By Larry King - Host, PoliticKING
Photo Credit: PoliticKING with Larry King on Ora.TV / October 2013
No matter what you think of Donald Trump or his politics, there's no denying that his campaign for the presidency has been fascinating. Even when I was in Italy over the summer, he was all the talk. Certainly none of the analysts predicted that he would be leading in the polls almost a year away from Election Day - everyone thought that Jeb, or one of the other establishment candidates, would be on top. Can he continue to defy the odds all the way to the White House? The Donald joined my beautiful wife, Shawn and I on "Back and Forth" for his first-ever podcast interview. Here are some highlights from our conversation...
Trump says I "had a lot to do with" his success
Near the top of our interview, Shawn asked him if anything about running has surprised him. He admitted that he didn't think the crowds would be so big and that the poll numbers would be as good as they were so early on. Then he surprised me by saying that having him on my CNN show, "Larry King Live" so often over the years had helped get him where he is today saying, "It really had a big impact, I think on what I'm doing right now." He also praised the electorate saying, "...something I'm really impressed with is that I really think the public gets it, they're really smart."
My "from the heart" question on immigration
I asked Donald, hypothetically, if he were approached by a man who said, "twenty years ago he had entered the country illegally". The man took a job picking fruit in the fields of California. His children are high school athletes. And now, he is the foreman on the very same field from where he started his life in America. Would you tell that man that he should go back?
Donald responded, "I don't want to comment on that one right now, Larry.Because that's the sort of a question where I just don't want to answer it right now." He went on to say that "we are a country of laws and we need to have to have laws for the border. The border is so porous.And you know what's coming over; we're having tremendous problems." As he has on the campaign trail, Donald cited the case of Kate Steinle - a woman who was murdered in San Fransisco by a man who had been deported back to Mexico five different times - as an example of why his immigration policies are justified. Donald also remarked that "I have great relationships with Hispanics; I'm winning a lot of polls like in Nevada.I just won the poll, big league with the Hispanics." When I pushed for an answer on whether he would deport all "illegals" he said, "I just don't want to get into your specific question, but I can tell you that we will do something that will be done with heart, but it'll be done properly." Trump concluded by asking why the Chinese could build a wall "2000 years ago and its 13,000 miles long" but we can't build one that would only need to be 2000 miles long along our border with Mexico.
Trump on Bush and 9/11
Shawn asked Donald about The Atlantic supporting his claim that George W. Bush did not keep us safe during his tenure because 9/11 happened under his watch - a claim that has maddened Jeb.
Donald responded, "Jeb Bush came up, and he said "We were safe under my brother". And I'm saying to myself, "Oh, we were?Well, what about the World Trade Center?"Then you could also say, if you wanted to take it a step further, what about the fact that we went into Iraq under, you know, false information.They said "weapons of mass destruction" and lost thousands and thousands of lives over there and you know all of the other things.You could even go into the hurricane, if you look at hurricane Sandy...". Most likely, Donald meant to say hurricane Katrina.
When Shawn asked him if he believes the 9/11 report to be one hundred percent true Donald answered that he wrote about Osama Bin Laden in a book he wrote in 2000 saying, "So if I knew about him, why didn't government know about him?And government did know about him.You know, I'm not blaming anybody, I'm just saying that government knew that we had a lot of problems, they knew there was going to be an attack and they didn't do a very good job."
Donald was there for Shawn and I during a rocky time in our marriage. Shawn asked why we aren't seeing more of his compassionate side. Donald responded, "...cause, you know, we're leading now every national poll; almost every poll we're leading." When I asked him that means that he doesn't want to be known as the nice guy he said, "I do, it's important.I think I am a nice guy.I love people... But, I think its really about competence now. I think that this country has been so poorly run..."
On the Democrat's free college tuition plan
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have proposed debt-free tuition at public colleges. Donald says, "It would be wonderful to say let's do that, but taxes will be raised very tremendously... I think Sanders may mean it, but Hillary doesn't mean it.Because ultimately it means a big tax increase for everybody else."
On "horrible" Super PACs
A listener question from social media: You paid money to get politicians to do what you wanted in the past, would you change that system? Trump responded, "...frankly, every politician should disavow their Super PACs, because it is a system that is horrible."
What if Donald actually wins this thing?
I asked if he had any nerves over the idea that he could actually win the nomination and take the White House to which he simply said, "I know how big it is, and I know how important it is, but I don't really think about it.I just think about getting the job done, and then doing a good job if I get it."
Be sure to check out my political show, "PoliticKING" Tuesdays and Thursdays here on Ora.TV.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.