January 20th, 2011
05:25 PM ET

The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer: Donald Trump on China, "These are not our friends. These are our enemies."

Donald Trump spoke with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer tonight about the US-China relationship and a possible presidential run. This interview aired in the 5 p.m. ET hour of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. A highlight and full transcript are  after the jump.


Please credit all usage to CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer

HIGHLIGHT: Trump on Running for President, “I'm giving it very serious thought.”

WOLF BLITZER, HOST:  Are you still thinking about running for the president of the United States?

DONALD TRUMP:  I'm giving it very serious thought.

BLITZER:  When will we know if you're going to be a candidate?

TRUMP:  Sometime prior to June.

BLITZER:  Prior to June. And what's the main - main point that you're going to be working on, whether or not you think you can win, is that right?

TRUMP:  Well, it's all jobs.  I mean it's all jobs.  I mean we really have an effective rate of 18 percent unemployment, not 9.4 percent.  And it - depending on the way you count the numbers, it could be more than that.  We'll see what happens with jobs.  We'll see what happens with the fact that OPEC is ripping us, just as badly, or even worse than China.  I mean worse than anything is OPEC.  And nobody from this country even makes a call to say, hey, listen, you're going to destroy our economy.

If you look at the prices now, they're up to almost $100 a barrel.  It's going to be $120 and $130.  And the last time that happened, we almost had a massive depression and nobody ever blamed the oil prices.  They talked about the banks.  And the banks were certainly at fault, but so was oil.

So if something doesn't happen with oil, gasoline now is selling for way over $3 a gallon.  If something doesn't happen with that, if something doesn't happen with jobs, I very well may do it, Wolf, because this is not a respected country anymore.  We're a whipping post for the world.

BLITZER:  And just to be precise, you'd run for the Republican nomination, is that right?

TRUMP:  I'm a Republican.  I'd run as a Republican.

BLITZER:  As a Republican. And - and can you give us a ballpark, how much of your own money you might be willing to invest in a presidential run?

TRUMP:  A lot.  If I decide to do it, a lot.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST:  Let's bring in one of the most famous names in the big business community, the corporate world.  He has some big problems with China and its economic policies.  We're talking about real estate mogul and TV personality, Donald Trump, who says he's thinking of running for president. He's joining us on the phone right now. Donald, if you were in one of those meetings with President Hu Jintao, in a nutshell, what would you say to him?

DONALD TRUMP:  Well, I wouldn't be having fancy steak dinners on a coun– to a country - and he's the primary representative - that's done nothing but take advantage of the United States.  I find it amazing, when I listen to some of the political leaders talking about how we're making progress - they're making $300 billion a year and probably more than that each year - let's call it profit - off the United States.

They're manipulating their currency.  Intellectual property rights and everything else are a joke over there.  They're making stuff that you see being sold all the time on Fifth Avenue, copying various, you know, whether it's Chanel or whatever it may be, the brands, and just selling it ad - ad nauseum. I mean this is a country that is ripping off the United States like nobody other than OPEC has ever done before.

BLITZER:  And a...

TRUMP:  And I certainly wouldn't be saying, as I've been hearing you for the last few minutes, as your representatives and people on the show have been saying, oh, we're making progress with China.

These are not our friends.  These are our enemies.  These are not people that understand niceness.  And the only thing you can do, Wolf, to get their attention is to say either we're not going to trade with you any further or, in the alternative, we're going to tax your products as they come into the United States.

BLITZER:  China also is America's leading banker.  They have nearly a trillion in T-Bills, in U.S. Treasury notes. When you have bankers you have to deal with all the time, aren't you nice to your bankers?

TRUMP:  And who's done better with bankers than I have?  Look, the fact is, it's very simple.  The tax would be 25 percent, is what I estimate, in a short period of time - in a matter of a few years - the hundreds of billions of dollars that they've really bought for their own benefit– they didn't buy it for our benefit, they bought it for their own, so they think they can have some control over the country, and, by the way, at the same time, get interest - get a nice rate of interest.

So what happens is the tax to be paid on the products that come into this country would more than pay off those loans in a very short period of time.  And the fact is, we - we're the highest taxed country in the world.  We are the highest taxed country in the world.  We would - I would lower the taxes for people in this country and corporations in this country and let China and some of the other countries that are ripping us off and making hundreds of billions of dollars a year, let them pay.

BLITZER:  You know that General Motors sells more cars in China than it does in the United States. There's a lot of American jobs at stake right now, isn't there?

TRUMP:  Well, you know what's happening, I mean what - China will - will - it's very hard to do business with China, first of all.  It's almost impossible.  You just have to ask...

BLITZER:  But G.M. is doing a pretty good job having business with them.

TRUMP:  Say it again?

BLITZER:  G.M. is doing a pretty good job dealing with China.

TRUMP:  Yes, and what's going to happen? They're going to make General Motors build the cars in China.  They're not going to let China - they're not going to let General Motors take their cars from this country and sell them in China.  They want General Motors to give up all of its intellectual rights and at the same time have Chinese workers build the cars, something which we are not doing, to that extent.  If you look at what's happening with China and what they're selling to this country - or take South Korea, with the television sets and everything else, they're making it over there.  China wants General Motors to build the cars in China.

BLITZER:  You know that a lot of the economists, the free trade experts, say if there were a trade war between the United States and China, it could cause not only a worldwide recession, but a worldwide depression, if these two giant - the number one and number two economic powers in the world - went to war against each other.

TRUMP:  No, it will cause a depression in China, not here.  China is making all the money.  We're not making the money.  I mean, look at the numbers.  Look at the - look at the difference as to what we import compared to what they're importing.

BLITZER:  It's about three to one.

TRUMP:  It's like day and night.

BLITZER:  It's about they - well, they...

TRUMP:  It's much more...

BLITZER:  - export to the United States...

TRUMP:  - than three to one, Wolf.

BLITZER:  - three times as much as we export to them.  You're right.  You're right on that point.  But a lot...

TRUMP:  I like getting rid of that kind of a partnership.  I mean that's called we're losing a lot of money.  I like getting rid of it.  And that has nothing to do with free trade or fair trade.  I like to call it fair trade, because free trade is not - forget it.  I mean it doesn't exist between this - these two countries.  And I like to say fair trade.  And I'm a big believer in free and fair trade.  But this is unfair trade.

BLITZER:  I take it, Donald, you were not invited to the state dinner last night for President Hu Jintao?

TRUMP:  Well, I wouldn't have gone if I was.

BLITZER:  But you weren't invited...

TRUMP:  Absolutely not.  No, I would think...

BLITZER:  Are you...

TRUMP:  I would think that they're smart enough not to invite me.

BLITZER:  Are you still thinking about running for the president of the United States?

TRUMP:  I'm giving it very serious thought.

BLITZER:  When will we know if you're going to be a candidate?

TRUMP:  Sometime prior to June.

BLITZER:  Prior to June. And what's the main - main point that you're going to be working on, whether or not you think you can win, is that right?

TRUMP:  Well, it's all jobs.  I mean it's all jobs.  I mean we really have an effective rate of 18 percent unemployment, not 9.4 percent.  And it - depending on the way you count the numbers, it could be more than that.  We'll see what happens with jobs.  We'll see what happens with the fact that OPEC is ripping us, just as badly, or even worse than China.  I mean worse than anything is OPEC.  And nobody from this country even makes a call to say, hey, listen, you're going to destroy our economy.

If you look at the prices now, they're up to almost $100 a barrel.  It's going to be $120 and $130.  And the last time that happened, we almost had a massive depression and nobody ever blamed the oil prices.  They talked about the banks.  And the banks were certainly at fault, but so was oil.

So if something doesn't happen with oil, gasoline now is selling for way over $3 a gallon.  If something doesn't happen with that, if something doesn't happen with jobs, I very well may do it, Wolf, because this is not a respected country anymore.  We're a whipping post for the world.

BLITZER:  And just to be precise, you'd run for the Republican nomination, is that right?

TRUMP:  I'm a Republican.  I'd run as a Republican.

BLITZER:  As a Republican. And - and can you give us a ballpark, how much of your own money you might be willing to invest in a presidential run?

TRUMP:  A lot.  If I decide to do it, a lot.

BLITZER:  Donald Trump. You'll let us know what's going on. Thanks very much, as always.

TRUMP:  Thank you, Wolf.

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