Rona Barrett interviews a 34-year-old Donald Trump in 1980, when he seemed to have no political aspirations. But now, in 2017, Donald Trump is days away from becoming President. Rona had not planned on asking him political questions as she was there to interview him for a TV special on millionaires. Only a few minutes of the 47 minutes filmed ever aired, but nothing concerning politics.
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Rona Barrett: You are a mover you are a doer. If you could make America perfect, how would you do it?
Donald Trump: Well, I think the American is a country that has tremendous, tremendous potential. I think that much like the mind, I think that America is using very very little of its potential, I feel that this country with the proper leadership can go on to become what it once was, and I hope, and certainly hope, that it does going to be what it is what it should be.
Rona Barrett: What should it be?
Donald Trump: Well, it should be a country, it should really be a country that gets the respect of other countries. Today,
Rona Barrett: Is respect the most important thing in your opinion?
Donald Trump: Well, respect can lead to other things. When you get the respect of other countries, than the other countries tend to do a little bit as you do, and you can create the right attitude. The, the Iranian situation is a case in point. That they hold our hostages is just absolutely and totally ridiculous. That this country sits back and allows a country such as a Iran to hold her hostage is to my way of thinking a horror and I don’t think they do it with other countries. I honestly don’t think they do it with other countries.
Rona Barrett: Obviously you are advocating that we should have gone in there with troops etc. and brought our boys out.
Donald Trump: I absolutely feel that, yes. I don’t think there’s any question and there’s no question in my mind. I think right now we’d be an oil-rich nation and I believe that we should have done it, and I’m very disappointed that we didn’t do it, and I don’t think anybody would have held us and abeyance. I don’t think anybody would have been angry with us. And we had every right to do it at the time. I think we’ve lost the opportunity.
Rona Barrett: For some people the ultimate goal in life has been becoming the President of the United States. Would you like to be president of the United States?
Donald Trump: I really don’t believe I would, Rona. I do would like to see somebody as the president who could do the job, and they’re very capable people in this country.
Rona Barrett: Most people who are capable are not running for office. Most men are frightened of politics today.
Donald Trump: It is a shame, isn’t it.
Rona Barrett: Yes.
Donald Trump: It is a shame. The most capable people are not necessarily running for political office, and that is a very sad commentary on the country. They head major corporations and they head this and that but they are not running for political office.
Rona Barrett: Why wouldn’t someone like youself run for political office? You have all the money that you possibly need. You’ve accomplished a great deal, even though your only 34. I know there’s a lot of things that you possibly can do in the years ahead. Why wouldn’t you dedicate yourself to Public Service?
Donald Trump: Because I think it’s a very mean life and I would love, and I would dedicate my life to this country, but I see it as being a mean life. And I also see it that somebody with strong views and somebody with a kind of views that are maybe a little bit unpopular, which may be right, but may be unpopular, wouldn’t necessarily have a chance of getting elected against somebody with no great brain, but a big smile. And that’s a sad commentary for the political process.
Rona Barrett: Television, in a strange way, has ruined that process hasn’t it.
Donald Trump: It’s hurt the processor very much. I mean the Abraham Lincoln’s of the world, Abraham Lincoln would probably not be electable today because of television. He was not a handsome man and he did not smile at all. He would not be considered to be a prime candidate for the presidency. And that’s a shame isn’t it.
Rona Barrett: But if all men are like you, then when are we going to get somebody who might be good?
Donald Trump: I don’t know. I hope it’s around the corner, but I don’t know. I really don’t know. What I would like to be involved in is trying to help choose somebody or working with a group of people whereby they put up a candidate who would be acceptable to be a presidential, you know, to to be the president. The country, if we had the one man, and it’s really not that big a situation. You know people say, well, what could anybody do as president. The one man could turn this country around, the one proper president, could turn this country around. I firmly believe that.
Rona Barrett: If you lost your fortune today, what would you do tomorrow.
Donald Trump: Maybe I’d run for president. I don’t know.
Donald Trump Teases a President Bid During a 1988 Oprah Show
Donald Trump is perhaps best known for the money he’s made (and lost) in real estate, his less-than-humble demeanor and his hit reality TV show, ‘The Apprentice’. In recent years, the business tycoon has also been chasing the dream of holding the highest office in the land. Although many people know he has been eyeing the Oval Office for a couple of election cycles, you may be surprised to learn just how far back his presidential aspirations reach. Watch as Donald, in a 1988 appearance on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’, shares his thoughts on running for office.