JOHN DICKERSON INTERVIEWS DONALD TRUMP
EMBARGOED FOR 10:30 AM - OCTOBER 11, 2015
**FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW***
JOHN DICKERSON: Paul Ryan's name is mentioned as a possible speaker. What do you think of Paul Ryan?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think he's somebody that probably that could get good support. I think he's a very nice person. I think he doesn't want it very badly, but you never know. Maybe he's playing one of the great games of all time. It is speaker of the House, I mean, it's a great position. But he doesn't seem to want it. But I'll bet you that if it was actually offered to him, he would take it.
JOHN DICKERSON: You said you want somebody strong. Is Paul Ryan strong?
DONALD TRUMP: I think he's strong. I disagree with some of the things, I think that when Mitt Romney chose him last time, it was a tough choice because he's been so anti-Medicare, Medicaid, social security, in a sense. You know, he would say he hasn't been, but they certainly played that up hard. And that was a disastrous campaign for a lot of reasons. But Paul Ryan's a good man. I know him very little, but I think he's a very good person.
JOHN DICKERSON: So you'd be okay with Speaker Paul Ryan?
DONALD TRUMP: I would be okay. I would be okay. It may not be him. I mean, they have a couple of people in there, I'm not going to mention names. But people I know that are really tough and really smart. And right now, that's what we need because the Republicans never win. John, they never win. Everything, whether it's on ObamaCare, whether it's on the debt ceiling, no matter what we have, there's never, ever a victory. So we need a toughness and we just don't have there right now.
JOHN DICKERSON: You said that Republicans should do, I'm quoting from you here, something "really, really significant" with the coming debt ceiling vote. That's the vote on whether the United States government can keep borrowing money. What can Republicans do?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, John, if you go back and check, I've been saying this for three years, all right? That's a tremendously powerful weapon if they knew how to use it. The problem is, you'll have 70% of the Republicans say, "We're not closing government." Now, when you say that, you know I wrote The Art of the Deal. When you say that, and the other side says, "Well, we've got 70% of the people say it's not going to happen," the other 30% are essentially, they're rendered useless.
It's really very unfair to them. Because they're left out there hanging. So you need somebody that can unify, can be tough, and can win against the Democrats and against others. I mean, in all fairness, against the world essentially. But they really do have a tremendously powerful weapon. But they don't use it and they don't use it properly. They are terrible negotiators.
JOHN DICKERSON: John Boehner, after he announced he was resigning, said that there were false prophets in the Republican party. And I'm quoting, he said, "These false prophets are whipping people into a frenzy, believing they can accomplish things that they know are never going to happen." He's kind of talking about you.
DONALD TRUMP: I don't think so. But first of all, I know him, I like him on a personal basis. But I do think they should be tougher. But here's the problem. When he says "false prophets," you cannot win when you have a group of 25% or 30% on this side, and you have a group of 70% on this side saying, "We're never going to go along with the 30 percenters who want more."
That's what's happening. And every time I watch it, I say, "It's so sad," because if they were really unified and if they took that 30% stance, assuming they want to really make changes and do it right and cut the budget, cut the deficit, do things that should be doing, if they took that group and if everybody was unified, Obama would fold. But there's no reason for him to ever fold, because he knows that a big proportion, a vast majority of the Republicans are on his side.
JOHN DICKERSON: I want to ask you about your view on the use of military power. You say in personal relations, you're a counter puncher. You don't hit until you are hit. Is that a good way to think about the way you would use military force as the president?
DONALD TRUMP: I am the most military-based and the most militaristic person on your show. I want to have a much stronger military. I want it to be so strong that nobody's going to mess with us. I want to take care of our vets who are treated terribly, like third-class citizens. I mean, we have illegal immigrants that are being treated better than our great vets. They're like third-class citizens. They're going to be taken care of. But we have to make our military strong and hopefully never have to use it.
JOHN DICKERSON: Well, let's take an example of some case where you may or may not use military force. Turns out Assad apparently used chemical weapons on his own people. Does President Trump use force or not in that case?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, you know, the time to have done it would have been when he drew the line in the sand.
JOHN DICKERSON: So you would've done it in that case?
DONALD TRUMP:I might have gone in. Yeah, I think it's terrible. When you start using that, I think it's terrible. Now it's such a mess over there, with everybody involved, and the airspace is very limited. You know, it's not that big an area. The airspace is very limited.
So now you have, what we're going to start World War III over Syria?
JOHN DICKERSON: Where are you on the question of a safe zone or a no-fly zone in Syria?
DONALD TRUMP: I love a safe zone for people. I do not like the migration. I do not like the people coming. Frankly, look, Europe's going to have to handle it. But they're going to have riots in Germany. What's happening in Germany, I always thought Merkel was, like, this great leader. What she's done in Germany is insane. It's insane. They're having all sorts of attacks, they're having all sorts of--
JOHN DICKERSON: You mean letting in the refugees?
DONALD TRUMP: Letting in that many people. What they should do is the country should all get together, including the Gulf states, who have nothing but money, they should all get together and they should take a big swath of land in Syria, and they should do a safe zone for people so that they could have a safe-- where they could live. And then ultimately, go back to their country, go back to where they came from.
JOHN DICKERSON: Does the U.S. get involved in making that statement?
DONALD TRUMP: I would help them economically, even though we owe $19 trillion. What I won't do is take in 200,000 Syrians who could be ISIS. John, I've been watching this migration. And I see the people. I mean, they're men, they're mostly men, and they're strong men. These are physically young, strong men. They look like prime-time soldiers. Now, it's probably not true.
But where are the women? You see some women, you see some children. But for the most part, I'm looking at these strong men. So you ask two things: number one, why aren't they fighting for their country? And number two, I don't want these people coming over here. And even on a humanitarian, you know, when I was first asked this question, you asked it to me a long time ago, when they were talking about 3,000 people, I begrudgingly would say, "Oh, maybe, I don't know. Maybe."
JOHN DICKERSON: Letting them into the United States?
DONALD TRUMP: A little bit. Then they say, "10,000." I'm not thrilled, but maybe. 200,000 people? This could be the greatest Trojan horse. This could make the Trojan horse look like peanuts if these people turned out to be a lot of ISIS.
JOHN DICKERSON: Peggy Noonan writes that you and Vladimir Putin are showing strength. Do you have similarities with Vladimir Putin?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I like her, I can tell you that. I think Peggy Noonan is fantastic and she's been writing some nice things. Every once in a while she'll hit me, but that's okay. But I think she's fantastic. No, I think the biggest thing we have is that we were on 60 Minutes together and we had fantastic ratings. One of your best-rated shows in a long time.
So that was good, right? So we were stable mates. I think that we are very different. I think that I would at the same time get along very well with him. He does not like Obama at all. He doesn't respect Obama at all. And I'm sure that Obama doesn't like him very much. But I think that I would probably get along with him very well.
And I don't think you'd be having the kind of problems that you're having right now. And as far as him attacking ISIS, I'm all for it. If he wants to be bombing the hell out of ISIS, which he's starting to do, if he wants to be bombing ISIS, let him bomb them, John. Let him bomb them. I think we probably work together much more so than right now.
JOHN DICKERSON: You have a concealed weapons permit.
DONALD TRUMP: Yes.
JOHN DICKERSON: When did you get it?
DONALD TRUMP: Years ago.
JOHN DICKERSON: Why?
DONALD TRUMP: Because I like to have myself protected.
JOHN DICKERSON: Do you carry?
DONALD TRUMP: Sometimes.
JOHN DICKERSON: Would you advise in the context of current gun violence, would you advise people to get that?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I'm a big Second Amendment person, big, as you probably know. In fact, I'm coming out with a book in another three or four weeks called Crippled America. Tough words. Crippled America. I talk a lot about the Second Amendment in the book. Had they had, as an example, for the horrible thing that just took place, okay, horrible, in Oregon. Had somebody in that room had a gun, the result would've been better.
JOHN DICKERSON: So should people get armed the way you are?
DONALD TRUMP: That's up to them. But I will tell you, I feel much better being armed.
JOHN DICKERSON: What about teachers?
DONALD TRUMP: I think that if you had the teacher, assuming they knew how to use the weapon, which hopefully they would, you would've been a lot better when this maniac walked into class, starting to shoot people.
JOHN DICKERSON: You love polls. You are at the head of--
DONALD TRUMP: I don't love them. I only like them when I'm at the number one. By the way, if I wasn't number one, I would never mention them.
JOHN DICKERSON: You love polls at the moment. Our latest CBS poll has you in the lead. And it also shows that two-thirds of registered voters, eight in ten Republicans say you have the strong qualities of leadership. But here's the problem.
DONALD TRUMP: That's a very big statement.
JOHN DICKERSON: That's a big statement. Here's another big statement. 60% of registered voters say you are not honest and trustworthy. That number has gone up since the last poll.
DONALD TRUMP: It's better than Hillary.
JOHN DICKERSON: If they think you're a leader, does it matter if they trust you?
DONALD TRUMP: I think the leadership is very important. I think they know I'm a very smart guy. I think they know I'm going to fight for the country. I don't need any money. I'm all self-funding. I don't need money. I've turned down millions, tens of millions of dollars from rich lobbyists and rich special interests that want to give me $5 million, $10 million, $2 million.
I could have more money than Bush times 15. Now, I actually do have more money than Bush, Jeb. But it's my own money. I am spending my own money and people respect it. Now, I think I'm leading every poll, I'm leading every poll by a lot. The leadership thing is very important. People are not-- I think right now, what people want is they want competence. They're tired of other things. Now, one thing I will say--
JOHN DICKERSON: And trust doesn't matter if they--
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think trust is very important. In my opinion, it's very important. And I happen to be an honorable guy. But one thing that's very important, when I go to New Hampshire and Iowa and South Carolina, where I have very good numbers in terms of favorability, you know why? Because I'm there a lot. I go there a lot. And as you know, in fact, you reported it, I went up 60 points in terms of favorability. Somebody said it was a record. That's because when people get to know me, they get to like me.
JOHN DICKERSON: But you've been on center stage for three months. I mean, you've been around in center stage for a while.
DONALD TRUMP: I know, but locally, those have been the states that I really have spent a lot of time in.
JOHN DICKERSON: But again, on favorability in our poll, only 28% of voters, overall, and we're talking about a general election here in our poll, have a favorable opinion of you.
DONALD TRUMP: But I win hands down on leadership, right? By far, it's not even close. Double and triple anybody else. That's very important to people now. They want leadership. They're tired of having weak and incompetent leaders, John.
JOHN DICKERSON: What will you do with the empire if you're named president? Will you cut all ties?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, what I'd do, I would cut all ties. Look, this is all beautiful. I've built a great business. I have a tremendous, you saw, over $600 million yearly cash flow and stuff. Look, I would cut, I wouldn't care about it. My kids will run it. I wouldn't want to expand very much. It wouldn't matter to me. I have a chance at making America great again. That's the whole focus.
So my children will run my business, and my executive. I have great executives. And they do it well. They'd run it well. And I'm phasing out as we go along. You know, when I do these interviews, all of a sudden I can take a lot of time. But I have wonderful children that are in the business and I have wonderful executives, they'd run it. I would not even think about this business. It would be so insignificant to me, compared to making our country great again.
JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Mr. Trump, thanks very much.
DONALD TRUMP: Thank you very much, John.
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Jackie Berkowitz, firstname.lastname@example.org