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Connect the World
Donald Trump Interview
Aired February 10, 2010 - 16:49 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's one of America's most notorious money men, with a well known catchphrase.
DONALD TRUMP, CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: You're fired.
ANDERSON: It seems Donald Trump has mastered it all, with an extensive empire that includes hotels, casinos and his own reality TV show. One of his most recent projects is on a beautiful stretch of the Scottish coast, where he hopes to build what he calls the greatest golf resort in the world.
Trump has built quite a reputation. He's no stranger to the gossip columns and there have been celebrity feuds, his most recent with actress Rosie O'Donnell.
TRUMP: We're very proud of her.
ANDERSON: What started off as a difference of opinion over his Miss USA pageant turned into a series of personal attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE VIEW," COURTESY ABC)
ROSIE O'DONNELL, CO-HOST: Left the first wife, had an affair; left the second wife, had an affair; had kids both times. But he's the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, Rosie is a loser.
ANDERSON: Whether you love him or hate him, you can't help but listen to him.
Donald Trump is our Connector of the Day.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ANDERSON: And earlier, I spoke to our Connector of the Day, Donald Trump, and started by asking him a question from one of our viewers. Olan Ronald (ph) asks: "Have you ever been fired?"
Here's what he said.
TRUMP: But I had a father that I started working for after I graduated from the Wharton School of Finance. And he always liked the job I did. I did a good job, he always liked it and he never fired me. So I was very happy. No, he would have fired me, Becky, but he never did.
ANDERSON: All right.
Vizi asks: "How much did lady luck play in your success, play a part in your success?"
I know you worked with your dad, but good question.
TRUMP: I've always been a believer in luck and luck does play a role in -- in success. You know, we're now -- there's an expression, a great expression, the harder you work, the luckier you get. And I can go into that in great detail. But the fact is, you work hard, you get a little bit luckier. But I am a believer that if you notice, some people seem to be luckier than others in life. And I am a believer in luck, believe it or not.
ANDERSON: All right. And you've been lucky, for sure.
Laurence asks: "Has anyone close to you ever been negative or disagreed with your business dealings," or, he says, "in the way that you run your life?"
TRUMP: Well, I think all the time, especially the way I run my life, to be honest. The business seems to be easier than the way I run my life. But I think all the time. I have a lot of people -- I don't want people to just automatically agree with me. I get people that are very smart, top students in schools and top people. And, you know, I have a lot of arguments with them back and forth and then ultimately I'll make the decision.
ANDERSON: All right, well, bearing that in mind, Jim says: "Can you identify the single most valuable skill or characteristic that is common with the best executives?"
TRUMP: Well, look, you have to start with one thing, brain power. If you don't have the brain power, everything else doesn't matter.
But let's assume that we have all good brains in terms of we're smart, because without smart, you know, to be number one, the thing is, you have to be smart.
But let's assume that we're smart. You have to have vision and you have to have the ability never to quit or give up.
ANDERSON: You've been developing what you call the world's greatest golf course near Aberdeen in Scotland, overcoming resistance, let's say -- some serious resistance from local environmentalists. You are a brave man going up against the Scots.
On a scale of one to 10, how tough was that?
TRUMP: Well, that was a tough one, but there's an example that if I would have given up, I wouldn't be starting construction, which we started two weeks ago. And it's going to be -- I think it will be the greatest golf course anywhere in the world. The land is the best piece of land. Every architect that's seen it -- all of the great golf architects have said this will be the greatest course in the world.
If I would have given up, there's a good example -- I could have quit and given up a couple of years ago and it wouldn't have happened.
ANDERSON: What's your handicap, by the way, out of interest?
TRUMP: Well, I don't know what it is, but I seem to be getting better at golf as I get older. That's a little bit unusual. But I'm probably a two or a three handicap.
ANDERSON: Oh, not bad. Not bad. Well, enjoy the course.
I've got a question here from Ajibola. He says: "Have you ever considered doing a major property development in a developing country that could change lives?"
TRUMP: Well, I've looked at certain things and I would certainly be open to it. I haven't found the right -- we are in many different countries. We're in Korea, we're in lots of different countries right now. And -- but if -- if I had the right opportunity, I would certainly be open to it.
ANDERSON: Karen asks -- she wants to know what makes you most happy. "Ever considered what your life would be," she says, "without the fame and fortune?"
TRUMP: Well, it's a part of me, the fame and fortune. And it just seems to be that maybe "The Apprentice," I think I was very well known before "The Apprentice." But the tremendous success of "The Apprentice" and "Celebrity Apprentice," which is now in its ninth season, has been amazing what it's done, because it's been such a high rated show.
It's just been a part of me. I don't know, I think I could get along OK, but I think it wouldn't be as much fun for me, frankly.
ANDERSON: Nick asks: "What would you suggest someone do with a million dollars, for example -- finish school and start up a company or just invest in the property market and hope?"
TRUMP: I think this is a great time to invest. Right now, prices are very low. I think they're going to be going up. There are opportunities in Europe all over the place. There are opportunities in this country.
I love investing in real estate right now. And I would tell people two or three years ago, do not buy real estate. I was very strong. I'd make speeches and I'd get a lot of letters thanking me people, you know, followed my advice. Some didn't, but a lot of people followed my advice.
This is now a great time to invest in real estate.
ANDERSON: Ronnie asks: "Has the president ever asked you for advice on how to get the economy moving?"
TRUMP: No, he hasn't.
ANDERSON: What would you say if he did?
TRUMP: Well, I would say that they've got to make a lot of moves different from what they're making. It's just not seeming to work.
ANDERSON: "Do you see the economy getting better in the latter half of the year?"
The same question -- the same questioner.
TRUMP: I think it's going to stay the same for quite some time, actually. I don't see it getting much worse, but I don't see it getting much better until things are straightened out.
ANDERSON: All right. The last question to you, Dylan asks simply this: "Do you think you were born with an innate drive for success or do you think it was something that you've learned? And what is the most important thing," he asks, "that we can teach our kids about motivation and the drive for success?"
TRUMP: Well, I think I was born with a drive for success. I had a father who was successful. He was a builder in Brooklyn and Koreans. And he was successful. And, you know, I have a certain gene. I'm a gene believer. Hey, when you connect two race horses, you usually end up with a fast horse. And I really was -- you know, I had a -- a good gene pool from the standpoint of that.
So I was pretty much driven.
ANDERSON: Go on, Donald, tell me I'm fired.
TRUMP: Becky, you do a terrible job. You're a lousy interviewer. That was the worst interview I've ever had. You are fired.
ANDERSON: Well, I thank you for that, Mr. Trump.
TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) is very good. You're terrific.
ANDERSON: We'll just keep that (ph). Obviously, it was -- it was terrible. It was terrible. Don't ever ask him to fire you.