TODAY   |  March 02, 2011

Trump weighs in on ‘Apprentice,’ 2012

Donald Trump, host of “Celebrity Apprentice,” tells TODAY’s Matt Lauer that he is “really” interested in running for president in 2012, saying that our country has become a “laughingstock” “in debt up to our knees.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back now at 8:19 with donald trump . he's back with a new season of "the celebrity apprentice " and has some familiar faces.

>> latoya what's your name?

>> asap.

>> is that as soon as possible?

>> no, no. it means actors, singers, authors and performers with a purpose.

>> say it one more time?

>> artists.

>> so one more --

>> artists --

>> professionals --

>> singers --

>> actors.

>> what do you think of the name?

>> i think they are already confused and it shows. fame over. we've won.

>> donald, good morning. nice to see you. i like the cast. you have dionne warwick , star jones , meatloaf, richard hatch , latoya jackson .

>> gary busey , this brilliant guy who's nuts but wonderful. we have wonderful people, jose canseco . meatloaf turns out really to be a star. he's a wildman.

>> he cries a lot.

>> he's a 260-pound guy crying and crying. but he's got emotion.

>> in the end there is a lot of fighting. you were quoted saying they make amaroso look like milquetoast.

>> a sweet, mild-mannered woman. i have never seen anything like this on reality television .

>> these guys have had a lot of opportunities to see how it works. they have watched groups before them. are you finding the contestants are tougher and get the game more?

>> they are tougher, smarter and well prepared. they are so well prepared it's unbelievable. they have read every book i have written, watched every show. it's tough. the hardest thing for me to do, they are so well prepared and good, in the first session, firing somebody. nobody wants to be the first off. it's a very hard thing to do. probably the saddest thing i have done in terms of reality television . the first firing this time is really sad.

>> all right, man. you can milk it.

>> exactly.

>> can i switch gears for a second?

>> yes. friday i interviewed blair griffith who won miss colorado usa and a few weeks later she and her mom were evicted from their home because mom is ill and they lost health insurance . blair is going to compete in june in miss usa in las vegas . that is your contest. you own it along with nbc.

>> yes.

>> what's your feeling?

>> i hear she's lovely. everybody tells me what a nice person, everything else. i think we are going to try to do something about it. i heard about it yesterday though it's been out there for a while. i told my people, really look at it strongly, see if we can help out.

>> that's great.

>> i want to switch gears again. there are rumblings out there -- and you're making them -- about running for president again. i remember sitting down in your office several years ago when you were going through this the last time. you were talking about running for president. there are some who said, you know what you are doing? you're tweaking people because with the speculation you're promoting what you promote best which is donald trump .

>> last time i had no interest. a lot of people wanted me to do it. this time i have an interest. i see the country. we are a laughingstock, not a respected country. we are in debt up to our knees. i want to use a different word. we are in trouble. china is taking advantage of us like crazy. they're taking our jobs, making our products. you look at other places. look at opec with the oil. you will be paying $5 or $6 a gallon for gas soon and we have nobody to call up and say, listen, fellows, the oil price is going down to $40. they wouldn't be there accept f -- except for us.

>> you're a good businessman. what about wisconsin with state employees' bargaining rights. are you for that?

>> each state is different. he's a tough guy. he wants a balanced budget and wants it quickly. i understand what he's doing. new york would be a different situation which is heavily unionized. what he's doing is right for his state.

>> how would you handle the situation in libya? you're a good businessman, but i'm not clear.

>> it's the weakness of the country. we have soldiers and ships there and you have a madman shooting people down in the streets. they are protesting rather violently, but he has f-18s shooting bullets into the crowds and killing, i think probably tens of thousands of people. they say 2,000, 3,000. i think it has to be more.

>> would you support a no-fly zone?

>> i certainly would, at a minimum.

>> even at a risk of committing our military forces on the air or on the ground?

>> you can't allow something like this to happen. it's like a holocaust.

>> you don't have a long time.

>> it should have been done already. he could have saved a lot of lives if this were done. he could have been surgically taken out. he knocked out the pan-am plane. this is not a good, sane man. something should have happened.

>> when will you decide if you will run for president?

>> right after " celebrity apprentice ".

>> you will announce it on our air?

>> i may do that.

>> make a commitment.

>> sometime prior to air.

>> on our air. you heard it here.

>> sunday night, 9:00/8:00 central time . we'll be right back after your local news.