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Video: Trump: ‘This country is going to hell’

  1. Closed captioning of: Trump: ‘This country is going to hell’

    >>> 2012 . if new nbc wall street journal report shows one. romney is tied in second. mitt romney leads. among the republicans who consider themselves tea party supporters, trump is the number one choice. on wednesday we sat down with him for an scluive interview and i began by asking trump about his potential run.

    >> 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, and oil, you're going to be paying $7, $8 a gallon very soon.

    >> do you blame it all on barack obama ?

    >> i blame a lot of it. it's been a terrible presidency. look at libya . we don't want to remove gadhafi but we're going to fight and now this. nobody knows what ooh happens. it looks like gadhafi is going to beat the united states .

    >> would you as president get more aggressive? is.

    >> i'm only interested in libya if we keep the oil. i don't know who the rebels are. they make the rebels like it's some romantic beautiful novel. i hear they're al qaeda , i hair they're iran-backed and iran-influenced. gadhafi 's going to go around saying he won the war against this country. when you ask me what i do, i'm only interested in libya if we get the oil.

    >> all right. so everybody wonders what the obama doctrine is.

    >> he doesn't have a doctrine. he doesn't have a doctrine.

    >> what's your doctrine? what would your doctrine be?

    >> with what? with respect to what?

    >> foreign affairs .

    >> foreign affairs is we take care of ourselves first. 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 and we start rebuilding. in the meantime we can't build skls in alabama, new york, alabama, texas, we're spending trillions and trillions of dollars. my thing and my doctrine would be build, building build.

    >> positive news poll for you that shows you surging to second place among potential gop candidates for 2012 . why do you think that you're connecting with voters?

    >> 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.

    >> what are you waiting for?

    >> i hate to say it. i have the number one show on nbc . is that the correct statement? the " celebrity apprentice " is doing great.

    >> what's --

    >> it sounds conservatitrivial. you're not allowed to have a show on and be a candidate. it's a great show and it's got phenomenal ratings, and until that show is over i can't declare, otherwise nbc would have to take the show off the air and that would be very unfair.

    >> recently you spent a lot of time talking about president obama 's birth certificate or lack thereof. you're convinced he doesn't have one.

    >> no, he doesn't have one. i've had very smart people say, donald, stay on the china issue, saudi arabia issue, stay on india taking our jobs and mexico, nafta, get off the birth certificate issue.

    >> why don't you? because you know what? three weeks before he started i thought he was born in the country and now i have a much bigger doubt. his grandmother in kenya says he was born in kenya and witnessed the birth, okay? he doesn't have a birth certificate or he hasn't shone it. he has what's called certificate of live birth . that's something that's easy to get.

    >> consider the equivalent.

    >> it's not the equivalent.

    >> in the state of hawaii they say they have seen this document, he was born in the united states , that's good enough for them.

    >> 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 , doesn't have a signature. there's not even a signature.

    >> do you think he was lying? come on, just answer.

    >> meredith, he spent $2 million in legal fees trying on to get away from this issue, and if he weren't issue, why would j he just solve it? 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. right now i have real doubts. i have people that have been studying it and they cannot believe what they're finding.

    >> you have people down there -- i mean searching in hawaii? absolutely. they can't believe what they're finding. i'd like him to show his birth certificate . can i be honest with you? i hope he can. if he can't, if he can't, if he wasn't born in this country, and i'm not saying it's a real possibility. but it's much greater than two or three weeks ago, then he's pulled one of the greatest cons in the history of politics and beyond.

    >> do you consider yourself a tea partier?

    >> i think so.

    >> yeah?

    >> i'm very proud of some of the ideas they put forth. the big ideas , 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 absolutely -- i'm telling you, we're going to destroy our own freedom.

    >> they can't stop it even with the possibility of shutting down the government.

    >> excuse me it's not shutting down the government. it's cutting costs. the kind of money you're talking about is pea nuts. and i think the tea party has done an amazing service for this country. people, even very liberal democrats are starting to thing for the first time, well, maybe we can't keep giving everything away. i think they performed a great service.

    >> so if there were a partial shutdown of the government come friday, that would be okay with you.

    >> i hear democrats are going to be blamed, the republicans are going to be blamed. i actually think the president is going to be blamed. if there is a shutdown, but as you know --

    >> it's a partial shutdown.

    >> if there's a shutdown, i think it would leave a tremendous mark on the president of the united states . he's the one who has to get people together. i've made hundreds and hundreds of deals and tractionnsactions. how can you expect a man -- he never did a deal.

    >> how would you do it now? now, you're in the oval office now.

    >> i would get everybody together. i would have a budget.

    >> they've gotten together.

    >> 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.

    >> you've criticized obama quite a bit in this interview and in the past. what do you think he has done well?

    >> get elected. i think he did a great job when he ran for office.

    >> that's it?

    >> well, i think obama care is a total disaster. i think the thing that he did best, best 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, 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, huge unemployment, 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.

    >> he's certainly not a shrinking violet .

    >> how much tape did you have because there's more. but wait, there's more. and that's coming up later, right?

    >> there's a little bit more, yeah. he's -- you know, i think he is serious. now, he's got a couple of months to think about this, ponder this a little more, but i think he's taking it very seriously.

    >> and he's serious about having people down in hawaii right now.

    >> that's what he claims. he claims there are people there that are investigating it, and it will be interesting to see what they come up with. i used the word detective. he didn't discount the word so i would assume that's who they are. what we would love to see is donald come back and show the evidence.

    >> exactly right. i wonder if he's going to declare for president.

    >> he said he was going to do it on our broadcast. he told us yesterday.

TODAY contributor
updated 4/7/2011 8:41:47 AM ET 2011-04-07T12:41:47

Billionaire landlord, hotel magnate, television star and self-described Tea Partier Donald Trump is turning up the heat on President Barack Obama, insisting that after three weeks of probing the question, he is now more convinced than ever that the president has failed to prove he is a citizen of the United States.

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“Three weeks ago when I started, I thought he was probably born in this country,” Trump, who is very publicly mulling his own run for the Republican nomination for president in 2012, told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira. “Right now, I have some real doubts.”

In a wide-ranging interview that aired Thursday, Trump said he is not convinced that the birth certificate that Obama has produced, certified by the state of Hawaii where Obama was born and acknowledged as legitimate by most scholars, is enough proof. He says he has dispatched his own investigators to Hawaii. “I have people that actually have been studying it and they cannot believe what they’re finding,” he said.

“His grandmother in Kenya said he was born in Kenya, and she was there and witnessed the birth. He doesn’t have a birth certificate or he hasn’t shown it,” Trump told Vieira. “He has what’s called a certificate of live birth. That is something that’s easy to get. When you want a birth certificate, it’s hard to get.”

Each state is responsible for issuing its own birth certificates and the state of Hawaii, which issued Obama’s, stands behind it. In many states, this document is referred to as the certificate of live birth. Independent analysts have also confirmed the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate. Several leading Republicans, including Karl Rove, have dismissed the controversy. Glenn Beck, the conservative television and radio personality, last week accused Trump of taking the birth certificate issue too far. But the so-called “birther movement” has continued to raise questions about the president’s birth. And Trump has enthusiastically joined them.

While many political analysts contend that Trump’s interest in the president’s nativity is a calculated attempt to woo Republican primary voters, half of whom have questions about the president’s citizenship, there are indications that the strategy may be working. According to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll, Trump is running a close second to Mitt Romney among potential GOP candidates for the White House, with 17 percent of the vote. He is tied with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and is besting such party stalwarts as Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.

But the citizenship question is not the only issue on which Trump is taking aim at the Obama administration. In his interview with Vieira, he launched a blistering attack on the president’s handling of the uprising in Libya.

Video: Trump weighs in on ‘Apprentice,’ 2012

“Look at Libya. We go in. We don’t remove Gadhafi, but we’re going to go fight and we’re going to do this and that. Nobody knows what’s happening. It looks like Gadhafi is going to beat the United States,” Trump said, adding that Obama has no doctrine. If Trump were in the White House, he says, he would have handled things differently.

“I’m only interested in Libya if we keep the oil. If we don’t keep the oil, I’m not interested,” Trump said. “I don’t know who the rebels are. You know, they make the rebels like it’s some romantic, beautiful novel, ‘The Rebels.’ I hear the rebels are al-Qaida. I hear they’re Iran-backed and Iran-influenced. Where are they getting those weapons before we came along? From Iran.”

A Trump foreign policy, he said, would focus exclusively on America’s self-interest, and it would be the same philosophy he has used in his business career. “Foreign affairs [means] we take care of ourselves first, OK? We don’t build the 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,” he said. “In the meantime, we can’t build schools in Alabama, in New Orleans, in Texas, in New York ... We’re spending trillions and trillions of dollars. My thing and my doctrine would be build, build, build.”

But Libya is not the only issue for which Trump believes the current president should be fired. “It’s been a terrible presidency,” he said.

Story: Bill Cosby to Donald Trump: ‘Run or shut up’

“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,” he said. “What we’re doing is unbelievable. If you look at what’s going on, where our jobs are disappearing to foreign countries … you’re going to be paying $7 or $8 a gallon for your oil very soon,” Trump said, adding that he places the blame for that squarely on Obama.

He also took aim at the controversial health care overhaul passed last year by Congress, saying, “I think Obamacare’s a total disaster.”

The president, he said, is far better at campaigning than at governing.

“I think the thing that he did best of all is get elected. He ran an unbelievable campaign,” Trump said. “I want him to do well... I love this country. But this country is going to hell.”

Trump says he considers himself a “very proud” member of the Tea Party movement. “I’m very proud of some of the ideas they put forth,” he said. “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 ... ultimately, we’re going to destroy our own freedom,” Trump said.

And if that battle, now being fought out between the White House and Congress, does lead to a government shutdown this weekend, that too would be an indictment of the administration, Trump said.

“If there is a shutdown, I think it would be a tremendously negative mark on the president ...” he said. “He’s the one that has to get people together.”

Because of his business background, he said, he believes he could have averted the showdown altogether. “I’m a deal man. I make hundreds and hundreds of deals and transactions. [Obama] never did deals before,” Trump said. “How’s he gonna corral all these people? I would get everybody together, and we’d have a budget,” he said.

Trump raves about Rinna's lips — then fires her

So far, Trump says, he has not yet decided whether he will be a candidate. The fact that he’s the man behind NBC’s hit series “The Celebrity Apprentice” is one of the reasons that he’s not yet decided whether to toss his hat into the ring. “It sounds so trivial and I hate to even bring it up. But I’m not allowed to run during the show,” Trump told Vieira. “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.”

At least one person isn't buying that argument. Comedian Bill Cosby, who appeared on TODAY Thursday, told Meredith Vieira that Trump was "full of it" and that he should "run or shut up."

Story: Bill Cosby to Donald Trump: ‘Run or shut up’

But nothing has stopped the outspoken Trump from touting his own credentials for the job and dismissing critics who say that his background in finance and show business doesn’t prove that he has what it takes to be the president. “I know this. I will be better than anybody. If I decide to run, I will do the best job. I will be best for this country,” Trump said. “And, you may say, ‘Oh, gee, that doesn’t sound like George Washington.’ Well, guess what? Before George Washington ran, he didn’t sound like George Washington either. I will ... do a great job, if I run and if I win.”

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