I sat down with real estate mogul Donald Trump yesterday. Here is the second and final part of the transcript of the interview:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about taxes. Warren Buffet made another splash with his op-ed in the New York Times saying it's just not right that he, a billionaire, pays 17 percent in taxes when his secretary and receptionist pay more. Isn't he right about that?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you something. I view it — there's many different views on that. And I can also tell you that a lot of people will go elsewhere to do business if you start taxing them. Many, many people, and I know people and I deal with —
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But 17 percent isn't much for a billionaire.
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I deal with Wall Street all the time. I know all of them. And you're going to have people– you're going to have a mass exodus. You already have an exodus out of this country. But you're going to have a mass exodus of business out of this country when you start taxing too high. Now, I will tell you —
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That didn't happen during the Clinton years. And the– if we just go back to that, those rates.
DONALD TRUMP: And times have also changed. But if you go back to certain companies, Exxon Mobil, the oil companies, for us to be subsidizing oil companies is absolutely insane. And frankly, the oil companies really facilitate OPEC. The worst abuser we have is OPEC. And the biggest problem this country has, China's a big problem, but OPEC's even worse.
Because every time the country starts to gain steam, the oil goes up. And they raise it. They sit around a nice round table, beautiful table, the best you can get, right? They sit around the table, 11 guys raise the price of oil. So when the economy gets good, they raise the price of oil and they destroy the economy—
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But it sounds like–
DONALD TRUMP: And I'll tell you. The biggest problem we have, no matter– and it’s always going to be– every time I watch in the morning the various shows, right, the business shows. Every time the economy gets good, oil goes up. Gets good, again. Gets good, again. So what they do is they systematically destroy any momentum you get. Because oil should be selling at $25 to $30 a barrel right now. The economy stinks throughout the world, other than for China and for certain OPEC nations where they're making a bundle.
I mean, they're making more money than anybody's ever made. You go to their airports, you go to their road systems, you go to their bridges. George, the problem– the biggest problem we have, every time this economy gets a little bit of a head of steam, they raise the oil prices.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well it sounds like this is where you part company with the Tea Party and- and many in the House. You would be willing to close those loopholes on the oil company as part of a deficit—
DONALD TRUMP: Oh, absolutely. I think the oil companies — and I'm a big Tea Party fan, and the Tea Party loves me and I get great polls in the Tea Party. They– I'd make speeches and more people show up to my speeches at a Tea Party than anybody else by far. But I'll tell you something. I think when explained to the Tea Party, I can't imagine anybody's going to stick up for Exxon Mobil or some of these big oil companies that are making a fortune and paying relatively little in tax. And I think we should be taxing. Number one, they are the weapon and they use OPEC and OPEC uses them. They're in cahoots with OPEC. OPEC is our single worst abuser. China is our second worst abuser.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So it sounds like also that it was a pretty startling moment, the Republican debate last week where every single one of them said they would reject the deficit reduction plan if it was ten part spending cut to one part tax increase. Would you join them? Was that a plan you could sign onto?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, what I do is I would hold out as long as possible with taxes. We have a very weak economy. We have a very fragile economy. And taxes are a bad thing, raising taxes are a bad thing. What I would certainly do is cut the hell out of expenses. And you can do it. The money that's being wasted– I'll give you an example.
In Palm Beach, I'm in Palm Beach, Florida. They have an international airport, Palm Beach International Airport. They want to build a $1 billion runway that's totally unnecessary and they want to rip down brand-new buildings all the way along because the runway sits on top of where these buildings are. They were just built. They're brand new, in many cases.
They're going to spend over $1 billion on building a runway and here's the bad news. It's totally unnecessary. And they already have a second runway that if they really wanted it, you don't need it, all they have to do is expand the second runway, just extend it a little bit, and they've got their second runway. But they don't want to do that. Instead, they want to rip down all of these buildings along Southern Boulevard, all of them, brand new gorgeous, expensive buildings, and they want to build another—
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But on taxes, let's assume for a second—
DONALD TRUMP: This is over $1 billion. This is one little thing. The whole country's run like that.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: As part of a deficit reduction package, would you be willing the pay, assume for a second you pay Warren Buffet's rate, 17 percent. Would you be willing to pay 25 percent instead of 17 percent—
DONALD TRUMP: See, I would be willing to George, but a lot of people wouldn't be. A lot of people would leave the country. I'm talking about big people, job-producing people. Would I be willing? Yeah, I'd be willing. I’d put country first. Lot of people don't necessarily put country first. You know I'm a very proud citizen of this country. I love this country.
Would I be willing? I would be willing. A lot of people will say, "No thank you, I'm going to Switzerland. I'm going to Germany. I'm going to here, I'm going to there." There are a lot of places you can go to. And these are business machines. I know them. They went to Harvard. They went to Wharton. They went to the great schools. They're total business machines. You know what they're going to do? They're going to say—
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But that's not patriotic, isn't it?
DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That's unpatriotic, isn't it?
DONALD TRUMP: It's very unpatriotic. They're not patriotic. In many cases, they're not patriotic. They're business machines. And they're going to say, "Thank you very much, George. I appreciate you letting us know, we're moving to Switzerland."
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: More than—
DONALD TRUMP: And then you know how much you get? Nothing.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: More than half of the country today says they're willing to consider a third-party candidate for president. I was talking to Mayor Bloomberg last week. He says it doesn't matter. The system is rigged. An Independent cannot win. Do you agree?
DONALD TRUMP: Well first of all, he's a friend of mine and he's a great mayor and he's done a great job. I think it would be difficult to win. But the way the system is right now with the Republicans, everybody hates them, with the Democrats, everybody hates them, with a president who's doing a horrible job and his ratings are very low, I feel that an Independent candidate could actually win.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Hard to win in the electoral college.
DONALD TRUMP: If the right person ran, like Trump, if the right person ran, I believe that candidate could win.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You know we’ve been around this– we've been around this so many times. And I know that every time that I express skepticism at your serious — seriousness about running, I get a phone call from you saying, "You're wrong. I'm going to prove you're wrong."
DONALD TRUMP: Well, it's been– I've been treated unfairly in that regard. I thought about it years ago one time, not two times, one time, very briefly, like for a few days, got a little publicity, and I decided I wasn't going to do it. Then recently I seriously, very seriously thought about it for a period of three months. And I said I'll make a decision prior to June. And ultimately with NBC and everybody coming at me, "Please sign, please sign, please–"
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But they'll do that again, won't they?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you one of the reasons I didn't. I'll tell you. And you know how well the show does with "Celebrity Apprentice" and "The Apprentice." I mean, it's been a very good thing and it's hard to sort of say. Hey look, I have a major show." Forget about the money. I have a major show on television.
Because of the laws, you're not allowed to have the show and this. But I'll tell you what really happened that was very discouraging to me. When the Republicans brought Obama back, when they brought him back in a lame duck session, I was so disappointed in them. And when Paul Ryan came out with this ridiculous plan, and I'm not even going to knock the plan, but the timing of the plan, his seat, his new seat of power wasn't even warm. And he comes out with a plan. And they can address it any way they want. But he's attacking Medicare, Medicaid and essentially social security. What the hell did he do that for? How stupid. He's not a chess player.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: He says it's the only way to reduce the deficit.
DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me. Let the president come out with a plan. Why would he come out– in the meantime in Buffalo, a Republican district that hasn't lost in 50 years, a popular Republican running, automatic win, loses by a lot to a person that nobody ever heard of before. The Republicans are going to have a huge problem even holding the House.
The happiest person, when she saw because she happens to be very smart, when she saw this plan of Paul Ryan, the happiest person in the whole country was Nancy Pelosi. Because they're going to run on his plan. And the Republicans have a problem. But not only did he come out with a plan. He made his friends in the House vote for this plan, which, and he can guise it any way he wants, knocks the hell out of Medicare and Medicaid, okay. Now when the Republicans did that, and I'm not saying lots of things don't have to happen in the country, but he should have let the president do it. The happiest guy in the world was the president when he came out with—
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Some people think he may run for president. Other people are looking at Chris Christie.
DONALD TRUMP: I don't believe Paul Ryan would have a chance running for president because of what he did with his plan. And then to have his friends vote for it, and these people go back and they're popular in their district. They go back and they have lynch mobs in their district. People that love them aren't going to vote for them. You're going to have a lot of Republicans losing in the House. You watch what happens.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Is the Republican field set?
DONALD TRUMP: I think it's set. I mean, I got to know Sarah Palin very well. I like her a lot. I respect her a lot. I don't think she's running. I'm not sure. I'm not sure that she really knows herself, yet. And it's getting late. I think it's pretty well set. I know Chri—
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Not Christie?
DONALD TRUMP: –Christie– Chris Christie's a very good friend of mine, he's a great guy. I don't think he's running at all. I don't think Paul Ryan can run after what he did with the stupidity of his plan. And again, not so much the plan, but he shouldn't have done it.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So what role do you play in this race?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, the role I play is that everybody calls me including you, "Let's do an interview. Can I do an interview?" So I do interviews. And the reason I do interviews is because I love the country. And I have a lot to say. As an example, when China stole our technology, nobody said this.
I say things because I'm a natural businessman. I'm a natural businessman. I made a lot of money. I make a lot of money. I do it very naturally. I don't work hard at it. I mean, other things are harder for me than business. Business is sort of natural, okay. So I hear about the stealth technology that we spend billions and billions and billions of dollars, and they go to Pakistan, they take our helicopter, they study it, they now have our technology. Right?
We should charge them for it. We should send them a bill for billions of dollars. They stole our technology. If you're running a company and you steal my technology in another company, I'm going to sue you and I'm going to get that money back. So China comes in and Pakistan, our great friends who we give billions of dollars to, and then they give them the helicopter, "Sure, take a look at it, whatever you want, I mean, you're our friends," the fact is, I don't know what China's doing. But China is stronger with Pakistan than us. And I guarantee you, they give Pakistan nothing.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't want to spend a lot of time on this—
DONALD TRUMP: No, but think of it. They steal our technology. They steal our technology. And what do we do? We let them get away with it. They're taking the shirt off President Obama's back.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We had a big go-round about President Obama's birth certificate. Don't have to revisit that ground except to close one—
DONALD TRUMP: I'm very proud of it. And by the way, I am very proud of it. I made him do something that nobody else was—
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You believe that?
DONALD TRUMP: –able to make him do, 100 percent. Excuse me. John McCain couldn't get it. Hillary Clinton couldn't get it. I made him produce a birth certificate. I don't know where he got it. But I made him—
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: What does that mean? (LAUGH)
DONALD TRUMP: –produce a birth certificate. And I'm very proud of it. And I'll tell you what. You go out in the real world, George, people give me a lot of credit for having whatever it took to get him to—
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But those investigators never found anything.
DONALD TRUMP: Let me just tell you. He produced a birth certificate. There's a lot of skepticism about that birth certificate. I'm off the subject. But there's a lot of skepticism about the—
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Of the one he produced?
DONALD TRUMP: You just go on the Internet and you take a look. Yeah, in my opinion. A lot of skepticism about the—
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you have that skepticism?
DONALD TRUMP: No, I'm onto other things like jobs, like China ripping us off, like OPEC. But it was sort of strange that all of a sudden, at — for years and years he wouldn't produce it. Then all of a sudden when I put all that heat on him, he finally, begrudgingly—
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But he did produce it.
DONALD TRUMP: He produced something. He produced something. I don't know what he produced. But he produced something.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I can't believe you're raising a question about this.
DONALD TRUMP: No, George. You're trying to do a little number and I think that's fine. But I will tell you two things. Number one, I'm very proud of the job I did and I've gotten a lot of credit. Not from you, but from others. And as far as what he produced, that's for others to determine. But they should look into it.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Something else big has happened in your life since we last sat down. You're a grandfather again.
DONALD TRUMP: That's right.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And?
DONALD TRUMP: Very good.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: How's it going?
DONALD TRUMP: Ivanka had a beautiful baby and it's great. I mean, the baby is absolutely beautiful and Ivanka's doing well.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And the next time we sit down, will you be a candidate?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I'm going to see. Again, if the economy continues to be bad, which I think it will because we have incompetent leadership, and if the Republicans pick the wrong candidate, which they may, I won't know that for a little while, I will absolutely consider being a candidate.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Trump, thanks for your time.
DONALD TRUMP: Thank you very much.
Portions of this transcript have been edited for clarity.