October 26th, 2015
12:26 AM ET

Donald Trump on Carson: "Ben doesn't even go to Iowa that much. And he's doing well in Iowa?"

SOTU

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, joined anchor, Jake Tapper.

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

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Trump hits Carson on immigration: “He is very, very weak on immigration and I'm very strong on immigration. He believes in amnesty strongly. He believes on citizenship, I mean he's going to give citizenship to people that are here illegally and you can't' do that. And, you know we disagree on other things also. but I think the big thing also is that he's just not going to be able to do deals with China, to do deals with Japan. These companies, these countries, are all ripping us like nobody has ever ripped us before.”

Trump on Carson: "No, no, I talk about Ben Carson too.  I think Ben Carson is a very low energy person.  Actually I think Ben Carson is lower energy than Jeb, if you want to know the truth.  We need strong energy.  The thing with Ben is he's got a very good PAC, and he's got people running his PAC, and in my opinion, he's got people all over Iowa from his PAC, and they are running – Ben doesn't even go to Iowa that much.  And he's doing well in Iowa?  And so I think that super PACs are a real problem in terms of our country, and I'm talking about Ben.  I did talk about Jeb because I thought Jeb was going to be the front runner.  Obviously he's no longer the front runner.  I probably won't talk about him so much anymore."

Trump’s remarks on Paul Ryan potentially serving as Speaker of the House:TRUMP:  They have to pick somebody. I think I'll get along with him great.  And he could change.  But they have to pick somebody.  Right now they have no idea who they're going to pick.  It looks like it's going to be Paul Ryan.  I think he's a very nice guy.  I think he's a very capable guy.  But there are a couple of issues that he's very weak on, and one of those issues is immigration.  And we have to- We have to have a border.  We have to have a wall.  We're going to have a wall.

Trump’s view on Super PACs : “It's a scam.  It's a big fat scam.  The super PACs are a disaster.  I have – I think I have said nine or 10 super PACs have been set up in my name.  I don't even know who these people are.  You have all these people raising money, I guess in the name of Trump,  that we love Trump, and some of them do, and probably some of them don't.  And I have no idea what they are going to do with the money they are raising.  But they are raising all of this money and they're going to spend it on the campaign, and we have, you know, the candidates are not supposed to be involved and all this stuff, but they have all this money, nobody even knows who the people are, nobody knows where they are, nobody knows what they're doing with the money.  It's a whole big scam. “

Trump’s remarks on recent Benghazi Select Committee hearing: “It was a very partisan, and it looked quite partisan. The level of hatred between Republicans and Democrats was unbelievable. The level of – I've never seen anything like it. Now, I've been doing this for a long time, I've been dealing with Republicans, with Democrats – I get along with everybody, and I've always gotten along with everybody. In all of the years that I've been involved in politics, I've never seen dislike, hatred, whatever you want to call it, between two parties like you have right now.”

Trump on Hillary Clinton: “I don't consider her an enemy.  I mean, right now she's an opponent.  I don't consider her an enemy.  But she can be easily beaten by her record, and I'm not talking about the Benghazi record.  Some pretty bad things came out.  Hundreds of phone calls from the ambassador help, help, help, and nothing was done.  People are sort of forgetting some of the things that took place during that hearing.  But I don't consider that.  I just say that her record as – her record in government.  If you look at it, she was in favor of the war with Iraq, which she shouldn't have been, it was a disaster, and by the way, which I wasn't. “

Trump touts opposition to Iraq war:   I would say the following.  I was totally against Iraq, but we shouldn't have left the way we left.  And if you remember, and I told you, very early on that we were going to leave, take the oil.  Because right now you know who has the oil.  And you know who is buying the oil, is China.  They don't have 10 cents in this whole deal, and they are buying the oil.  They are the biggest customer.  So you have the oil going to ISIS and we have the oil going to Iran, and Iran will end up with most of it, and ISIS will have plenty, because they got plenty of money because they took the oil, because we were stupid.  And I said, take the oil when we leave.

Tapper asks Trump: The world would be better off with Saddam Hussein?“[TRUMP]:  100 percent. [TAPPER]:  and Gadhafi in power? [TRUMP]:  100 percent.”

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: Mr. Trump thank you for doing this

DONALD TRUMP: Thank you.

TAPPER: So, some surprising news out of Iowa where in 2 polls now, Dr. Ben Carson has pulled ahead of you, 1 by 8 points, 1 by 9 points. What's your message to Iowans? Why should they vote for you and not Dr. Carson?

TRUMP: well, first of all, I was really surprised to see it because three nights ago I was in Iowa, we had a packed house. We had 4,000 people and it was a love fest. I've done really well with the evangelicals, with the tea party and everything. and I just don't understand the number, but you know what, I accept the number. It means I have to work a little bit harder in Iowa. I think it's just the same, I mean I'm gonna make our country great again, we're going to do trade pacts that are incredible instead of like incompetent. Because what we have right now, with China, with Japan, with everybody is just incredible and nobody can do like

Nobody is going to be able to do what do, in terms of making our country wealthy again so we can do all the things we want to do including the military and the vets and taking care of people. So I'm just going to have to work a little bit harder in Iowa. I was very surprised to see the numbers. You know I had a lead, so to flip flop a little bit, with Ben Carson and I like Ben but he can't do with trade like I do with trade. He can't do a lot of things like I do. So, we'll just have to see what happens.

TAPPER: well you guys disagree, you two disagree on a number of issues. Immigration is one of them. Are you gonna start contrasting your position with his more?

TRUMP: Well I think so, I mean you just bring up one. He is very, very weak on immigration and I'm very strong on immigration. He believes in amnesty strongly. He believes on citizenship, I mean he's going to give citizenship to people that are here illegally and you can't' do that. And, you know we disagree on other things also. but I think the big thing also is that he's just not going to be able to do deals with China, to do deals with Japan. These companies, these countries, are all ripping us like nobody has ever ripped us before.

TAPPER: Another position where you two disagree is he thinks everyone should pay taxes, including the poor. He proposed something like tithing from the Bible, where everybody pays 10, 15, or 20 percent. You don't – you believe in progressive taxation –

TRUMP: I agree with him 100 percent.

TAPPER: oh you do?

TRUMP: Except for one problem. I know how to administer. I know how to get things done. I know how to run a company or a country. And you're going to have millions of people, and millions of tax returns coming in, and you're talking about an IRS – you'd have to build it even bigger than it is right now. I think the amount is going to be so little, and I want it to run right. What I want to do is create opportunity, create jobs, so that people get back on the tax rolls. You're talking about millions and tens of millions of tax returns going with the dollar, when it costs you much more than that just to administer. So, I agree with him 100 percent, I like the idea that everyone should pay something, but most of these people are paying nothing now. They have nothing, so what are you going to do?  I believe in proper management, proper administration, I'd love everybody to pay because psychologically I think that's good – but from an administration standpoint, it would be a total nightmare.

TAPPER: I want to ask you specifically about a group he seems to be beating you with. The Des Moines register polls shows he's beating you in Iowa with born-again Christians with 33 percent to 18 percent. You've stayed pretty steady with born-again Christians, he's gone up. The poll also asked Iowa Republicans if they view as a committed Christian. 32 percent said yes, 28% said no, and 40 percent said they weren't sure. Now back in September, Dr. Carson was asked what distinguishes him from you and he mentioned faith – he brought it up. He said quote, probably the biggest thing I've realized is where my success has come from and I don't in any way deny my faith in God. Do you think that that comment might have in any way affected evangelical support for him?

TRUMP: No because look, as far as – I can only speak for myself. I don't like to talk about somebody else's faith. I can say that I'm a Presbyterian, I'm a believer. I do very well with the evangelicals. I was surprised that actually it's the first time he's done better than me, but I match myself against just about everybody. I am a believer, and they've always really – they like me. We've – I've gone to many meetings, we've had 28 of the great ministers last week, you probably saw that – and pastors from all over the country. So many, and they really – I've had a great relationship with Christianity and frankly, I'd say every bit as good as his. So, I don't understand the poll – I actually don't.

Paul Ryan is likely to be the next speaker of the House.  You have referred to him as weak on immigration.

TRUMP:  Very weak on immigration.

TAPPER:  Are you concerned about that?  If you become president, he'll be the speaker of the House, he could –

TRUMP:  They have to pick somebody. I think I'll get along with him great.  And he could change.  But they have to pick somebody.  Right now they have no idea who they're going to pick.  It looks like it's going to be Paul Ryan.  I think he's a very nice guy.  I think he's a very capable guy.  But there are a couple of issues that he's very weak on, and one of those issues is immigration.  And we have to-

TRUMP:  We have to have a border.  We have to have a wall.  We're going to have a wall.

TAPPER:  Should house republicans not support him for speaker because of this?

TRUMP:  I don't think that's going to happen because they can't come up with another name.  So even people that are very conservative, very hard-line conservatives, look like they're falling into line.  You see what's happening.  So I think he'll be speaker, and I think I'll get along very well with him.

TAPPER:  Let's turn to the issue of super PACs and big money in politics.  You issued a statement this week disavowing all super PACs that are out there in your name, requesting that they return all of the donations and calling on all presidential candidates to do the same.  Why?

TRUMP:  It's a scam.  It's a big fat scam.  The super PACs are a disaster.  I have – I think I have said nine or 10 super PACs have been set up in my name.  I don't even know who these people are.  You have all these people raising money, I guess in the name of Trump, that we love Trump, and some of them do, and probably some of them don't.  And I have no idea what they are going to do with the money they are raising.  But they are raising all of this money and they're going to spend it on the campaign, and we have, you know, the candidates are not supposed to be involved and all this stuff, but they have all this money, nobody even knows who the people are, nobody knows where they are, nobody knows what they're doing with the money.  It's a whole big scam.

If you look at Ben Carson, Ben Carson spending money from super PACs all over the place.  Now I hear his super PACs are going to merge.  I've heard that the super PACs are essentially running his campaign in Iowa, where they are actually running his campaign, they are doing all of the ground work and everything.  That's not what the purpose of the super PAC is supposed to be, and by the way, Jeb Bush, the same thing.  He's got one of his best friends that heads up his super PAC

And I'm calling on all candidates to disavow their super PACs.  It's a scam.  They know it.  It's a joke.  I mean, it's a joke.  They're all laughing about it.

TAPPER:  You just brought up Jeb Bush.  He was on my show last week, and he had some very tough things to say about you, about you not being a serious candidate, about his having great concerns about you being commander in chief.  I wanted to give you an opportunity to respond.

TRUMP:  Well, I'll respond, he happens to be a very nice person.  As I said, he's a low energy person.  By the way, Ben Carson is a very low energy person.  We need high energy people.

TAPPER:  Why?

TRUMP:  Because you need energy.  We are so far behind the eight ball.  We need a stronger temperament.  You have to have a strong temperament.  I've watched people all of my life, and I know all about low energy guys.  It doesn't work.  It doesn't work.  When you are dealing with China, these people come in, they are fierce, they are fierce, and you have to be a certain – you need a certain temperament.  I remember when Jeb would say that he's a little bit too strong, we need strength, they are cutting off people's heads in Syria, and all over the Middle East.  We need people that have that certain strength.  I know more about this than Jeb will ever know.  I have more common sense and I'm a far better leader than Jeb.  Jeb will never be a leader.

TAPPER:  Why do you keep talking about Jeb Bush when Jeb Bush -

TRUMP:  No, no, I talk about Ben Carson too.  I think Ben Carson is a very low energy person.  Actually I think Ben Carson is lower energy than Jeb, if you want to know the truth.  We need strong energy.  The thing with Ben is he's got a very good PAC, and he's got people running his PAC, and in my opinion, he's got people all over Iowa from his PAC, and they are running – Ben doesn't even go to Iowa that much.  And he's doing well in Iowa?  And so I think that super PACs are a real problem in terms of our country, and I'm talking about Ben.  I did talk about Jeb because I thought Jeb was going to be the front runner.  Obviously he's no longer the front runner.  I probably won't talk about him so much anymore.

TAPPER:  Carson criticized your proposal to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.  He said it would cause the collapse of the farming industry.  That's obviously something, of major concern.

TRUMP:  People can come with visas, they come right back in.  In other words, people can come back in with visas.

TAPPER:  So you don't buy that critique?

TRUMP:  Look, we either have a country or not.  These are illegal people.  There are at least 11 million.  Nobody knows.  Could be 30 million.  But there are at least 11 million.  I've been hearing that number for years, so it's probably wrong, could be less, could be more.  But they can come back in.  They can come back in with visas, they could come back in with work permits, they could do worker permits.  They could come back in.  But I would tell Carson and I would tell other people that are very weak on it, Jeb happens to be, Rubio happens to be very weak on immigration, and was a member of the gang of eight, they wanted to give the whole country away, Rubio, then the polls went down and all of a sudden he got out of the gang of eight very fast.  But they are weak on immigration.  I'm very strong on immigration.  We either have a country or we don't.  And we either have borders or we don't.

PART TWO

TAPPER: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the House Benghazi committee the other day. What did you think?

TRUMP: well I thought she did ok. I sort of felt she was gonna do ok. It was a very partisan, and it looked quite partisan. The level of hatred between Republicans and Democrats was unbelievable. The level of – I've never seen anything like it. Now, I've been doing this for a long time, I've been dealing with Republicans, with Democrats – I get along with everybody, and I've always gotten along with everybody. In all of the years that I've been involved in politics, I've never seen dislike, hatred, whatever you want to call it, between two parties like you have right now.

TAPPER: Do you think that hurts the Republican Party…

TRUMP: I think it hurts both parties (TAPPER: both parties?).  And I really think it hurts the country.  To be honest with you, Jake, it hurts the country.  Nothing can be done.  I mean, like we have corporate inversion where, where tremendous amount of money wants to come back into the country.  It's impossible.  Everybody agrees.  This is an interesting one.  The Republicans and the Democrats, they all agree.

TAPPER:  You're talking about Trump administration, the Trump administration bringing that era of bipartisanship.  That seems to be the implication you're making.

TRUMP:  I absolutely think so.  You know, a lot of people think I'm sort of the tough guy and I'm going to do what – I actually think I'm a really nice person.  But some people say, oh, he's not that.  I'm going to unify.  This country is totally divided.  Barack Obama has divided this country unbelievably.  And it's all – it's all hatred, what can I tell you.  I've never seen anything like it.  Now, I'm going to unify the country.  And sometimes when I say that, people say, well, but the people that know me, and I'm talking about some of the biggest people in the world, they call up and they say, it's right, I've seen him.  And you know one of the big knocks on me was that over the years, I've gotten along with Democrats and I've gotten along with Republicans.  And I said, that's a good thing.  As a businessman, I had an obligation to do that, to myself, to my family, to my company, to my employees.  I get along with everybody.  I will be a great unifier for our country.

TAPPER:  Hillary Clinton at the debate, the Democratic debate, was asked to name enemies of which she was proud, and she said Republicans.

TRUMP:  Well, that's part of the problems because you have the other side using that, and as a Republican, what do you think when you say a thing like that?

TAPPER:  Is she your enemy?

TRUMP:  I don't consider her an enemy.  I mean, right now she's an opponent.  I don't consider her an enemy.  But she can be easily beaten by her record, and I'm not talking about the Benghazi record.  Some pretty bad things came out.  Hundreds of phone calls from the ambassador help, help, help, and nothing was done.  People are sort of forgetting some of the things that took place during that hearing.  But I don't consider that.  I just say that her record as – her record in government.  If you look at it, she was in favor of the war with Iraq, which she shouldn't have been, it was a disaster, and by the way, which I wasn't.

And I should be given credit, because in 2003, I came out with a major statement, front page, all over the place.  I don't know why, because I was just a businessman, I wasn't a politician, but that we shouldn't go into Iraq, because it's going to totally destabilize the Middle East, and that Iran is going to end up taking over Iraq.  Which is by the way, exactly, after spending $2 trillion, thousands of lives, wounded warriors, whom I love, all over the place. Iran is taking over Iraq as we speak.  And by the way, what they don't have, ISIS has.  So we shouldn't have done it.  Hillary Clinton voted in favor of the war.

TAPPER:  The U.S. just lost a soldier in Iraq.  You were just talking about ISIS.  Delta force commando, Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler, he was killed on a joint mission with Kurds.  They rescued roughly 70 hostages being held by ISIS, ones the Pentagon says were facing imminent execution.  The first American soldier killed in combat against ISIS.  Would you have ordered that mission?

TRUMP:  I would say the following.  I was totally against Iraq, but we shouldn't have left the way we left.  And if you remember, and I told you, very early on that we were going to leave, take the oil.  Because right now you know who has the oil.  And you know who is buying the oil, is China.  They don't have 10 cents in this whole deal, and they are buying the oil.  They are the biggest customer.  So you have the oil going to ISIS and we have the oil going to Iran, and Iran will end up with most of it, and ISIS will have plenty, because they got plenty of money because they took the oil, because we were stupid.  And I said, take the oil when we leave.

But we shouldn't have really left.  We shouldn't have gotten in, but then we shouldn't have left.  So Bush should have gotten us in, and Obama shouldn't have taken us the way he took us out. And the other thing is unpredictability.  He's so predictable.  When he took us out, he shouldn't have said we're going as of a certain date, because the enemy just sat back and waited, full strength, nobody being killed, everything fine, takes them out and then they go and they did their number, which obviously they are doing to this day.

TAPPER:  This is the situation that you will inherit if you become commander in chief.

TRUMP:  That's right, and I think I will be very good at it.

TAPPER:  Would you –

TRUMP:  You look at the same polls in Iowa, and if you look at – you know, by the way, nobody talks about the ABC Washington Post poll, where I am no. 1 nationwide by a lot.  You know, everyone loves to talk about the Iowa poll, and I honestly think the Iowa poll-

TAPPER:  You are absolutely leading in nationwide polls.

TRUMP:  By a lot.

TAPPER:  By a lot.

TRUMP:  But I will say this, I believe that if you look at the polls, people give me the highest marks by far for leadership.  They give me the highest marks by far for military.  They are giving me the highest marks for military.

TAPPER:  And that's what I want to know, would you order a special forces, a special operations mission to go rescue hostages, even if they weren't American hostages?

TRUMP:  I think I might, but I'd have to look at the situation.  I think, I am not going to criticize anybody for that.  I think I might, but I would have to look at the situation.  All I know is this, we're living in medieval times. I use to read about medieval times, they chop heads off.  We're in medieval times.  We're in the most brutal period of this world that anybody can remember, I'm talking about for thousands of years.  We're having heads chopped off, we're having people drown in cages, we're living in an unbelievably dangerous and horrible world, which is why I want to go back to the military, because we need it now maybe more than ever before.

TAPPER:  What is the Trump doctrine?  When would you use force?  And how would you use force?  Would it be overwhelming?  Would it be more like counter-terrorism special ops, Navy SEALs, Delta Force?

TRUMP:  The Trump doctrine is very simple, Jake.  It's strength.  It's strength.  Nobody is going to mess with us.  Our military is going to be made much stronger.  When General Odierno left, I was watching it three or four weeks ago on television where he said that the Army is in the worst level of preparedness that it's ever been that he can ever remember, and maybe in its history.  I said, wow, what a statement.

TAPPER:  You also recently said that the Middle East would be better off with Gadhafi, Saddam Hussein and Assad in power.  How does –

TRUMP:  I didn't say Assad.  But we certainly have not gained anything with Gadhafi.  And you look at what happened.  I mean, look at Libya.  Look at Iraq.  Iraq used to be no terrorists.  He would kill the terrorists immediately, which is like now it's the Harvard of terrorism.  If you look at Iraq from years ago, I'm not saying he was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy, but it was a lot better than it is right now.  Right now, Iraq is a training ground for terrorists.  Right now Libya, nobody even knows Libya, frankly there is no Iraq and there is no Libya.  It's all broken up.  They have no control.  Nobody knows what's going on.

TAPPER:  The world would be better off with Saddam Hussein –

TRUMP:  100 percent.

TAPPER:  - and Gadhafi in power?

TRUMP:  100 percent.

TAPPER:  What about human rights abuses?

TRUMP:  You don't think they're happening now?  They're worse now than they ever were.  People are getting their heads chopped off, they're being drowned. Right now they are far worse than they were, ever, under Saddam Hussein or Gadhafi.  I mean, look what happened.  Libya is a catastrophe.  If you look at our ambassador, as an example, OK?  Libya is a disaster.  Iraq is a disaster.  Syria is a disaster.  The whole of Middle East.  And it all blew up around Hillary Clinton and around Barack Obama.  It all blew up.

Now, one thing about Assad, not a good guy, I understand that, but we're backing and spending billions and billions of dollars on backing rebels that we have no idea who they are.  And a lot of people think they're ISIS.  I happen to think they're ISIS, but who knows.  We're spending billions of dollars to get Assad out, with people that we have no idea who they are.  I don't think that is smart.  We have to rebuild our country.  Our country is falling to pieces.  We have $19 trillion in debt, we have infrastructure that is a disaster.  Our roadways, our airports, our schools, everything.  We have to start thinking about ourselves.  We are pouring trillions of dollars into the Middle East, and we have nothing for it.  We have nothing.

TAPPER:  Mr. Trump, thanks so much for spending the time with us.

TRUMP:  Thank you very much.

###END INTERVIEW###

From: <Hinman>, Katie <Katie.Hinman@cnn.com>
Date: Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 10:25 AM
To: Lauren Pratapas <Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com>
Cc: "Pluto, Liza" <liza.pluto@turner.com>, "Levy, Adam" <Adam.Levy@turner.com>
Subject: RE: [DRAFT] Donald Trump on Benghazi Committee hearing: "it was very partisan"

I just feel like the storyline has moved on to the Carson/Trump feud and that will get the most pick up

From: Pratapas, Lauren
Sent: Sunday, October 25, 2015 10:25 AM
To: Hinman, Katie <Katie.Hinman@cnn.com>
Cc: Pluto, Liza <Liza.Pluto@turner.com>; Levy, Adam <Adam.Levy@turner.com>
Subject: Re: [DRAFT] Donald Trump on Benghazi Committee hearing: "it was very partisan"

Sure- we thought Benghazi was good too for headline. Since he is calling it partisan.. Both sides would run with that for different reasons.
But we can use below instead if you prefer

Sent from my iPhone

On Oct 25, 2015, at 10:21 AM, Hinman, Katie <Katie.Hinman@cnn.com> wrote:

Can we highlight this section? And use it for the headline?
TRUMP:  No, no, I talk about Ben Carson too.  I think Ben Carson is a very low energy person.  Actually I think Ben Carson is lower energy than Jeb, if you want to know the truth.  We need strong energy.  The thing with Ben is he's got a very good PAC, and he's got people running his PAC, and in my opinion, he's got people all over Iowa from his PAC, and they are running – Ben doesn't even go to Iowa that much.  And he's doing well in Iowa?  And so I think that super PACs are a real problem in terms of our country, and I'm talking about Ben.  I did talk about Jeb because I thought Jeb was going to be the front runner.  Obviously he's no longer the front runner.  I probably won't talk about him so much anymore.

And I think him saying the world would be 100% better off with Saddam and Ghadafi in power will get traction
TAPPER:  The world would be better off with Saddam Hussein –

TRUMP:  100 percent.

TAPPER:  - and Gadhafi in power?

TRUMP:  100 percent.

Thanks!

From: Pluto, Liza
Sent: Sunday, October 25, 2015 10:17 AM
To: Hinman, Katie <Katie.Hinman@cnn.com>; Levy, Adam <Adam.Levy@turner.com>
Cc: Pratapas, Lauren <Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com>
Subject: [DRAFT] Donald Trump on Benghazi Committee hearing: "it was very partisan"

<image001.png>

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Republican presidential candidate 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”

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Liza Pluto – liza.pluto@turner.com

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Trump hits Carson on immigration: “He is very, very weak on immigration and I'm very strong on immigration. He believes in amnesty strongly. He believes on citizenship, I mean he's going to give citizenship to people that are here illegally and you can't' do that. And, you know we disagree on other things also. but I think the big thing also is that he's just not going to be able to do deals with China, to do deals with Japan. These companies, these countries, are all ripping us like nobody has ever ripped us before.”
Trump’s remarks on Paul Ryan potentially serving as Speaker of the House: "They have to pick somebody. I think I'll get along with him great.  And he could change.  But they have to pick somebody.  Right now they have no idea who they're going to pick.  It looks like it's going to be Paul Ryan.  I think he's a very nice guy.  I think he's a very capable guy.  But there are a couple of issues that he's very weak on, and one of those issues is immigration.  And we have to- We have to have a border.  We have to have a wall.  We're going to have a wall."

Trump’s view on Super PACs : “It's a scam.  It's a big fat scam.  The super PACs are a disaster.  I have – I think I have said nine or 10 super PACs have been set up in my name.  I don't even know who these people are.  You have all these people raising money, I guess in the name of Trump, that we love Trump, and some of them do, and probably some of them don't.  And I have no idea what they are going to do with the money they are raising.  But they are raising all of this money and they're going to spend it on the campaign, and we have, you know, the candidates are not supposed to be involved and all this stuff, but they have all this money, nobody even knows who the people are, nobody knows where they are, nobody knows what they're doing with the money.  It's a whole big scam. “

Trump’s remarks on recent Benghazi Select Committee hearing: “It was a very partisan, and it looked quite partisan. The level of hatred between Republicans and Democrats was unbelievable. The level of – I've never seen anything like it. Now, I've been doing this for a long time, I've been dealing with Republicans, with Democrats – I get along with everybody, and I've always gotten along with everybody. In all of the years that I've been involved in politics, I've never seen dislike, hatred, whatever you want to call it, between two parties like you have right now.”

Trump on Hillary Clinton: “I don't consider her an enemy.  I mean, right now she's an opponent.  I don't consider her an enemy.  But she can be easily beaten by her record, and I'm not talking about the Benghazi record.  Some pretty bad things came out.  Hundreds of phone calls from the ambassador help, help, help, and nothing was done.  People are sort of forgetting some of the things that took place during that hearing.  But I don't consider that.  I just say that her record as – her record in government.  If you look at it, she was in favor of the war with Iraq, which she shouldn't have been, it was a disaster, and by the way, which I wasn't. “

Trump touts opposition to Iraq war: “I would say the following.  I was totally against Iraq, but we shouldn't have left the way we left.  And if you remember, and I told you, very early on that we were going to leave, take the oil.  Because right now you know who has the oil.  And you know who is buying the oil, is China.  They don't have 10 cents in this whole deal, and they are buying the oil.  They are the biggest customer.  So you have the oil going to ISIS and we have the oil going to Iran, and Iran will end up with most of it, and ISIS will have plenty, because they got plenty of money because they took the oil, because we were stupid.  And I said, take the oil when we leave."

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: Mr. Trump thank you for doing this

DONALD TRUMP: Thank you.

TAPPER: So, some surprising news out of Iowa where in 2 polls now, Dr. Ben Carson has pulled ahead of you, 1 by 8 points, 1 by 9 points. What's your message to Iowans? Why should they vote for you and not Dr. Carson?

TRUMP: well, first of all, I was really surprised to see it because three nights ago I was in Iowa, we had a packed house. We had 4,000 people and it was a love fest. I've done really well with the evangelicals, with the tea party and everything. and I just don't understand the number, but you know what, I accept the number. It means I have to work a little bit harder in Iowa. I think it's just the same, I mean I'm gonna make our country great again, we're going to do trade pacts that are incredible instead of like incompetent. Because what we have right now, with China, with Japan, with everybody is just incredible and nobody can do like

Nobody is going to be able to do what do, in terms of making our country wealthy again so we can do all the things we want to do including the military and the vets and taking care of people. So I'm just going to have to work a little bit harder in Iowa. I was very surprised to see the numbers. You know I had a lead, so to flip flop a little bit, with Ben Carson and I like Ben but he can't do with trade like I do with trade. He can't do a lot of things like I do. So, we'll just have to see what happens.

TAPPER: well you guys disagree, you two disagree on a number of issues. Immigration is one of them. Are you gonna start contrasting your position with his more?

TRUMP: Well I think so, I mean you just bring up one. He is very, very weak on immigration and I'm very strong on immigration. He believes in amnesty strongly. He believes on citizenship, I mean he's going to give citizenship to people that are here illegally and you can't' do that. And, you know we disagree on other things also. but I think the big thing also is that he's just not going to be able to do deals with China, to do deals with Japan. These companies, these countries, are all ripping us like nobody has ever ripped us before.

TAPPER: Another position where you two disagree is he thinks everyone should pay taxes, including the poor. He proposed something like tithing from the Bible, where everybody pays 10, 15, or 20 percent. You don't – you believe in progressive taxation –

TRUMP: I agree with him 100 percent.

TAPPER: oh you do?

TRUMP: Except for one problem. I know how to administer. I know how to get things done. I know how to run a company or a country. And you're going to have millions of people, and millions of tax returns coming in, and you're talking about an IRS – you'd have to build it even bigger than it is right now. I think the amount is going to be so little, and I want it to run right. What I want to do is create opportunity, create jobs, so that people get back on the tax rolls. You're talking about millions and tens of millions of tax returns going with the dollar, when it costs you much more than that just to administer. So, I agree with him 100 percent, I like the idea that everyone should pay something, but most of these people are paying nothing now. They have nothing, so what are you going to do?  I believe in proper management, proper administration, I'd love everybody to pay because psychologically I think that's good – but from an administration standpoint, it would be a total nightmare.

TAPPER: I want to ask you specifically about a group he seems to be beating you with. The Des Moines register polls shows he's beating you in Iowa with born-again Christians with 33 percent to 18 percent. You've stayed pretty steady with born-again Christians, he's gone up. The poll also asked Iowa Republicans if they view as a committed Christian. 32 percent said yes, 28% said no, and 40 percent said they weren't sure. Now back in September, Dr. Carson was asked what distinguishes him from you and he mentioned faith – he brought it up. He said quote, probably the biggest thing I've realized is where my success has come from and I don't in any way deny my faith in God. Do you think that that comment might have in any way affected evangelical support for him?

TRUMP: No because look, as far as – I can only speak for myself. I don't like to talk about somebody else's faith. I can say that I'm a Presbyterian, I'm a believer. I do very well with the evangelicals. I was surprised that actually it's the first time he's done better than me, but I match myself against just about everybody. I am a believer, and they've always really – they like me. We've – I've gone to many meetings, we've had 28 of the great ministers last week, you probably saw that – and pastors from all over the country. So many, and they really – I've had a great relationship with Christianity and frankly, I'd say every bit as good as his. So, I don't understand the poll – I actually don't.

Paul Ryan is likely to be the next speaker of the House.  You have referred to him as weak on immigration.

TRUMP:  Very weak on immigration.

TAPPER:  Are you concerned about that?  If you become president, he'll be the speaker of the House, he could –

TRUMP:  They have to pick somebody. I think I'll get along with him great.  And he could change.  But they have to pick somebody.  Right now they have no idea who they're going to pick.  It looks like it's going to be Paul Ryan.  I think he's a very nice guy.  I think he's a very capable guy.  But there are a couple of issues that he's very weak on, and one of those issues is immigration.  And we have to-

TRUMP:  We have to have a border.  We have to have a wall.  We're going to have a wall.

TAPPER:  Should house republicans not support him for speaker because of this?

TRUMP:  I don't think that's going to happen because they can't come up with another name.  So even people that are very conservative, very hard-line conservatives, look like they're falling into line.  You see what's happening.  So I think he'll be speaker, and I think I'll get along very well with him.

TAPPER:  Let's turn to the issue of super PACs and big money in politics.  You issued a statement this week disavowing all super PACs that are out there in your name, requesting that they return all of the donations and calling on all presidential candidates to do the same.  Why?

TRUMP:  It's a scam.  It's a big fat scam.  The super PACs are a disaster.  I have – I think I have said nine or 10 super PACs have been set up in my name.  I don't even know who these people are.  You have all these people raising money, I guess in the name of Trump, that we love Trump, and some of them do, and probably some of them don't.  And I have no idea what they are going to do with the money they are raising.  But they are raising all of this money and they're going to spend it on the campaign, and we have, you know, the candidates are not supposed to be involved and all this stuff, but they have all this money, nobody even knows who the people are, nobody knows where they are, nobody knows what they're doing with the money.  It's a whole big scam.

If you look at Ben Carson, Ben Carson spending money from super PACs all over the place.  Now I hear his super PACs are going to merge.  I've heard that the super PACs are essentially running his campaign in Iowa, where they are actually running his campaign, they are doing all of the ground work and everything.  That's not what the purpose of the super PAC is supposed to be, and by the way, Jeb Bush, the same thing.  He's got one of his best friends that heads up his super PAC

And I'm calling on all candidates to disavow their super PACs.  It's a scam.  They know it.  It's a joke.  I mean, it's a joke.  They're all laughing about it.

TAPPER:  You just brought up Jeb Bush.  He was on my show last week, and he had some very tough things to say about you, about you not being a serious candidate, about his having great concerns about you being commander in chief.  I wanted to give you an opportunity to respond.

TRUMP:  Well, I'll respond, he happens to be a very nice person.  As I said, he's a low energy person.  By the way, Ben Carson is a very low energy person.  We need high energy people.

TAPPER:  Why?

TRUMP:  Because you need energy.  We are so far behind the eight ball.  We need a stronger temperament.  You have to have a strong temperament.  I've watched people all of my life, and I know all about low energy guys.  It doesn't work.  It doesn't work.  When you are dealing with China, these people come in, they are fierce, they are fierce, and you have to be a certain – you need a certain temperament.  I remember when Jeb would say that he's a little bit too strong, we need strength, they are cutting off people's heads in Syria, and all over the Middle East.  We need people that have that certain strength.  I know more about this than Jeb will ever know.  I have more common sense and I'm a far better leader than Jeb.  Jeb will never be a leader.

TAPPER:  Why do you keep talking about Jeb Bush when Jeb Bush -

TRUMP:  No, no, I talk about Ben Carson too.  I think Ben Carson is a very low energy person.  Actually I think Ben Carson is lower energy than Jeb, if you want to know the truth.  We need strong energy.  The thing with Ben is he's got a very good PAC, and he's got people running his PAC, and in my opinion, he's got people all over Iowa from his PAC, and they are running – Ben doesn't even go to Iowa that much.  And he's doing well in Iowa?  And so I think that super PACs are a real problem in terms of our country, and I'm talking about Ben.  I did talk about Jeb because I thought Jeb was going to be the front runner.  Obviously he's no longer the front runner.  I probably won't talk about him so much anymore.

TAPPER:  Carson criticized your proposal to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.  He said it would cause the collapse of the farming industry.  That's obviously something, of major concern.

TRUMP:  People can come with visas, they come right back in.  In other words, people can come back in with visas.

TAPPER:  So you don't buy that critique?

TRUMP:  Look, we either have a country or not.  These are illegal people.  There are at least 11 million.  Nobody knows.  Could be 30 million.  But there are at least 11 million.  I've been hearing that number for years, so it's probably wrong, could be less, could be more.  But they can come back in.  They can come back in with visas, they could come back in with work permits, they could do worker permits.  They could come back in.  But I would tell Carson and I would tell other people that are very weak on it, Jeb happens to be, Rubio happens to be very weak on immigration, and was a member of the gang of eight, they wanted to give the whole country away, Rubio, then the polls went down and all of a sudden he got out of the gang of eight very fast.  But they are weak on immigration.  I'm very strong on immigration.  We either have a country or we don't.  And we either have borders or we don't.

TAPPER: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the House Benghazi committee the other day. What did you think?

TRUMP: well I thought she did ok. I sort of felt she was gonna do ok. It was a very partisan, and it looked quite partisan. The level of hatred between Republicans and Democrats was unbelievable. The level of – I've never seen anything like it. Now, I've been doing this for a long time, I've been dealing with Republicans, with Democrats – I get along with everybody, and I've always gotten along with everybody. In all of the years that I've been involved in politics, I've never seen dislike, hatred, whatever you want to call it, between two parties like you have right now.

TAPPER: Do you think that hurts the Republican Party…

TRUMP: I think it hurts both parties (TAPPER: both parties?).  And I really think it hurts the country.  To be honest with you, Jake, it hurts the country.  Nothing can be done.  I mean, like we have corporate inversion where, where tremendous amount of money wants to come back into the country.  It's impossible.  Everybody agrees.  This is an interesting one.  The Republicans and the Democrats, they all agree.

TAPPER:  You're talking about Trump administration, the Trump administration bringing that era of bipartisanship.  That seems to be the implication you're making.

TRUMP:  I absolutely think so.  You know, a lot of people think I'm sort of the tough guy and I'm going to do what – I actually think I'm a really nice person.  But some people say, oh, he's not that.  I'm going to unify.  This country is totally divided.  Barack Obama has divided this country unbelievably.  And it's all – it's all hatred, what can I tell you.  I've never seen anything like it.  Now, I'm going to unify the country.  And sometimes when I say that, people say, well, but the people that know me, and I'm talking about some of the biggest people in the world, they call up and they say, it's right, I've seen him.  And you know one of the big knocks on me was that over the years, I've gotten along with Democrats and I've gotten along with Republicans.  And I said, that's a good thing.  As a businessman, I had an obligation to do that, to myself, to my family, to my company, to my employees.  I get along with everybody.  I will be a great unifier for our country.

TAPPER:  Hillary Clinton at the debate, the Democratic debate, was asked to name enemies of which she was proud, and she said Republicans.

TRUMP:  Well, that's part of the problems because you have the other side using that, and as a Republican, what do you think when you say a thing like that?

TAPPER:  Is she your enemy?

TRUMP:  I don't consider her an enemy.  I mean, right now she's an opponent.  I don't consider her an enemy.  But she can be easily beaten by her record, and I'm not talking about the Benghazi record.  Some pretty bad things came out.  Hundreds of phone calls from the ambassador help, help, help, and nothing was done.  People are sort of forgetting some of the things that took place during that hearing.  But I don't consider that.  I just say that her record as – her record in government.  If you look at it, she was in favor of the war with Iraq, which she shouldn't have been, it was a disaster, and by the way, which I wasn't.

And I should be given credit, because in 2003, I came out with a major statement, front page, all over the place.  I don't know why, because I was just a businessman, I wasn't a politician, but that we shouldn't go into Iraq, because it's going to totally destabilize the Middle East, and that Iran is going to end up taking over Iraq.  Which is by the way, exactly, after spending $2 trillion, thousands of lives, wounded warriors, whom I love, all over the place. Iran is taking over Iraq as we speak.  And by the way, what they don't have, ISIS has.  So we shouldn't have done it.  Hillary Clinton voted in favor of the war.

TAPPER:  The U.S. just lost a soldier in Iraq.  You were just talking about ISIS.  Delta force commando, Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler, he was killed on a joint mission with Kurds.  They rescued roughly 70 hostages being held by ISIS, ones the Pentagon says were facing imminent execution.  The first American soldier killed in combat against ISIS.  Would you have ordered that mission?

TRUMP:  I would say the following.  I was totally against Iraq, but we shouldn't have left the way we left.  And if you remember, and I told you, very early on that we were going to leave, take the oil.  Because right now you know who has the oil.  And you know who is buying the oil, is China.  They don't have 10 cents in this whole deal, and they are buying the oil.  They are the biggest customer.  So you have the oil going to ISIS and we have the oil going to Iran, and Iran will end up with most of it, and ISIS will have plenty, because they got plenty of money because they took the oil, because we were stupid.  And I said, take the oil when we leave.

But we shouldn't have really left.  We shouldn't have gotten in, but then we shouldn't have left.  So Bush should have gotten us in, and Obama shouldn't have taken us the way he took us out. And the other thing is unpredictability.  He's so predictable.  When he took us out, he shouldn't have said we're going as of a certain date, because the enemy just sat back and waited, full strength, nobody being killed, everything fine, takes them out and then they go and they did their number, which obviously they are doing to this day.

TAPPER:  This is the situation that you will inherit if you become commander in chief.

TRUMP:  That's right, and I think I will be very good at it.

TAPPER:  Would you –

TRUMP:  You look at the same polls in Iowa, and if you look at – you know, by the way, nobody talks about the ABC Washington Post poll, where I am no. 1 nationwide by a lot.  You know, everyone loves to talk about the Iowa poll, and I honestly think the Iowa poll-

TAPPER:  You are absolutely leading in nationwide polls.

TRUMP:  By a lot.

TAPPER:  By a lot.

TRUMP:  But I will say this, I believe that if you look at the polls, people give me the highest marks by far for leadership.  They give me the highest marks by far for military.  They are giving me the highest marks for military.

TAPPER:  And that's what I want to know, would you order a special forces, a special operations mission to go rescue hostages, even if they weren't American hostages?

TRUMP:  I think I might, but I'd have to look at the situation.  I think, I am not going to criticize anybody for that.  I think I might, but I would have to look at the situation.  All I know is this, we're living in medieval times. I use to read about medieval times, they chop heads off.  We're in medieval times.  We're in the most brutal period of this world that anybody can remember, I'm talking about for thousands of years.  We're having heads chopped off, we're having people drown in cages, we're living in an unbelievably dangerous and horrible world, which is why I want to go back to the military, because we need it now maybe more than ever before.

TAPPER:  What is the Trump doctrine?  When would you use force?  And how would you use force?  Would it be overwhelming?  Would it be more like counter-terrorism special ops, Navy SEALs, Delta Force?

TRUMP:  The Trump doctrine is very simple, Jake.  It's strength.  It's strength.  Nobody is going to mess with us.  Our military is going to be made much stronger.  When General Odierno left, I was watching it three or four weeks ago on television where he said that the Army is in the worst level of preparedness that it's ever been that he can ever remember, and maybe in its history.  I said, wow, what a statement.

TAPPER:  You also recently said that the Middle East would be better off with Gadhafi, Saddam Hussein and Assad in power.  How does –

TRUMP:  I didn't say Assad.  But we certainly have not gained anything with Gadhafi.  And you look at what happened.  I mean, look at Libya.  Look at Iraq.  Iraq used to be no terrorists.  He would kill the terrorists immediately, which is like now it's the Harvard of terrorism.  If you look at Iraq from years ago, I'm not saying he was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy, but it was a lot better than it is right now.  Right now, Iraq is a training ground for terrorists.  Right now Libya, nobody even knows Libya, frankly there is no Iraq and there is no Libya.  It's all broken up.  They have no control.  Nobody knows what's going on.

TAPPER:  The world would be better off with Saddam Hussein –

TRUMP:  100 percent.

TAPPER:  - and Gadhafi in power?

TRUMP:  100 percent.

TAPPER:  What about human rights abuses?

TRUMP:  You don't think they're happening now?  They're worse now than they ever were.  People are getting their heads chopped off, they're being drowned. Right now they are far worse than they were, ever, under Saddam Hussein or Gadhafi.  I mean, look what happened.  Libya is a catastrophe.  If you look at our ambassador, as an example, OK?  Libya is a disaster.  Iraq is a disaster.  Syria is a disaster.  The whole of Middle East.  And it all blew up around Hillary Clinton and around Barack Obama.  It all blew up.

Now, one thing about Assad, not a good guy, I understand that, but we're backing and spending billions and billions of dollars on backing rebels that we have no idea who they are.  And a lot of people think they're ISIS.  I happen to think they're ISIS, but who knows.  We're spending billions of dollars to get Assad out, with people that we have no idea who they are.  I don't think that is smart.  We have to rebuild our country.  Our country is falling to pieces.  We have $19 trillion in debt, we have infrastructure that is a disaster.  Our roadways, our airports, our schools, everything.  We have to start thinking about ourselves.  We are pouring trillions of dollars into the Middle East, and we have nothing for it.  We have nothing.

TAPPER:  Mr. Trump, thanks so much for spending the time with us.

TRUMP:  Thank you very much.

###END INTERVIEW###

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