November 8th, 2015
11:18 AM ET

Trump on Carson: "Ben wrote a book he talked about he has pathological disease ... as I understand it, you can't really cure it."

SOTU

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”

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Trump on his appearance on SNL: “Well, they were a little bit too far. And it is "Saturday Night Live," and it's a lot of fun.  And people understand gets a little risque.  And we took out a couple of them that I thought maybe went a little bit too far.  But we had a lot of fun last night.  It was terrific.  It was really well-received and probably got very good ratings… [TAPPER]:  Yes.  We will see in a few hours. What do you make of perhaps your chief rival for the presidential nomination, Dr. Ben Carson, saying that he wouldn't ever host "SNL" because the presidency is a very serious thing? [TRUMP]:  Well, he would have done it.  Barack Obama did it.  Many people did it.  Many, many people running for office did it, or, at a minimum, they participated.  Last week, Hillary did. And he would have done it, if they asked him.  You have to get asked.  You know, it's not easy to be asked.  It takes a lot of something to do whatever it is that you have to achieve to be asked to host "Saturday Night Live." So, you know, I considered it a great honor.”c     

 Trump on Carson’s past: “It's a lot of scrutiny. And, frankly, it's a lot of - a lot of statements that are under fire.  And I hope - I hope Ben is going to be OK with it.  It's going to be interesting to see what happens.  Time will tell. But it is certainly - a lot of people are asking a lot of questions all of a sudden.  And, you know, it's - it's a little bit tough.  I would say it's not so easy on Ben.  I hope it comes - I hope, frankly, it comes out great for him… But he said he had pathological disease.  I assume the book was written prior to him deciding to run for office.  But they had some pretty tough statements in the book.”

 Trump recalling the possibility of becoming President George HW’s Vice President: “Well, Lee Atwater was a friend of mine.  He was a great guy and an absolute friend.  And he did ask me about it.  He said, "Would you at all consider it?" And it was very early in my career.  I was doing well with the building stuff and building buildings in Manhattan and lots of other places.  And, frankly, I remember it very vividly, where Lee Atwater said, "You know, you would be great." I said: "I don't know, Lee.  Check it out.  Take a look at it.  And if it works, I guess I would certainly consider it." But it never went much further than that.”

Trump on Rubio’s finances: “And now, you know, I hope he's going to show his credit cards, and I hope it turns out to be good for him, not bad for him.  I mean, we will see what happens.  But I would like to see him not hurt himself on such a matter that is - you know, should be very easy to understand and very simple to understand. So, we will see what happens.  If he gave the information, it will be easy, probably very easy, to see whether or not anything was done wrong.  And, frankly, I hope nothing was done that was wrong, because that would be really terrible, to be disqualified for that.”

Trump reacts to the recent Egyptian terror attack: “So, I would hit ISIS very, very hard.  I would hit them at their source of wealth... I would take the oil away.  I would hit them so hard, their wealth would go away and it would dissipate. And unless you are going to take away their wealth, you're not going to take away ISIS. [TAPPER]:  But would you put more U.S. ground troops in Iraq?  Would... [TRUMP]:  Yes.  And I think you could do it to a limited - I would work with the Kurds.  I would work with a lot of other groups.  And we would knock it out. There are many people that want ISIS gone.  We're not the only ones.  But I would work on it very, very hard and very swiftly.  And I would knock ISIS out.  I would knock out their source of wealth.”

Trump on his new radio ads: “I'm not backing away.  You have to get them out.  You have to do what Dwight Eisenhower did in the early '50s.  He moved a million-and-a-half out.  It's not a pleasant thing, but you have to do it. You have to - you have - we're a country of laws.  You have to move them out and get them back in, the good ones.  We are going to get them back in.  We will expedite.  We will work it out.  But we're a country of laws.  You have thousands, tens of thousands… So many people wanting to come into this country, Jake, and they're waiting in line.  They're doing it legally.  Very unfair.”

  

FULL TRANSCRIPT

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

 

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR:  I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, D.C., where the state of our union is up late to catch Donald Trump's appearance as the host of "Saturday Night Live."

 

The Republican front-runner seemed right at home at 30 Rock, joining the venerable sketch show as it poked gentle fun at his policies and persona.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

 

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Part of the reason I'm here is that I know how to take a joke.  They have done so much to ridicule me over the years.  This show has been a disaster for me.

 

Look at this guy.

 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Great, great, great, great.  Isn't it just fantastic?

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  I have got to say, you're going a great job.  In fact, I think this show just got better by about two billion percent.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

TAPPER:  Trump was undeterred by protesters outside objecting to what they view as his racist rhetoric.  The latest polls have Trump leading the Republican PAC nationally and in those early key states of Iowa and New Hampshire, with Dr. Ben Carson nipping at his heels.

 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

 

TAPPER:  Fresh of his "SNL" set, joining us right now, Donald Trump.

 

Mr. Trump, thanks for joining us.

 

TRUMP:  Good morning, Jake.

 

TAPPER:  So, last night, you hosted "Saturday Night Live."  We heard there were sketches that you vetoed because they went too far.  What were they?

 

TRUMP:  Well, they were a little bit too far.

 

And it is "Saturday Night Live," and it's a lot of fun.  And people understand gets a little risque.  And we took out a couple of them that I thought maybe went a little bit too far.  But we had a lot of fun last night.  It was terrific.  It was really well-received and probably got very good ratings.  Who knows.

 

TAPPER:  Yes.  We will see in a few hours.

 

What do you make of perhaps your chief rival for the presidential nomination, Dr. Ben Carson, saying that he wouldn't ever host "SNL" because the presidency is a very serious thing?

 

TRUMP:  Well, he would have done it.  Barack Obama did it.  Many people did it.  Many, many people running for office did it, or, at a minimum, they participated.  Last week, Hillary did.

 

And he would have done it, if they asked him.  You have to get asked.  You know, it's not easy to be asked.  It takes a lot of something to do whatever it is that you have to achieve to be asked to host "Saturday Night Live."

 

So, you know, I considered it a great honor.  I hosted it 11 years ago.  Three weeks ago, I did "60 Minutes" with - of all people, Putin was the other one that was interviewed in the same night.  So, that's an iconic thing also.

 

So, "60 Minutes" and, frankly, "Saturday Night Live," I mean, these are two very iconic shows that everybody says yes to if asked.  And I'm sure Ben would also.

 

TAPPER:  Speaking of Dr. Carson, he found himself this week under increasing scrutiny this week, facing questions about how accurate his stories about his past have been about how violent he was, about whether or not he received an offer from West Point, whether he was the most honest student in a class he took at Yale.

 

You told "The Washington Post" that all the scrutiny this week for Carson is the beginning of the end for him.  What do you mean by that?

 

TRUMP:  Well, it certainly is.  It's a lot of scrutiny.

 

And, frankly, it's a lot of - a lot of statements that are under fire.  And I hope - I hope Ben is going to be OK with it.  It's going to be interesting to see what happens.  Time will tell.

 

But it is certainly - a lot of people are asking a lot of questions all of a sudden.  And, you know, it's - it's a little bit tough.  I would say it's not so easy on Ben.  I hope it comes - I hope, frankly, it comes out great for him.

 

TAPPER:  Do you think that he has not been honest?

 

TRUMP:  I just don't know.  I mean, I'm not involved.  I don't really know.  It's a lot of things.

 

I - when you say, though, hitting your mother over the head with a hammer, when you talk about hitting a friend in the face with a lock, a padlock, and you talk about stabbing someone and it got stopped by a belt buckle, which, you know, belt buckles really pretty much don't stop a stabbing.  They turn and twist and things slide off them.

So, you know, it's pretty - pretty lucky if that happened.  But, you know, Ben wrote a book.  And the book is a tough book, because he talked about he has pathological disease.  That's a serious statement, when you say you have pathological disease, because, as I understand it, you can't really cure it.

But he said he had pathological disease.  I assume the book was written prior to him deciding to run for office.  But they had some pretty tough statements in the book.

TAPPER:  There's a new book coming out this Tuesday by Jon Meacham.  It's a biography of George H.W. Bush.  It's a great book.  If you haven't read it, you should.

I found interesting one section in which George H.W. Bush in 1988 is trying to decide who is going to be his running mate, who is going to be his vice president, and it says that you let Lee Atwater know that you were available.

Do you remember this?

TRUMP:  Well, Lee Atwater was a friend of mine.  He was a great guy and an absolute friend.  And he did ask me about it.  He said, "Would you at all consider it?"

And it was very early in my career.  I was doing well with the building stuff and building buildings in Manhattan and lots of other places.  And, frankly, I remember it very vividly, where Lee Atwater said, "You know, you would be great."

I said: "I don't know, Lee.  Check it out.  Take a look at it.  And if it works, I guess I would certainly consider it."

But it never went much further than that.

TAPPER:  The book also describes George H.W. Bush feeling as though his son, George W. Bush, President Bush, was ill-served by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.  What is your take on that?

TRUMP:  Well, I think that that was very tough.  I was very, very surprised to see it, because, you know, the father is revered by so many people, including the sons.  Everything I can see about that, the sons very much feel that way.  And I think he feels that about the sons.

And that was a pretty tough shot at George.  And I was a little bit surprised to see it, frankly, as probably you were.  You might have been more surprised than me, Jake.

TAPPER:  I was pretty surprised.  It's true.

Let's talk about some of your other rivals.  Yesterday, Senator Marco Rubio made available to reporters 22 months of previously unreleased statements from his Republican Party of Florida American Express card.  This has been a controversy dogging him for some time.

You have gone after Rubio's finances this week.  He hit back.  Take a listen.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I just - I find it ironic that the only person running for president that has ever declared a bankruptcy four times in the last 25 years is attacking anyone on finances.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  I wanted to give you an opportunity to respond, sir.

TRUMP:  Well, it's easy to respond.

Out of hundreds and hundreds, over 500 deals and transactions, in about three or four cases, I used restructuring to take care of corporate stuff, just corporate stuff, which is routinely done by the biggest people.

If you look at the biggest people in business - I won't mention their names, but, I mean, you can literally name any big person.  They have all done the same thing as I have done and made a lot of money with it.  And so have I.  I have made a lot of money by using the laws of the land, which is what I'm supposed to do.  I'm a businessman.

And, you know, frankly, all of those deals, in a sense, they worked out, and worked out in some cases really, really well.  But I used the laws of the land, no different than many of the names that you talk about all the time, certainly in a business standpoint you talk about all the time.

So, that was good.  And now, you know, I hope he's going to show his credit cards, and I hope it turns out to be good for him, not bad for him.  I mean, we will see what happens.  But I would like to see him not hurt himself on such a matter that is - you know, should be very easy to understand and very simple to understand.

So, we will see what happens.  If he gave the information, it will be easy, probably very easy, to see whether or not anything was done wrong.  And, frankly, I hope nothing was done that was wrong, because that would be really terrible, to be disqualified for that.

TAPPER:  The race appears to be coming down to basically a final four.  At least, that's how it is nationally and in Iowa and to a degree in New Hampshire, all though Kasich replacing Cruz, but the final four being you and Dr. Carson battling it out for first place.  You have an edge right now.  Cruz and Rubio battling it out for third place.

Why should Republican voters pick you over Carson, Cruz, and Rubio?

TRUMP:  Because I have an unbelievable record.  And I'm the one that is going to make our country great again.  I'm the one that is going to be renegotiating with all of these - that's what I do all my life.

I built up a tremendous net worth, an incredible net worth, an unbelievable company.  I have dealt with - many of my deals are foreign-based.  They're all over the world.  And nobody can do what I can do in terms of trade negotiation, in terms of military.

You know, it's interesting.  When you do polls - and, in fact, when CNN does polls, you look at my numbers on leadership, it's two, and three, and four times higher than anybody else.  Look at my numbers on finance and the economy.  It's way, way up high.  It's in the 60s and 70s and 40s.

And, you know, nobody else comes close.  I think I will do what nobody else can do.  I will take back our jobs from China.  And I will be able to get along with the rest of the world.  I mean, nobody - nobody is going to get along like I get along.

You know, we talk about temperament.  I have the right temperament.  So, nobody is going to be able to do what I will do.  I will bring our jobs back.  I will bring our manufacturing back.  I will make our country rich again and we will make it great again.

TAPPER:  Let's talk about some matters in foreign affairs.  You were just talking about the military.

The U.S. appears to be increasingly confident that it was, in fact, a terrorist bomb planted by ISIS that brought down that Russian - Russian passenger jet that broke apart over Egypt last weekend.

If ISIS was indeed responsible for planting that bomb, and you got intelligence that made you 100 percent sure that were true, how would you respond as president?  What would you do?

TRUMP:  Well, we have got to hit ISIS hard.  Regardless, we have got to hit ISIS hard, and I mean really hard.

And I like the fact that Russia is hitting ISIS and they have started to hit ISIS.  And it was their plane, so that's going to give them even more incentive to hit ISIS.  And they're hitting it.

And, you know, we don't have to be alone in that quest.  So, I would hit ISIS very, very hard.  I would hit them at their source of wealth...

TAPPER:  Yes.

TRUMP:  ... which is the oil.  And I would hit them right now.

TAPPER:  What - when you say hitting ISIS hard, what do you mean specifically?  Do you mean...

TRUMP:  Well, I hate to say specifically, because, if I win - you know, I'm leading in the polls.  And, if I win, I hate to give all of my information right up front, to be honest with you.

TAPPER:  But you would put U.S. troops...

TRUMP:  But I would hit them at their source of wealth.  I would hit them at their source of wealth, which is the oil.  I would take the oil away.  I would hit them so hard, their wealth would go away and it would dissipate.

And unless you are going to take away their wealth, you're not going to take away ISIS.

TAPPER:  But would you put more U.S. ground troops in Iraq?  Would...

TRUMP:  Yes.  And I think you could do it to a limited - I would work with the Kurds.  I would work with a lot of other groups.  And we would knock it out.

There are many people that want ISIS gone.  We're not the only ones.  But I would work on it very, very hard and very swiftly.  And I would knock ISIS out.  I would knock out their source of wealth.

TAPPER:  Would you be willing to send U.S. troops as part of a coalition into Syria?

TRUMP:  Well, Syria is a different story, because I'm not a believer in arming the rebels and we don't know who they are.

You have Assad.  I agree he's not a good guy, but, sometimes, the rebels - and we look at Libya.  You look at lots of other places, including Iraq.  The rebels turn out to be a lot worse.  If you want to know the truth, Jake, they turn out to be a lot worse than what was there in the first place.  Just take a look at what is going on in the Middle East.

So, we don't know who these rebels are.  We're arming them all over the place.  I have to take a real strong, serious look at who these people are.

TAPPER:  You released your first radio ads this week.  The ads tout your support for building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

It doesn't mention your plan for deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants.  Is that an indication that you're backing away in any way from that proposal?

TRUMP:  I'm not backing away.  You have to get them out.  You have to do what Dwight Eisenhower did in the early '50s.  He moved a million-and-a-half out.  It's not a pleasant thing, but you have to do it.

You have to - you have - we're a country of laws.  You have to move them out and get them back in, the good ones.  We are going to get them back in.  We will expedite.  We will work it out.  But we're a country of laws.  You have thousands, tens of thousands.

TAPPER:  All right.

TRUMP:  So many people wanting to come into this country, Jake, and they're waiting in line.  They're doing it legally.  Very unfair.

TAPPER:  The Republican presidential front-runner, Donald Trump, thanks so much for calling in.  I know it was a late night for you.

TRUMP:  Thank you very much, Jake.  Great honor.  Thank you.

 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

 

###END INTERVIEW###

 

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