Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stumbled during questions about foreign policy and he says the interviewer is to blame. CNN’s Dana Bash reports.
Hugh Hewitt interview with Donald Trump.
HEWITT-TRUMP interview …
HUGH HEWITT, HOST: Are you familiar with General Soleimani?
DONALD TRUMP: Yes, but go ahead, give me a little, go ahead, tell me.
HH: He runs the Quds Forces.
DT: Yes, okay, right.
HH: Do you expect his behavior…
DT: The Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated by …
HH: No, not the Kurds, the Quds Forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Forces.
DT: Yes, yes.
HH: …is the bad guys.
HH: Do you expect his behavior to change as a result…
DT: Oh, I thought you said Kurds, Kurds.
HH: No, Quds.
DT: Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you said Kurds, because I think the Kurds have been poorly treated by us, Hugh. Go ahead.
HH: Agreed. So Soleimani runs the Quds Forces. Do you expect his behavior is going to change as a result of this deal with Iran?
DT: I think that Iran right now is in the driver’s seat to do whatever they want to do. I think what’s happening with Iran is, I think it’s one of the, and I covered it very well. I assume you saw the news conference. I think Iran is, it’s one of the great deals ever made for them. I think it’s one of the most incompetent contracts I’ve even seen. I’m not just talking about defense. I’m not talking about a contract with another country. I’ve never seen more of a one-sided deal, I think, in my life, absolutely.
HH: Well, Soleimani is to terrorism sort of what Trump is to real estate.
HH: Many people would say he’s the most dangerous man in the world, and he runs the Quds Forces, which is their Navy SEALs.
DT: Is he the gentleman that was going back and forth with Russia and meeting with Putin? I read something, and that seems to be also where he’s at.
HH: That’s the guy.
DT: He’s going back and forth meeting with other countries, etc., etc.
HH: That’s the guy.
DT: Not good.
HH: And so do you think…
DT: Not good for us. And what it shows is a total lack of respect, I mean, that the other countries would even be entertaining him, and they’re entertaining him big league, big league.
HH: So when you went before the Senate, and I always tell people my favorite testimony of all time is when Donald Trump just schooled the Senate on the construction of the U.N. remodel.
HH: You know that stuff. You know every developer in Manhattan. You know everything about building buildings. You could build the wall. I have no doubt about that.
DT: Right. By the way, and nobody knows how easy that would be. And I mean, it would be, it would be tall, it would be powerful, we would make it very good looking. It would be as good as a wall’s got to be, and people will not be climbing over that wall, believe me. Go ahead.
HH: You know, I’d buy that, because you’re a builder. But on the front of Islamist terrorism, I’m looking for the next commander-in-chief, to know who Hassan Nasrallah is, and Zawahiri, and al-Julani, and al-Baghdadi. Do you know the players without a scorecard, yet, Donald Trump?
DT: No, you know, I’ll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they’ll all be changed. They’ll be all gone. I knew you were going to ask me things like this, and there’s no reason, because number one, I’ll find, I will hopefully find General Douglas MacArthur in the pack. I will find whoever it is that I’ll find, and we’ll, but they’re all changing, Hugh. You know, those are like history questions. Do you know this one, do you know that one. I will tell you, I thought you used the word Kurd before. I will tell you that I think the Kurds are the most under-utilized and are being totally mistreated by us. And nobody understands why. But as far as the individual players, of course I don’t know them. I’ve never met them. I haven’t been, you know, in a position to meet them. If, if they’re still there, which is unlikely in many cases, but if they’re still there, I will know them better than I know you.
HH: That’s what I’m getting at, because the Islamist extremism is metastasizing. Nasrallah’s been there a long time, and al-Baghdadi’s running ISIS. And so I wonder if you’re going to throw yourself into the details of this during the campaign the way you did into the U.N. deal, because you knew that stuff cold.
DT: Well, you know, and unfortunately, I said I’d build it for $500 million. They were at $3 billion. And it ended up costing $6 billion, and I told them that would happen. And it was a disgrace. Frankly, that whole U.N. situation was a disgrace. They ended up spending $5-6 billion dollars to renovate a building that I would have done for $500 million, and I told them I would have done it, and it would have been better. Now as far as what you’re talking about now, I will know every detail, and I will have the right plan, not a plan like this where we’re probably going backwards based on everything that I’m hearing, but we’re probably going backwards, zero respect. We have, we are not a respected country, and certainly as it relates to ISIS and what’s going on, and Iran.
HH: Now I don’t believe in gotcha questions. And I’m not trying to quiz you on who the worst guy in the world is.
DT: Well, that is a gotcha question, though. I mean, you know, when you’re asking me about who’s running this, this this, that’s not, that is not, I will be so good at the military, your head will spin. But obviously, I’m not meeting these people. I’m not seeing these people. Now it probably will be a lot of changes, Hugh, as you go along. They’ll be, by the time we get there, which is still a pretty long period of time, you know, you start, let’s say you figure out nominations, and who is going to represent the Republicans in, let’s say, February, March, April, you’ll start to get pretty good ideas, maybe sooner than that, actually. But that will be a whole new group of people. I think what is really important is to pick out, and this is something I’m so good at, to pick out who is going to be the best person to represent us militarily, because we have some great people, militarily. I don’t know that we’re using them.
HH: All right, well, let me expand it, because you know, it’s not gotcha. I’m trying not to do that. But I wanted to see if you…
DT: Well, it sounded like gotcha. You’re asking me names that, I think it’s somewhat ridiculous, but that’s okay. Go ahead, let’s go.
HH: All right, good. Now have you ever been to Israel? And how often?
DT: Yes, I’ve been to Israel once.
HH: And if Israel acts unilaterally against Iran because they view this deal as so bad, will you unequivocally stand by the action of the Netanyahu government?
DT: Of course, I will. In fact, he’s a friend of mine. I did commercials for his reelection. And according to what he said, I’m the only celebrity, he’s used the word celebrity, this was a while ago, that did commercials, that he asked to do commercials. But he’s a good man, and I would absolutely stand with him. But you know, we have a problem, because according to the deal, and this is hard to believe, but we’re supposed to be protecting Iran against any invader. And if Israel invades, nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen, because if Israel invades Iran, I don’t know if you know, but we have a clause in that agreement that the way I read it, it’s almost like we have to go, and by the way, I can guarantee you that clause, first of all, should have never been there, maybe they had it taken out, but we didn’t win anything. But do you know there’s a clause in there that in theory, we’re supposed to help them fight Israel?
HH: Yup. Yeah, it’s in Annex Three. We agree to cooperate in the security of their nuclear installations. It’s remarkable, and I’m glad you know about it. And I’m glad you’ll stand with Israel. Let me ask you about Saudi Arabia and Egypt. I don’t know if you’ve been able to get to those countries, yet, have you?
DT: I have, yes.
HH: And so do you…
DT: Well, I think the biggest, you know, I think it’s terrible, first of all, with Egypt, and with Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia in particular, was making a billion dollars a day, one billion dollars a day. Now let’s say they make half of that number because oil prices have been so depressed. But Saudi Arabia was making a half a billion dollars. It was a billion dollars a day. Why aren’t they helping us out? When they asked, and you may not like this, but I like it, because when we owe now $19, we’re up to $19 trillion dollars, I certainly like it, and I like protecting…why aren’t they helping us with the costs? We get virtually nothing from Saudi Arabia. Every time somebody raises a rifle in the air and points it in the direction of Saudi Arabia, or, by the way, South Korea and other places, every single time that happens, and I mean without exception, we start loading up and getting ready and sending ships and sending all sorts of things. We get nothing. And you know, maybe you’ll explain why, but we get nothing. And I don’t like that.
HH: I’m curious, though, if we need them, in your opinion, as strategic allies – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan. Do we need them even if they’re not paying us money for their defense?
DT: Well, you need, I think Egypt and Israel get along, and they’re starting to get along pretty well. Mubarak should have been frankly, probably, taken care of better than he was. That sent a bad signal around. But I think in terms of Israel, Egypt starts getting very important. Maybe we don’t need the oil to the same extent as we did, and pretty soon, if we allowed, if we allowed what we have, technologically, to go forward, we wouldn’t need them at all. You know, we have potentially the greatest oil reserves in the world right here, and we wouldn’t need them at all. You know, we used to need Saudi Arabia for oil, and that part of the world. It all started with the oil, and it sort of ends with the oil. But now, we’re at a point where we’re going to be doing ten million barrels. It’s very interesting. We’re probably, very soon, if we allow our people to get going, we’re probably not going to need them for the oil. So we don’t need Saudi Arabia nearly to the extent that we needed them in the past.
HH: Okay, looking to Asia, if China were to either accidentally or intentionally sink a Filipino or Japanese ship, what would Commander-In-Chief Donald Trump do in response?
DT: I wouldn’t want to tell you, because frankly, they have to, you know, somebody wrote a very good story about me recently, and they said there’s a certain unpredictable, and it was actually another businessman, said there’s a certain unpredictability about Trump that’s great, and it’s what made him a lot of money and a lot of success. You don’t want to put, and you don’t want to let people know what you’re going to do with respect to certain things that happen. You don’t want the other side to know. I don’t want to give you an answer to that. If I win, and I’m leading in every single poll, if I win, I don’t want people to know exactly what I’m going to be doing.
HH: Fair response. Good response.
DT: Part of the problem with Obama, he says we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that, we’re going to attack here, we’re going to do this. Every time they capture somebody, they make a big deal out of it, and all of the other people, like for instance, they hit somebody with a drone, and they start making a big deal over the fact that they took out a mid-level accounting person, and now everybody else goes and runs, and it makes it harder. I don’t want to explain, and I think it’s a very bad thing. I think we do too much talking, and not enough, do you understand what I’m saying in this, Hugh?
HH: Oh, it’s a great point. It’s a very good answer.
DT: We do too much talking. General Douglas MacArthur, I was watching as President Obama was talking about, I won’t go into great detail, was talking about attacking at a certain time in a certain place, and I’m saying can you imagine General Douglas MacArthur, General Patton, they must be spinning in their graves when they hear it. So when you tell me a ship is attacked, I don’t want to tell you exactly what I’m going to do. I don’t want people to know my thinking on that, and I do have very spoken…thinking on it.
HH: Fair play.
DT: But I don’t want people to know my thinking.
HH: All right, next question. Presidents respond to disasters. Governors respond to disasters. What disasters have you, Donald Trump, responded to?
DT: Well, I’ve responded very much to disasters. I’ve had, you know, fires in buildings, big buildings. I’ve had economic changes where the world crashed in the early 90s, and I came out stronger than I was before. And I didn’t go bankrupt like many people they were forced into bankruptcy, and they were forced into, like, you know disasters never to be heard from again. I came out stronger than I was before. There was an old expression in the early 90s – survive ‘til ’95 that I made up, and I gave. And I actually became much stronger. But I’ve gone through, I’ve watched economic problems happen. Eight years ago, nine years ago when I was buying and everybody else was selling because they had no money and I did have a lot of money and I bought a lot of great assets. And you know, I’ve gone through a lot of different things, and I’ve come out on top always.
Donald Trump isn’t the first presidential hopeful to stumble on foreign policy on the campaign train. CNN’s Tom Foreman reports.
CNN’s Jake Tapper talks to raid host Hugh Hewitt about a recent interview he conducted with presidential candidate Donald Trump.
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