Full Rush Transcript: Donald Trump, CNN Milwaukee Republican Presidential Town Hall
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED
COOPER: And welcome back. We’re coming to you tonight from the Riverside Theater in downtown Milwaukee with the “360” townhall. The three remaining Republican candidates campaigning hard with the primary here just a week away. We heard so far from Senator Ted Cruz. Right now the GOP front-runner, New York businessman Donald Trump.
TRUMP: Thank you.
COOPER: Hey, how are you doing? Nice to see you.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
COOPER: Have a seat.
TRUMP: Thank you.
COOPER: So we got a lot of questions from the audience for you on a lot of policy issues.
I got to start off with some news of the day topics. Your campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski charged with simple battery for grabbing a reporter by the arm. Will he continue as your campaign manager?
TRUMP: Yes, he will. I looked at the tape. I looked — it was my tape. It was at one of my places. I have great security and great security cameras. I gave the tape, and frankly, if you look at that, people have looked at it — in fact, I just left another area of Wisconsin, we had a whole big meeting with a whole group of people, big audience, tremendous audience, and they’re all shaking their heads, give me a break, give me a break.
COOPER: Let me ask you, though…
TRUMP: The answer is yes. And by the way, speaking of something else, I watched Ted Cruz. His home state is not Florida. His home state is Texas. It may be Canada.
TRUMP: But to the best of my knowledge, it’s Texas. So he made that — I was surprised you didn’t correct him actually.
COOPER: Let me ask you about Lewandowski. Initially your campaign said this never happened, there was no video of it. You came out and said you thought this person was, perhaps, making it up, this reporter. Lewandowski, himself, tweeted saying, I never met this reporter, I never touched this person; now the videotape shows he clearly did touch this person. Whether or not you think it was battery or not…
TRUMP: Touch — I don’t know what touch means. I looked…
COOPER: Well, he says I never touched this person.
TRUMP: And then she says, oh, look, at my arm.
COOPER: Did he mislead you at all?
TRUMP: Not at all. No, not at all. Look, I didn’t know we had all these security cameras all over. But the time I found out, I said, well, this is really wonderful, this exonerates him totally. Now…
TRUMP: (inaudible) would have happened (inaudible) went to the ground or something to the effect that she almost went to the ground. She was in pain. She went to the ground. When she found out that there was a security camera, and that they had her on tape, all of a sudden that story changed. She didn’t talk about it.
COOPER: No, that’s not true. She says her story has remained exactly the same. She was knocked a little bit off…
TRUMP: Oh really? Can I read this to you this then?
COOPER: Yes, that she was knocked off balance but she remained standing.
TRUMP: Do you mind if I read this to you? Do you mind if I read you her statement?
TRUMP: I mean, give me a break. You know, the problem is everybody dumps people when there’s, like, a sign of political incorrectness. I’m just going to read, if I can find it…
COOPER: She said she was almost knocked off balance, but she remained standing.
TRUMP: She said she was almost knocked off balance, right. Here’s what she said. You want to read it? Or you want me to do it?
You’re a professional announcer. Why don’t you read it. The bottom part.
TRUMP: The bottom. Now that’s an exact quote from her prior to seeing the cameras, and now she says, oh, I better change my story, I guess.
COOPER: This quote says, “I was jolted backwards. Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down. I almost knell fell to the ground but was able..”.
TRUMP: Yanked you down. Did you see it? Did she almost fall to the ground, Anderson?
COOPER: “… was able to maintain my balance nonetheless. I was shaken. Campaign managers aren’t supposed to try to forcefully throw reporters to the ground.”
No, she did not go down on the ground.
TRUMP: Oh no, let me just say — look, before she knows — folks, look, I’m a loyal person. I’m going to be loyal to the country. I’m going to be loyal to Wisconsin. We have to tell it like it is. It would be so easy for me to terminate this man, ruin his life, ruin his family. He’s got four beautiful children in New Hampshire, ruin his whole everything, and say you’re fired. Okay? I fired many people, especially on “The Apprentice.”
TRUMP: But look at what she says. Michelle Fields, who, by the way, is not a baby. OK? In her own worlds, exactly. “I was jolted backwards.” Well, she’s standing there. “Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm.” Tightly. “And yanked me down.” She wasn’t yanked down. She was – like, she didn’t even have any expression. If somebody in this audience gets whacked, or gets hurt, including me, you get hit a little bit. You go, ow. There’s no emotion.
OK, wait a minute. “I almost fell to the ground.” I almost fell to the ground; she didn’t almost fall to the ground. He got in her way. And by the way, she was grabbing me! Am I supposed to press charges against her? Oh, my arm is hurting.
Anderson, my arm is just killing me. It’s never been the same.
COOPER: You’ve suggested you might —
TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me! I didn’t suggest.
COOPER: Oh, yeah, you did.
TRUMP: I tweeted. No, no, I tweeted.
COOPER: A tweet is a suggestion.
TRUMP: Should I press charges?
COOPER: Are you going to?
TRUMP: Sure! I don’t know. Maybe I should, right? Because you know what?
(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: She was grabbing me. And just so you understand, she was off base because she went through the Secret Service. She had a pen in her hand which Secret Service is not liking because they don’t know what it is, whether it’s a little bomb or —
COOPER: So it doesn’t concern you that initially Corey Lewandowski said I never touched her, and that turns out not to be true?
TRUMP: I don’t think he knew her. I mean, based on what I heard, I don’t think he really even knew who she was. To the best of my knowledge, they really didn’t know each other. Or he said he doesn’t know her.
But listen to this: “I almost fell to the ground,” which is untrue, “but was able to maintain my balance.” She had no trouble with her balance because it’s right on tape. “Nonetheless, I was shaken. Campaign managers aren’t supposed to try to forcefully throw reporters to the ground.” She didn’t go to the ground! She didn’t even have an expression on her face.
COOPER: Do you think this is politically motivated?
TRUMP: It could be. I don’t know. Look, I’ll tell you what: a friend of mine who’s in law enforcement said to me, there’s probably not a detective in the world that would have done what they did to him. I mean, people in Syria —
COOPER: The state attorney’s a Democrat.
TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me. Oh, really? Oh, I’m shocked to hear that. You know,
TRUMP: You know, people, are chopping off heads in the Middle East. They’re drowning people in cages by 50s. They’re drowning — here’s a guy – she shouldn’t have been touching me. Okay? And you saw that she did that. She was grabbing me. Twice.
I looked at her. In fact, one of the great pictures is me going like this like, get away from me, who is this person? Okay? But my arm, it’s never been the same, folks.
TRUMP: Never been the same.
So let me just tell you, she went through Secret Service, boom. She grabbed me, and he really stepped in front of her. I didn’t see the grab; he stepped in front of her. She wasn’t supposed to be asking questions because the press conference lasted for 45 minutes, and all questions were done. And I was walking rapidly outside.
COOPER: But this is the second time Lewandowski has touched somebody. He did this to a protester, he grabbed a guy by the collar. Something which you actually backed him up on And you said –
TRUMP: I back people up. And I back up (INAUDIBLE). Did you see what he did? Did you see what he did?
COOPER: I did. In fact, there’s the video right there.
TRUMP: Did you see the sign the protester was holding?
COOPER: No I didn’t.
TRUMP: Did you see what was on that sign?
COOPER: No, I didn’t.
TRUMP: Do me a favor. Take a look at what was on the sign.
COOPER: But should your campaign manager be laying hands on anybody?
TRUMP: Excuse me. Did you see the protester grabbing the woman in front of him? With his hands on her neck?
TRUMP: OK. Take a look. You know what he did? He had his shirt with two fingers like this, and then he let go because security was behind him, and they took off.
COOPER: Your opponents are suggesting, on the Republican side, are suggesting that this says something about your leadership, that you’re condoning this kind of thing –
TRUMP: Oh, I think my leadership is very good. I’ve watched Ted Cruz, I watched him. He didn’t even know what state he comes from, OK? I watched him talking about he comes from the state of Florida. Fort Hood is in Texas, by the way. But if you see what he said. I don’t know.
I’m so surprised with him, Anderson, that you let him get away with that. But I’ll tell you what. You just take a look – you just take a look at what’s going on. I stick up for people when they’re right. I would have loved to have fired – it would have been much easier than talking to you about this all night long. I’d rather talk about the issues, to be honest.
But I stick up –
TRUMP: Right? I stick up for people when people are unjustly accused. And in my opinion, unjustly accused. She’s grabbing me. He walks in to stop it. She walked through Secret Service. She had a pen in her hand, which could have been a knife, it could have been just a pen, which is very dangerous. She should not have been doing that.
And she didn’t fall to the ground. She wasn’t dragged to the ground and all of the things that she said, Anderson. I stick up for people, and I don’t want to ruin somebody’s life. It would have been very easy for me to do so. You know, when I owned Miss Universe, I had the case of the young woman who was very unjustly accused by somebody that you know very well. And I gave her a second chance.
And I’m very proud of her. She had a tremendous substance abuse problem and I’m very – Tara, I’m very, very proud of her. I’m very proud of the job she did.
COOPER: I want to ask you about another tweet you sent. You sent a tweet over the weekend about the death toll in this horrible terror attack in Pakistan over the weekend.
COOPER: You talked about the death toll. And then you said, I alone can solve. What do you mean by that?
TRUMP: I think I alone because I know my competition. Look, I know my competition.
COOPER: You, alone, among the Republican candidates.
TRUMP: I see Hillary with Benghazi, you know the famous ad, 3:00 in the morning, guess what, the phone rang, she wasn’t there. Unless Sidney called, if Sidney called she was there.
COOPER: But you’re the only one who can solve terror problems in Pakistan? I mean, Pakistan…
TRUMP: Yes, of the ones that are running, I’m the only one. I know what I’m running. I know the competition. And believe me, I know, I watched Ted Cruz.
COOPER: How though? I mean, what…
TRUMP: So phony. I mean, you know, I know you have couple people out there because he put them in the audience. But it’s so false. You know, the whole thing with the five-second intermissions between sentences. No.
Yes, I think I am the one to be able to solve the problem.
COOPER: But, I mean, there’s problems in a lot of different countries, problems in the United States. How can you solve the problems all the way over in Pakistan when the Pakistanis, themselves, are struggling with it?
TRUMP: Look, look, Pakistan is a very, very vital problem and really vital country for us because they have a thing called nuclear weapons. They have to get a hold of their situation.
When I see that and when I see it put in a park because it was mostly Christians, although many others were killed other than Christians, I think it’s just absolutely a horrible story.
But I’m talking about radical Islamic terrorism. I will solve it far better than anybody else running.
COOPER: Let’s talk about nuclear issues because you talked about this in a really interesting article in The New York Times.
TRUMP: One of the very, very big issues. I think maybe the biggest issue of our time.
COOPER: That’s what you said to The New York Times. You said you worried about the proliferation of nuclear weapons…
COOPER: … the most. You also said, though, that you might support Japan and South Korea developing nuclear weapons of their own. Isn’t that completely contradictory?
TRUMP: No, not at all. Look, you have North Korea has nuclear weapons. And he doesn’t have a carrier yet but he has got nuclear weapons. He soon will have. We don’t want to pull the trigger. We’re just — you know, we have a president, frankly, that doesn’t — nobody is afraid of our president. Nobody respects our president.
You take a look at what’s going on throughout the world. It’s not the country that it was.
COOPER: But if you’re concerned about proliferation, letting other countries get nuclear weapons, isn’t that proliferation?
TRUMP: No, no. We owe $19 $trillion, we have another $2 trillion because of the very, very bad omnibus budget that was just signed. It’s a disgrace, which gives everything that Obama wanted. We get nothing. They get everything.
So that’s going to be $21 trillion. We are supporting nations now, militarily, we are supporting nations like Saudi Arabia which was making during the good oil days which was a year ago, now they’re making less but still a lot, $1 billion a day.
We are supporting them, militarily, and pay us a fraction, a fraction of what they should be paying us and of the cost. We are supporting Japan. Most people didn’t even know that. Most people didn’t know that we are taking care of Japan’s military needs. We’re supporting…
TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me, we’re supporting Germany. We’re supporting South Korea. I order thousands of television sets because I am in the real estate business, you know, in my other life, OK.
COOPER: It has been a U.S. policy for decades to prevent Japan from getting a nuclear weapon.
TRUMP: That might be policy, but maybe…
COOPER: South Korea as well.
TRUMP: Can I be honest are you? Maybe it’s going to have to be time to change, because so many people, you have Pakistan has it, you have China has it. You have so many other countries are now having it…
COOPER: So some proliferation is OK?
TRUMP: No, no, not proliferation. I hate nuclear more than any. My uncle was a professor was at MIT, used to (AUDIO GAP) nuclear, he used to tell me about the problem.
COOPER: But that’s contradictory about Japan and South Korea.
TRUMP: (AUDIO GAP) Iran is going to have it very — within…
COOPER: But that’s proliferation.
TRUMP: Excuse me, one of the dumbest I’ve ever seen signed ever, ever, ever by anybody, Iran is going to have it within 10 years. Iran is going to have it. I thought it was a very good interview in The New York Times.
COOPER: So you have no problem with Japan and South Korea having…
TRUMP: I thought…
COOPER: … nuclear weapons.
TRUMP: At some point we have to say, you know what, we’re better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea, we’re better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start to protect itself, we have…
COOPER: Saudi Arabia, nuclear weapons?
TRUMP: Saudi Arabia, absolutely.
COOPER: You would be fine with them having nuclear weapons?
TRUMP: No, not nuclear weapons, but they have to protect themselves or they have to pay us.
Here’s the thing, with Japan, they have to pay us or we have to let them protect themselves.
COOPER: So if you said, Japan, yes, it’s fine, you get nuclear weapons, South Korea, you as well, and Saudi Arabia says we want them, too?
TRUMP: Can I be honest with you? It’s going to happen, anyway. It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time. They’re going to start having them or we have to get rid of them entirely.
But you have so many countries already, China, Pakistan, you have so many countries, Russia, you have so many countries right now that have them.
Now, wouldn’t you rather in a certain sense have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons? And they do have them. They absolutely have them. They can’t — they have no carrier system yet but they will very soon.
Wouldn’t you rather have Japan, perhaps, they’re over there, they’re very close, they’re very fearful of North Korea, and we’re supposed to protect.
COOPER: So you’re saying you don’t want more nuclear weapons in the world but you’re OK with Japan and South Korea having nuclear weapons?
TRUMP: I don’t want more nuclear weapons. I think that — you know, when I hear Obama get up and say the biggest threat to the world today is global warming, I say, is this guy kidding?
The only global warming — the only global warming I’m worried about is nuclear global warming because that’s the single biggest threat. So it’s not that I’m a fan — we can’t afford it anymore. We’re sitting on a tremendous bubble. We’re going to be — again, $21 trillion. We don’t have money.
COOPER: So you have no security concerns…
TRUMP: We’re using all of the money…
COOPER: … about Japan or South Korea getting nuclear weapons?
TRUMP: Anderson, when you see all of the money that our country is spending on military, we’re not spending it for ourselves; we’re protecting all of these nations all over the world. We can’t afford to do it anymore.
COOPER: But isn’t there benefit for the United States in having a secure Europe. Isn’t there benefit for the United States in having a secure Asia.
TRUMP: There’s a benefit, but not big enough to bankrupt and destroy the United States, because that’s what’s happening. We can’t afford it. It’s very simple.
Now, I would rather see Japan having some form of defense, and maybe even offense, against North Korea. Because we’re not pulling the trigger. The bottom line on North Korea is china, if they wanted to, they’re a tremendous supplier of North Korea. They have tremendous power over North Korea. If they wanted to, if they weren’t toying with us, Anderson, China would be the one that would get in and could make a deal in one day, okay…
COOPER: I want to bring into the audience just a moment. Just a last question before we do. I’ve got to ask you about this back and forth between you and Senator Cruz about wives.
After saying that you were going to spill the beans about Heidi Cruz, you retweeted an unflattering picture of her next to a picture of your wife.
TRUMP: I thought it was a nice picture of Heidi. I thought it was fine.
COOPER: Come on.
TRUMP: I thought it was fine. She’s a pretty woman.
COOPER: You’re running for president of the United States.
TRUMP: Excuse me, I didn’t start it. I didn’t start it.
COOPER: But, sir, with all due respect, that’s the argument of 5-year-old.
TRUMP: No, it’s not.
COOPER: The argument of a 5-year-old is he started it.
TRUMP: You would say that. That’s the problem with our country.
COOPER: Every parent knows a kid who says he started it.
TRUMP: That’s not a 5-year-old.
Excuse. No, no, no. That’s the problem. Exactly that thinking is the problem this country has. I did not start this. He sent out a picture and he knew very well it was a picture…
COOPER: He didn’t send out a picture. It was an anti-Trump super PAC sent out.
TRUMP: Anderson, it was a cover story of a picture taken by Antoine Verglas, one of the great photographers of the world, by the way. My wife was a very, very successful model, like one of the most.
COOPER: A very successful model of course.
TRUMP: It was a picture for the cover of “GQ,” which is a decent — which is a very good magazine.
COOPER: It wasn’t even a pro-Cruz super PAC; it was an anti-Trump super PAC.
TRUMP: Excuse me, they were Romney people. Romney is, you know, very embarrassed that he did so badly four years ago. The guy choked like a dog and lost an election…
COOPER: Do you have proof that he sent it out?
TRUMP: No, everybody knows he sent it out. He knew the people in the super PAC. He knew — I would be willing to bet he wrote the phrase. You know, this is — would you like to have this as your first lady? And a lot of people said, yes, actually, if you want to know the truth.
TRUMP: But she was a magnificent model. She took a picture with one of the great photographers of the world. They put it on “GQ.” All of a sudden we see this picture going all over Utah just before the election.
And by the way, when he said, “We had a big day, we won Utah.” Excuse me, I won Arizona with far more delegates, and as you probably saw, 25 minutes ago, so maybe you didn’t see it, the vote was just counted in Missouri and I won Missouri, too.
TRUMP: Picked up another 12 or 13 delegates.
COOPER: Your wife is lovely, she’s very intelligent. Heidi Cruz, I haven’t interviewed her — she seems like a very intelligent, very accomplished person as well. Can you just leave wives out of this?
TRUMP: Absolutely. I’d like to do it.
COOPER: But why retweet — why retweet somebody?
TRUMP: I would love to do it. I really would rather talk about nuclear proliferation. It’s a slightly more important subject.
COOPER: You act as if retweeting is not an endorsement.
TRUMP: Let me just tell you something, I would love to do it. I didn’t send the photo to everybody in the state of Utah. He did. He knew about it. It was his people, who were his friends. It was a PAC that’s…
COOPER: Couldn’t you just let it go, though? Do you have to retweet some random person sending you…
TRUMP: No, I don’t let things go so easy. And let me tell you something. I don’t let the — if I were running the country, I wouldn’t have people taking advantage of the United States in trade and in every other way, either. Believe me, I wouldn’t have China walking away with trade deficits of $505 billion a year. I wouldn’t have Mexico laughing at us how stupid we are with trade deals, and at the border. I wouldn’t let Japan get away what they’re doing with, you know, devaluation of the yen. China big league devaluation. No, I — when somebody…
COOPER: Can you say tonight, though, no more such about wives?
TRUMP: Oh, absolutely. I don’t want to talk about that. It’s ridiculous to be talking about that.
COOPER: All right, let’s go to the audience. I want you to meet retired Lieutenant Brian Murphy. He as first the officer to report to the Sikh temple massacre in Oak Creek, and was shot 15 times. His fellow officer, who is standing next to him, Sam Lenda…
COOPER: Sam Lenda took out…
COOPER: His fellow officer standing next to him, Sam Lenda, took out the shooter that day, is also with us. We wanted to just first of all take a moment to thank both of them for their service and their actions.
COOPER: Brian has a question for you tonight. He says he’s — he likes Governor Kasich but he’s still undecided — so Brian.
QUESTION: Good evening, Mr. Trump. I have a question. In light of the Brussels and Paris attacks one of the quickest knee-jerk reactions is a backlash against specific minority religious groups. This, in turn, brings about things that cause damage all over. In Milwaukee, you heard about the Sikh temple shooting. Six people were killed. 99 percent of the men in the United States who wear turbans are actually Sikh and not Muslim. How would you suggest we help educate the public and not alienate these groups and, at the same time, how do we protect the constitutional rights of minority groups like the Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, and Jews, while still addressing radical Islamization?
TRUMP: Well, Brian, thank you for the question. We have a tremendous problem with radical Islam whether we like it or we don’t. We have a president who won’t talk about it.
I mean, Ted was saying the same thing. We have a president who won’t talk about it.
Why he won’t talk about, perhaps only he knows, but it’s a disgrace what’s going on. We have a serious, serious problem, and when I called for a temporary ban I thought that was a very bad thing for me to do politically, but I felt I should do it. And, I didn’t know that I would go up in the polls opposed to down. I did that because I really felt there had to be something done.
That was after the horrible San Bernardino, California situation. After, obviously, Paris which was terrible. You know, we talk about Paris with the gun-free zones, we talk about Paris with their strong gun laws, by the way. Nobody had guns except for the bad guys. If we would have had guns on the other side going, in terms of Second Amendment having to do, if bullets were — same thing with San Bernardino.
If bullets were going in the opposite direction, you wouldn’t have had the problems in those two places, that I can tell you. So, I think we have to be extremely careful with our Second Amendment, and we have to cherish our Second Amendment. Very important.
But, I would say this, when I called for the temporary banning, we have to look at it. We have a serious problem, I think you’ll admit that, Brian. We have a very, very serious problem with radical Islam, and if we don’t want to discuss it, and if we don’t want to look at it, we’re never going to solve the problem.
We have to be extremely strong with ISIS. We have to wipe ISIS off the face of the Earth so fast and so violently we have no choice. We have no choice.
And, I was against the war in Iraq. OK? I am not a fast trigger. I’m exactly the opposite of that. We should have never gone in, it destabilized the Middle East. But, I will tell you this, we got out. Obama got us out very badly.
Instead of leaving some troops, instead of giving a date, instead of, you know, with the exact time, I would say this though — we have no choice but to look at that. We have to be very, very vigilant. Very smart, and frankly, Brian, we have to be very tough because it’s only going to get worse.
Thousands of people are being allowed into this country over short periods of time coming supposedly from Syria. We have no idea who they are, we have no idea where is their paperwork. They have no paperwork; they have no identification. They’re coming into this country and it’s going to be a big, big problem.
COOPER: The other, though, part of Lieutenant Murphy’s question was about protecting the rights of minority groups, of Muslims, or Sikhs, of Jews, and others inside the United States…
TRUMP: … I want to do that also, and I do want to do that, but I at the same time we have to recognize we have a serious problem.
COOPER: Let me follow up on that. You said you agreed, I think you said you agreed, with Senator Ted Cruz’s proposal in the wake of the Brussels attack that law enforcement should, quote, “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.” I talked to him about this in the last hour.
Bill Bratton, Commissioner, the Chief of Police…
TRUMP: … Who I like very much…
COOPER: … In your home city. Chief of Police under Giuliani, as well as now de Blasio, again — out in L.A. He said about Ted Cruz’s proposal, “we do not patrol and secure neighborhoods based on selective enforcement because of race or religion.” Is he wrong?
TRUMP: I think we have to be extremely vigilant in those areas, we have to look very seriously at the Mosques. Lots of things happening in the Mosques, that’s been proven. You look at what’s going on in Paris where Mosques are being closed, OK? And, we have to look very, very seriously.
COOPER: There’s a lot of Muslims in America who hear that, saying we got to look seriously at the Mosques…
TRUMP: … Let me just tell you something, in San Bernadino people know what was going on. These two people — probably became radicalized through her. Who knows? Frankly, right now, it doesn’t matter.
But, these two people want to kill their co-workers, et cetera, et cetera, in their apartment, or their house. In their place where they lived, they had bombs all over the apartment…
COOPER: … Do you trust…
TRUMP: … Excuse me — they had bombs on the floor. Many people saw this. Many, many people. Muslims living with them in the same area. They saw that house, they saw that.
One didn’t want to turn them in. He said I don’t know turn them in because I don’t want to be accused of racial profiling. He saw bombs all over the apartment, OK?
It’s just an excuse…
COOPER: … Do you trust Muslims in America?
TRUMP: … Do I what?
COOPER: Trust Muslims in America?
TRUMP: Many of them I do. Many of them I do, and some, I guess, we don’t. Some, I guess, we don’t. We have a problem, and we can try and be very politically correct and pretend we don’t have a problem, but, Anderson, we have a major, major problem. This is, in a sense, this is a war…
COOPER: … So, special patrols in Muslim neighborhoods…
TRUMP: … You know, nobody wants to call it a war — excuse me. Nobody wants to call it a war. It’s a war. There’s a war.
The difference is it’s not like you’re fighting Germany or Japan where they have a uniform, we have a uniform, everybody has a different uniform. We don’t know where these people are.
COOPER: I want you to meet Jeff Johns. He’s a financial consultant. He said he is on the Trump train as of this point.
TRUMP: I like him. I like him very much.
COOPER: I knew you would.
TRUMP: I like him.
QUESTION: Thank you for coming to the great city of Milwaukee.
TRUMP: Thank you, Jeff.
QUESTION: Mr. Trump, you have a high net worth in the billions of dollars but many people don’t think that you’re a successful businessman. They refer to your inherited wealth and how it’s just a track that pays the average market index.
Mr. Trump, what do you say to those people that do not think that you’re a successful businessman?
TRUMP: Yes, I love the question because it’s such lies. I started off in Brooklyn. My father was a builder in Brooklyn. Brooklyn had not a lot of value. Brooklyn was not a great place to be. I wanted to always go into Manhattan.
My father, my first deal and my first loan was $1 million from my father which was a loan, I had to pay him back. I did numerous deals in Manhattan. My father said, don’t go into Manhattan, it’s not our territory, we can’t do that, it’s not for us.
I started off with a very, very small amount of money. And by the way, when my father passed away, remember, I have four — I have a total of five in my family. So we have brothers, sisters, split.
And when my father died, by that time I had already built a great fortune and my father didn’t leave a great fortune. It was Brooklyn and Queens real estate and it wasn’t a great fortune.
But now what they do is they build it up like, oh, he left Donald money. I started off — and you understand, you know the true answer because you’re somebody that understands me and you understand where it started.
I started off with $1 million and now I’m worth over $10 billion. And I filed my papers with the election committees, with the federal election, and people in your world, in your profession, are down there, or have been down there all the time and they can’t believe how great those papers are.
Very little debt. Some of the greatest assets in the world. Some of the greatest assets in the world. And, very importantly, tremendous cash flow. And I don’t say that in a bragging way. I say that because that’s the kind of thinking that our country needs.
And I want to say this, before my father died, he said, everything Donald touches turns to gold. It’s absolutely — he was so proud of me. But I borrowed very little money from my father.
What I did borrow and the thing that really helped me with my father was his knowledge. He was an excellent negotiator. He was an excellent builder. But he built in Brooklyn and Queens, there wasn’t that much money in Brooklyn and Queens.
COOPER: A lot of other candidates have released tax returns. You say you won’t release them because you’re being audited. There are some people who doubt you’re even being audited or have been audited as much as…
TRUMP: Oh, I can give you a letter for that. Would you like a letter? I’ll give you…
COOPER: Can you?
TRUMP: I’ll give it to you, sure, absolutely.
COOPER: Because some people have raised that as a doubt.
TRUMP: And only a fool would give a tax return…
COOPER: So you can offer evidence that you are being audited or have been audited like you say?
TRUMP: A hundred percent. I’ll give you a letter from the biggest firm in Washington that does my work for me.
COOPER: All right.
COOPER: I want you to meet Robert Kitelinger. He’s retired from the U.S. Army after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s now a student at Marquette University…
QUESTION: Good evening, Mr. Trump. In your opinion, what are the top three functions of the United States government?
TRUMP: Say it again?
QUESTION: In your opinion, what are the top three functions of the United States government?
TRUMP: Well, the greatest function of all by far is security for our nation. I would also say health care, I would also say education. I mean, there are many, many things, but I would say the top three are security, security, security.
We have to have security for our country so that we can continue to exist as a country. We are in danger. Thousands and thousands of people are infiltrating our country. We don’t know who they are.
There’s a very vicious world. We’re living in a very vicious world and we’re doing something that is against a lot of very smart people’s wishes. I can tell you, it’s totally against my wishes.
COOPER: So top three, you’re saying, security.
TRUMP: Security. I say all top three are security, but health care, education, would be probably three that would be top. And then you can go on from there.
But the military and the secure country, so that we have a country. Believe me, we’ve never been in a position, in my opinion, where our country is so vulnerable. Our military is being eaten away.
When General Odierno left recently, a year ago, I was watching him on maybe your show, one of the shows, and he said that the United States Army, the United States military forces have never been so — and I think he used the word depleted. But basically he said they’re exhausted.
COOPER: So just to follow-up, though…
TRUMP: And that’s a pretty — that’s a pretty sad commentary. And honestly, even though he was retiring at the time — and I had a lot of respect for him, good man, but even though he was leaving at the time, people shouldn’t say that because you’re giving the enemy ideas.
But if I get in, our military will be bigger, better, stronger than ever before. It’s the cheapest thing we can do.
COOPER: So in terms of federal government role, you’re saying security, but you also say health care and education should be provided by the federal government?
TRUMP: Well, those are two of the things. Yes, sure. I mean, there are obviously many things, housing, providing great neighborhoods…
COOPER: Aren’t you against the federal government’s involvement in education? don’t you want it to devolve to states?
TRUMP: I want it to go to state, yes. Absolutely. I want — right now…
COOPER: So that’s not part of what the federal government’s…
TRUMP: The federal government, but the concept of the country is the concept that we have to have education within the country, and we have to get rid of common core and it should be brought to the state level.
COOPER: And federal health care run by the federal government?
TRUMP: Health care — we need health care for our people. We need a good — Obamacare is a disaster. It’s proven to be…
COOPER: But is that something the federal government should be doing?
TRUMP: The government can lead it, but it should be privately done. It should be privately done. So that health care — in my opinion, we should probably have — we have to have private health care. We don’t have competition in health care.
The problem that we have in our country is we don’t have competition. It’s made because the politicians — by the way, I’m self-funding. I am self-funding. So the health care companies aren’t taking care of me. But they’re taking care of everyone else.
Wait one second. We don’t have — we don’t have bidding. We don’t have competition in health care. And it’s a disaster. Obamacare, if you take a look at your premiums, they’re going up 35 percent, 45 percent, 55 percent, and the deductibles are so high, you’ll never get to use it.
COOPER: You always say you’re self-funding. How much do you think your campaign has cost — in the past you said $25 million.
TRUMP: I can tell you, I’d say I’m in right now for — now, I’m in for about $35 million right now.
TRUMP: We take the small loans, the people that send $17.50, or $250, even $1,000…
COOPER: And you solicit those on your website.
TRUMP: No, I sell hats and shirts and…
COOPER: No, but you do solicit donations on your website?
TRUMP: No, I don’t really think so.
COOPER: Yes, you do. You have two spots (ph), where you do.
TRUMP: Okay, whatever. Whatever. It’s peanuts.
COOPER: It’s not peanuts; it’s $7 million — it’s a lot of money.
TRUMP: I’ll tell you what, what I’ve done is I’m in for about $35 million.
COOPER: It’s about a third of your campaign is funded by other people.
TRUMP: No it’s not. No, it’s not, not a third. Whatever the hats are, they also cost something.
COOPER: Well, according to the FTC you’ve raised more than, I think, $7 million last time I checked from individual donations.
TRUMP: Let me put it differently. I am not soliciting money from insurance companies and from lumber companies and from banks and from — if I did, I would have made Jeb Bush look like a baby. I have turned down more $10 million offers.
Just the other night, I’m in Florida, and a very, very rich friend of mine comes up, Donald, I’d like to give you $10 million, I’ll give you anything…
COOPER: You’ve actually been loaning your campaign a lot of money. Are you going to have your campaign pay you back?
TRUMP: I doubt it. But it just seems to be the way it’s done.
COOPER: But that’s a possibility?
TRUMP: I don’t know — can I be honest? I never even thought about it. I never even thought about it.
TRUMP: Just seems to me the way the lawyers set it up. But I am in right now, I put in my money, about $35 million. I think in terms of small donations, I think we’ve received $6 million up until this point.
COOPER: I think I saw $7 million.
TRUMP: Excuse me. A lot of that is the selling of merchandise and things like that.
COOPER: I want to…
TRUMP: There’s no influence over me. It’s not like the banks are giving me money and I’m going to do favors for the banks.
You look at Ted Cruz, the banks are giving him a lot of money. The oil and gas are giving him a lot of money. A lot of people are giving him a lot of money. And by the way super PACs are a disaster, and they’re a disaster waiting to happen, folks, and if they’re not gotten rid of, it’s only going to get worse.
COOPER: I want to introduce you to Amelia Roll (ph). She’s a journalism student the University of Wisconsin. She says her first choice is Senator Cruz, but you’re her second pick.
TRUMP: Oh, that’s nice.
COOPER: Here’s your chance to win her over — Amelia.
QUESTION: Mr. Trump, thank you so much for being here tonight.
TRUMP: Thank you.
QUESTION: Mr. Trump, in a recent interview with the Washington Post, you said that the U.S. should become a diminishing presence in NATO.
COOPER: Why do you think that the U.S. should start to withdraw their world presence from NATO, and what would you change about the organization so that we could remain involved?
TRUMP: Okay, I did two basic and very large interviews recently. I did the New York Times, which treated me unbelievably fairly. And there was a front-page story on Sunday or — I think, and It was a great story. And part of it was NATO — and the other was the Washington Post.
COOPER: I think you talked to them longer than any other candidate, by the way, on the Republican side.
TRUMP: I spoke to the Times?
TRUMP: Well, I spoke to them a long time. David, he’s a very talented writer actually. And they treated me very fairly.
I also did the Washington Post, where I said very similar things, and very similar things about NATO. Let me tell you, NATO is obsolete. It was 67 years, or it’s over 60 years old. It is — many countries, doesn’t cover terrorism, okay? it covers the Soviet Union which is no longer in existence. And NATO has to either be rejiggered, changed for the better. I’m not saying — the other thing that’s bad about NATO, we’re paying too much. We’re spending a tremendous — billions and billions of dollars on NATO.
COOPER: You’re saying it’s obsolete, though. You have now Vladimir Putin invade invading Crimea, annexing part of Ukraine — annexing Crimea.
TRUMP: Let me tell you about Ukraine. First of all…
COOPER: There a lot of people who believe NATO is more important…
TRUMP: You have countries that surround Ukraine. They don’t talk. They don’t seem to have a problem. I’m not saying go in. I’d say be very strong, you can be strong without necessarily even being (INAUDIBLE) or the money we spend. The money we spend is astronomical on NATO. Okay? The Ukraine —
COOPER: You really think NATO is obsolete?
TRUMP: I think it’s largely obsolete, yes. It’s got to be changed. It’s got to be — you don’t talk about terror. Our single biggest threat right now is terror, okay? Now that’s an amorphous term, but it’s terror. Our single biggest threat —
COOPER: So you would like to see an organization revamped, either NATO —
TRUMP: Either revamped – NATO, now if you do that, you’re going to have to obviously have to add different nations in because you have nations that aren’t in NATO that are very much into the world of terror. Both in terms of causing it and receiving it.
So you’d probably have to either start something or you have to do something. When you look at Brussels, hey, look. You remember a couple of months ago, I made a statement about Brussels. I said it’s a hell hole. That’s because it’s a financial, very big financial capital. Many of my friends are there. They know exactly what’s going on. I haven’t been there in many years. I was there. It was a beautiful city. Now it’s not good.
And I said it was a hell hole. “The New York Times” attacked me rather viciously for calling a place a hell hole. Two months later, we had the attack, and it turned out I was right. It’s a hell hole. And on Twitter and all over the place, they’re saying Trump was right, Trump was right.
I understand this stuff. I mean, I really do understand this stuff. NATO is obsolete. Now, that doesn’t mean it can’t be rejiggered and it can’t be fixed and made good or —
COOPER: And for you that’s —
TRUMP: It’s possible —
COOPER: — a financial component that when you talk about —
TRUMP: We’re paying too much! You have countries in NATO, I think it’s 28 countries – you have countries in NATO that are getting a free ride and it’s unfair, it’s very unfair.
The United States cannot afford to be the policemen of the world anymore, folks. We have to rebuild our own country. We have to stop with this stuff. You have as an example, Ukraine. You don’t have Germany talking about Ukraine. You don’t have many of the countries in NATO talking about — it’s always us. We’re always the first one out.
We have very big problems in our country. Very, very big problems. NATO has to be either changed, or we have to do something. And we shouldn’t be paying most of the course of NATO because it’s unfair – it’s unfair to our taxpayers and to our people.
COOPER: We’ve got to – we’ve got to take a quick break. We’ll have more with Donald Trump right after the short break when our 360 Republican Town Hall continues from the Riverside Theater in downtown Milwaukee.
COOPER: And, welcome back. We’re talking to Donald Trump. A week before the Wisconsin primary, voters asking the Republican candidates the questions that matter to them, looking for answers to help them decide. Before we go back to the audience, I want to ask you a question I asked to Senator Cruz as well. more than six months ago you pledged to support the Republican nominee, whoever that may be.
A lot has changed since then. It sounded, when I was pressing Senator Cruz on it, sounded like he was saying he was saying he’d have a hard time supporting somebody who went after his wife.
TRUMP: Honestly, he doesn’t have to support me. I’m not asking for his support. I want the people’s support.
COOPER: Do you continue to pledge whoever the Republican nominee is?
TRUMP: No. I don’t anymore.
COOPER: You don’t?
TRUMP: No, we’ll see who it is.
COOPER: You won’t promise to support the Republican nominee?
TRUMP: He was essentially saying the same thing. Let me just tell you, he doesn’t have to support me. I have tremendous support right now from the people. I’m way over two million votes more than him. I have many, many, more delegates than him. Like, many, many more delegates. As I said before, he was talking about his great victory the night Utah — well, I won Arizona. Many more delegates. Many, many more delegates.
I don’t really want him to do something he’s not comfortable with. Just like I can’t imagine Jeb Bush — look, I beat these people badly. I beat Jeb Bush. I beat the governor of this state, the governor of this state came in, he was favored to win. He was at 22 points. Then he said something bad about me and I hit him very hard, and he went boom, and he left the race. He was very early…
COOPER: …Just so I’m clear…
TRUMP: I don’t want to make people uncomfortable. I don’t need their support. Now, maybe it will be a negative, maybe it won’t.
COOPER: So, the pledge you took is null and void. The idea of supporting whoever…
TRUMP: … I have defeated…
COOPER: … the Republican nominee is, you say you will no longer guarantee you will support the Republican nominee…
TRUMP: … I have been treated very unfairly.
I won the state of Missouri, right? No, I have.
Aww, Cruz people.
I’ve been treated very unfairly.
COOPER: Unfairly by?
TRUMP: I’ll give you an example.
TRUMP: I think by, basically, the RNC, the Republican party, the establishment. You have a guy like Mitt Romney who lost miserably, who did a terrible job. He was a horrible, horrible campaign. The last month of that — I helped him. I raised him a million dollars…
COOPER: … Do you think the RNC is plotting to take this away from you at the convention?
TRUMP: I don’t know, I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see what happens, but I think you’d have a lot of very upset people if that happened.
Just so you understand, when Romney came out against me he ran one of the worst races in the history of presidential politics. He ought to sit back and root for us instead of being a negative force. And, we have, others also.
I’m bringing millions — the biggest story in all of politics worldwide right now — and I think you might agree to this, is what’s happened. Millions of people are coming in and voting, in all fairness, for me.
COOPER: And, watching, and being involved in the process.
TRUMP: And, watching all of this. Your ratings tonight will be excellent, right? The debate you had where 23 million people, I don’t want to say this tragedy, I’m just telling you, if I wasn’t in it you would have had, what? Four million people…
COOPER: … In the off chance that you’re not the Republican nominee, what would go into your decision of whether or not you would support…
TRUMP: … Well, I’ll look at it. I’ll see who it is. I mean, I’m not looking to hurt anybody. I love the Republican party as…
COOPER: … If it’s Senator Ted Cruz, would you support him…
TRUMP: … Look, here’s my thing on Cruz. A lot of nasty things have been said. I’m a very honorably guy, and I’m a very honest guy. I don’t do — I would have never done what he did to Ben Carson who, by the way, endorsed me.
I would have never gone to Iowa and said, “Ben Carson has left the race”. He is gone, 100 percent, vote for me. And they usher people into the caucus, and they try and get them to vote for Ted Cruz.
A lot of people left Ben Carson. Ben Carson is an honorable guy. That was a terrible thing to do. There were other terrible things to do. And I — honestly, I watched him tonight with you, and I watched how tormented he was when you asked him that question.
I don’t want to have him torment. I don’t want to have him be tormented. Let me just tell you, I don’t want his support. I don’t need his support. I want him to be comfortable.
Now, if he wants to support me, that would be wonderful because I think I’m going to win.
But let me just tell you. I watched him, you know, skirt around like any politician would. Skirt around the issue. I don’t want to make people like Jeb Bush, like Ted Cruz, like Governor Walker — I mean, Governor Walker, I hit him very hard after he hit me. But I hit him very hard and drove him out of the race.
I drove Jeb Bush out of the race. I drove Rand Paul out of the race. I understand why they don’t like me. And I don’t want people that — I don’t want people to do something against their will, Anderson.
I could see that he was having a hard time with a very simple question that you asked him. Would you support, well, I think I’m going to win. OK. He doesn’t have to do it. He doesn’t have to support me. I really don’t believe I need his support.
I’d love to have everybody’s support. You know what, I’m a unifier. Believe it or not, I’m a unifier. And you will see that. Someday you will see that.
COOPER: If there was a contested convention, and you didn’t get the nomination, and someone else was brought in, a Paul Ryan, for instance, would you support him?
TRUMP: Well, let me explain. See, he was very nice. He called me the other day, last week, and he was very nice. But then I read reports that he’s having meetings with people about, you know, some clandestine things. Let’s see what happens.
But he was very nice when he called. And I assume he was being straight with me. I hope he was being straight with me because what he said was very appropriate. I’m the front-runner by a lot. I’m beating Ted Cruz by millions of votes. Millions of votes.
The Republican Party is doing — it’s a phenomena. And this was not going to that with the Republican Party. People that never voted before, Democrats and independents, are pouring in and voting for me.
COOPER: In Louisiana, you won…
TRUMP: I won.
COOPER: But Ted Cruz got…
TRUMP: To show you how corrupt the system is…
COOPER: … got more delegates. You threatened to sue.
TRUMP: I won — well, I’m going to see. I mean, I never heard of that before. You know, I’m a very — I’m an American. If you win an election, you’re supposed to…
COOPER: But isn’t that just sour grapes? Didn’t he just have…
COOPER: He just outworked you on the ground in getting delegates?
TRUMP: No. Now let me tell you what’s next. No, no. Look, in Missouri, I just — it was just announced I won. I figured, in fact, they actually found that after a tabulation that I got 300 and some odd more votes than I had the first time, which is, you know, after two weeks or three weeks of tabulation, which gives me another 12 or 13 delegates. It was just announced a little while ago just before I went on the air.
I will say this, Louisiana, I went to Louisiana. I have a great relationship with the people of Louisiana. They’re great people. I won the election. I was down there the night before.
We had an airplane hangar, you wouldn’t believe it, packed with people screaming. I won the election. And then it’s all about the delegates. So I won. And then I found out that I got 10 votes less — 10 delegates less than the guy who lost. I beat him rather easily.
COOPER: But those are the rules. I mean, his campaign had a better ground game in Louisiana.
TRUMP: No, I don’t know what rules — OK, I don’t know, I don’t think — I don’t call it a ground game. I call it bad politics.
COOPER: They were able to get more delegates.
TRUMP: I call it bad politics. When somebody goes in and wins the election and gets less delegates than the guy that lost, I don’t think that’s right.
COOPER: All right. I want you to meet Jim Zaiser, he’s the CEO of a valve manufacturing company that has been in the family for three generations. He says he’s undecided. He’s leaning in your favor.
TRUMP: Thank you. That’s what I like to hear.
QUESTION: Hello, Mr. Trump. As a world leader, any leader, you need compassion and a willingness to make compromises. Can you give me an example of a time you have learned from your behavior and changed the way you have done something going forward?
TRUMP: Yes. I am somebody — Jim, thank you. I am somebody that believes in flexibility. And if you notice, Ted Cruz and mostly him, he says he will change, he will negotiate, he will this.
Look, you don’t have to stand on the floor of the United States Senate for a day-and-a-half and rant and rave while all the other senators are laughing at you, and by the way, not endorsing him.
Senator Jeff Sessions, one of the most respected men in the Senate, endorsed me, and frankly — I mean, and he’s a great man.
TRUMP: And by the way, Jeff Sessions is a great man with great, great knowledge. And Ted Cruz thought he was going to get that endorsement. He would speak about Jeff Sessions all the time, then Jeff Sessions came out and endorsed me.
You need flexibility, and I talk about it all the time. You need to be able to negotiate great deals. You know, it’s not all about signing executive orders because this is something that came in — that wasn’t the way our founders thought that this country was going to win.
You have to get — now, I’ll make great deals. I’ll make conservative deals. I’m going to make wonderful deals but you have to do it the old-fashioned way like Ronald Reagan did with Tip O’Neill.
COOPER: Do you have a specific, though, for him on — a specific example that you changed your behavior, changed the way you’ve done something going forward, or learned from something you’ve done that you didn’t like the way it turned out?
TRUMP: Well, I think — yeah, I mean, I have many, many things that I’ve done. I have many things that I’ve changed course on. I mean, I’ve changed course on many, many things.
I was not…
TRUMP: Actually, I have.
COOPER: Any specifics?
TRUMP: Well, I mean, you could say, I am — as you know, I’m pro-life, and I was originally pro-choice. I will say this, that as a developer and as a businessman I’m not sure I was ever even asked the question, are you pro-life, pro-choice?
And it was not something that as one of magazines recently said, Donald Trump is a world-class businessman. He was never asked those questions before. But you know, if I was asked those questions years ago it’s something I never really gave much though to. But I’ve made certain changes. I have evolved. I talk about evolving all the time.
COOPER: I want to…
TRUMP: And by the way, you know who else evolved, is Ronald Reagan evolved. Because Ronald Reagan signed one of the toughest abortion laws in favor of abortion in California that had been signed in many, many years. And yet has a great president and a — pretty conservative — he wasn’t very conservative, but he was a pretty conservative president.
COOPER: You said on the radio right here in Wisconsin the other day that you do apologize and you believe in apologizing. When was the last time you actually apologized for something?
TRUMP: Oh, wow.
TRUMP: No, I do — I don’t know — I’ll think. Can I think? But look, I do believe in apologizing, if you’re wrong. But if you’re not wrong, I don’t believe in apologizing.
For instance, I could have apologized, you brought up — we started this with Corey, my campaign manager. Will you apologize. I said, apologize for what? I see the tape. Apologize for what? I’ve love to apologize. It would be so much easier. Apologize, Corey, you’re fired…
COOPER: But you don’t know any specific examples that you’ve apologized, ever.
TRUMP: Yes, I mean — apologized — I apologized to my mother years ago for using foul language.
TRUMP: I apologize to my wife for not being presidential on occasion. She’s always saying “Darling, be more presidential.”
COOPER: She told me she’s talked to you about that.
TRUMP: No, she does, because she thinks I’m very presidential.
The last debate — and by the way, Cruz talked about I don’t want to — I debated this guy like 112 (ph) times.
COOPER: She didn’t like you reusing the word, a dirty word, or a bad word I guess — I sound like a 12-year-old…
COOPER: … that somebody in your audience shouted out and you repeated. She didn’t like that.
TRUMP: Oh, she didn’t like that. And really, it was just a repeat, but that didn’t work out too well. No, she didn’t…
TRUMP: Repeats don’t work either. And it wasn’t horrible.
COOPER: What is it with you, like, repeats and retweets don’t count.
TRUMP: Do you ever notice my biggest problems are repeats and retweets. I don’t in problem with what I say; it’s when I repeat such…
COOPER: Well, maybe that’s one of those things you should learn from your behavior and not retweet things.
TRUMP: You’re right. You’re right. That I agree with.
COOPER: Some free advice.
TRUMP: That I agree with.
I will say this, though, my wife and Ivanka said, like, on the last debates, because the debates had been pretty rough and really I felt I had to be rough, because it’s coming at me from all different angles. Don’t forget I’ve been at the middle of the podium, the middle of the stage for every single debate. I’ve enjoyed debate — I never debated…
COOPER: Cruz has challenged you to debate him.
TRUMP: Give me a break. The guy has challenged me – he’s lost every debate.
COOPER: You wouldn’t debate him one on one?
TRUMP: I think we’ve had enough questions from the same people, including you — and all due respect.
COOPER: I haven’t done a GOP debate yet, but that’s all right.
TRUMP: How many times can the same people — how many times, Anderson, can the same people ask the same question? It’s just — you get tired of it.
COOPER: But as president you’re going to be asked the same question for four or eight years.
TRUMP: I’ve had 11 or 12 debates — wait a minute — I’ve had 11 or 12 debates with Cruz. Every — Drudge, they do an online poll right after the debate, Time magazine, Slate, many groups do — I think I’ve won every single poll by a lot on debating. I have nothing to prove anymore.
COOPER: So no more debates?
TRUMP: I don’t see where it’s necessary.
I mean, look, you’re asking me all of these questions tonight.
Frankly, I think this is much better than a debate. The debates, they give you 15 seconds, what would you do in terms of war and peace, okay?
TRUMP: Honestly, i Think this is a much better format.
COOPER: I’m happy to keep having these conversations.
TRUMP: I don’t think it’s easier. I think debating is probably easier because you’re talking so little.
COOPER: I want to bring in. Sorry…
TRUMP: So I hope you change your mind. I hope you’re can agree (ph) with me.
COOPER: Sorry, hold on.
I want you to meet John Peghill (ph). Thanks very much.
TRUMP: Yes, hi, John.
COOPER: He’s a dairy farmer. He’s got 5,000 cows. We have another dairy farmer asking a question for Senator Cruz earlier. John said he’s leaning in your favor. Still listening to the other candidates.
TRUMP: Hi, John.
QUESTION: Mr. Trump — hi. Welcome to the Cheese State.
TRUMP: Thank you. A great state.
COOPER: The question that I have — Wisconsin is an amazing state. But our No. 1 economic driver, which is the dairy industry and the cheese industry is right behind it, is being challenged right now by having a labor force dependent on an immigration policy. And we’ve got over 10,000 farms in this state. And with there being such a strong economic driver, if we don’t have a strong immigration policy that will give us the opportunity to keep the ones that we have and provide a vehicle to bring new ones in from Mexico legally…
TRUMP: Legally. You said the word.
COOPER: Yes, but can you develop a policy that will give us that, give us the people that we have here to stay here and do the jobs — and create a policy that can bring people in to fill the jobs? We’re down to 3.5 percent unemployment rate North of Milwaukee, so that we can’t steal any more people from someone else’s industry, because that’s what everybody’s doing at this point. How do we fill the jobs, the good paying jobs? How do we fill those jobs?
TRUMP: Here’s where you are, you’re in the same position as the California grape growers because they need people to come in.
It’s seasonal, in that case. Very seasonal, less seasonal in your case, but still seasonal. And, people will be able — if they can’t get people, will be able to come in legally. See, you said the word.
Right now we have illegal immigration, we have illegals all over the country. We have at least 11 million. Some people think it could be 31 million, it’s somewhere in between. It’s probably 12, 13, 14 — we have no idea what we’re doing.
If you have an industry like California grapes, like perhaps what you’re talking about in Wisconsin, we’re going to let people come in, but they’re going to come in legally.
They’re going to come in through a visa program and they’re going to come in legally. It’s going to work out beautifully, you will not be affected. We don’t want to affect businesses. We want to grow businesses.
The other part of your question now, I think that we really have to talk about, is trade because a lot of people are sending goods over to other countries, and especially goods that can spoil like what you do. They send over to other countries, and the other country refuse to accept them, and yet we accept their good without tax, without anything. We are going to straighten out our trade policy so that you’re going to get a lot more business.
COOPER: We have time for one more question from the audience. This is Andy Bowen, she’s from Shorewood, and homeschools her two daughters. She says she’s leaning in your favor for the primary next week. Andy, welcome.
TRUMP: Thank you. Hi, Andy.
QUESTION: Thank you, hi, Mr. Trump. My 93-year-old father is so impressed with all of your kids.
TRUMP: That’s good.
QUESTION: Especially with your two sons. And, when they’re on television being interviewed, he will often say, “Why can’t Donald Trump be more like his sons, who are so…”
TRUMP: … I hear that. I know.
QUESTION: … who are so well spoken, and calm. And, so my question to you, Mr. Trump, is could you possibly look to your sons as examples how not to be quite so reactionary? And, also, congratulations on raising such fine young people…
TRUMP: …Thank you very much. I think I love that question, can I be honest?
TRUMP: I have so many compliments on my children, and Ivanka is doing phenomenally well.
My boys are great Baron is a young version, I think, of Eric, frankly, because they’re very tall, and they look alike, etcetera, etcetera.
But, Don, and Eric, and Baron are just spectacular people, and you know? I get so many compliments. Ivanka, is Ivanka, you know? You know Ivanka very well, you’ve had her on your show, and she’s a star. She’s absolutely a start, and so supportive of me, and so supportive what I’m doing. And, they do have great attitude.
I do, I get so many people come up to my office, and they want to have their children come up and meet me because they want their children to be like mine.
COOPER: Do you sometimes wish you had a little bit more of what she called, “calmness”?
TRUMP: My children have a lot of drive. You don’t want to see them sometimes, I will say this. They’re very strong. They are very — they have great heart. They have great heart. All of my children have a wonderful, wonderful feeling for people, they love people. That’s why they want me to do what I’m doing, because they know I’d do it well.
They know I’ll bring the country — you know, we have the expression, “Make America Great Again”. They know I will make America Great again. The world isn’t going to take advantages of us anymore.
You look at what the world is doing to us at every level, whether it’s militarily, or in trade, or in so many other levels, the world is taking advantage of the United States and it’s driving us into literally being a third world nation.
Anderson, I travel all over the world, and I land at airports the likes of which you’ve never seen, whether it’s in Qatar, or Dubai, or places in China. The likes of which you have never seen, and then we come home and we land at LaGuardia with potholes all over the place, or LAX, or Kennedy, or Newark, and you look at what we have and where we’ve gone.
It’s time to rebuild our country.
COOPER: You just welcomed a new grandson…
TRUMP: … And I really appreciate your statement. Thank you.
COOPER: You just welcomed a new grandson…
TRUMP: I did.
COOPER: His name is Theodore. Any chance you’re going to call him Crying Ted?
TRUMP: No, I don’t think so.
TRUMP: I said — well, actually, isn’t Ted’s real name Raphael? I think so, right? Because that was one of the questions did have to ask.
COOPER: I — it is.
TRUMP: I doesn’t matter.
Theodore Roosevelt is somebody Jared and Ivanka have long studied and respected, and it’s Theodore James. Tough, strong, and it’s Theodore James, and that’s what they really had in mind.
COOPER: Congratulations on that, and god bless.
TRUMP: Thank you, really appreciate that.
COOPER: Donald Trump, back with John Kasich after this short break…