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Video: Trump: ‘The world is destroying our country’

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    >> in early polls and says he's seriously considering running. he told us he doesn't agree with the plan republicans passed last week to cut the deficit. despite fact checks demonstrating there is no merit to it, he's sticking to his claim that president obama may not have been born in this country, even as prominent conservatives tell him to drop the issue.

    >> what i am saying is there is a question. there is a bigger question now than two months ago when i first started. he doesn't have -- he might have it -- and i hope he has it.

    >> how are you out on an island on this issue. eric cantor said i don't think he's serious when we see a campaign launch on the birther issue. karl rove said your full embrace of the birther issue means he's in the nutty right and is now an inconsequential candidate.

    >> oh, really? i'm leading in every poll.

    >> are you willing to lose over this issue?

    >> no. i tell you what. i hope he does. i would love him to come out with a proper birth certificate.

    >> you have talked about how successful you have been and when you disclose your finances we'll be amazed.

    >> i think you will be very surprised at forbes says $2.7 billion. it's much higher.

    >> why don't you release them now?

    >> it said first you announce and within 30 days --

    >> voluntarily you could do it.

    >> well, i'm going to announce first. they give you a 60-day extension. i don't need the extension. i have built a fantastic company with a fantastic worth. this country needs somebody that can do a great job. when you see what china is doing to us, we'll lose $300 billion to china this year and they are taking our jobs. they are doing it through manipulation of the currency.

    >> it is a sovereign nation . you can't tell china not to.

    >> if you have the right messenger they won't do it for long.

    >> you think you can tell them.

    >> we have the cards. they don't. they have some of our debt. big deal . it's a small number relative to the world. okay? my policy is simple. i would tell china very nicely, fellows, you're my friend, i like you very much -- and i have made a lot of money with china. i would say we are going to put a 25% tax on all your products coming in and that's going to do a number of things. number one, as soon as they believe it will happen they will behave so nicely because it would destroy their economy.

    >> how much of your money would you put into the campaign?

    >> a lot. i have a lot of cash. i can do it. i know a lot of people at the white house and one in particular and the last person he wants to run against is donald trump .

    >> do you support the ryan plan to bring the deficit down by $4 trillion?

    >> i'm concerned about doing anything that's going to tinker too much with medicare. i protect the senior citizens . senior citizens are protected. they are lifeblood, as far as i'm concerned. i think paul ryan is too far out front with the issue. he ought to sit back and relax.

    >> how do you not touch entitlements like medicare, medicaid, social security . that's where the debt problem is. how do you touch the debt problem without that?

    >> by stopping what's going on in the world. the world is destroying our country. these other countries are sapping our strength. opec is sapping our strength. we can't pay $108 a barrel oil. it's sapping our country. by the way, they are going to raise it higher because saudi arabia said, there is plenty of oil.

    >> how does that go to the debt cris crisis?

    >> we want to create a strong country again and you can solve the deficit problem the easiest way.

    >> would you raise taxes to attack the deficit?

    >> i don't think you have to. if we get this economy going again and we can do it by getting jobs, bringing jobs back, bringing them back. let the other countries worry about themselves.

    >> should the u.s. cut defense spending to attack the deficit?

    >> no. not in my opinion. we need great defense. i guarantee you of all the republicans i'm the strongest on defense.

    >> the debt ceiling vote. republicans are saying they don't think it should be raised. businesseses have warned there could be dire consequences.

    >> i don't care. i wouldn't raise it.

    >> and that could send the own tri back into recession?

    >> most economists aren't that smart and most are wrong most of the time. i would not raise the debt ceiling.

    >> you don't think the u.s. defaulting would be grey fgrave for the economy?

    >> i'd stop raising the debt ceiling now. go out, negotiate, make deals.

    >> who is the deal to be made with?

    >> the president should be leading the deal, but i don't think he's capable enough to lead the deal. you have the republican here --

    >> are you talking about a political deal?

    >> ultimately it's all political when you get down to it, isn't it?

    >> let's grade the competition. you had statementses about mitt romney basically that amounted to your net worth is higher than his.

    >> i will say this. i like mitt romney . i don't know him, but i sort of like him. he has not resonated.

    >> you were saying you think you are a superior candidate based on the fact that you are richerer than he is.

    >> the question was how do you compare. i'm much richer. that doesn't make me better at all.

    >> what about tim pawlenty .

    >> i don't know him at all. hard to speak badly about people who say nice things about me.

    >> sarah palin ?

    >> i respect her a lot. she's got a tremendous energy and a tremendous following. i think she's been very unfairly treated.

    >> michelle bachman .

    >> i spoke to her once. she's got tremendous energy, tremendous drive. i think she's going to run and she's got a lot to say.

    >> does your family want you to run? are they encouraging you to run? are they saying don't run?

    >> with my family whether it's don, ivanka, malania, they want the country to be great again. i think they are putting the country first.

    >> what do you think you can do to really prove to people that you are serious, that you are a contender and that you are presidential?

    >> i think i'm presidential. i think i have a very high aptitude and i think i was at the best schools and always did good. i was a good student. there is only one thing i can do. sometime prior to june i can announce i will run.

    >> trump had new allegations against president obama claiming he didn't actually write his first book "dreams of my father." trump believe it is constitution has a right to privacy which may be controversial among social conservatives . the right to privacy is the legal underpinning of the roe versus wade and trump sayses he is anti-abortion.

    >> we know the obamas were worth last year $1.7 million in joint income. where does the money come from?

    >> he gets a $400,000 presidential salary, but mostly his book income.

    >> he made a lot less last year than the year before.

    >> right. $5.5 million last year from the book income.

    >> he paid more than $450,000 in taxes. he's pushing to raise taxeses on the wealthy. will this help with voters, the fact that he's in the bunch that will have taxes raised?

    >> it's a favorite talking point. he says i don't need a tax cut . warren buffett doesn't need a tax cut .

TODAY contributor
updated 4/19/2011 8:14:22 AM ET 2011-04-19T12:14:22

Donald Trump’s continued insistence that President Obama produce a U.S. birth certificate to prove his presidency constitutionally legitimate may be merely an annoyance to Obama — but that’s not why the White House is watching the real estate tycoon’s latest flirtation with a 2012 run of his own, Trump said Tuesday.

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“I know many people at the White House and one in particular,” Trump told Savannah Guthrie of NBC News in a taped interview broadcast on TODAY. “The last person he wants to run against is Donald Trump. That I can tell you.”

Story: Trump: I have ‘real doubts’ Obama was born in U.S.

Sounding increasingly like he might seriously seek the Republican nomination, Trump pointed to his vast (though sometimes disputed) personal wealth, his standing in the polls, and his willingness to take on China on trade and OPEC on oil prices as reasons Obama might prefer to face one of a handful of former and current governors considered the GOP’s most likely candidates at this point.

But before he can ask the Republican party for the right to represent it in 2012, the 64-year-old host and executive producer of NBC’s “The Apprentice” must first convince a large number of skeptics that he really intends to run, and consequently open his vast real estate, gaming and media interests to close scrutiny.

Video: Trump ups ante in feud with Cosby (on this page)

“What do you think you can do to really prove to people that you are serious, that you are a contender, and that you are presidential?” Guthrie asked Trump.

“I think I am presidential. I think I have a very high aptitude and I think I was at the best schools and always did good. I was a good student,” said Trump. “But there’s only one thing I can do, and that’s sometime prior to June, I can announce that I’m going to run.”

When Guthrie said that many observers continue to call his potential candidacy “inconsequential,” Trump retorted: “So inconsequential that I’m leading in every poll.”

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

Trump said he is already working on a financial disclosure statement that would be released within 30 days of announcement of his intention to seek the nomination.

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“I’ve built a fantastic company with a fantastic worth,” Trump said.

Although he sidestepped Guthrie’s attempt to get him to put a number on his net worth, Trump mentioned a 2007 Forbes estimate of $2.7 billion, but added that “it’s much higher than that.” Whatever the number turns out to be, he insists he has more personal cash to spend on a campaign than former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

First Read: Trump on top in new survey, but will poll leaders run?

“It’ll be a very big number. I have a lot of cash, so I can do it,” Trump said.

Referring to other media interviews about his wealth compared to Romney’s, Trump said, “The question was, how do you compare? I’m much richer than he is, OK? That doesn’t make me better necessarily at all.”

The plainspoken Trump had more to say about Romney, other GOP possible contenders, and a wide range of subjects during the interview:

  • On Romney: “I don’t really know him. But I like him. I sort of like him.”
  • On former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty: “Very hard for me to speak badly about people [who] go around saying such nice things about me.”
  • On Sarah Palin: “I really respect her … I think she’s been very unfairly treated.”
  • On Rep. Michele Bachmann: “Tremendous energy, tremendous drive … I think she’s got a great voice.”
  • On Obama’s birth certificate: “I hope he has it.”
  • On the trade imbalance with China: “They don’t have the cards. We have the cards.”
  • On the price of gasoline: “We can’t pay $108 a barrel [for] oil. It’s sapping our country.”
  • On economists: “What do they know, the economists? Most of them are not very smart.”

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