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Video: Trump: I’d consider an independent run

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    >>> donald trump is our next guest and joins us exclusively. he's out with a new book called "time to get tough, making america number one again." donald, it's good to see you.

    >> good morning, matt. tell chuck todd it will only help.

    >> you said you were going to host this debate december 27th . you heard george say people should say away from this. ron paul says it's beneath the office of the presidency. he went on to say it contributes to a, quote, unwanted circus-like atmosphere and people surrounding jon huntsman called this the presidential apprentice debate with the donald. do you think other candidates will stay away ?

    >> no, i don't. i think most candidates will join and i think those two candidates have zero chance of being elected so it makes no difference. ron paul says iran should have nuclear weapons are can have nuclear weapons and doesn't even think in terms of israel. i think they are joke candidates and they are doing poorly. mr. huntsman is doing extremely poorly in the polls and gives more air time to those that have a chance of being elected.

    >> do you think the other candidates might agree you have them exactly where you want them? a lot of them stop by looking for your approval or support. that would be a wasted effort if they snub you or don't show up at your debate.

    >> a lot of top rips ask -- republicans asked me to do the debate. we're doing it with news max and i have millions of people that follow me because they're tired of seeing this country, our great country, the united states , getting ripped off by china, by opec, by almost every country, matt, that does business with us. i'm tired of it and a lot of other people are tired of it. i think the candidates know. i mean i left when i left because of the equal time provisions i'm not allowed t. eed to have a show and run. when i left i was leading in the polls.

    >> i've known you for a long time. let me tie this up by asking you this isn't going to be all about donald trump . you're not going to use this as a way to get on center stage and talk about what you believe, this will truly be about the candidates, right?

    >> i want a great candidate, a candidate that is going to beat president obama . it's very important. it's vital for this country. if we don't get that candidate, we are in big, big trouble because the country is in big, big trouble . it's being led down the drain.

    >> let's talk about newt gingrich surging to the top of the polls in iowa. you're going to meet with him a little later today . as i already mentioned, he's agreed to show up at your debate. he made some controversial comments lately about the poor and jobs. i'll play them for you and get your reaction.

    >> really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. so they literally have no habit of showing up on monday. they have no habit of staying all day. they have no habit of i do this and you give me cash unless it's illegal.

    >> maureen dowd in the "times" on sunday has he not heard of the working poor ? the problem isn't that these kids aren't working, it's that they don't have time with their parents who often toll day and night at more than one job and earn next to nothing. difficulties newt gingrich mischaracterize what's happening?

    >> no, it may not be politically correct but it's the truth. one of the reasons he's surging is because he says it like it is. i like maureen dowd very much but in terms of what newt said, that's the way it is. he's looking at the inner city where obama has done nothing, he has done nothing for the inner cities and he wants to do something to get them going.

    >> but the children in those inner city areas really have no role models who work?

    >> well, i think you have a role model in president obama . let obama be the role model.

    >> in their own families, though?

    >> it hasn't turned out to be much of a role model. no, they don't have in many cases role models , matt, it's very sad. they do not have role models . so i know it's not a popular statement, but it happens to be true.

    >> let's talk about mitt romney . obviously he's someone who has had a difficult time breaking through in the polls. he's going to be on the cover of "time" magazine this week and it says something to the effect of why don't people like me. what is it with mitt romney ? why has he had a difficult time either getting to or maintaining front runner status?

    >> well, i'm actually a little surprised. he's a very attractive guy. i've gotten to know him very well. he's been up to the office a number of times. he really is a very good, solid person. he doesn't get traction. i've actually spoken to him about it. i don't understand. he's not getting traction.

    >> does he have a problem with flip-flopping?

    >> well, i don't think so. look, everybody changes their mind. we have, you have, i know for a fact you have over the years. we all change our minds or things. i think people have done a good job in saying that, but for some reason he doesn't get the traction. when herman goes out and herman i got to know very well and he's a good guy but has suffered greatly over the last few weeks. when herman , now you take those votes and divvy them up, in theory he should get a lot of those votes but he just doesn't seem to get traction. i don't know what it is.

    >> you write over a lifetime i've seep many people who don't change and they always get left behind . smart people learn things and change their minds. only stupid people never change their minds. is it more important to you that you have a candidate that can beat barack obama or someone that sticks to conservative principles?

    >> well, i actually think it's going to be a combination of both. i think you're really going to have a combination of both. but you do have to -- you know the fighters, you learn a lot from boxing. they have an expression. you have to go with the punches. you sort of have to go with the punches. and it's true. life changes, the world changes, things and events change. sometimes you change your mind . if you don't change your mind , you're stuck.

    >> you are someone who's changed your mind as well and you're right, i have as well. have you completely ruled out a run for president even as a third party candidate?

    >> well, as you know, and again the equal time professions don't allow me to run until may, when i'm a free agent and you happen to like because i have a very successful show on your network. i hope that's the reason you like me. anyway, but the fact is if the wrong candidate is nominated to run, if i think it's a candidate th that's not going to win and not very good and that could happen, i'm seeing some very good people an talented people and if the economy continues to be bad and i think it will because i think we have incompetent leadership i would certainly think about running.

    >> you flirt wed this a lot in the past. i was in your office when you talked about it. but do people have a right to say at some point you talk the talk , roll up your sleeves and walk the walk?

    >> absolutely. but i never really looked at it seriously until this year. people thought that i looked at it years ago because people wanted me to do it, twice. i looked at it once for a period of one week. i love what i'm doing, i love the real estate. in fact in my book which comes out today, i actually disclose the financial disclosure. i give it, and it tells my network.

    >> how many billion dollars?

    >> $7 billion and almost $300 million in cash. nobody ever knew that before. i've never disclosed it before. frankly i did it because i'm very proud of what i've been able to build. i built a great company and i'm proud of it.

    >> donald trump , good to have you with us and thanks for your time this morning.

TODAY books
updated 12/5/2011 7:07:00 AM ET 2011-12-05T12:07:00

Internationally renowned businessman Donald J. Trump sounds the alarm in “Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again,” asserting that the nation's current economic situation can only be resolved by a decisive course of action. Here's an excerpt.


I’ve written this book because the country I love is a total economic disaster right now.

For starters, we are in debt $15 trillion and soaring. Let me help you wrap your mind around that number. If by some miracle the so-called leaders in Washington could find a way to save one billion dollars of your tax dollars every single day, it would still take thirty-eight years to pay off the debt. And that’s not even taking into account the interest.

We don’t have thirty-eight years to turn this thing around. The way I see it, we have four, maybe eight years tops.

Every day in business I see America getting ripped-off and abused. We have become a laughingstock, the world’s whipping boy, blamed for everything, credited for nothing, given no respect.

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To take one example, China is bilking us for hundreds of billions of dollars by manipulating and devaluing its currency. Despite all the happy talk in Washington, the Chinese leaders are not our friends. I’ve been criticized for calling them our enemy. But what else do you call the people who are destroying your children’s and grandchildren’s future? What name would you prefer me to use for the people who are hell bent on bankrupting our nation, stealing our jobs, who spy on us to steal our technology, who are undermining our currency, and who are ruining our way of life? To my mind, that’s an enemy. If we’re going to make America number one again, we’ve got to have a president who knows how to get tough with China.

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Then there’s the oil crisis. The idea of $85 a barrel for oil used to be unthinkable. Now OPEC yawns at that figure and jacks the price higher, laughing all the way to the bank. The result: you and your family are paying $3 a gallon, $4 a gallon, $5 a gallon, and soaring. Excuse me, but OPEC—these twelve guys sitting around a table—wouldn’t even be in existence if it weren’t for the United States saving and protecting those Middle Eastern countries! Where is our president in all this? Where’s the accountability? What is the point of executive leadership if our executive is weak and doesn’t lead? What excuse is there for a president whose answer to the oil crisis is not to get tough with OPEC, not to free our own domestic oil companies to do their job and drill, but to release our strategic reserve? That’s not leadership, that’s an abdication of leadership.

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If we keep on this path, if we reelect Barack Obama, the America we leave our kids and grandkids won’t look like the America we were blessed to grow up in. The American Dream will be in hock. The shining city on the hill will start to look like an inner-city wreck. It won’t be morning in America, as President Reagan put it. We’ll be mourning for America, an America that was lost on Obama’s watch. The dollar will fall as the world’s international currency. Our economy will collapse again (something I believe is a very real danger and risk: a double dip recession that could turn into a depression). And China will replace America as the world’s number one economic power.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. If we get tough and make the hard choices, we can make America a rich nation—and respected—once again. The right president can actually make America money by brokering big deals. We don’t always think of our presidents as jobs and business negotiators, but they are. Presidents are our dealmakers in chief. But the outcome of a deal is only as effective as the person brokering it. Constitutionally, a president is the commander in chief, appoints judges, and can veto or sign bills. What’s his job the rest of the time? Well, I can tell you one important job: he serves as America’s chief negotiator and dealmaker. He is supposed to broker deals that protect and benefit us with other nations. The president’s duty is to create an environment where free and fair markets can flourish, private sector jobs can be created, and our economy can boom. If they are strong negotiators and make the right deals, America wins. If they wimp out and make the wrong deals, you and your children pay the price.


I love America. And when you love something, you protect it passionately—fiercely, even. We are the greatest country the world has ever known. I make no apologies for this country, my pride in it, or my desire to see us become strong and rich again. After all, wealth funds our freedom. But for too long we’ve been pushed around, used by other countries, and ill-served by politicians in Washington who measure their success by how rapidly they can expand the federal debt, and your tax burden, with their favorite government programs. America can do better. I think we deserve the best. The decisions we face are too monumental, too consequential, to just let slide. I have answers for the problems that confront us. I know how to make America rich again. I’ve built businesses across the globe. I’ve dealt with foreign leaders. I’ve created tens of thousands of American jobs. My whole life has been about executing deals and making real money—massive money. That’s what I do for a living: make big things happen, and now I am worth more than $7 billion.

Restoring American wealth will require that we get tough. The next president must understand that America’s business is business. We need a president who knows how to get things done, who can keep America strong, safe, and free, and who can negotiate deals that benefit America, not the countries on the other side of the table. A president doesn’t “create” jobs, only businesses can do that. But he can help create an environment that allows the rest of us—entrepreneurs, small businessmen, big businessmen—to make America rich.

The damage that Democrats, weak Republicans, and this disaster of a president have inflicted on America has put us in a mess like we’ve never seen before in our lifetimes. To fix the problem we’ve got to be smart and get tough. There’s no time to waste.

Reprinted from "Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again" by Donald J. Trump © 2011 by Donald J. Trump. Used with permission of Regnery Publishing, Inc.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive


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