September 20th, 2015
11:17 AM ET

Donald Trump on SOTU: "I have friends that are Muslims. They're great people - But, no, we do have a problem with radical Muslims."

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, 2016 GOP Presidential hopeful and chairman and president of The Trump Organization, Donald Trump, joined anchor, Jake Tapper.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Trump: 'We do have a problem with radical Muslims'

Donald Trump on State of the Union: Full interview

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Donald Trump, 2016 GOP Presidential hopeful & chairman of The Trump Organization defends his town hall exchange with voter commenting on Muslims: “…we could be politically correct, if you want. But - are you trying to say we don't have a problem?  Because I think everybody would agree.  I have friends that are Muslims.  They're great people, amazing people.  And most Muslims, like most everything - these are fabulous people. But we certainly do have a problem.  I mean, you have a problem throughout the world.  …you have radicals that are doing things.  I mean, it wasn't people from Sweden that blew up the World Trade Center… …But, no, we do have a problem with radical Muslims.  There's no question about that.”

Trump on who he believes had a good night at the GOP debate: “Well, I think Carly had a good night, but I think you gave her a lot of very easy questions.  You know, you read off a couple of questions which all you had to do is say, I agree with that.  So, I think that she had some pretty easy questions.  You gave her some beautiful softballs. …certainly, I got the toughest questions.  I think, with you, I got the toughest questions.  And when they weren't asked of me, they were asked to other people with my name in it.  I guess 47 percent of the questions, according to what the media said, had Trump or Trump-related. …but I do think that Carly did well.  And I think that Marco did well.  I actually think just about everybody did well.  I don't think there was any disaster that night.”

Trump on CNN’s new post-debate poll: “I'm a little surprised, because other polls have come out where I actually picked after the debate, I actually gained after the debate.  I'm in first place in every poll, but gained substantially in a couple of them.  So, I'm a little surprised, but, you know, it's a poll.  The only poll that matters is the big one.  You know that one.  That's going to be the election.”

Trump on gun policy: “…it's something I would very strongly look into.  The mental health problem is really a big, big problem.  We're - and I see it in New York, where people are being released that shouldn't be on the streets, and the mental health problem.  So, it's something I could certainly look at.”

Trump defends his casino remarks from the GOP debate: “I never called Jeb Bush.  And that's what I was saying.  I never called him.  It was ultimately approved by the next governor shortly thereafter.  It was approved, and very strongly, by the next governor, the governor who took Bush's place.  But I never called Jeb Bush, and I never asked Jeb Bush to approve gambling.  It was too early in the process.  I never once called him. …I had a fund-raiser for him years before.  But I never pushed for gambling, in the sense that I never called him.  And that's what I was referring to.  Had I called him, I think he would have done it.  But I never called Jeb Bush.”

Trump on Jeb Bush pushing harder for an apology over comments made about his wife: “If you see the clip, I said nothing wrong.  In fact, I said very nice things about his wife, if you see the clip, the whole clip. No, I wasn't surprised.  I think he did the right thing.  I think he might have asked.  And, probably, that was a sound bite that was given by the pollsters.  You know, do the - ask for this. But, no, I wouldn't have apologized, because I did nothing wrong.  If you look at the clip, the whole clip, it's - very nice things are stated about his wife. …I said he might have pushed harder.  I didn't know if he was going to push harder, but I wouldn't have - it wouldn't have changed my mind.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT

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

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Breaking right now, a brand-new CNN poll, the first since Wednesday night's debate.  And, in the immortal words of Ned Ryerson, it is a doozy, Donald Trump maintaining his first-place status, though his lead has dropped from 32 percent to 24 percent.  But here are the real bombshells, Carly Fiorina leaping to second place, her debate performance landing her at 15 percent, squeaking by Dr. Ben Carson, who is now at third place with 14 percent.

Also surging into fourth place, Marco Rubio, who also got rave reviews.  He takes 11 percent, in double digits.  He's jumping ahead of his mentor and friend Jeb Bush, who is treading water at 9 percent.  Bush's supporters and donors have openly worried about his fall in the polls over the summer.  But perhaps the most jaw-dropping number belong to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  Once the leader in Iowa, once considered one of the top contenders in this race, he doesn't even register in this new poll, with less than one-half of 1 percent.  That's right.  I said less than one-half of 1 percent.  It's a remarkable shakeup.  We have so much to talk about this morning.  But I want to start with the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, who joins me now by phone.

Mr. Trump, thanks for joining us.

Let's start with these new poll numbers.  They show you're still in the lead by a wide margin, but you have lost some support, with Carly Fiorina and Rubio going up considerably.  What do you make of it all?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, I'm a little surprised, because other polls have come out where I actually picked after the debate, I actually gained after the debate.  I'm in first place in every poll, but gained substantially in a couple of them.  So, I'm a little surprised, but, you know, it's a poll.  The only poll that matters is the big one.  You know that one.  That's going to be the election.

TAPPER:  Of course.  I do want to ask you about this exchange you had with a voter on the campaign trail.  Let's play it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We have a problem in this country.  It's called Muslims.  We know our current president is one.  You know he's not even an American.

TRUMP:  We need this question, this first question.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  But, anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us.  That's my question.  When can we get rid of them?

TRUMP:  We're going to be looking at a lot of different things.  And, you know, a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there.  We're going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  Now, Mr. Trump, forget the notion of defending President Obama for a second.  I don't want to really talk about that. You are running to be president of United States of America.  That includes millions of peaceful, law-abiding Muslim-American citizens who love this country.  This man said - quote - "We have a problem in this country.  It's called Muslims." Now, you're not responsible for what he says, but this is raw, unvarnished, ignorant bigotry.  You are a leader.  You are the front-runner in the Republican race.  Do you not have a responsibility to call out this hatred?

TRUMP:  Well, you know, we could be politically correct, if you want. But, certainly, are you trying to say we don't have a problem?  Because I think everybody would agree.  I have friends that are Muslims.  They're great people, amazing people.  And most Muslims, like most everything, I mean, these are fabulous people. But we certainly do have a problem.  I mean, you have a problem throughout the world.

TAPPER:  What's the problem?

TRUMP:  Well, you have radicals that are doing things.  I mean, it wasn't people from Sweden that blew up the World Trade Center, Jake.

TAPPER:  I get that.  But to say we have a problem, and it is called Muslims, because there are some extremist Muslims, is tarring all Muslims.  You would agree that the vast...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP:  No, I don't agree with that at all.  But you have extremist Muslims that are in a class by themselves.  I mean, they are - it is a problem in this country.  And it's a problem throughout the world.  I mean, all you have to do is look at Europe.

TAPPER:  But what if he had said, we have a - what if he had said, we have a problem in this world; it's called blacks?  Would you have said something then?

TRUMP:  No.  I would have probably just - I listened to his question.  I mean, who I am?  I listened to his question.  He made a question/probably statement, but I listened to his question, and I actually didn't respond.  This was the first time - because, over the weekend, as you know very well, because you covered it and your - and CNN covered it very well - but it was a very, very big subject. And I said, this is the first time I have ever had a situation like this where I didn't even say anything.  So, it was a question that was asked in front of a totally packed house.  Nobody thought much of it until the following couple of hours, when it came became a pretty big subject.

But, no, we do have a problem with radical Muslims.  There's no question about that.  I think you would be the first to admit that.

TAPPER:  I don't think it's the same thing as saying we have a problem with Muslims.  But I don't think we're going to get very far.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP:  Well, you know, I - look, I can say this. The Muslims - and, as I have already said, I have tremendous people that I know that are Muslims.  They're wonderful people.  They're fabulous people.  They live in this country, by the way, in most cases, and they're tremendous.  But you do have a problem with radical Muslims.  There's no question about it.

TAPPER:  All right.  I want to move on.  Take a listen to this new Web video that is being put out by the Jeb Bush campaign.  It's being released this morning.  It's about the exchange you two had, you and Governor Bush, during the debate about whether or not you pushed for casino gambling in Florida.  I want to play it, and then get your reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The one guy that had some special interests that I know of that tried to get me to change my views on something, that was generous and gave me money - was Donald Trump.  He wanted casino gambling in Florida.

TRUMP:  I didn't.

BUSH:  Yes, you did. When he asked Florida to have casino gambling, we said no.

TRUMP:  Wrong.

BUSH:  We said no.  And that's the simple fact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Trump was wrong, and Bush was right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Which makes Trump, it seems to me, a liar.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  So, that's very strong, calling you a liar.  Fact-checkers also say that you did push for casino gambling in Florida.  Did you not?

TRUMP:  No, I never - I never called Jeb Bush.  And that's what I was saying.  I never called him.  It was ultimately approved by the next governor shortly thereafter.  It was approved, and very strongly, by the next governor, the governor who took Bush's place.  But I never called Jeb Bush, and I never asked Jeb Bush to approve gambling.  It was too early in the process.  I never once called him.

TAPPER:  But you had a fund-raiser for him?

TRUMP:  I had a - oh, that was years before.  I had a fund-raiser for him years before.  But I never pushed for gambling, in the sense that I never called him.  And that's what I was referring to.  Had I called him, I think he would have done it.  But I never called Jeb Bush.

TAPPER:  Following the debate, you said to "Morning Joe," I think, that you were surprised that Jeb Bush did not push harder for an apology to his wife.  If he had pushed harder, would you have apologized?

TRUMP:  Well, no.  If you see the clip, I said nothing wrong.  In fact, I said very nice things about his wife, if you see the clip, the whole clip. No, I wasn't surprised.  I think he did the right thing.  I think he might have asked.  And, probably, that was a sound bite that was given by the pollsters.  You know, do the - ask for this. But, no, I wouldn't have apologized, because I did nothing wrong.  If you look at the clip, the whole clip, it's - very nice things are stated about his wife.

TAPPER:  No, no, I know, but you're saying - I'm asking more about - you had said that you were surprised he didn't push harder.  I'm wondering...

TRUMP:  Well, I said he might have pushed harder.  I didn't know if he was going to push harder, but I wouldn't have - it wouldn't have changed my mind.

TAPPER:  You recently released a plan cast as protecting the Second Amendment, but you have also said that you think more needs to be done on the issue of mental health when it comes to people who are disturbed getting guns.  Last year's school shooting in Isla Vista passed - after that shooting, California passed a law.  It allows judges to temporarily take away someone's guns if they're deemed to be a threat to themselves or others by the judge, at the urging of family members.  But it would be done without a hearing.  Is that the kind of measure that you could support, or would you oppose that?

TRUMP:  Well, it's something I would very strongly look into.  The mental health problem is really a big, big problem.  We're - and I see it in New York, where people are being released that shouldn't be on the streets, and the mental health problem.  So, it's something I could certainly look at.

TAPPER:  You have said that you would be far better on women's issues than the likely Democratic candidate, nominee, Hillary Clinton.  Let me ask you about one specific policy that she's talking about on the trail.  She's obviously trying to draw a contrast between herself and Republicans.  Do you think the federal government should require businesses to provide paid family leave or do you think that's an unfair mandate?

TRUMP:  We're going to be releasing a policy on it over the next three to four weeks, Jake.  And we're working on it right now.

TAPPER:  I want to ask you about veterans issues, if I could. You have said you will be fantastic for veterans, but the only specific I have heard that you say is that you would build more hospitals for them.  Is there anything else that you would do for veterans?

TRUMP:  Well, one of the things I would do is, we would fix the hospitals.  We would build some, but we would also let, when - you know, as you probably heard - a couple of weeks ago, it was announced - the longest wait in the history of the VA, the Veterans Administration, people waiting to see their doctor, the longest recorded in the history of the VA. And what I'm going to do is, I'm going to make it so that they will be able to go out and use private doctors, and we will pay the private doctors.  There's no reason for a person to wait in a waiting room for five days for a doctor with something that can be taken care of maybe by just a simple prescription or whatever.  I think it's disgraceful.

So, we're going to also, you know, do a little bit of a free market thing, where, if cases like that happen, they are going to be able to go to doctors, whether it's private, or even a public hospital, or a private hospital, in a community where they can get immediate service and really good treatment, and quickly.

TAPPER:  Who do you think had a good night at the debate, other than you?

TRUMP:  Well, I think Carly had a good night, but I think you gave her a lot of very easy questions.  You know, you read off a couple of questions which all you had to do is say, I agree with that.  So, I think that she had some pretty easy questions.  You gave her some beautiful softballs.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP:  I think the most difficult evening - and I got very good marks.  I have won every poll in terms of the debate. But I think, certainly - and this happened with FOX also - certainly, I got the toughest questions.  I think, with you, I got the toughest questions.  And when they weren't asked of me, they were asked to other people with my name in it.  I guess 47 percent of the questions, according to what the media said, had Trump or Trump-related.  So, I think that...

TAPPER:  You are the front-runner, sir.

TRUMP:  I think that - but I do think that Carly did well.  And I think that Marco did well.  I actually think just about everybody did well.  I don't think there was any disaster that night.

TAPPER:  Who do you think is your toughest competition right now?

TRUMP:  Well, I would have to go by your polls.  I always - I'm a believer in polls.  I believe strongly.  I have watched polls all my life.  And it's amazing how accurate they are.  Sometimes, they're wrong, but, pretty much, they're accurate.  So, based on that, Ben is a terrific guy, would be one.  And Carly would be another one, and perhaps Marco or - and maybe Bush.  I don't know.  I mean, Bush seems to be fading very fast.  I think, you know, when you're in favor of Common Core, and when you are weak on immigration, I think, you know, it's a very big thing to - to - I don't know how you overcome that, frankly.

TAPPER:  Republican front-runner Donald Trump, thank you so much, as always, for calling in.  We appreciate your taking our questions.

TRUMP:  Thank you very much, Jake.

TAPPER:  OK.  Bye-bye.

###END INTERVIEW###


Topics: CNN • Jake Tapper • State of the Union
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