2015: The Year of Donald Trump

ABC News' Jonathan Karl looks back at Donald Trump's big year in politics.
7:21 | 12/27/15

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Transcript for 2015: The Year of Donald Trump
If you weren't paying attention to presidential politics this holiday, we can't blame you. While most of the candidates have been quiet, Donald Trump used the holiday to go on a Twitter tirade against rivals on both sides, tweeting, "Remember when failed can't Jeb bush said that illegals came across the border as an act of love? He spent $59 million and is at 3%." And overnight, tweeting, "Hillary Clinton has announced that she's letting her husband out to campaign but he's demonstrated a penchant for sexism, so inappropriate!" I have been covering trump's presidential ambitions from the start, all of the way back to 2013, when no one thought he would actually run and this morning, a look at the year of trump. Our roundtable is standing by with their insights and we'll even ask a supreme court justice what he thinks of trump's proposals. But first, we went on the trail this week for an exclusive interview with the man who has transformed the race for the white house. We are going to make America great again! I love you. I love you. Thank you. Reporter: As a presidential candidate Donald Trump turned the republican primary into a blockbuster. I will be the greatest jobs president that god ever created, I tell you that. Reporter: We caught up with trump this week before a rally in Michigan to talk about the year that was. And when you first got in, you were kind of dismissed, you know, people said, maybe he'll be in a flash in the pan. Did you think you would dominate the field the way you have? Not to this extent and not this quickly. Really, it's very quick. We're doing so amazingly well. We have such a big lead, I want to keep the lead. You know, it's a very strong domination. And it's a very, very big lead. I didn't think we would have that. I expected to win. You thought you would win the nomination? I thought I would win. Reporter: In fact, we were there with trump for his first foray into Iowa more than two years ago when no one believed he would run. You have a long time to go. Could you be taken seriously as a presidential candidate? I built a tremendous company with a tremendous net worth. It's what the country should look like. It's a company like this country should look. Reporter: When we met with him a year later in Washington, a trump presidential run still seemed highly unlikely, you're not thinking about running for president, are you? I'm going to look at it. I'm going to give it serious consideration. We may surprise you. I would be shocked. Reporter: Fast forward to this summer, Ann announcement like a Hollywood premiere, including a dramatic entrance by escalator. All: We want trump! Well, you need somebody, because politicians are all talk, no action. Nothing's going to get done, they will not bring us, believe me, to the promised land. Reporter: Trump has cast himself as an action hero in an epic battle against career politicians and those deep-pocket donors who pay for access. Is that the appeal? Politics has gotten all corrupt. Politics is corrupt and I think people know that and I think that, if it's not corrupt as a definition of corrupt, it's influenced by bad forces. When you look at the deals we make with these countries and with companies and other places and other people, they're not that stupid. They give millions and millions of dollars to candidates. Jon, they're making it, because these candidates are controlled 100% by the people who give them the money. Reporter: He sometimes cast his own party as an enemy. Refusing for a while to rule out running as an independent before pledging allegiance to the gop. He hasn't held back since day one of his campaign. He launched a series of insults first at Mexican immigrants, then women, but it was a call for a temporary ban of all muslims that sparked the harshest condemnation. Leaders from both parties calling him racist, un-american. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for, and more importantly, it's not what this country stands for. Reporter: President Obama did an interview where he said you're exploiting those angers and fears of people who have been left behind by the economy. People are angry. They are angry. I'm not tapping into the anger and people have said I'm doing that, and certainly I'm not doing it intentionally. I know it can be turned around quickly. But if you have another four years, like a Hillary, that kind of mentality and thinking, we're not going to have a country left. Reporter: Trump ended the year as he started. Drawing fire for using a crude sexual term describing how Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama. She was going to beat Barack Obama and she got . She lost. Reporter: But with each controversy, trump ratings have only gone higher. Debate viewership shattering records. Rising poll Numbers. Magazine covers and hosting "Snl." I don't have to give specifics. With me, it just works. It's magic. Reporter: Campaign misstatements its lie of the year award. Saying they couldn't pick just one. But false claims, typically disqualify a nominee, saying thousands celebrated in new Jersey on 9/11 haven't made viewers tune out. I don't frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn't have time, either. Reporter: And though rivals wrote him just as a summer stunt, have been forced to take him on. Often at their own peril. This is a tough business. You're a tough guy, Jeb, I know. We need to have a leader. You're never going to be president of the united States by insulting your way to the presidency -- I'm at 42% and you're at 3%. Doesn't matter. Reporter: The democratic field is now aiming their fire at trump, as they did during last week's New Hampshire debate. Donald Trump. Donald Trump. Bringing Donald Trump back into it -- Reporter: Trump insists he'll do better against Hillary Clinton. I'm winning, I'm beating everybody. And in my opinion, beating Hillary is easier than beating these people. Reporter: He's maintained a double-digit lead over the gop field in every ABC news/"washington post" poll, more than five months on top. Now, senator Ted Cruz is polling neck and neck with trump in Iowa. Could the man who thrives being the winner handle a loss in the state that votes first? We asked him about Cruz before he headed into his jam-packed rally in Michigan. The guy that's giving you the toughest time now is Ted Cruz and you have given him a pass so far. He's not who givesing me a tough time. He's a very nice guy. He's backed me in every position. Hear those people. Reporter: Yeah. The biggest question now, can trump turn these supporters into votes in 2016? We'll all be tuning in.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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