Monday on CNN’s “New Day,” presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had took show host Chris Cuomo in what was heated interview.
Cuomo specifically keyed in on Trump’s attacks on his likely general election opponent, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Transcript as follows:
CUOMO: Let’s discuss these recent turns of event in the election with the man himself, the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump on the phone this morning. Mr. Trump, can you hear us?
TRUMP: I can.
CUOMO: We need to talk policy. We need to talk the state of play within your own party, but you have commanded a different headline that needs to be addressed. You are attacking Hillary Clinton for the sexual past and indiscretions of her husband, calling her an enabler. We have a panel of independent voters. They are smart as heck and most of them don’t like it. They see it as a distraction, they see it as hypocritical coming from you, and mostly they see it as potential proof you may have no real ideas to offer as president. What is your thinking on this line of attack?
TRUMP: Well, this is a nice way to start off the interview. First of all, you should congratulate me for having won the race. I thought at least there would be a small congratulations, but I’m not surprised with CNN because that’s the way they treat Trump. It’s the — they call it the Clinton network and I believe that. So, you know…
CUOMO: Wait, hold on. Mr. Trump, I did congratulate you the last time we spoke. I said congratulations on winning the big race. What are you going to do going forward?
TRUMP: Thank you very much. So warm and so well-felt.
CUOMO: But you — no, no, no, hold on, hold on. Let’s get this off on the right foot. I’m trying to address what you…
TRUMP: You’re starting off with a question, we haven’t spoken, last week, towards the end, I was the, essentially the nominee of the party, and you start off with this question which is not surprising, because I understand CNN perhaps a lot better than you do.
CUOMO: OK, OK, you know what? You’re right. Sometimes it’s good to restart. Here’s the restart. You are going to be your party’s nominee by all accounts. You are going to carry the standard for this party. You have said that once you get into the general, people will see what you have to offer. The first thing that you’ve come out with hot and heavy out of the box are these attacks on Hillary Clinton.
TRUMP: That wasn’t the first thing I came out with. The first thing I came out with, if you watched, was trade. We’re making horrible trade deals, we’re losing our jobs, we’re losing our manufacturing, it’s trade. The next thing I came out with is rebuilding our military, because our military is absolutely being decimated. We’re not spending the proper money. We’re not buying the proper equipment. We’re not taking care of our soldiers. We’re not taking care of our vets, by the way. But we’re not taking care of our military at a time when we just about in the history of our country need it the most. So I talk about that. I talk about the border. I talk about the fact that we have to stop the drugs from pouring into our country. Those are the things I talk about in a very long speech in Washington, actually Nebraska, which was unbelievable — every one of them had tens of thousands of people. I mean, they were massively attended, which, of course you don’t mention, nor does CNN ever show the crowds. It’s very interesting, because CNN — I could be making a speech for an hour, they’ll never show the extent of the crowd.
CUOMO: Well I’ll tell you, Mr. Trump, I would suggest that CNN shows your events more than they show any other candidate’s.
TRUMP: … where we had a record crowd, where Hillary Clinton said she wants to put the coal miners out of business, the miners.
CUOMO: We covered that extensively.
TRUMP: She said she wants the miners and the companies to go out of business.
CUOMO: We covered it extensively. On the military, you raise an important issue. We tried to get your campaign and the other campaigns to hold forth on whether or not they supported the current G.I. bill. As you know, in the congress, they did this sneaky vote in the house where there was no roll call and they were going to cut money from the G.I. bill to allow for other expenditures for vets. The vets were very upset. They said, no, don’t take money from us and reallocate it. Find the savings elsewhere. Do you support maintaining the G.I. bill the way it is right now and even growing it as opposed to cutting it?
TRUMP: I don’t want to be hurting our vets. Our vets have been hurt enough. We treat illegal immigrants better than we treat our vets. So I’m going to do nothing to hurt our vets. I’m going to only help our vets.
CUOMO: So is that a yes?
TRUMP: I’m not Hillary Clinton that thinks that the vets are getting too much. And they’re not getting too much. I’ve traveled, I’ve seen so many vets, I know so many vets now and I have a lot of friends. I’ve developed great friendships among the vets. Our vets are being treated very badly.
CUOMO: So is that a yes, I do support the current G.I. bill?
TRUMP: No. I want to bring jobs back to our country, I want to make our country go again. I just traveled. I won so many states in a row in massive landslides and part of the reason was trade. It wasn’t what you brought up at the beginning of the show which was totally inappropriate. Part of the reason I won was because of trade and I talk trade and I’m the only one that can do anything about trade. I’m going to renegotiate these trade deals. These trade deals have sucked everything out of our country. And by the way, Clinton is the one that approved NAFTA. NAFTA is the worst deal, one of the worst deals our country’s ever made from an economic standpoint. One of the worst deals ever. It’s taken — if you’ve seen what it’s done to New York State and New England and virtually every state, but it’s just — it is just, it has sucked the jobs out of our country, it sucked the money out of our country. We’re going to bring our jobs back. We’re going to make it much harder for people to leave, for people to take their companies and just go to Mexico and then sell the product back into the United States with no tax or nothing.
CUOMO: All right, so let’s unpack a little of this stuff one at a time. And first of all, just to get back to tone, just for one second, a little bit of this is because you’re on the phone. As you know, when you’re in person with somebody, very often you can interpret questions…
TRUMP: You would have asked the same question in person.
CUOMO: But I think maybe if you were face to face, it might be a little bit different. That’s all.
CUOMO: You think you would have asked a different question? I don’t think so.
CUOMO: No, I think that you’re taking it the wrong way, because obviously I’m playing off what the headline is everywhere this morning. I’m not just making it up, and NAFTA, I understand you wanting to bring up trade. As you know, Clinton did not pass NAFTA. Bush passed NAFTA. So you can criticize it all you want.
TRUMP: Oh really? Who signed NAFTA?
CUOMO: You can criticize it all you want. I’m just saying you want to keep the history. Bush was involved with NAFTA.
TRUMP: Excuse me. Who signed NAFTA? Whose bill was it and who signed it?
CUOMO: But what is your point, though? This was in the Bush administration.
TRUMP: But this was one of the worst deals ever made in the history of our country…
CUOMO: Bush (ph) 41.
TRUMP: … and it has just destroyed manufacturing, and destroyed jobs.
CUOMO: All right, that’s a valid point. You just have to spread the blame across both parties and you have to come up with a solution.
TRUMP: No, but the signer of NAFTA, take a look at who signed it. Check it out.
CUOMO: Bush 41.
TRUMP: OK. You take a look. You take a look. NAFTA was a Clinton deal and he wanted it so badly, and I have not been a big fan of what went on in terms, economic developmentally, or with the war with Bush either, frankly, if you want to know the truth. I mean, there’s a whole — that’s a whole other story. But if you look at NAFTA and you take a look at what’s been done and how hard Clinton pushed it and that bill has been an absolute disaster. The passage of that has been an absolute disaster for our country.
CUOMO: All right. Fair point. You want to criticize NAFTA. Doing more about trade, helping veterans.
TRUMP: And we’re going to bring it back and we’re going to bring the jobs back into our country and we’re going to make it very hard for companies to leave and then sell product back into our country and rip us off, and all we end up getting is unemployment of great people.
CUOMO: All real issues. As you know, the last time we spoke, when we did talk about your taking everybody out in the race and now being the man yourself, we talked about how you would bring about bringing back jobs. You said, I would tax companies who don’t do the right thing. I would have a tariff imposed. I said, that’s what congress does, not a president. You said, well I’ll work with them. All real issues. And that’s why I was so surprised to see you going after Clinton for her husband’s infidelity and calling her an enabler.
TRUMP: It’s only retribution for what she said. She is playing the woman’s card to the hilt. She is going — I mean I watched over the weekend, everything is about woman and Donald Trump raised his voice. It’s all nonsense. And you know what, women understand it better than anybody, and watch how well I do with women when it counts, when the election comes. Watch how well, because women want to see strong security, they want to see strong military, they want to see borders where people can’t just come walking across the border like it’s Swiss cheese, and you see the damage that’s been done to our country with the weak borders. You see what’s happening. You see the crime. You see the drugs flowing in and poisoning our youth and everybody else.
CUOMO: But then why don’t you talk about those issues and get women on your side as opposed to talking about infidelity and enabling?
TRUMP: I do. You took one sentence out of a long one hour speech. You took one sentence…
CUOMO: Mr. Trump, it’s not one sentence. You were grandstanding on it, you were working the crowd about it…
TRUMP: Chris, I spoke very little about that compared to other things. You took a small amount of the speech and you build it up like it’s the biggest thing in the world, but it is a big thing. Hey look, he was the worst abuser of women…
CUOMO: You just said I’m making too much of it, now you say it’s a big thing.
TRUMP: Excuse me. As a politician in the history of our country. He was impeached! He was impeached! And then he lied about it. He said, nothing happened with Monica Lewinsky, and then he said, sorry folks, it actually did happen. And the guy was impeached for lying.
CUOMO: All of that can be true. What does it have to do with Hillary?
TRUMP: She can’t talk about me because nobody respects women more than Donald Trump, and I will be better for women by a big factor than Hillary Clinton, who frankly, I don’t even think will be good to women. You know, she went and she spoke — it was very interesting. She spoke a few weeks ago and she said, I’m going to put the miners and the companies out of business. Then she went to West Virginia and she tried to pretend she didn’t make the statement, and that’s the way it is with here. The lies and the deception, it’s horrible. And by the way, they understand her in West Virginia, and I’ll bet you that she loses West Virginia, which she was easily supposed to win, and I would bet that if you took a poll there now, myself compared to her, you’ll see a big difference. But you watch the problems she’ll have. But the deception and the lies, and she tried to pretend like she didn’t mean it.
CUOMO: All right, let’s talk about something else. Sarah Palin came out and said, Paul Ryan is done. I’m calling on the supporters of Donald Trump to go after Paul Ryan and make sure that he gets Cantered, as in Eric Canter, that he loses his seat where he is. Do you want that? Do you want Sarah Palin going out there and trying to turn people against Paul Ryan? You’re supposed to be unifying the party.
TRUMP: Well, Sarah has endorsed me and I like her a lot. I think she’s a terrific person.
CUOMO: But do you want that? Do you want Paul Ryan kicked out?
TRUMP: Let me finish what I wanted to say, OK? But I have nothing to do with that. Sarah is very much a free agent. She’s a terrific person but she’s very much a free agent and I didn’t know about this until yesterday. I guess she’s been fighting, or she’s endorsing somebody that’s running against Paul Ryan and I didn’t know about it until yesterday when I read about it.
CUOMO: But this is a big deal. Paul Ryan, the speaker there, you have said to this point, to give you your due, hey, I want Ryan on my side. I want to work with him.
TRUMP: I’ll go a step further. I’ve always liked him. He called me not so long ago, I don’t know, a number of weeks ago, but he called me and he was very supportive and very nice and I thought everything was fine, and then I got blindsided, so we’ll see. I mean look, I’ll see what happens. Look, Chris, I think you know this better than anybody — the Republican Party, because of me, has received more votes than any time in its history during these primaries, right? Is that a correct statement?
CUOMO: You are on track to…
TRUMP: No, no, is that a correct statement?
CUOMO: … more votes than anybody in this primary.
TRUMP: No, no, I’m not even talking about me. Because of me, there has been a massive turnout…
CUOMO: Any GOP primary ever, you’ve gotten the most votes.
TRUMP: Because of me, you got the highest rates in the history of CNN during a debate and Fox set the all time record for cable television, 24 million and 23 million, OK. Now, most importantly, from my standpoint, in the history of primaries, I — with many states left. It’ll be beaten this weekend. I think it might already be beat– I’ve received more votes than any person ever to run in the Republican primary. So I have people that I’m representing. They’re unbelievable people. They’re loyal, they’re smart, they’re sharp, they’re tired of being abused, they’re tired of being lied to by people like Hillary Clinton with the 3:00 in the morning and then she never answered the call, Benghazi, all of the things, all of the e-mails, it’s just a mess with her, so they’re tired of it. They’re tired of not having increases in their wages for a period of 18 years. Essentially they’re making less money now in real wages than they made 18 years ago and we have a group of people that’s great. This group of people has given me, and it’s them, it’s a group. I’m like a messenger, but they’ve given me a number that no other president, not Ronald Reagan, nobody, has ever gotten. And by the way, we have many states left. We have California, we have New Jersey, Washington State where I was this weekend, I was at Oregon, I was in Nebraska, I was in West Virginia — they haven’t even been included in these numbers yet, so we’re going to break it by millions and millions of votes. So I represent a very important group of people and a powerful group of people. These people have to be treated with respect, Chris.
CUOMO: Understood. But Paul Ryan said, I’m not ready to endorse yet. You know you have the big meeting coming. This weekend, you gave him some cause for concern. It seemed as though you were saying this weekend two things that were different from what you said in the past. One on taxes for the wealthy where you said you were open to taxing them more. As you know, that’s against the conservative…
TRUMP: I didn’t say that, Chris.
CUOMO: Well that’s how it’s being reported. Tell us.
TRUMP: NBC misrepresented and Chuck Todd, if they put out that clip, in fact, I corrected him when he said it. Let’s get it straight so maybe there’s somebody listening to your show so we can actually have…
CUOMO: There are millions watching.
TRUMP: Let me just set it straight. I put in the biggest tax decrease of anybody running for office by far, OK, and many people think it’s great, and if anything, I was criticized because it’s too steep a cut, but that’s OK, but I put in by far the biggest tax decrease. All right. What I said — and that really is a proposal because we have to go to congress, we have to go to the senate, we have to go to our congress men and women and we have to negotiate a deal. So it really is a proposal, but it’s a very steep proposal. I said that I may have to increase the section — and by the way, everybody across the board, businesses, everybody’s getting a tax cut, especially the middle class. And I said that I may have to increase it on the wealthy. I’m not going to allow it to be increased on the middle class. Now, if I increase on the wealthy, that means they’re still going to be paying less than they pay now. I’m not talking about increasing from this point, I’m talking about increasing from my tax proposal.
CUOMO: Key distinction.
TRUMP: And Chuck Todd understood that totally, and yet they released information like I’m looking to increase the taxes. They will be getting a reduction, but the big reduction is going to be for business and for the middle class, because the middle class is being decimated in our country. So it was totally misrepresented just now by you and it was misrepresented frankly by NBC.
CUOMO: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on, Mr….
TRUMP: … and actually, Chuck Todd, when I corrected him on the show and he put it on, and yet they go then and talk about like I’m giving a tax increase for the wealthy, I’m not. I said, they may have to pay somewhat more than my proposal. But my proposal is much less than people are paying right now.
CUOMO: I totally understand, but when something is reported a certain way and I ask you about it and give you the opportunity to correct it, that’s not me misrepresenting, that’s giving you the opportunity you want which is to tell the audience what the truth is.
TRUMP: Well OK, and there was one other thing that was really misrepresented, I’ll tell you this…
CUOMO: About the minimum wage?
TRUMP: … and that’s the buyback of debt. I said, if we can buy back government debt at a discount, in other words, if interest rates go up and we can buy bonds back at a discount, if we are liquid enough as a country, we should do that. In other words, we can buy back debt at a discount. People said, I want to go and buy debt and default on debt and — these people are crazy. This is the United States Government. First of all, you never have to default because you print the money, I hate to tell you, OK, so there’s never a default, but the point is, it was reported in the “New York Times” in correctly…
CUOMO: That you said you would go to creditors and make them take less.
TRUMP: It was reported in the failing “New York Times” and other places that I want to default on debt — I’m the king of debt. I understand debt better than probably anybody. I know how to deal with debt very well. I love debt. But debt is tricky and it’s dangerous and you have to be careful and you have to know what you’re doing, but let me just tell you, if there’s a chance to buy back debt at a discount, U.S. debt, in other words, interest rates go up and the bonds go down, you can buy debt, that’s what I’m talking about. People had it, “The Times” and others wrote, oh, Trump wants to go and see creditors and buy debt at a discount. Now there could even be a time when somebody comes in but with the government, they’re never going to walk in and say, do me a favor. Would you buy my debt at a discount? In business, that happens all the time. I bought mortgages back when the market went bad. I bought mortgages back at tremendous discounts, and I love doing that. There’s nothing like it, actually. It gives me a great thrill. But in the United States with bonds, that won’t happen because in theory, the market doesn’t go down so that you default on debt and that’s what happens. So here’s the story. Just to have it corrected — if we have an opportunity where interest rates go up and you can buy debt back at a discount, I always like to be able to do that if you can do it, but that’s all I was talking about. They have it like I’m going to go back to creditors and I’m going to…
CUOMO: Yes. That’s what they were reporting.
TRUMP: … restructure debt, it’s ridiculous. They know it’s ridiculous, but they printed that wrong purposely.
CUOMO: All right. So let’s just be clear. Your team is saying you’ve got to go, I know you have a lot of different interviews to do. It’s good of you to accept these opportunities because it’s important for the people to hear these distinctions in what’s reported versus what you say is on the table from you, and that’s the opportunity…
TRUMP: Well, there’s so much misreporting. I mean, the press…
CUOMO: Well look, and that’s why we ask you to come on.
TRUMP: The press is unbelievably dishonest. There’s so much — and they know it’s wrong. Like, you have a lightweight, a real dope…
CUOMO: Mr. Trump, they say you have to…
TRUMP: … named Jennifer Rubin who spoke about, I didn’t speak to Rubio. Well I have spoken to Rubio. And then she said I never spoke to Ryan. Well I have spoken to Ryan, and she’s living in a time warp or something, you watch her…
CUOMO: Don’t worry — look, there are going to be a lot of talking heads say a lot of different things. What I offer you is this.
TRUMP: Someday you’ll put good people on about Trump, one of these days.
CUOMO: Look, what I want is to have you on. That’s why I offer you these opportunities…
TRUMP: OK, well I’m on.
CUOMO: … not to be unfair, to be fair and to give you the chance to correct what you say others get wrong and to be tested. Thank you for being here today, your team is saying you’ve got to get going, but I appreciate the time on “New Day.” I want to talk to you, not about you. Thank you for being with us.
TRUMP: Good. Thank you.
CUOMO: Take care.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
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