Trump on Putting America First in 1987 | Larry King Live

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In a September 2, 1987 interview with CNN’s Larry King, Donald Trump explains why he took out an ad about how the George H.W. Bush Administration’s foreign policy was allowing the United States to be “ripped” off of billions of dollars by other countries.

Partial Transcript

Larry King: Donald Trump, the multi-millionaire real estate developer is sounding more like a politician these days than America’s most grandiose and controversial builder. When he disagrees with a matter of policy, he does it in a big way. Today he put $95,000 into a full-page newspaper ad, appearing in many papers, criticizing the administration’s foreign policy. Rumplings in the Trump camp as far as the presidency. Could the Manhattan magnet be eyeing the White House or is he just calling a bluff? Are you a Republican, Donald? 

Donald Trump: I’m a republican, yes. 

Larry King: So if there were politics it would be as a Republican?

Donald Trump: It would be, I guess, as a Republican, but I don’t see that there will be politics. 

Larry King: Why the ad then? I’m mean, you said you wanted to say it. There’s a lot of ways  you can say things. I guess and ad is one way . You could have called up shows like this who have bee trying to have you come. Why now?

Donald Trump: Well, it was very easy. I was tired, and I think a lot of people are tired of watching other countries ripping off the United States. This is a great country. They laugh at us, behind our backs, they laugh at us because of our own stupidity. The leaders, I mean, what we have we have a Persian Gulf situation. You saw what happened today. Billions and billions of dollars are being spent on getting oil for Japan and they’re not paying anything for it. Essentially they’re paying nothing for it. We have tankers going back and forth that our men are protecting, losing their lives, I mean, they’re losing their lives , Larry. We are spending billions and billions on protection and those tankers are going over to Japan. It’s, it’s just preposterous. I watch the Kuwaiti oil minister the other day laughing as he was explaining how much money they intend to make with the Bridgeton, which has been a total disaster, the Bridgeton, and I said to myself isn’t that a shame. He’s talking about how much money they’re going to make and here we are,  he’s smiling and laughing. Why don’t we get some of it? Why is it that we’re protecting, we have frogmen, we have helicopters, we have aircraft carriers and all sorts of ships all over the Persian gulf, so that this man and his little group can make a lot of money. I think it’s ridiculous. 

Larry King: Well, one of the, one of the reasons we say we doing it is becasue we’ve been doing it. A previous presidents have endorse doing it. I guess the kind of thinking of an entreprenuer is because somebody else said it was right, doesn’t make it right, right?

Donald Trump:  Larry, the country is losing 200 billion dollars the year, 200 billion. This country cannot continue to lose 200 billion dollars. Japan is one of the wealthiest machines ever created. Saudi Arabia and it’s not, hey, let me tell you, I’m a big beneficiary of Japan. They buy my apartments in spades. They’re fine people, but they must be, they’re laughing to themselves as to what’s happening over here. We’re not kidding ourselves. They’re laughing to themselves, Larry, as to what’s happening in this country. 

Larry King: But, Donald a lot of people feel the way you feel, and a lot of people maybe with as much money, or certainly some people with as much money feel the way you feel. Why did you go public?

Donald Trump: Because somebody had to Larry. I watch, and again, and it’s a very important point. Japan is a money machine. Saudi Arabia is a money machine. Kuwait, these  are money machines, the greatest ever created. The United States is, if it was a corporation it would be bankrupt. It’s losing 200 billion dollars a year. For years now it’s been losing that. What right do we have to go out and defend? Why aren’t these countries, these wealthy money machines, paying us for the defense of their freedom and their nations. Why aren’t they paying us?

Larry King: We are kind of the world’s keeper, are we not?

Donald Trump: I don’t believe we should be. I think Japan should certainly make a contribution. Japan is, is one of the reasons are so successful is they don’t have to worry about the defence because, why should they worry about the defence when the United States will do it for nothing.  I mean, it’s crazy.

 Saudi Arabia, I mean, you saw what happened with Saudi Arabia. We’re going through the gulf, we have old-fashioned, obsolete minesweepers. We ask Saudi Arabia for the use of their minesweepers, which are the best made, the most modern, the best, and they say no. Who are they to tell us no? We’re not going to give you all mine sweepers. It’s ridiculous. They’re only there, they’re only there, for the sake of us as far as that’s concerned. We are protective of Saudi Arabia. They should pay for that. 

Larry King: Are we going to be hearing more from Mr. Trump on issues like this as we go along? 

Donald Trump: I really don’t know, Larry. This is an issue that’s been bothering me, it’s been bothering a lot of people that I know, and I think it’s an issue that had to be brought out to the for. The concept of America financing and paying and losing lives for country’s that won’t even allow us to use their ships, and these are the countries that in 24 hours they’d be wiped off the face of the Earth if it weren’t for America, it’s ridiculous.

Larry King: By the way, a couple of other things, and we’ll take some calls for Donald Trump. Is it true that you’re going to go to New Hampshire in October at the invitation of Mike Dunbar who is heading a group called Draft Donald Trump?

Donald Trump: When I was asked about 3 or 4 weeks ago whether or not, by very good friend of mine, whether or not I got a New Hampshire, that’s turned out to be, now, a much bigger deal than I had ever anticipated and perhaps, I don’t know, I am going, I’ve made the commitment to go. I made the commitment about three weeks ago and I will go, yes.

Larry King: Even though you realize now that just stepping foot in that state, people are going to presume things. 

Well they can presume whatever they want. I have no intention of running for president,  but I’d like the point to get across that we have a great country. But it’s not going to be great for long if we’re going to continue to lose 200 billion dollars a year. You’re going to get into the early 90s 1990-1991 and the whole thing’s going to blow because this country cannot continue to support Japan, and Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, and many other countries that are much wealthier than we are. We’re not a wealthy country. You can’t be a wealthy country when you’re losing the kind of money we’re losing.

Larry King, Were a debtor country. 

A couple of other things then we’ll break and take some calls. Don, why don’t, there is some who’ve said this, why don’t people like you, you and people like you, build low-income medium, income housing?

Donald Trump: Well as far as building housing is concerned, and low income housing, I’ve built a lot of it, I haven’t recently, but I built a lot of it. I built senior citizens housing and beautiful, beautiful housing. I built low income housing and I’m very proud of it. The policies of the government right now just don’t allow it because really, what’s happened, by the tax incentives that were taken away and by the lack of federal programs. You used to  have federal programs, you don’t have them anymore, and it really doesn’t allow it to be done on any economic basis, and it’s a pretty rough situation, I mean, you just don’t have subsidized housing, low-income moderate-income housing and it’s a really big problem.

Larry King: And if it if they did, you would do it?

Donald Trump: I would absolutely love to do it. I’d be honored to do it. I used to do it. I mean, people think of me in terms of Trump Tower and all the other jobs. I’m just as proud, I mean, you folks don’t talk about it, because maybe it’s not as interesting to some people, I am frankly just as proud of all the low income and the senior citizen housing I built. 

Larry King: Well, so far it’s the only buildings I’ve asked about. Casinos, your very big into Atlantic city. Are you  looking to go to Las Vegas? 

Donald Trump: Well, I don’t think so. I’m not looking to go to Las Vegas. I have stock in companies that are in Las Vegas and I’m not particularly looking to do it. We’ve done a great job in Atlantic City. I’m very proud of the results. We have just about the best casinos, I think anywhere in the world, as far as that’s concerned, hotel casinos, and we’re very proud of it and, and that’s really pretty much where I want to be.

Larry King: What’s the drive Donald that, you don’t have to do this anymore, that keeps you wanting to build more and more.

Donald Trump: Well, its a creative process. I enjoy the creative process. I like building things. I like building beautiful buildings. I like doing other things. I’ve been doing a lot of other things. It’s a creative process, Larry, and it’s it really give you something to do with your life and it’s something that you can feel fulfilled and proud of when you’re finished, if you do a good job.

Larry King: Do you want a break water break because of what you do? In other words are saying to New York and other places, I’ll come in and do this, please give me what you will not give someone else.

Donald Trump: No, I’m not looking for breaks. I think I probably would have a harder time getting brakes, I mean you talk about Ed Koch, the man tried to fight me on so many different things and he’s failed in each case, has failed, and that’s nice I like being, I really get a charge out of beating Ed Koch and It’s just one of those things. But he’s fought me on a lot of different things. He’s consistently fought me and he’s consistently lost.

Larry King: In other words, you don’t want more, more or less than anyone else would get?

Donald Trump: I don’t want more or less than anybody else no.

Larry King: Donald Trump is our guest. He spoke out quite vociferously today in the New York times and in other papers in a major statement on American foreign policy. He’s the noted, of course, builder and we’re going to take your phone calls for Donald Trump.

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