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Don Lemon Tonight
Trump Dismissive of Those Who Criticize His Call to Ban Muslims From Entering U.S. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired December 09, 2015 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Breaking news, Donald Trump, one on one with me tonight in a wide-ranging interview.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Trump is bold, he is confident, and dismissive of those who criticize his call to ban Muslims entering the United States.
He uses harsh language about President Obama. And claims he is the best republican candidate to beat Hillary Clinton.
At his office today at Trump tower, you can see why he is dominating the race and at odds with the Republican Party.
It's good to see you again.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: How are you?
TRUMP: I'm very good. Thank you.
LEMON: You're always doing something. You're always leading the conversation, don't you think?
TRUMP: Well, it seems to be, it seems to be.
LEMON: Let's talk about the polls because you love the polls, right?
TRUMP: I love them.
LEMON: We released three national polls last week, the three polls last week. The national poll, Iowa, and New Hampshire -- you are ahead by far...
LEMON: ... and then you release this controversial statement. Why not just sit on your big lead and just let it ride?
TRUMP: Because, Don, I have to do what's right. We need a dialogue in this country and throughout the world. We have a big problem.
And as you know, I have many friends who are Muslims. They are phenomenal people. They are so happy at what I'm doing. I was called by three people today, very big. They said, you are doing a tremendous service. Because unless people are going to be talking about it, it's never going to be solved.
LEMON: But you know a lot of people are unhappy with you. You're getting -- you're getting a lot of criticism, you're even getting criticism from your own party, from Reince Preibus, from...
TRUMP: I'm getting criticism from people that are running against me that have no poll numbers. I mean, they're doing very poorly. I see Jeb Bush and this one and that one, and they're criticizing me, although Jeb Bush actually said some very good things about me the other day. Did you hear?
LEMON: But he -- let me -- let's wait.
TRUMP: He said I'm a great talent.
LEMON: But he -- yes. But even Dick Cheney, the former Vice President, the new Speaker of the House, Reince Priebus, he had a part, they're all criticizing what you said.
TRUMP: So, when I did the whole thing on illegal immigration and Mexico and the border, I got much more criticism than I'm getting right now. And everybody said, oh, that's going to be the end, that's going to be a disaster. That's going to -- in three weeks later, everybody agreed with me that I was right. They all came into my side.
The group that is not criticizing me is the public. The public agrees with what I said. They saw those two animals last week go out and shoot people, and the husband and wife, the wife came here on a phony visa, on a visa that frankly, it's disgraceful that she was able to come in and she radicalized, probably radicalized him.
LEMON: Fiance visa.
TRUMP: She had a fiance visa.
LEMON: Yes. Fiance visa.
TRUMP: And a disgusting, disgraceful thing. So, the people that are with me a 100 percent are the people, and that's frankly all that matters. The politicians, look, the politicians are very upset. They haven't caught on. I don't think they will catch on.
In your own polls, I'm 20 points up. I'm way up on everybody. And I'm not by the way, the last thing I care about is the poll from the -- I have to do what's right, and what's right is this. We have a problem. It's a serious problem. It's got to be solved. And people that are Muslim that are friends of mine are so happy that I brought it up.
LEMON: We'll talk more in-depth about that, but let's -- I want to stick with the -- your critics in the party, because they believe, and I don't know if you do, this may be, they say it may be good for your brand but it's bad for the republican brand. Are you concerned about that? What do you think of that?
TRUMP: Well, they don't believe anything. They believe what's good for them. They don't believe -- they don't care about, they don't care about anything else.
LEMON: Do you think it's damaging for the Republican Party?
TRUMP: No, I think it's actually going to be an asset ultimately. Just like illegal immigration was an asset, I think it's going to be an asset ultimately.
LEMON: Here's what Jeb Bush tweeted. He said, "Maybe Donald negotiated a deal with his buddy Hillary Clinton continuing this path will put her in the White House." And then he linked to this tweet, the tweet of you saying that 68 percent of your supporters would support a third party bid.
Here's the pledge that you signed, you saw this pledge, you know where I'm going. Are you going to break this pledge?
TRUMP: I think it's highly unlikely unless they break the pledge to me because it's a two-way street.
LEMON: What does that mean?
TRUMP: They said they will be honorable. So far I can't tell you if they are, but the establishment is not exactly being very good to me. But I'm leading in every poll by a lot. It looks like I'm going to win. My whole life has been about winning.
I'm not -- I'm not like so many of the other people that you talk to that are essentially losers, OK? I know how to win. I intend to win. It's the best way of beating the democrats if I get the nomination.
In the Fox poll that I'm sure you saw, I'm way ahead of Hillary. Head to head, I'm ahead of Hillary. I will beat Hillary. The one person that Hillary doesn't want to run against -- and I know a lot of people inside because I get along with democrats, with republicans, with liberals, with everybody. The one person that they don't want to run against is me, believe me.
LEMON: OK. I just want this plain-spoken for the viewer.
TRUMP: Go ahead.
[22:05:00] LEMON: What do you mean when you say, if they break this pledge, then you'll break the pledge? What do you mean by that?
TRUMP: Well, if they don't treat me with a certain amount of decorum and respect. If they don't treat me as the frontrunner, by far the frontrunner. If the playing field is not level, then certainly all options are open. But that's nothing I want to do. LEMON: How will you know that? What determines that?
TRUMP: Well, I think I'll know that over a period of a number of months. We'll go through the primaries, we'll see what happens and I'll make a determination. But I would imagine they would treat me properly because I'm leading by a lot.
LEMON: So, the pledge is you keep your word if they keep their word.
TRUMP: Hey, Don, I want to run as a republican.
TRUMP: I'm a republican, I'm a conservative. I've had just tremendous bonding. But you saw the poll that came out in USA Today that 68 percent of the people would follow me and it's a much higher number if you say sort of follow me.
LEMON: But that's a question and why would you say that if you wouldn't consider as an independent? Why would you be tweeted?
TRUMP: I didn't take the poll? Somebody else took the poll. A very respected newspaper took the poll.
TRUMP: But just so you understand, that's nothing I want to do. I want to do it just the way I'm doing it. I want to win Iowa, I want to win New Hampshire, I want to win South Carolina, I want to win the SEC, I want to win Nevada, I want to win the whole group. And potentially I have the capability, and I think I have the numbers to run the table. You know what running the table is.
LEMON: Yes. I know -- I know what you mean by running the table.
TRUMP: I mean, let's see.
LEMON: Let's just say you had to run as an independent. Do you think you could win?
TRUMP: I think it would be much tougher to win as an independent. I think I could win, but I think it would be much tougher to win as an independent. I'd rather not do that.
LEMON: OK. I know that you're a stickler about language, right? You're often -- you say there you're taken out of context. Let's talk about this proposal, right? You adjusted it slightly so that it would say that you would let American Muslims who were traveling overseas return to the country. This doesn't apply to U.S. citizens?
TRUMP: It never did. From day one, it never did. I don't know why people thought it did. This applies to people coming into the country, and all it is a break, until our politicians, who are grossly incompetent, by the way, can get their act together. And this has to do with Paris when you look at what happened. This has
to do where -- by the way, they have tremendous problems in Paris beyond the carnage that took place. I mean, they've had a problem for a long time.
But this has to do with Paris; this has to do with what happened last week in California. We have got tremendous problems that have to be solved, and they have to be addressed, and I'm the one that addresses them. And frankly, I think I've been given a lot of credit. Other than by the republican establishment, I've been given a lot of credit.
LEMON: You keep talking about the republican establishment. You have an issue with them.
TRUMP: Well, I think that on certain -- look, here's the issue. You have people that thought they were going to win, then they are not going to win. Bush isn't going to win. I won't go through the list of names, but I can name of them, but then I can win.
And they're upset. They're professional politicians talking, talking, talking all their lives and now they're not going to win. That's all they do as win elections and lose elections. They run for office. I've never run for office before.
So, when I announced, you were there. When I announced in June, everybody said, well, he's going to have a good time, it's going to be a lot of fun. I guess nobody thought that this would happen, where we have the kind of lead that you people just reported with all of your polls.
LEMON: OK. Before we get back to, you know, Muslim immigration, let's talk a little bit more about that. Because the popular, I guess, the conventional wisdom is that if the field was thinner, if it thinned out a little bit...
TRUMP: I don't think it would matter.
LEMON: Maybe Rubio, maybe Ted Cruz is...
TRUMP: I don't think it would matter.
LEMON: You don't think -- you don't think anyone could catch up with you and beat you?
TRUMP: I'm not -- I don't think so. I guess the world could fall down, but I don't think so. Look, I'm at 35, 36. One of the polls had me at 42. Let's say they start dropping out. First of all, many can drop out, it won't have any impact because they have zero.
You know, you have Lindsey Graham; you have some others at zero. So, if they drop out, who is going to pick up anything? But as people start to drop out, it's not going to be a huge impact because they're so low. But as they start to drop out, I think I'm going to get a very good fair share. Now, if I'm already at 42 -- you know, when I watch the pundits on
television, when I was at 6 the first week, they said, well, that's his max. I mean, he'll always have that. Then I went to 12, then I went to 20, then I went to 22, and every week I went up -- you know, this better than anybody. Every week virtually I went up, and every week they would say, well, that's his max. Well, what was your last poll, 33 or 35?
LEMON: It was a 30's, a double digit lead over the next person.
TRUMP: Right. They don't even say that anymore because I seem to go up all the time. I think I'll go up again. But just so you understand, when you're at 35 or 42 and you have 15 people, that's a tremendous number.
LEMON: So, in your mind, you're the nominee?
TRUMP: No. I would never say that. But I would certainly say that I have an awfully good chance of becoming the nominee. And if I become the nominee, I think I have an even better chance of beating Hillary Clinton, because there is nobody that did a worse job.
[22:10:04] She shouldn't even be allowed to run in the election. And frankly, she doesn't have the strength or the stamina to be president.
LEMON: We are just getting started. Much more ahead of my one-on-one with Donald Trump. A lot of people are leveling a very serious charge at him, so I asked him about it. Are you racist?
TRUMP: I am the least racist person that you have ever met. I am the least racist person.
LEMON: Back now to immigration. So, you talk, and you said something needs to be done. One of the two shooters was born here in the United States, raised here in the United States, I believe was radicalized here in the United States.
LEMON: So, then how would you -- but how would stop that, then, because you're talking about immigration?
TRUMP: Well, she came in, she came in and probably radicalized him. She came in. She went to a school. People that knew her said she was very radical, and she came in, OK? It's a problem. It's a problem.
LEMON: But even without the help of someone, a woman, to come in, there are people who have been born here who have been radicalized here?
TRUMP: Look, you have groups, cells, call them whatever you want, like her and her husband, they're all over the place. But here is the problem. You had many people that knew what was happening. You had the parents, you had the mother. The mother had guns in her car.
[22:15:00] You had the mother looking at the pipe bombs all over the apartment. You had the person that said it was politically correct or -- what was the expression they used -- profiling. They say they didn't want to...
LEMON: But they didn't want to report, right, because they were afraid.
TRUMP: You know what happened? They said, why didn't you see this? And they said, oh, we did see it but it was profiling. They knew. That was nonsense. That was an excuse that they made because they obviously saw what was happening.
You have other view of the other person that bought the guns for him. You had all these people knowing about it and then you had many more that you're not even talking about. Why didn't they turn them in? They should have turned them in.
LEMON: Where does it...
TRUMP: And they know it was going to happen.
LEMON: Where are the parameters, though, Mr. Trump, where are the foreign leaders, but not foreign leaders who are Muslim or from Muslim countries who...
TRUMP: You don't have a foreign leader that want to bring up the subject. And that's why I'm getting so much credit because I'm willing to bring up a subject that nobody one else wants to bring up.
And you know why, Don? Because I am self-funding my own campaign. I have no people giving me money. I don't need other people's money. I have no people, in terms of special interest donors, any of this. I have none of them.
LEMON: I want to talk about -- I want to talk about the funding of your campaign, but let's stick to this. Because I mean -- what I mean is what about foreign diplomats or people from Muslim countries who are coming into the country, Muslims coming into this country?
TRUMP: Oh, certainly exceptions can be made. I mean, you're going to have -- I'm not going to say, you can't come into the country. And the one thing people didn't pick up, at the end of that sentence, it said, until we get our hands around it, essentially. Until we find out what the hell is going on, which is the expression I used. Now, that could go quickly. But you know what, it's a subject that has to be discussed. LEMON: So, you said there will be exceptions, even for, like,
international athletes in competitions and that...
TRUMP: Of course there will be exceptions. You can't keep people out like that.
TRUMP: There will certainly be exceptions made.
LEMON: So, you have been saying that until we figure out what's going on. What exactly does that mean? Figure out what? What is there to figure out?
TRUMP: Why is there such hatred and such viciousness? Why is somebody willing to fly airplanes into the World Trade Center and go after it even prior to that? They failed, although they did tremendous damage by any normal standard.
And then after they failed, they went -- they actually took airplanes into the world Trade Center. Where does this hatred come from? Why does it come? We have to figure it out because we have problems. So, when you survey the mosques, I took a, you know, I took a lot of heat for the surveil of the mosques.
When I want the people saying why we have to surveil the mosques. I took heat for we have to study things. No one is taking the heat like me. I don't care. I don't care, because what I'm saying is right.
And you know what, you know what's right and everybody knows it is right. And you know who really knows it's right? It's the public. The public knows it's right. We have to find out, Don, where does this hatred come from?
But it seems to be one group. I mean, the people that flew the planes into the World Trade Center -- and many other things not only in this country, but in many other countries. You look at what's going on all over the world. We have to find out why and where is it coming from?
LEMON: So, how would you do it? How would -- and to be practical, how would you put this policy into action? What do you do, ask someone coming over on an airplane? Don't you think they would just lie?
TRUMP: No. To do that you have to go through a series of questions, you have to go through a series of -- you need paperwork, you have to find out where these people are coming from. But we can't allow radical killers into this country. We can't do it. We have enough problems.
We have 19 trillion, it's going to be $21 trillion very soon. We have jobs that are being stolen from us by China, by Japan, by everybody. We cannot continue to allow this to happen to our country. We're not going to have a country. So, we have people pouring across
the borders that we have no idea who they are.
When I brought up the Mexican situation, I brought up basically illegal immigration. I'm telling you, it was a lot tougher than this. And within four weeks -- you know better than I do -- everybody was saying, Trump is right.
Then you had the killing of Kate in San Francisco, you had the killing of Jameel. You had the wonderful woman, a veteran, 66 years old, who was raped and killed.
LEMON: We're talking about Mexican immigrants, right?
TRUMP: I'm talking the -- well, you know, I think the reason that so many people rate me so high on security is because I started with the border, and everybody said I was wrong. Now they all say I'm right.
Had I not brought up border security and illegal immigration at my opening remarks when I announced in this building that I'm running for president, you wouldn't even be talking about it, Don.
LEMON: So, people -- let's say, OK, so, you know, first they -- first they came for the Jews, first they came for them and when they came for me, there was no one -- you know that old saying.
TRUMP: It's just words. Its words. It's just words. I hear the saying and I've read the statement. Its words. We have a problem. We have people that would rather fly an airplane into a building than live out their life.
TRUMP: We have to find out why.
[22:20:01] LEMON: So you mentioned...
TRUMP: We can't have it anymore. We have people who want to destroy our cities. They don't want to do one building, they want to do all the buildings. We have to find out why. We can't be politically correct stupid people.
We have a president -- I think he's a stupid person because there is no way that a normal president can make the speech that he made the other night. At the end of the speech, I actually tweeted out, at real Donald Trump, but I actually tweeted out, is that all there is? Is that all there is?
LEMON: What were you expecting?
TRUMP: He didn't say anything.
LEMON: What would you have said?
TRUMP: Well, I would have expected a little more vim and vigor, and we're going -- I mean, it was -- it was like -- it was like just another day at the office.
LEMON: But don't you think the president is damned if he does, damned if he doesn't?
TRUMP: No. No.
LEMON: And you don't -- you don't know what it's like to sit in that seat. You don't sit there.
TRUMP: He's got to get rid of ISIS. Look, when he sends 50 soldiers into harm's way, he shouldn't be announcing it, because they all have targets right on their back, right on their heart, they have a target. Why does he have to announce it?
Do you think that great General Douglas McArthur or General Patton would announce, by the way, we're sending 50 of our best people over to Iraq or Syria or wherever they go? Because as soon as they leave, they have targets on their back. You don't talk about it.
TRUMP: And one of the things, frankly, I don't like talking about it. Because if I win, I have a good chance. If I win, I want to be unpredictable. I don't want the enemy to know. I have been saying hit the oil for three years, including on your program if you look back. They said, no, no, no. Now everybody agrees with me, hit the oil.
LEMON: After a break, Trump predicts that two unexpected groups of voters are going to help put him in the White House. Who is he talking about? That's next.
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: You mentioned Mexican immigration. We talked about immigration for Muslims.
LEMON: On the campaign trail people have said you insulted blacks, you insulted Asians, you have insulted...
TRUMP: I haven't insulted blacks, I haven't insulted Asians.
LEMON: The thing that you tweeted out about crime. They thought that was an insult to African-Americans.
TRUMP: That was a re-tweet sent to me and it was just a re-tweet.
LEMON: You don't have to relocate it.
TRUMP: All right.
LEMON: But you talked about it was a re-tweet. Let's say why would they send it out.
TRUMP: I didn't make that up. It was a re-tweet.
LEMON: Here's my question. I asked you last time. I said and people -- some people were shocked. If you were racist. You knew why I was asking you that. Are you racist?
TRUMP: I am the least racist person that you have ever met. I am the least racist person.
LEMON: Are you bigoted in any way?
TRUMP: I don't think so. No, I don't think so.
TRUMP: I'm a person -- no. I'm a person who happens to be very smart, and I happen to have a certain street sense, and I know where things are going. I said, take out Osama Bin Laden in a book written in the year 2000 called "The America We Deserve." I said, you better be careful, because I saw this guy Osama Bin Laden probably on television. I said, take him out. He knocked down the World Trade Center.
LEMON: So, as I sit here with you, you've been very kind to me, right? You've introduced me to your family. You've been very kind to me. It has to -- when people say that you're racist or homophobic or Islamaphobic or whatever it is, does has to bother you? They compare you to Hitler. There are newspaper coming say it, does that bother you?
TRUMP: You know what things are said -- no, If things are true, if they were true, it would bother me tremendously. OK? But of course, if you were a racist, you probably wouldn't care. But if things are true, it would bother me. But it's so false, and honestly, I don't hear it often. I don't hear it often.
LEMON: So, from a mind Muslim friends...
TRUMP: In fact, let me go a step further. A poll was taken recently where, as a republican, which is unheard of, I had 25 percent of the black vote. So African-Americans, 25 percent for Trump. A political pundit said, wow, if that's true, the election is over. Trump wins. I think I'm going to win the African-American vote, and I think I'm going to win the Hispanic vote.
(AUDIO GAP) OK. So, I do, I will agree with you on something. I do see a disconnect between sometimes what is -- what happens in the media and what I hear on the streets. I hear people on the streets who I'm surprised by, and I told this to you before.
Democrats, you know, republicans, all kinds of different ethnicities, different stations and walks of life, they'll say, you know, I actually agree with Trump. Or, I don't like the way he says it, or I don't like what he says, but I'm glad he's saying it.
TRUMP: And I'm voting for him.
LEMON: Do you think that shows up in the polling?
TRUMP: And I'm voting for him. No, I don't think it shows up in the polling. I don't think the pundits, even pundits that in theory should be on my side. They have not because, look, they all predicted I'd never run. Then they predicted I was just going to have fun for a couple weeks and get out.
I don't play games. I play to win. But they all predict -- they look like a bunch of dopes. They all look like dopes. And now not only am I winning, but I'm winning by large margins. Would you say that's correct? OK.
So, look, so they look foolish. Some of them looked stupid. Some of them like Carl Rove is a fool. I mean, he thinks Romney won the election. I mean, he's still going around, I think Romney won, I think Romney won.
Look, these people look very bad. I understand it. If I were in their position, I'd feel the same way. They would love to see it not happen this way because if it doesn't, then they ultimately are right even though they're about a year late.
But I have great support out on the streets. I have great support with the people that vote. That's the only thing that matters.
LEMON: OK. So, here's what my Muslim friends say. You say you have lots of Muslim friends and they agree with you on this.
TRUMP: I have Muslim partners.
TRUMP: I do deals with them.
LEMON: So, they say, you know, our next step is internment camps. I cannot believe this guy is proposing what he is proposing.
TRUMP: I'm not going to have it. By the way, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, according to you, would be a great president. According to many people, he would be a great president. Well, he was a great president.
LEMON: And we have said that that wasn't right.
TRUMP: I don't care if you said it wasn't right. He did it.
LEMON: I mean, in the country the same thing.
TRUMP: OK. So, he can do it, and what I'm talking about is nothing by comparison to that. So, you have Roosevelt, who everybody loves, especially people that are on the opposite side of what I happen to believe, OK? You know, meaning on the liberal side, they love, he's like their all-time hero.
[22:30:03] He can do it, nobody says anything. And what he did was 10 times worse than anything I'm talking about.
LEMON: I know, but you don't...
TRUMP: I'm talking about -- excuse me, no, I don't want -- I don't want to talk that way. I want to talk straight. Just like what you said is the problem that we have in our country, you don't want this, you don't that, I understand it the way it is.
There is something out there that is evil. There is something out there that's causing problems. My people are smarter than the pundits. The people that support me, and many of the people that don't support me who agree with me, I mean, they agree with me.
But the amazing thing and the beautiful thing is that many Muslim friends of mine are in agreement with me. They said, Donald, you've brought something up to the fore that's so brilliant and so fantastic.
LEMON: OK. You said you don't want -- you want to talk straight. But sometimes the language, do you think sometimes the language and the tone might incite some sort -- incite hysteria or some sort of Islamophobia and that the person who are the leader of the country should calm people rather than incite them?
TRUMP: Well, what about our president? Our president is the greatest divider I've ever seen.
LEMON: But I mean...
TRUMP: Our country -- excuse me. Our country has never been more divided than what Barack Obama has done. Whether it's white on black, whether it's -- our country has never been more divided. If you talk about...
LEMON: How so, what do you mean? What do you mean?
TRUMP: Well, just take a look. Take a look at what's going on. Our country has never been this way. Look at the riots that we have, the horrible things taking place in Ferguson, St. Louis, Baltimore, all over the country. LEMON: And that's the president's fault, do you think?
TRUMP: Well, I would have thought that he would have been a great healer. I would have thought that he was -- and I've said this that he was going to be a great cheerleader.
LEMON: But aren't you saying what I'm saying?
TRUMP: I didn't think he would be -- by the way, excuse me. I didn't think he would be a great president, but I thought he was going to be a great cheerleader. He's been a horrible cheerleader.
LEMON: But aren't you're saying -- you're saying that the president supposed to be the healer? That's what I'm saying to you. That's what exactly what I'm saying to you.
TRUMP: Remember this, if I win, you -- you would have me in two years or three years, you will say, I cannot believe it. You were a healer. You were somebody that brought people together. People don't think of me that way, but I think it's one of my biggest strengths.
LEMON: So, Mr. Trump, when you come up with these policies, I thought last one and others, who is -- who is advising you on television?
TRUMP: I have many people. I have many people.
LEMON: Do you -- specifically, do you...
TRUMP: But I'm like a really smart person. You know, I went to Ivy League schools. I sort of I get a kick out of it, Don. I'll make a speech for an hour and a half with no notes, with no anything, with no teleprompters, with just like memory. A speech will be great, standing ovations, all of this stuff and everyone will say, oh, he is very nice, very good, very nice.
They really don't give the credit. Nobody else can do that. Who else does it where they speak in front of 20,000 people for an hour and a half without even looking at a script.
Now, and by the way, without the teleprompters. But what I say is very much from the heart. It's from here, but it's very much from the heart.
LEMON: Yes. But when you went to -- you went to Wharton, correct?
TRUMP: I went to the Wharton of Finance.
LEMON: So, Wharton School of Finance in Philadelphia.
LEMON: I live in Philadelphia. I know it very well. I have friends who went there. Very smart people.
TRUMP: Yes, smart. I would say smart.
LEMON: But they also had very smart -- but they also had very smart professors and advisers who taught them those things. So, if you had advisers around you, I'm wondering what they're telling you, because every -- what they're telling you because single intelligence person we have had on, terrorism experts we've had on, said that sort of rhetoric, the sort of things that you're proposing, that will incite people to become radicalize and do exactly what ISIS wants.
TRUMP: Don, you got the radicalized already, these two people were radicalized. You got many other people in this country right now in the country -- I'm talking about in the country that are radicalized. You'll have other things happening.
Why didn't all these people that saw the bombs laying all over the apartment, why didn't they call up the police? Why didn't they call up the police? You know why? Because they didn't want to. And they have to do it. We have millions of eyes watching.
LEMON: Meaning people close to these people.
TRUMP: I'm talking about people that live next to them. They saw the bombs, they showed the pipe bombs sitting all over the floor. They had many of them all over the floor. Why didn't they call the police?
LEMON: Up next, Donald Trump finds out he is not the winner of Time Magazine's person of the year. And tonight he says he knows why.
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: You have criticized the president and other people for talking about gun control right during -- right during or after the last attack. Gun control here in the United States.
TRUMP: Well, it's not a question of criticized him then. Had some of those people in that room or -- same thing -- had some of the people in the various places in Paris, which has the toughest gun laws in the world, had some of those people had a gun strapped to their ankle or a gun strapped to their hip, it would have been a whole different story.
LEMON: But do you think these students should be able to even acquire guns, people who are on the no-fly list?
TRUMP: Look, they're going to acquire guns. The bad guys will always have guns. You have, what is it, 600 million guns in the United States. Do you think you're not going to have the bad guys get guns? So, the good ones will say, oh, OK, I'll give up my guns, but the bad ones aren't.
LEMON: So, no parameters? TRUMP: But, Don, here's the thing. Here's the thing. I have this
argument all the time with gun -- guys that, you know, put people that think, oh, we should get rid of guns. They always lose the argument.
If we had people with a gun in the room that these two maniacs started shooting up, it would have been a much different story, Don.
LEMON: OK. So, what about if the person had not been able to buy a gun legally, even if they're on the no-fly list?
TRUMP: Don, they're always going to be able to get a gun.
LEMON: No parameters, no restrictions.
TRUMP: They're always going to be able to get a gun.
TRUMP: I know you're asking me a question. The bad guys will always have a gun. What are you going to do, get rid of 600 million guns? And that's in this country. The bad ones will always have a gun. The good one -- that's why I see they come out with things, with a clip. Two bullets, five bullets, three bullets. Oh, great.
[22:40:03] So that people will say, we'll put only three bullets in. Do you think the bad guys will say, oh, we're only going to put only three, we're going to obey the law.
Look, had guns been available to people in Paris, France, if they had a few of those people of the hundreds of people where they're still dying because they were so badly hurt, but all of those people that were killed and so badly injured, had a few of those people in that room had guns, it would have been a whole different story.
LEMON: Mr. Trump, you know, when you say that, you know, I will give you that the people who, law-abiding citizens, people who use guns properly, mostly they're not committing the gun crimes. But when people hear what you're saying, they hear wild, Wild West. Everyone has a gun.
TRUMP: No, it's not Wild West. No, Wild West is when people can come in and do the kind of damage to people that are totally unprotected. To me that's the danger. When they can have guns and other people can't, that's the danger.
LEMON: OK. You said that you would consider a database for Muslims, registering Muslims, that you would survey a mosque, on and on and on. You've talked about it in this interview.
LEMON: Where else would you go in regards to Muslim-Americans?
TRUMP: I would look at where they are and where the problem is. And by the way, if it's not Muslims, if it's another group, I would look at them, too. I'm about safety. I want safety for this country. I want safety for our citizens. They deserve it. They deserve it. And they're not getting it.
LEMON: What about the refugees? You're against getting bringing them in, right?
TRUMP: Absolutely I'm against it, because we have no idea where they came from. It could be the ultimate Trojan horse. Don, we have no idea where they came from. And I've watched experts and I have spoken to experts in law enforcement, there is absolutely no way, if some guy is standing there and he doesn't have papers and you don't know him, there is no way you can ever find out where he's from, where's his papers. There's no way.
LEMON: So, what -- what ally in the region would help you with figuring out all those things out that you're saying in regards to lessons (ph) in regards to refugees?
TRUMP: well, let me tell you the allies. OK. Number one, the Gulf State should help us with money because the money is so enormous there and they're not doing their share. But you know, maybe they will with right -- with the leadership.
Had we had a leader in this country that knew how to speak to other countries, it would be a whole different story. But when you have this tremendous migration coming through, tremendous -- all these people. I mean, it's hard to believe when you look.
Now, what's also hard to believe is you look at the amount of strong, young men, OK? You understand. You see it, you see so many men that are strong and young, and you say, what's going on over here? It's a very strange situation.
But we should build safe zones, and they should be in Syria. And those people should be in Syria. And we should help with it, we should get other countries, especially the Gulf States and other European countries. Because our country does so much. We're always like the dummies that do so much, and we get nothing for it.
LEMON: You have -- you have big business interests in the Middle East.
LEMON: People are wondering why are you continuing to do business in the Middle East if you have such concerns with, concerns with the people and the Muslim?
TRUMP: Because I have great relationship with the people. I love the Middle East. I love the people of the Middle East. But there is a problem.
LEMON: But are you worried about the bottom line being affected by the policy that you're proposing?
TRUMP: Maybe it is. Look, maybe it will be. I mean, look, that's one of those things. What I'm doing now is far more important, and I'm talking about for the Muslims. I'm doing good for the Muslims. What I'm doing now is far more important than any particular business I have in the Middle East.
I'm doing a big favor. I was just called by one of the most important people of the Middle East and just said to me, Donald, you have done a tremendous service to the Muslims. Because we're making -- nobody wants to talk about it. Everybody wants to be so politically correct. Oh, let everybody come in. We have a problem. And the problem has to be solved.
TRUMP: And when that problem is solved, it's going to be a much happier world.
LEMON: So Time magazine, Angela Merkel now is the person of the year. Everyone thought it would be you. I'm sure you probably thought it should be you.
TRUMP: I did.
LEMON: Do you think they did it just to spite you?
TRUMP: Well, I was on the cover of Time magazine four weeks ago, I thought it was going to be me. But I actually said that it probably won't be me because I'm not an establishment, if I am an establishment.
Now, look, Merkel, I was a fan of hers. I thought what she's done to Germany is a sad, sad thing. I think it's a very, very sad thing. You see what's going on. I thought she was an inappropriate person to win. Two years ago, yes. Today, no.
LEMON: Should be Donald Trump.
TRUMP: I don't say that. I said I wasn't going to win. Everybody -- they had around your table and around other tables, people gathered. Everybody said, Trump is going to win. I said, no, I won't win because I know how the establishment works.
I should have won the Emmy with "The Apprentice" many, many times. I was nominated many times. I should have won the Emmy. I said, no, no, I'm not Hollywood establishment.
[22:45:02] You see, I know how the world works. I was the one person that said, I won't win Time magazine person of the year, even though everybody sitting around the tables, you saw them, they have many people.
Everybody said unanimously Trump should win. Because I've done something that's never been done before. But I'll really do something that's never been done before if I win. LEMON: I would have to ask you, I would be reticent if I didn't ask
you this. You say you're going to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu when you visit him them?
TRUMP: I didn't say that, no. I have respected him. I actually did a commercial for him for his campaign. He has been a dual commercial. I like him a lot. I'm going to Israel. I'm not saying who I'm meeting with.
LEMON: Would you meet with him?
TRUMP: I would, but I'm not saying -- I'm not -- I'm just going to Israel some time before the end of the year, I'm going to Israel, but I'm not saying who I'm meeting with.
LEMON: What's your reason for going?
TRUMP: I have a very close tie to Israel. I've always had. I've received many awards right out in that street called Fifth Avenue. I was grand marshal of the Israeli Day parade, when it was a very, very dangerous thing to do. That was during the period of conflict. And the Jewish people have always been great to me.
LEMON: Thank you, Mr. Trump.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
LEMON: I appreciate it. I really do. Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you.
LEMON: Coming up, now we've heard what Trump has to say. What will his opponents say about him in next week's CNN debate? And what about that third party run?
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Donald Trump says he needs to be treated with decorum by the Republican Party, but the GOP's top official says what Trump is doing is not conservatism.
Joining me now is Bob Cusack. He is the editor-in-chief of The Hill.com. Thank you, sir. Good to see you.
BOB CUSACK, THE HILL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Hey, Don.
LEMON: hey, wire ranging interview, what do you think of Trump tonight?
CUSACK: Well, listen, I think that you saw Donald Trump, he is not backing down. But there was interesting in your interview that he did say, OK, there would be exceptions for athletes and certainly he's not talking about Muslim Americans who are overseas.
Initially, his campaign told us that it did apply to them. So, walking back some of the stuff, but overall, this was, remember, this policy on Muslims was planned. I mean, he put out a statement on it. So, it wasn't just an on off-the-cuff interview.
And I think, I just don't think he's losing Donald Trump supporters. Certainly, he is losing a lot of republicans in Washington, but he had lost them a long time ago. They've never liked him and he thrives on controversy, he thrives on media attention, so he's doing exactly what he wants to do.
LEMON: All right. Let's go if everyone think we're going to talk about. All right. So, if you and I are sitting around talking in a bar, do you think -- do you think he has a chance? Do you think he has a real shot?
CUSACK: Well, I think he has a real shot to win the republican nomination, no doubt about it. He's been winning for about 120 days. And he has been the clear frontrunner. The only one who has overtaken him was Carson. Cruz in Iowa a little bit, but Trump has been the clear frontrunner.
You know, if this were Jeb Bush, everyone would say, this race is over, Jeb Bush is going to win. Now, Trump does have the issue that a lot of republicans don't like him, but he has a solid base of support, as he said in your interview. Whether that's 25 or 30 percent.
Those -- those backers are solid, and they're not going to be leaving any time soon. So, unless we get down to a three-person race, four- person race, but still, he's going to be a force even when we get down to fewer candidates.
LEMON: So, as I said, and I'm being honest here.
LEMON: As I walk around New York City and other places, because I travel the country, as I'm at the barber shop or in a bar or I may be shopping, or I'm in the drugstore or people will walk up to me and say things privately about Donald Trump which they will tell me that they would never say publicly, that they support him, they actually support what he says about banning Muslim immigrants temporarily. Does that all translate into votes, though, for Donald Trump come November of next year?
CUSACK: I think it does for a fraction of the republican base. And that faction is...
LEMON: These aren't republicans who are saying these things.
LEMON: And I'm not the only person who is an interviewer, who is a journalist who said this on television. I've heard many different journalists say this even today on television.
CUSACK: You know, I think he does have some appeal among blue collar workers as well. And he's most concerned about winning the republican nomination. He'll worry about beating Hillary Clinton down the line. But there is I've never seen anything like it in politics. Is there is
this massive backlash to political correctness. And he has said such controversial things and repeatedly the pundits, as he mentioned in your interview, have said, this is the beginning of the end.
I mean, I can't tell you how many times I've heard...
CUSACK: ... this is the beginning of the end. And all of those predictions have been wrong. So, if you hear it again on this Muslim stuff, well, we've heard that before.
LEMON: Let's continue to talk about that, because, you know, he said to me he's not racist. He said that to me in an interview a couple of months ago. He said he's not bigoted, he's not Islamophobic. The CNN GOP debate is next week. Do you think we're going to see all the other candidates try to paint him that way?
CUSACK: Yes, absolutely. I think they are going to go after him repeatedly on this, and I think Trump is going to make the case that he was making with you tonight.
Listen, I'm going to keep you safe. Certainly there is xenophobia here, but there's been xenophobia throughout history. And I think that a lot whether you're a republican or independent or some democrats are like, Listen, I'm scared.
I don't want to go to the mall and get shot. I don't want a terrorist to kill me, just keep me safe. Now, perception is reality. It's not a good thing when you're saying, I'm not a racist, I'm not a bigot. That's not a good headline for Donald Trump.
But he, just his media strategy is to stay in the headlines, and he has done that to -- really, I mean, he had really kind of faded a little bit over the last couple weeks in media mentions, and now, I mean, cable TV exploded when he -- when he released that new policy.
[22:55:02] So, Bob, in the short time that we have left, let's talk about this pledge. Do you think -- and I only have about 20 seconds left.
LEMON: Do you think this that he would ever run as an independent, a third party?
CUSACK: Oh, I think -- I think there's a real possibility. He said it over to some of us, and he's saying it again now. There's no doubt about it, he's leaving that option open. I don't think that would help the republican, whoever the nominee is.
I think that would definitely elect Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump knows that. But is he keeping that threat alive? Absolutely. Because remember, a lot of the republicans right now, whether it's John Kasich or Jeb Bush, yes, I signed that pledge or whatever, I'm still not supporting Donald Trump, or he's not going to win. So, he can make the case, hey, they're backing out, too.
LEMON: Yes. I appreciate the conversation, Bob Cusack, editor-in- chief of The Hill.com.
CUSACK: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.
CNN hosts the next republican presidential debate one week from tonight, Tuesday, December 16. Make sure you join us. We'll be right back.
[23:00:01] LEMON: That's it for us tonight. Thanks for joining us. See you back here tomorrow night. AC360 right now.