition. You look at our inner cities, our inner cities are a horrible mess. I watched Baltimore, I have many, many friends in Baltimore, we watched what happened. St. Louis, Ferguson, Oakland, it could have been much worse over the summer. And it will probably be worse this summer. But you look at some of our inner cities. And yet you know I watched as we built schools in Iraq and they’d be blown up. And we’d build another one and it would get blown up. And we would rebuild it three times. And yet we can’t build a school in Brooklyn. We have no money for education, because we can’t build in our own country. And at what point do you say hey, we have to take care of ourselves. So, you know, I know the outer world exists and I’ll be very cognizant of that but at the same time, our country is disintegrating, large sections of it, especially in the inner cities.
HIATT: So what would you do for Baltimore, let’s say.
TRUMP: Well, number one, I’d create economic zones. I’d create incentives for companies to move in. I’d work on spirit because the spirit is so low, it’s incredible, the unemployment, you look at unemployment for black youth in this country, African American youth, is 58-59 percent. It’s unthinkable. Unemployment for African Americans – not youth, but African Americans – is very high. And I would create in the inner cities, which is what I really do best, that’s why when I open a building and I show you it’s way ahead of schedule, under budget and everything else—I think it was the Rite Aid store, the store in Baltimore it took them 20 years to get it built, one store, and then it burned down in one night—we have to create incentives for people to love what they are doing, and to make money. And to create, you know, to really create a better life for themselves. And you can’t – it doesn’t seem right that you will have a situation like Baltimore, and many other places, let’s use Baltimore as an example, there are many Baltimores in this country. Detroit is maybe even a better example than Baltimore. But that you’ll have a situation like that, and then we’re over nation building with other, with countries that in many cases don’t want us there. They want our money, but they don’t want us.
HIATT: The root of many people’s unhappiness in Baltimore was the perception that blacks are treated differently by law enforcement. And the disproportionate – do you think it’s a problem that the percentage of blacks in prison is higher than whites, and what do you think is the root of that situation?
TRUMP: Well I’ve never really see anything that – you know, I feel very strongly about law enforcement. And, you know, if you look at the riot that took place over the summer, if that were stopped – it all, it mostly took place on the first evening, and if that were stopped on the first evening, you know, you’d have a much nicer city right now, because much of that damage and much of the destruction was done on Evening One. So I feel that law enforcement, it’s got to play a big role. It’s got to play a big role. But that’s a pretty good example, because tremendous amounts of damage was done that first evening – first two evenings, but the first evening in particular. And so I’m a very strong believer in law enforcement, but I’m also a very strong believer that the inner cities can come back.
HIATT: Do you see any racial disparities in law enforcement – I mean, what set it off was the Freddie Gray killing, as you know. Is that an issue that concerns you?
TRUMP: Well, look, I mean, I have to see what happens with the trial. I—
HIATT: Well, forget Freddie Gray, but in general, do you believe there are disparities in law enforcement?
TRUMP: I’ve read where there are and I’ve read where there aren’t. I mean, I’ve read both. And, you know, I have no opinion on that. Because frankly, what I’m saying is you know we have to create incentives for people to go back and to reinvigorate the areas and to put people to work. And you know we have lost million and millions of jobs to China and other countries. And they’ve been taken out of this country, and when I say millions, you know it’s, it’s tremendous. I’ve seen 5 million jobs, I’ve seen numbers that range from 6 million to, to smaller numbers. But it’s many millions of jobs, and it’s to countries all over. Mexico is really becoming the new China. And I have great issue with that. Because you know I use in speeches sometimes Ford or sometimes I use Carrier – it’s all the same: Ford, Carrier, Nabisco, so many of the companies — they’re moving to Mexico now. And you know we shouldn’t be allowing that to happen. And tremendous unemployment, tremendous. They’re allowing tremendous people that have worked for the companies for a long time, they’re allowing, if they want to move around and they want to work on incentives within the United States, that’s one thing, but when they take these companies out of the United States. Other countries are outsmarting us by giving them advantages, you know, like in the case of Mexico. In the case of many other countries. Like Ireland is, you’re losing Pfizer to Ireland, a great pharmaceutical company that with many, many jobs and it’s going to move to Ireland.
RUTH MARCUS, COLUMNIST: But Mr. Trump, if I could just follow up on Fred’s question. I think that what he was trying to get at was the anger in the African American community that held some of the riots and disturbances this summer about disparate treatment and about … clearly you say you’ve read where there is disparate treatment. But it is pretty undeniable that there is disproportionate incarceration of African Americans vs. whites. What would you – is that something that concerns you?
TRUMP: That would concern me, Ruth. It would concern me. But at the same time it can be solved to a large extant with jobs. You know, if we can rebuild those communities and create incentives for companies to move in and create jobs. Jobs are so important. There are no jobs. There are none. You go to those communities and you can’t – there is nothing there. There is no incentive for people. It is a very sad situation. And what makes it even sadder is that we are spending so much money in other countries and our own country has vast pockets of poverty and a lot of this is caused by the fact that there are no jobs. So we can create jobs in places like Baltimore and Detroit. You know, Detroit made a move, but I don’t know but it just seems to be fizzling. I don’t know what is going on. I watched Detroit four, five years ago and it looked like they were really putting a full-court press on and it doesn’t seem to be, from what I’ve been told, friends of mine that are very much involved in that whole process that it doesn’t seem to be, doesn’t seem to be something that is being pursued like it should be pursued. But if we can create jobs, it will solve so many problems.
CHARLES LANE, EDITORIAL WRITER/COLUMNIST: Can I follow up on that? I mean, to take the case of Baltimore, I mean one of the things that’s so remarkable about Baltimore and Detroit is that both of these cities, like many others have been – it’s not as if no one has ever said before we should have economic zones, it’s not as if no one has ever said before we need incentives and taxes etc., etc. And Baltimore received a lot of federal aid over the years. So I guess the question, then, is what’s different specifically about your approach to these issues from what’s been tried in the past, because a lot of effort has been put in just the direction you just described.
TRUMP: I think what’s different is we have a very divided country. And whether we like it or not, it’s divided as bad as I’ve ever seen it. I‘ve been, you know, I’ve been doing things for a long time. I see it all the time. I mean I see it so often. I see it when we go out and we have 21,000 people in Phoenix, Arizona, the other day, the division – not so much Phoenix, because that was actually very smooth, there wasn’t even a minor, they did block a road, but after that, that was Sheriff Joe Arpaio, when the road was unblocked everyone left and it was fine. But in Tucson, you can see the division. You can see the division. There’s a racial division that’s incredible actually in the country. I think it’s as bad, I mean you have to say it’s as bad or almost as bad as it’s ever been. And there’s a lack of spirit. And one thing I thought that would happen, and it hasn’t happened, unfortunately, I thought that President Obama would be a great cheerleader for the country. And it just hasn’t happened. I mean we can say it has. But it hasn’t happened. When you look at the Ferguson problems and the Baltimore problems and the Detroit problems. And you know there’s a lack of spirit. I actually think I’d be a great cheerleader – beyond other things, the other things that I’d do – I actually think I’d be a great cheerleader for the country. Because a lot of people feel it’s a hopeless situation. A lot of people in the inner cities they feel that way. And you have to start by giving them hope and giving them spirit and that has not taken place. Just has not taken place.
RYAN: Mr. Trump, you’ve mentioned many times during the campaign, in fact including this morning, instances you feel where the press has been biased or unfair or outright false in their reporting, and you’ve mentioned that you want to “open up” the libel laws. You’ve said that several times.
TRUMP: I might not have to, based on Gawker. Right?
TRUMP: That was an amazing—
RYAN: My question is not so much why you feel they should be open but how. What presidential powers and executive actions would you take to open up the libel laws?
TRUMP: Okay, look, I’ve had stories written about me – by your newspaper and by others – that are so false, that are written with such hatred – I’m not a bad person. I’m just doing my thing – I’m, you know, running, I want to do something that’s good. It’s not an easy thing to do. I had a nice life until I did this, you know. This is a very difficult thing to do. In fact I’ve always heard that if you’re a very successful person you can’t run for office. And I can understand that. You’ll do a hundred deals, and you’ll do one bad one or two bad ones — that’s all they read about are the bad ones. They don’t read about the one hundred and fifty great ones that you had. And even some of the ones they write that are good, they make them sound bad. You know, so I’ve always heard that. I’ve heard that if you’re successful – very successful – you just can’t run for—
RYAN: But how would you fix that? You’ve said that you would open up the libel laws.
TRUMP: What I would do, what I would do is I’d – well right now the libel laws, I mean I must tell you that the Hulk Hogan thing was a tremendous shock to me because – not only the amount and the fact that he had the victory — because for the most part I think libel laws almost don’t exist in this country, you know, based on, based on everything I’ve seen and watched and everything else, and I just think that if a paper writes something wrong — media, when I say paper I’m talking about media. I think that they can do a retraction if they’re wrong. They should at least try to get it right. And if they don’t do a retraction, they should, they should you know have a form of a trial. I don’t want to impede free press, by the way. The last thing I would want to do is that. But I mean I can only speak for – I probably get more – do I, I mean, you would know, do I get more publicity than any human being on the earth? Okay? I mean, [Editor’s note: Trump points at Ruth Marcus] she kills me, this one – that’s okay, nice woman.
RYAN: Would you expand, for example, prior restraints against publications?
TRUMP: No, I would just say this. All I want is fairness. So unfair. I have stories and you have no recourse, you have no recourse whatsoever because the laws are really impotent.
MARCUS: So in a better world would you be able to sue me?
TRUMP: In a better world — no — in a better world I would be able to get a retraction or a correction. Not even a retraction, a correction.
RYAN: Well, now, you’ve been a plaintiff in libel suits so you know a little bit of the elements …
TRUMP: I had one basic big libel suit, it was a very bad system, it was New Jersey. I had a great judge, the first one, and I was going to win it. And then I had another good judge, the second one, and then they kept switching judges. And the third one was a bad judge. That’s what happened. But, uh…
RYAN: But there’s standards like malice is required. Would you weaken that? Would you require less than malice for news organizations?
TRUMP: I would make it so that when someone writes incorrectly, yeah, I think I would get a little bit away from malice without having to get too totally away. Look, I think many of the stories about me are written badly. I don’t know if it’s malice because the people don’t know me. When Charles writes about me or when Ruth writes about me, you know, we’ve never really met. And I get these stories and they’re so angry and I actually say, I actually say, “How could they write?” – and many stories I must tell you, many stories are written that with a brief phone call could be corrected before they’re written. Nobody calls me.
STEPHEN STROMBERG, EDITORIAL WRITER: How are you defining “incorrect?” It seems like you’re defining it as fairness or your view of fairness rather than accuracy.
TRUMP: Fairness, fairness is, you know, part of the word. But you know, I’ve had stories that are written that are absolutely incorrect. I’ll tell you now and the word “intent”, as you know, is an important word, as you know, in libel. I’ll give you an example. Some of the media, not all of it, but some of it, is very, very strong on – you know I get these massive crowds of people, and we’ll get protesters. And these protesters are honestly, they’re very bad people. In many cases, they’re professionals. Highly trained professionals. And I will rent an arena for 20,000 seats and they will come in – because there’s really no way – how you going to be able to tell – somebody said “oh you shouldn’t let ‘em in” – how you gonna know, you know? They walk in. [Inaudible] So we had an incident this weekend, which was amazing in Tucson, Arizona where a man, a protestor, wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit, another one dragging an American flag, was walking out of the arena, and an African American man who was a supporter was sitting there listening to the speech and we had to stop because they were so loud – they’re so loud, these people, I don’t know what they do, they’re trained voices or something. And they’re walking up and you saw it, because it was all over television, and the African American man became incensed I think the guy said something to him like you know what, like “screw you,” okay? Or worse. I think, because he looked over to him and said something to him and the guy just had it. Now, they were together, these two. The one wearing a Ku Klux Klan, the other dragging a flag or something, but the African American man, who I think was an Air Force person, I just read he had a pretty stellar life so far. And he just became incensed. So when I saw the television yesterday early in the morning I saw the Ku Klux Klan, I saw exactly what happened. By the time it got on to the national shows that was for the most part taken out. They just had this African American smacking, you know, fighting. And it didn’t make sense, you know, why, why. But if you saw it in the morning it made a lot more sense. We don’t condone violence at all but it’s very, very unfair reporting and we, you know…
HIATT: Sorry, when you say we don’t condone violence —
TRUMP: I say that.
HIATT: You say that. But you’ve also said, “In the good old days, he would have been ripped out of his seat so fast, you wouldn’t believe it.” Isn’t that condoning violence?
TRUMP: No, because what I am referring to is, we’ve had some very bad people come in. We had one guy — and I said it — he had the voice — and this was what I was referring to — and I said, “Boy, I’d like to smash him.” You know, I said that. I’d like to punch him. This guy was unbelievably loud. He had a voice like Pavarotti. I said if I was his manager I would have made a lot of money for him, because he had the best voice. I mean, the guy was unbelievable, how loud he was. And he was a swinger. He was hitting people. He was punching and swinging and screaming — you couldn’t make — so you have to stop. You know, there is also something about the First Amendment, but you had to stop. And, so, this one man was very violent and very loud. And when he was being taken out, he walked out like this, with his finger way up, like, “screw everybody.” And that’s when I made that statement. He was absolutely out — I mean, he hit people and he screamed and then he was walking out and he’s giving everybody the finger. And they don’t talk about that. See, they don’t talk about that. They say, “Donald, wait a second, Donald, don’t” —
HIATT: But your answer is you condone violence when the guy is really egregious and terrible?
TRUMP: No, I condone strong law and order. I’ll tell you what they —
HIATT: Rip him out of his seat, punch him in the face, isn’t that violent?
TRUMP: Well he punched other people.
HIATT: No, I understand that.
TRUMP: Fred, he punched other people. He was punching people. He was — one guy was, you know, I’d like to say —
JO-ANN ARMAO, ASSOCIATE EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: The Fayetteville protester who was sucker punched — he didn’t punch anyone —
ARMAO: He was being escorted from police, and he was sucker punched.
TRUMP: No. When are you talking about? When?
ARMAO: In Fayetteville.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, TRUMP 2016 CAMPAIGN MANAGER [to Trump]: North Carolina.
TRUMP: I don’t know. I don’t know which one.
ARMAO: Yes you do.
TRUMP: I don’t know. Because we’ve had so many —
ARMAO: That’s the gentleman you said you were going to look into to see whether or not to pay his legal fees.
TRUMP: Oh well that’s a different — that’s different from the one I’m talking about. This one was about a month ago. This one was before Fayetteville.
ARMAO: Well, okay, Fayetteville, do you condone violence in that case —
TRUMP: No I don’t, no I don’t, that’s different —
ARMAO: Where the protester is being walked out —
TRUMP: By the way, that’s different —
ARMAO: But, yet, you explained it that he was giving the finger and so he provoked it, so he got sucker punched. And you are going to possibly pay for his legal expenses.
TRUMP: He did give the finger, and —
ARMAO: So that’s okay?
TRUMP: Well, a lot of people don’t — you know, the finger means, “F you.” A lot of people think — and you have children there, you have a lot of children that go, you know, they go with their parents — a lot of people think that’s very inappropriate. I mean, you know —
ARMAO: It’s certainly inappropriate.
TRUMP: Well, I think it is.
ARMAO: But does it — is it — does it qualify to —
TRUMP: So do you let him —
ARMAO: — to punch him in the face?
TRUMP: Again I don’t condone it. So do you let him walk out, he’s holding up his finger, telling everybody. Same thing happened, you know, the last one in —
HIATT: I guess the question is, when you then offer to pay the guy’s legal fees, isn’t that —
TRUMP: I didn’t offer —
HIATT: Isn’t that condoning?
TRUMP: No, I didn’t offer, Fred —
HIATT: You said you would consider it —
TRUMP: I said I want to look into it. I said I want to look into it. I didn’t say that.
HIATT: Isn’t that condoning?
TRUMP: No, I don’t think so.
HIATT: Doesn’t that convey a message of approval?
TRUMP: Don’t think so.
LEWANDOWSKI: To be fair, before every event, there is a public service announcement made about —
TRUMP: It’s true.
LEWANDOWSKI: — any potential protesters. That is made to everybody that says —
LEWANDOWSKI: — please do not engage these protesters. You know, they may cause a disturbance. Please do your best, let local law enforcement handle this or security at that venue. The problem becomes, with a massive crowd of twenty or thirty or forty thousand people, the resources that are there don’t have the ability to get to all these people in a manner before the crowd reacts, because the agitators are inciting those people. So we are very clear at the onset, that there is a loud public notice that says, “please do not engage these people, please let them do their job, and let the local law enforcement deal with that.” That’s said at the very front end at every event.
TRUMP: Very loud, and it’s repeated over and over. Actually, I guess it’s on tape, but they repeat it over and over. One thing that was interesting this weekend. We had in Phoenix, Arizona, we had an interesting incident. We had people, we had a major highway coming into the arena. It’s not an arena, it’s a huge open space, 60 acres, and it was packed. And we had a major highway coming in, and people — protesters — stopped their car in the middle of the highway, chained themselves to their cars, and the cars — blocked. They were there for a while. A car was not able to move. They were backed up for 20 — I mean, like, just forever. And, it was terrible. And they were very abusive, screaming, you know, “screw you, screw you, pigs, pigs” — meaning to the cops. Sheriff Joe Arpaio — now that was his territory. Okay, he’s a tough cookie. Sheriff Joe saw this, he gave them a couple of minutes to move their car — they didn’t move them — cut the chains, arrested the people and just moved the cars over. I don’t know how they did it — just, they were gone in minutes after he came there. Minutes. It was amazing how quick. They actually had chains around their necks. They didn’t even know why they were there. People – somebody was interviewed, “Why are you here?” “Well, I don’t know, I’m not sure.” They didn’t even know.
Nobody ever talks about these people. They say, “Oh, Trump had a bad rally,” or something. You know there are two sides to it, and honestly, there is really one side of it – because you see how bad this was. So what happened is they arrested three people. There were probably a hundred or a hundred-fifty protesters, there were 21,000 people there, there were 150 protesters that were creating havoc. As soon as the three people were arrested, everybody else ran. That was the last we heard, and I made a speech for, you know, a half hour, 45 minutes – not one person stood up and started screaming at this speech. It was sort of an amazing thing.
Now Tucson was different. Different police force, different level of, you know, whatever, and we had numerous interruptions during the speech. You know, I’ll be speaking, I’ll be ready to make a point, and a guy will stand up and start, just screaming. Out of — from nowhere, for, like, no reason. Not even screaming things that make sense, and often screaming tremendous obscenities.
I know [Lewandowski] went in – he took a lot of heat a couple of days ago in that same rally because he went in to get – to quiet people down, and they had a couple of signs “F-you” – it just said “F-you,” meaning the word spelled out, and you have cameras there, you know, it’s on live television, and you have guys holding signs saying “F-you Trump” or just “F-you,” and they had numerous of those – there were, you know, probably ten of those signs throughout the arena.
And he went in to say, please would you move the sign, and the woman in front – and I saw it – this guy grabbed the woman in front, okay, he [Lewandowski] hardly touched him – he took him – If he touched him at all it was just grabbing the shirt a little bit. But the guy was a real wiseguy. And he was screaming obscenities. He did grab the woman in front and ultimately he was led out by the security guy, who was right behind him.
But the reason is that the police were slow to get there. And the point is this: You’re making a speech and you have guys getting up saying, [Editor’s note: Trump says the next few words in a hushed voice] “fuck you,” and the whole place goes, “Whoa,” and it incites the place. They incite the place, because then everyone goes, “USA, USA.” That’s why they’re all screaming “USA, USA,” or “Trump, Trump, Trump.”
You can have 20,000 people and you can have like two people. Usually – it’s amazing – usually it’s one person. I mean, it’s like they stage it. It’s very professional. They have like one person here, one person here, one person.
Okay, we’re talking about the media. So, I’ve never seen the media cover it from that angle. It’s always, “Trump had a” — and here’s the big thing, I mean, honestly, essentially nobody has heard
HIATT: But just – given the Supreme Court rulings on libel — Sullivan v. New York Times — how would you change the law?
TRUMP: I would just loosen them up.
RUTH MARCUS: What does that mean?
TRUMP: I’d have to get my lawyers in to tell you, but I would loosen them up. I would loosen them up. If The Washington Post writes badly about me – and they do, they don’t write good – I mean, I don’t think I get – I read some of the stories coming up here, and I said to my staff, I said, “Why are we even wasting our time? The hatred is so enormous.” I don’t know why. I mean, I do a good job. I have thousands of employees. I work hard.
I’m not looking for bad for our country. I’m a very rational person, I’m a very sane person. I’m not looking for bad. But I read articles by you, and others. And, you know, we’ve never – we don’t know each other, and the level of hatred is so incredible, I actually said, “Why am I – why am I doing this? Why am I even here?” And I don’t expect anything to happen–
RYAN: Would that be the standard then? If there is an article that you feel has hatred, or is bad, would that be the basis for libel?
TRUMP: No, if it’s wrong. If it’s wrong.
RYAN: Wrong whether there’s malice or not?
TRUMP: I mean, The Washington Post never calls me. I never had a call, “Why – why did you do this?” or “Why did you do that?” It’s just, you know, like I’m this horrible human being. And I’m not. You know, the one thing we have in common I think we all love the country. Now, maybe we come at it from different sides, but nobody ever calls me. I mean, Bob Costa calls about a political story – he called because we’re meeting senators in a little while and congressmen, supporters – but nobody ever calls.
RYAN: The reason I keep asking this is because you’ve said three times you’ve said we are going to open up the libel laws and when we ask you what you mean you say hatred, or bad–
TRUMP: I want to make it more fair from the side where I am, because things are said that are libelous, things are said about me that are so egregious and so wrong, and right now according to the libel laws I can do almost nothing about it because I’m a well-known person you know, etc., etc.
JACKSON DIEHL, DEPUTY EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: Back to foreign policy a little bit, can you talk a little bit about what you see as the future of NATO? Should it expand in any way?
TRUMP: Look, I see NATO as a good thing to have – I look at the Ukraine situation and I say, so Ukraine is a country that affects us far less than it affects other countries in NATO, and yet we are doing all of the lifting, they’re not doing anything. And I say, why is it that Germany is not dealing with NATO on Ukraine? Why is it that other countries that are in the vicinity of the Ukraine not dealing with — why are we always the one that’s leading, potentially the third world war, okay, with Russia? Why are we always the ones that are doing it? And I think the concept of NATO is good, but I do think the United States has to have some help. We are not helped. I’ll give you a better example than that. I mean, we pay billions– hundreds of billions of dollars to supporting other countries that are in theory wealthier than we are.
DIEHL: Hundreds of billions?
TRUMP: Billions. Well if you look at Germany, if you look at Saudi Arabia, if you look at Japan, if you look at South Korea — I mean we spend billions of dollars on Saudi Arabia, and they have nothing but money. And I say, why? Now I would go in and I would structure a much different deal with them, and it would be a much better deal. When you look at the kind of money that our country is losing, we can’t afford to do this. Certainly we can’t afford to do it anymore.
DIEHL: About Ukraine, was it right for the United States to impose sanctions on Russia when they invaded Crimea and would you keep those sanctions on them?
TRUMP: I think the answer is yes, it was, but I don’t see other people doing much about it. I see us doing things about it, but I don’t see other people doing much about it.
DIEHL: And could I ask you about ISIS, speaking of making commitments, because you talked recently about possibly sending 20 or 30,000 troops and—
TRUMP: No I didn’t, oh no no no, okay, I know what you’re saying. There was a question asked to me. I said that the military, the generals have said that 20- to 30,000. They said, would you send troops? I didn’t say send 20,000. I said, well the generals are saying you’d need because they , what would it take to wipe out ISIS, I said pretty much exactly this, I said the generals, the military is saying you would need 20- to 30,000 troops, but I didn’t say that I would send them.
DIEHL: If they said that, would you go along with that and send the troops?
TRUMP: I find it hard to go along with—I mention that as an example because it’s so much. That’s why I brought that up. But a couple of people have said the same thing as you, where they said did I say that and I said that that’s a number that I heard would be needed. I would find it very, very hard to send that many troops to take care of it. I would say this, I would put tremendous pressure on other countries that are over there to use their troops and I’d give them tremendous air supporters and support , because we have to get rid of ISIS, okay, just so — we have to get rid of ISIS. I would get other countries to become very much involved.
DIEHL: What about China and the South China Sea. What do you think they’re up to and—
TRUMP: I think it’s a terrible situation, I think it’s terrible they have no respect for–
DIEHL: –and what should we do about it?
TRUMP: Well look, we have power over China and people don’t realize it. We have trade power over China. I don’t think we are going to start World War III over what they did, it affects other countries certainly a lot more than it affects us. But—and honestly, you know part of—I always say we have to be unpredictable. We’re totally predictable. And predictable is bad. Sitting at a meeting like this and explaining my views and if I do become president, I have these views that are down for the other side to look at, you know. I hate being so open. I hate when they say — like I said get rid of the oil, keep the oil, different things over the years, when people are saying what would you do with regard to the Middle East, when we left — We should have never been in Iraq. It was a horr- it was one of the worst decisions ever made in the history of our country. We then got out badly, then after we got out, I said, “Keep the oil. If we don’t keep it Iran’s going to get it.” And it turns out Iran and ISIS basically—
HIATT: How do you keep it without troops, how do you defend the oil?
TRUMP: You would… You would, well for that– for that, I would circle it. I would defend those areas.
HIATT: With U.S. troops?
TRUMP: Yeah, I would defend the areas with the oil. And I would have taken out a lot of oil. And, uh, I would have kept it. I mean, I would have kept it, because, look: Iran has the oil, and they’re going to have the oil, well, the stuff they don’t have, because Iran is taking over Iraq as sure as you’re sitting there. And I’ve been very good on this stuff. My prognostications, my predictions have become, have been very accurate, if you look.
HIATT: So what do you think China’s aims are in the South China Sea?
TRUMP: Well I know China very well, because I deal with China all the time. I’ve done very well. China’s unbelievably ambitious. China is, uh… I mean, when I deal with China, you know, I have the Bank of America building, I’ve done some great deals with China. I do deals with them all the time on, you know, selling apartments, and, you know, people say ‘oh that’s not the same thing.’ The level of… uh, the largest bank in the world, 400 million customers, is a tenant of mine in New York, in Manhattan. The biggest bank in China. The biggest bank in the world.
China has got unbelievable ambitions. China feels very invincible. We have rebuilt China. They have drained so much money out of our country that they’ve rebuilt China. Without us, you wouldn’t see the airports and the roadways and the bridges; I mean, the George Washington Bridge is like, that’s like a trinket compared to the bridges that they’ve built in China. We don’t build anymore, and it, you know, we had our day. But China, if you look at what’s going on in China, you know, they go down to seven percent or eight percent and it’s like a national catastrophe. Our GDP is right now zero. Essentially zero.
DIEHL: Could you use trade to cause them to retreat in the South China Sea?
TRUMP: I think so, yeah. I think so
DIEHL: What would you do?
TRUMP: We, well, you start making it tougher. They’re selling their products to us for… you know, with no tax, no nothing. By the way, we can’t deal with them, but they can deal with us. See, we are free trade. The story is, and I have so many people that deal with China –they can easily sell their product here. No tax, no nothing, just ‘come on, bring it all in, you know, bring in your apples, bring in everything you make’ and no taxes whatsoever, right? If you want to deal with China, it’s just the opposite. You can’t do that. In other words, if you want to, if you’re a manufacturer, you want to go into China? It’s very hard to get your product in, and if you get it in you have to pay a very big tax.
HIATT: So, if they occupied what the Japanese call the Senkaku Islands, is that something the United States…
TRUMP: Well, I, you know, again, I don’t like to tell you what I’d do, because I don’t want to… You understand what I’m saying, Fred? If I… Okay, if I say ‘Well, we should go in and do this or that or that,’ I don’t want to, I don’t want to sort of… red flag all over it. I do think this: It’s an unbelievable thing that they’ve done, it’s unbelievable aggression, it’s unbelievable lack of respect for this country.
HIATT: This theory of unpredictability, I want to push a little bit, I mean – there are many people who think that North Korea invaded South Korea precisely because Acheson wasn’t clear that we would defend South Korea. So I’m curious, does ambiguity sometimes have dangers?
TRUMP: Well I’ll give you, I’ll give you an example. President Obama, when he left Iraq, gave a specific date – we’re going to be out. I thought that was a terrible thing to do. And the enemy pulled back, because they don’t want die. Despite what you read, you know, they don’t want to die — and they just pulled back, and after we left, all hell broke out, right? And I’ll give you another example that I think was terrible: when they sent, a few months ago, they sent fifty troops in. You know, fifty elite troops. Now, why do we have to have a news conference to announce that we’re sending fifty troops? So those troops now have targets on their back. And…you shouldn’t do it. We’re so predictable: “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re sending fifty troops into Iraq or Syria. And these are our elite troops. And they’re going to do this and that and that and this.” And those troops now are being hunted. If you didn’t send them, they wouldn’t – if you didn’t say that, they wouldn’t know. I mean, there are times when you just can’t be… You talk too much. We talk too much. I guess they thought that was good politically, to say we’re sending fifty troops? I don’t think it was good.
LANE: Can I ask you…Just going back to NATO, because…
LANE: As you know, the whole theory of NATO from the beginning was to keep the United States involved in the long term in Europe to balance, to promote a balance of power in that region so we wouldn’t have a repeat of World War I and World War 2. And it seems to be like what you’re saying is very similar to what President Obama said to Jeffrey Goldberg, in that we have allies that become free riders. So it seems like there’s some convergence with the president there. What concerns me about both is that to some extent it was always thought to be in our interest that we, yes, we would take some of the burden on, yes, even if the net-net was not 100 percent, even steven, with the Germans. So I’d like to hear you say very specifically, you know, with respect to NATO, what is your ask of these other countries? Right, you’ve painted it in very broad terms, but do you have a percent of GDP that they should be spending on defense? Tell me more. Because it’s not that you want to pull the U.S. out.
TRUMP: No, I don’t want to pull it out. NATO was set up at a different time. NATO was set up when we were a richer country. We’re not a rich country. We’re borrowing, we’re borrowing all of this money. We’re borrowing money from China, which is a sort of an amazing situation. But things are a much different thing. NATO is costing us a fortune and yes, we’re protecting Europe but we’re spending a lot of money. Number 1, I think the distribution of costs has to be changed. I think NATO as a concept is good, but it is not as good as it was when it first evolved. And I think we bear the, you know, not only financially, we bear the biggest brunt of it. Obama has been stronger on the Ukraine than all the other countries put together, and those other countries right next door to the Ukraine. And I just say we have, I’m not even knocking it, I’m just saying I don’t think it’s fair, we’re not treated fair. I don’t think we’re treated fair, Charles, anywhere. If you look everything we have. You know, South Korea is very rich. Great industrial country. And yet we’re not reimbursed fairly for what we do. We’re constantly, you know, sending our ships, sending our planes, doing our war games, doing other. We’re reimbursed a fraction of what this is all costing.
LANE: You know, well, they say and I think this is on public record, it’s basically 50 percent of the non-personnel cost is paid by South Korea and Japan.
TRUMP: 50 percent?
TRUMP: Why isn’t it 100 percent?
HIATT: Well I guess the question is, does the United States gain anything by having bases?
TRUMP: Personally I don’t think so. I personally don’t think so. Look. I have great relationships with South Korea. I have buildings in South Korea. But that’s a wealthy country. They make the ships, they make the televisions, they make the air conditioning. They make tremendous amounts of products. It’s a huge, it’s a massive industrial complex country. And —
HIATT: So you don’t think the US gains from being the force that sort of that helps keep the peace in the Pacific?
TRUMP: I think that we are not in the position that we used to be. I think we were a very powerful, very wealthy country. And we’re a poor country now. We’re a debtor nation. How you going to get rid – let me ask you – how are you going get rid of $21 trillion in debt? You’re going to be at 21 trillion in a matter of minutes because of that new omnibus budget. So they passed that ridiculous omnibus budget. How you going to get rid of that debt. We’re spending that to protect other countries. We’re not spending it on ourselves. Because we have, we have armor-plated vehicles that are obsolete. The best ones are given to the enemy. We give them to our allies over in the Middle East. A bullet shot in the air and they immediately run and the enemy takes over. I have a friend whose son is in his third, his third tour over in Iraq. He’s over in, I mean he’s a very special kid, he’s a great kid. But he’s over in the Middle East, and, uh, Afghanistan, different parts of the Middle East, actually. And he said to me, I said to him what do you think. And he said, it’s so sad. He said the enemy has our equipment – the new version — and we have all the old version, and the enemy has our equipment, because they get into a fight with the so-called people like the Freedom Fighters, you know the whole Syrian deal, where we’re sending billions and billions of dollars worth, and they capture the equipment. In most cases the shots are fired and everybody leaves. And these are the people we’re backing. And we don’t know if it’s going to be another Saddam Hussein deal, in other words, let’s get rid of Assad with these people and these people end up being worse. Okay? But he said, they have better equipment. It’s our equipment. They have, I guess we send 2,300 Humvees over, all armor-plated. So we have wounded warriors, with no legs, with no arms, because they were driving in stuff without the armor. And the enemy has most of the new ones we sent over that they captured. And he said, it’s so discouraging when they see that the enemy has better equipment than we have – and it’s our equipment.
HIATT: I’d like to come back to the campaign. You said a few weeks ago after a family in Chicago gave some money to a PAC opposing you, you said, “They better watch out. They have a lot to hide.” What should they watch out for?
TRUMP: Look, they are spending vicious … I don’t even know these people. Those Ricketts. I actually said they ought to focus on the Chicago Cubs and, you know, stop playing around. They spent millions of dollars fighting me in Florida. And out of 68 counties, I won 66. I won by 20 points, almost 20 points. Against, everybody thought he was a popular sitting senator. I had $38 million dollars spent on me in Florida over a short period of time. $38 million. And, you know, the Ricketts, I don’t even know these people.
HIATT: So, what does it mean, “They better watch out”?
TRUMP: Well, it means that I’ll start spending on them. I’ll start taking ads telling them all what a rotten job they’re doing with the Chicago Cubs. I mean, they are spending on me. I mean, so am I allowed to say that? I’ll start doing ads about their baseball team. That it’s not properly run or that they haven’t done a good job in the brokerage business lately.
RYAN: Would you do that while you are president?
TRUMP: No, not while I am president. No, not while I’m president. That is two phases. Right now, look, you know, I went to a great school, I was a good student and all. I am an intelligent person. My uncle, I would say my uncle was one of the brilliant people. He was at MIT for 35 years. As a great scientist and engineer, actually more than anything else. Dr. John Trump, a great guy. I’m an intelligent person. I understand what is going on. Right now, I had 17 people who started out. They are almost all gone. If I were going to do that in a different fashion I think I probably wouldn’t be sitting here. You would be interviewing somebody else. But it is hard to act presidential when you are being … I mean, actually I think it is presidential because it is winning. And winning is a pretty good thing for this country because we don’t win any more. And I say it all the time. We do not win any more. This country doesn’t win. We don’t win with trade. We don’t win with … We can’t even beat ISIS. And by the way, just to answer the rest of that question, I would knock the hell out of ISIS in some form. I would rather not do it with our troops, you understand that. Very important. Because I think saying that is very important because I was against the war in Iraq, although they found a clip talking to Howard Stern, I said, “Well…” It was very unenthusiastic. Before they want in, I was totally against the war. I was against it for years. I actually had a delegation sent from the White House to talk to me because I guess I get a disproportionate amount of publicity. I was just against the war. I thought it would destabilize the Middle East, and it did. But we have to knock out ISIS. We are living like in medieval times. Who ever heard of the heads chopped off?
HIATT: Just back to the campaign. You are smart and you went to a good school. Yet you are up there and talking about your hands and the size of private …
TRUMP: No …
HIATT: … your private parts.
TRUMP: No, no. No, no. I am not doing that.
HIATT: Do you regret having engaged in that?
TRUMP: No, I had to do it. Look, this guy. Here’s my hands. Now I have my hands, I hear, on the New Yorker, a picture of my hands.
MARCUS: You’re on the cover.
TRUMP: A hand with little fingers coming out of a stem. Like, little. Look at my hands. They’re fine. Nobody other than Graydon Carter years ago used to use that. My hands are normal hands. During a debate, he was losing, and he said, “Oh, he has small hands and therefore, you know what that means.” This was not me. This was Rubio that said, “He has small hands and you know what that means.” Okay? So, he started it. So, what I said a couple of days later … and what happened is I was on line shaking hands with supporters, and one of supporters got up and he said, “Mr. Trump, you have strong hands. You have good-sized hands.” And then another one would say, “You have great hands, Mr. Trump, I had no idea.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I thought you were like deformed, and I thought you had small hands.” I had fifty people … Is that a correct statement? I mean people were writing, “How are Mr. Trump’s hands?” My hands are fine. You know, my hands are normal. Slightly large, actually. In fact, I buy a slightly smaller than large glove, okay? No, but I did this because everybody was saying to me, “Oh, your hands are very nice. They are normal.” So Rubio, in a debate, said, because he had nothing else to say … now I was hitting him pretty hard. He wanted to do his Don Rickles stuff and it didn’t work out. Obviously, it didn’t work too well. But one of the things he said was “He has small hands and therefore, you know what that means, he has small something else.” You can look it up. I didn’t say it.
MARCUS: You chose to raise it …
TRUMP: No, I chose to respond.
MARUS: You chose to respond.
TRUMP: I had no choice.
MARCUS: You chose to raise it during a debate. Can you explain why you had no choice?
TRUMP: I don’t want people to go around thinking that I have a problem. I’m telling you, Ruth, I had so many people. I would say 25, 30 people would tell me … every time I’d shake people’s hand, “Oh, you have nice hands.” Why shouldn’t I? And, by the way, by saying that I solved the problem. Nobody questions … I even held up my hands, and said, “Look, take a look at that hand.”
MARCUS: You told us in the debate ….
TRUMP: And by saying that, I solved the problem. Nobody questions. Everyone held my hand. I said look. Take a look at that hand.
MARCUS: You told us in the debate that you guaranteed there was not another problem. Was that presidential? And why did you decide to do that?
TRUMP: I don’t know if it was presidential, honestly, whether it is or not. He said, ‘Donald Trump has small hands and therefore he has small something else.’ I didn’t say that. And all I did is when he failed, when he was failing, when he was, when Christie made him look bad, I gave him the– a little recap and I said, and I said, and I had this big strong powerful hand ready to grab him, because I thought he was going to faint. And everybody took it fine. Whether it was presidential or not I can’t tell you. I can just say that what he said was a lie. And everybody, they wanted to do stories on my hands; after I said that, they never did. And then I held up the hand, I showed people the hand. You know, when I’ve got a big audience. So yeah, I think it’s not a question of presidential …
MARCUS: He said he regrets …
HIATT: Okay, let’s move on here. Let’s move on.
TRUMP: I did feel I should respond. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. But I felt I should respond because everybody was talking about it.
RYAN: You [MUFFLED] mentioned a few minutes earlier here that you would knock ISIS. You’ve mentioned it many times. You’ve also mentioned the risk of putting American troop in a danger area. If you could substantially reduce the risk of harm to ground troops, would you use a battlefield nuclear weapon to take out ISIS?
TRUMP: I don’t want to use, I don’t want to start the process of nuclear. Remember the one thing that everybody has said, I’m a counterpuncher. Rubio hit me. Bush hit me. When I said low energy, he’s a low-energy individual, he hit me first. I spent, by the way he spent 18 million dollars’ worth of negative ads on me. That’s putting [MUFFLED]…
RYAN: This is about ISIS. You would not use a tactical nuclear weapon against ISIS?
TRUMP: I’ll tell you one thing, this is a very good looking group of people here. Could I just go around so I know who the hell I’m talking to?
HIATT: Sure, then I’d like to let a couple of them get in questions.
LEWANDOWSKI: We have got five minutes, hard out.
TRUMP: Oh is it?
CORY: Yeah. You have a meeting you have to get to.
TRUMP: Okay we do.
ARMAO: I’m Jo-Ann Armao. I cover D.C. events. I want to ask you a question about what you think about D.C. voting rights or statehood.
TRUMP: Okay. I’ll talk about that.
TOM TOLES, EDITORIAL CARTOONIST: Tom Toles.
TRUMP: Hi, Tom.
LANE: I’m Charles …
TRUMP: Yes, I know Charles.
STROMBERG: Steve Stromberg, editorial writer.
MARCUS: Ruth Marcus.
RYAN: Fred Ryan.
TRUMP: Right, right.
DIEHL: Jackson Diehl.
JAMES DOWNIE: James Downie, digital opinions editor.
TRUMP: Hi, James.
MICHAEL LARABEE: Mike Larabee, I’m the op-ed editor.
CHRISTINE EMBA: Christine Emba.
TRUMP: Hi, Christine.
JAMIE RILEY: Jamie Riley, letters and local opinions.
TRUMP: Good, yes, yes.
KAREN ATTIAH: Karen Attiah, deputy digital editor.
HIATT: Karen, you want to get a question in?
ATTIAH: Uh, yeah, I mean speaking again of the system of what a lot of people would say are some of the uglier components of your campaign; a lot of people have said you’ve been running a very divisive campaign as far as racial divides, you’ve noted you know your comments about Muslims, about Mexicans, immigrants and such. You have information that the country is becoming browner, is becoming younger, is becoming blacker. What in your vision of president, in your presidency, how would you bridge these divides and how will you address a– how are you going to run on a message of inclusion of all Americans?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, if you look at some polls that have come out, I’m doing very well with African Americans. I’m doing, actually if you look at the polls, a lot of the polls that came out, in the, um, what do they call it? Exit polls, like from Nevada and other places, I’m doing very well with Hispanics.
ATTIAH: I think some of the polls are saying you’re doing [in the] negatives.
TRUMP: We do, if it’s illegals, in other words, if it’s everybody, but people that are legally living here, I’m doing very well. In other words, people that are here, like Hispanics that are in the country, I’m doing very well. People that vote. Like people leaving voting booths and all, I’m doing very well with them. I want to be inclusive, but at the same time, people should come here legally. They should be here legally. And I think the reason I’m doing, that I will do well, especially once I get started, don’t forget I haven’t even focused on Hillary yet. And, and as you know, you know I’ve had polls that are against me, but I’ve had many polls that say I’d beat Hillary, but they’re not that, that, they don’t mean anything now because it’s too early. Because I haven’t hit her. I’ve only hit her once, and that was eight weeks ago, but, I haven’t started on Hillary yet, and when I do I think I’ll be able to make my points. I mean, you know, but, but I think that just to try and answer your question: Uh, I am the least racist person that you will ever meet. Okay. That I can tell you.
ATTIAH: But do you feel that your messages, your rhetoric, are dangerous and divisive for this country? How do you feel they’re ….
TRUMP: I don’t think so. No, I don’t think so. With the Muslim thing I think it’s a serious problem. I’ve had Muslims call and tell me you’re right with the Muslim thing, I think it’s a serious problem. And it’s a problem that has to be addressed. I mean, there’s tremendous hatred. Even the, even the guy they caught in Paris. He was being hid out by other Muslims, and everybody is after him, and he’s living right next to where he grew up. There’s a serious, serious problem with the Muslims and it’s got to be addressed. It’s temporary, and it’s got to be addressed. And you know you may think of it as negative. Many people think it’s very positive.
HIATT: How would you identify people to keep them out of this country?
TRUMP: Well look, there’s many exceptions. There’s many – everything, you’re going to go through a process. But we have to be very careful. And I was really referring in particular, you know, to migrations – Syrians, the whole migration, where we’re going to take in thousands. And I heard in the Democrat debate, I heard 55,000, okay. 55,000. Now they say it’s really ten [thousand], but it’s already 10, and I just don’t think we can take people into this country. You saw what two people did – the woman and the man, whether she radicalized him or [inaudible] – but you saw what two people did, and I just don’t think we can take people in when we have no idea who they are, where they come from. There’s no documents, there’s no paper, and we have ISIS looming over our head, and we have tremendous destruction. We lost the World Trade Center, we lost the Pentag – you know, we had a plane go into the Pentagon, etc.
ARMAO: D.C.: You told Chuck Todd last year on “Meet the Press” that you love D.C., you love the people, that you want to do what’s best for them. They think what’s best for them is statehood or at the very least voting rights. What is your position on those two things?
TRUMP: I think statehood is a tough thing for D.C. I think it’s a tough thing. I don’t have a position on it yet. I would form a position. But I think statehood is a tough thing for D.C.
ARMAO: Tough politically?
TRUMP: I think it’s just something that I don’t think I’d be inclined to do. I’d like to study it. It’s not a question really – maybe Chuck didn’t ask me like you’re asking me – I don’t see statehood for D.C.
ARMAO: What about having a vote in the House of Representatives?
TRUMP: I think that’s something that would be okay. Having representation would be okay.
HIATT: Last one: You think climate change is a real thing? Is there human-caused climate change?
TRUMP: I think there’s a change in weather. I am not a great believer in man-made climate change. I’m not a great believer. There is certainly a change in weather that goes – if you look, they had global cooling in the 1920s and now they have global warming, although now they don’t know if they have global warming. They call it all sorts of different things; now they’re using “extreme weather” I guess more than any other phrase. I am not – I know it hurts me with this room, and I know it’s probably a killer with this room – but I am not a believer. Perhaps there’s a minor effect, but I’m not a big believer in man-made climate change.
STROMBERG: Don’t good businessmen hedge against risks, not ignore them?
TRUMP: Well I just think we have much bigger risks. I mean I think we have militarily tremendous risks. I think we’re in tremendous peril. I think our biggest form of climate change we should worry about is nuclear weapons. The biggest risk to the world, to me – I know President Obama thought it was climate change – to me the biggest risk is nuclear weapons. That’s – that is climate change. That is a disaster, and we don’t even know where the nuclear weapons are right now. We don’t know who has them. We don’t know who’s trying to get them. The biggest risk for this world and this country is nuclear weapons, the power of nuclear weapons.
RYAN: Thank you for joining us.