Full Interview: President Trump with C&B from Mar-a-Lago

22 Feb 2022

CLAY: We are live from the majestic Mar-a-Lago estate with 45 himself, President Donald Trump, and I’ll bring you right in, sir, ’cause I know our audience loves to hear from you. Buck and I have been walking around this estate. We had never been here before. It is absolutely incredible and phenomenal. How are you doing as we roll into what is gonna be a really interesting 2022 season for sure?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, we’ve been doing really well. And politically I guess you see the polls, and the polls for me have never been higher. And I guess against Biden, but who wouldn’t be winning? If you look at what’s going on, anybody would be winning.

CLAY: (laughing) Right.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: You take the worst politician in America; I would imagine that that person would be winning. But the polls have been extraordinary: 96% approval rating — and saw one this morning, 98%, but 96% approval rating — in the Republican Party and doing well with independents, doing well with women, doing well with everybody. And I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that what I said was right. This is a disaster what’s going on, whether it’s Ukraine or the Afghanistan pullout, which I think is the most embarrassing moment in the history of our country.

I think that has a lot to do with what’s going on in Ukraine. You look at inflation. You look at all of the different things that are happening so bad for our country. The border. Who could forget the border? Millions of people, not two million or one million, like they say. I say 10 million. Millions of people are bum-rushing our country.

And many of these people come from prisons. They’re being let out. Countries — 127 countries now they have. But many of these countries are emptying their prisons like we’re a dumping ground right into our country. I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t think our country has ever been so low. You can take the five worst presidents in the history of our country and put ’em together; I don’t think they’ve done the damage that this administration has done.

BUCK: Mr. President, in the last 24 hours we know Russia has said that they are recognizing two breakaway regions of Ukraine, and now this White House is stating that this is an “invasion.” That’s a strong word. What went wrong here? What has the current occupant of the Oval Office done that he could have done differently?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, what went wrong was a rigged election and what went wrong is a candidate that shouldn’t be there and a man that has no concept of what he’s doing. I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, “This is genius.” Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. (sarcastic)

So, Putin is now saying, “It’s independent,” a large section of Ukraine. I said, “How smart is that?” And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s strongest peace force… We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy… I know him very well. Very, very well.

By the way, this never would have happened with us. Had I been in office, not even thinkable. This would never have happened. But here’s a guy that says, you know, “I’m gonna declare a big portion of Ukraine independent,” he used the word “independent,” “and we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna help keep peace.” You gotta say that’s pretty savvy. And you know what the response was from Biden? There was no response. They didn’t have one for that. No, it’s very sad. Very sad.

BUCK: Do you think the southern border is just gonna continue to deteriorate?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.

BUCK: Last year under the Biden administration… So, under your administration you put in place Remain in Mexico. You began —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Strongest border we’ve ever had.

BUCK: And last year was the worst — by the numbers, not a subjective analysis, the worst — for illegal apprehensions at the border that we’ve ever seen since we’ve been counting. It’s likely that this year will be worse as well. Do you think the American people have finally seen enough and know enough about what’s going on at the border that they’ll take action this fall and winter?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely, Buck. I think they know, and I think they see, and you know oftentimes they say, “How could this be a 50-50 party system when you look at no voter ID, defund the police, sanctuary cities, open borders where criminals are allowed to pour in?” When you look at people that can’t even get out of… You know, I got it down. I wanted out of… After 21 years, I wanted out of Afghanistan.

We were gonna be out. I got it down to 2,000 we were getting ready to pull them out, but we were pulling them out with very great strength. We were gonna keep Bagram, not because of Afghanistan. We spent billions building this base, has the biggest and longest runways in the world, and it’s one hour away from where China makes its nuclear weapons. So I was keeping that and keeping it in full force.

But I was getting out of Afghanistan, and we would have gotten out with tremendous strength and dignity and power and respect. Instead, we look like we surrendered — and you know we didn’t lose an American soldier in Afghanistan for 18 months. I had a talk with Abdul, who’s the leader — the current leader also. He was the leader and now he’s current leader.

And we had a very strong talk. And from the time I had that talk, not one American soldier was killed. And it was an amazing thing. Biden actually said that. He said not an American soldier was killed in 18 months, and his people were screaming at him, “Well, keep going! Find out something that was wrong,” and he didn’t do that. No, I was…

We were gonna pull out with great strength, we were gonna keep Bagram, and we were pulling out of other locations, too, where there’s no reason for us to be there. They hate us. We don’t particularly like them. And you look at NATO, I called it a paper tiger. I said, “As soon as a problem comes up, you’re gonna have people that pull away,” and I got them to pay $400 billion. You know they were all delinquent.

Not all. There were eight countries out of 28 that were paid up, including us. We were paid up. We were more than paid up. We were making up the difference. But we have 28 countries, and eight were paid up, and you had 20 countries that were not. And I was asked a question by one of the presidents of one of the countries in a closed meeting, “Does that mean…?”

And the press goes wild over this: “Does that mean that something happened and Russia…?” ‘Cause it used to be the Soviet Union, but Russia. It’s close enough in terms of militarily (chuckles), as you’ve probably noticed this weekend, but, “Do you mean to say that you wouldn’t protect us?” And I said, “You mean you’re not paid up and you want us to protect you?” I said, “That’s right. We will not protect you if you’re not paid up.” You know what happened? The next day, billions of dollars flowed in.

BUCK: How worried are you that the Biden administration might get dragged into the actual military conflict in Ukraine if it escalates?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I’d rather see them send soldiers to our southern border. I’d rather see them… In three weeks, you could finish it. They won’t even let Texas use our military, which is all bought, sitting there waiting to be put up. It could have been erected in less than three weeks. It could have been two and a half years to get started ’cause we had to win 11 lawsuits. I’d rather see our southern border protected. But I don’t like the idea he’s sending a small number of troops.

It’s a joke compared to what the other side does. You know, he sends 3,000 troops I heard this morning, 3,000 troops. What’s that gonna do except get in trouble? No, I would like to see our southern border protected and they are handling Ukraine so badly. Remember — I put something out this morning — Russia is becoming very rich because the oil price has been driven up so much and that’s their primary source of income.

So much that those army tanks you see going back and forth all over the place, that’s peanuts compared to the amount of money they’re making: $40 a barrel when I was there, $1.86 a gallon of gasoline and now you have some places where it’s over $7, and it’s going up a lot higher.

BUCK: And bad inflation too.

CLAY: No doubt, 7.5%. Mr. President, I’m gonna read you a tweet here from Joe Biden. This is almost exactly two years ago. “Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be president. He doesn’t want me to be our nominee. If you’re wondering why, it’s because I’m the only person in this field who’s ever gone toe-to-toe with him.”

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.

CLAY: Almost two years to the day. Putin has invaded in Ukraine. Under Obama, Putin invaded as well. All the talk about your relationship with Vladimir Putin, and he certainly didn’t try that with you. Why is he doing it to Biden? What do you think of Biden’s bluster, that tweet that has not been reflected in the reality on the ground?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, even “Sleepy Eyes” Chuck Todd said this weekend during his show — I was watching it for a change and he said — (summarized), “How come there’s been no invasion during the period of time that the Trump administration was there but they did invade — very severely invade — with Obama and then they waited and then they invaded?”

This would never have happened if we were there. But he did. Chuck Todd asked that question. How come there was none of this happening during the Trump administration? I knew Putin very well. I got along with him great. He liked me. I liked him. I mean, you know, he’s a tough cookie, got a lot of the great charm and a lot of pride. But the way he — and he loves his country, you know? He loves his country. He’s acting a little differently I think now.

I think he sees this opportunity. I knew that he always wanted Ukraine. I used to talk to him about it. I said, “You can’t do it. You’re not gonna do it.” But I could see that he wanted it. I used to ask him. We used to talk about it at length. I think nobody probably knows him better in terms of the discussions that we have or that we’re having this morning. So, I knew him very well. I got to know him. I got to know President Xi. By the way, China is gonna be next. You know, China is gonna —

CLAY: You think they’re gonna go after Taiwan?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, absolutely. Not with me, they wouldn’t have.

CLAY: But you think with Biden they’ll try him?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, yeah. They’re waiting ’til after the Olympics. Now the Olympics ended, and look at your stopwatch, right? No, he wants that just like… It’s almost like twin sisters right here because you have one that wants Taiwan, I think, equally badly. Somebody said, “Who wants it more?” I think probably equally badly. But, no, Putin would have never done it, and Xi would have never done it. And also, North Korea has not acted up for four years.

BUCK: Mr. President, we want to come back in just a moment here with you to talk to you about the covid situation.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay.

BUCK: I would say the covid failures of the Biden administration —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Right.

BUCK: — look at the numbers comparison, also perhaps the huge spike in crime that’s occurred over the last year. We’re talking to former President Donald J. Trump, 45 himself.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

BUCK: Mr. President, thanks for staying along with us. We really appreciate it. You were the first president who had to deal with covid, the pandemic, the lockdowns, all of it. While you were dealing with that and during the election process, Joe Biden said anybody who’s had the number of deaths that have occurred should not be president anymore. When we do a 10 month — not even just a year-to-year, 10 month to 10 month comparison — of the pandemic, Joe Biden’s numbers with the vaccine that was proceeded by Operation Warp Speed substantially worse. What happened? How did we get to this place?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, when we heard about this, nobody knew anything about it. Nobody had any idea — other than I said very early on it came, obviously it came from the Wuhan lab, and I took a lot of heat. They said, “Oh, how could you do that, how could you do that, how could you say it?” You know, when you see body bags lying all over the place around the Wuhan lab, it’s not that hard a guess, a guesstimate.

But nobody knew anything about it. But we knew it was causing tremendous disruption in China and death. We saw a lot of death. You know, people don’t talk about death in China ’cause they don’t give you exactly accurate numbers. If you listen to them, they were fine. They didn’t go through it. But they went through a lot too and they’re going through a lot right now, worse than it’s later but they’re going through a lot right now.

So, I heard about it, and we really mobilized fast, and we made a lot of great decisions. And, you know, we were just discussing during the break about Fauci. Fauci wasn’t a big player in my administration ’cause I made the decisions, and I made a decision to close our country to China because, you know, people were dying —

CLAY: And that was called racist, by the way.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, yeah. I took a lot of heat. And very early, it was in January, okay, so almost immediately, which — and there were 21 people in the room, and every one of them said, “Don’t do it,” and I said, “We’re gonna do it,” and Fauci said don’t do it, by the way. They all said don’t do it. And then I also closed it shortly after that because I looked at what was going on in Europe and Italy and France and Spain in particular.

But Italy was just unbelievable, and so I closed it up to Europe. And we saved hundreds of thousands of lives. But, very importantly, I also… We activated and we got tremendous amounts of gear and everything else, the ventilators. We became the ventilator king of the world, our country, and actually we solved that problem.

It’s a very complicated machine — more complicated, believe it or not, than building a car. It’s complicated and expensive, and we mobilized, and we were building thousands within a short period of time. The team did a great job. And we were actually sending them to other countries that were unable to get ’em. So, that was incredible.

But we also got the gowns and the masks. We opened up factories that made masks. Now we have so many masks we don’t know what to do with them and now you’re finding out the masks don’t work that well. You know, it’s one of those things, right, certainly with the new variant. But there’s so many things that we did that were so good.

And then I think what we do get great credit for that they tried but it didn’t work — even their side said you can’t do that — is Operation Warp Speed. And not only the fact that the vaccines were developed in nine months as opposed to five years to 12 years. They said was gonna take from five to 12 years, and I think without that you would have had a 1917, hundred million-people catastrophe.

But also the therapeutics because the therapeutics, if you look at, you know, what’s happened with Regeneron and the Eli Lilly product and so we were involved with all of that. And it was really good. You know, we didn’t hear the word “mandate.” Everybody wanted the vaccine when I was there, and we were doing a million shots a day, and, you know, we mobilized.

And the military really did well, much better than their leaders led them, I will tell you, in the removal from Afghanistan. That I can tell you. And they were doing really well. They were delivering ’em. And everybody wanted the vaccine. And once I was out, all the sudden people didn’t want it. And that’s how you started with this whole mandate thing, which is terrible, okay, ’cause you’re forcing people.

You know, you talk about liberty, you talk about freedom. We don’t have to go into it too much, but it was a bad thing. But we didn’t have that problem. Everybody wanted them, and then all the sudden it became such a disaster. But if you would have told me that with all of the work we did — and I rebuilt the economy. I built it twice. The first time beyond belief, second time was getting really, really strong. And I handed that over. But if you would have said you would have far more deaths with the vaccines, with the therapeutics, with all of the gowns and the goggles and everything that we got and helping the hospitals than you had when people didn’t know it, I would have said, “That’s impossible.”

CLAY: Do you think that kids should have to wear masks at school?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No. No.

CLAY: It’s turned into a big battle and Biden has basically avoided answering that question or deferring to local cities and states. Do you think that kids at this point should be able to go without masks?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, I do. I do. I think they should be able to go without masks. I think it should have ended a long time ago — and certainly with the more serious variants, they weren’t even affected. And this is more contagious, but far less serious. So, but with the more serious, the kids, there was a certain state that lost many people. But, of the many people, thousands of people, but of the thousands of people, nobody, not one person was under the age of 16 or 17.

I looked at that stat, I said that’s an amazing stat. You can take a look. New Jersey. Thousands of people died and virtually nobody was under — was young. I think it was one person who had serious diabetes who was very — I mean, literally nobody. It’s an amazing statistic. No, they shouldn’t. And we have to get back to our lives. We have to get back to running the country.

China did a terrible thing by allowing that to happen. ‘Cause China, if you really look, China stopped it from going into the rest of China, but they didn’t stop it from going out to the world. But we did an incredible job. I was not… I probably will never be given the credit for it, but we loaded… You know, I used to use the expression the cupboards were bare.

Nobody had any equipment, they had no gowns, they had no goggles. They had nothing. They had no masks. And they had no ventilators. And we had no anything. We didn’t have vaccines. We didn’t even know what this thing was, don’t forget. Nobody had any idea what this was. We were saying, what is it? So, I think we did a great job.

BUCK: Mr. President, if we can keep you through —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes.

BUCK: We’d love to hear what you have to say about the situation of the truckers and breaking that protest movement up in Canada, sure you have some thoughts about Justin Trudeau that you can share with us here in a few minutes as well as your plans for the future, politically, and TRUTH Social, which we know has just launched this week.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes.

BUCK: So, we are here right now with President Donald Trump, at Mar-a-Lago, the Clay and Buck show. We’re gonna be back with Donald J. Trump in just a few moments.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

CLAY: The Canadian trucker story, Mr. President, has been a monster discussion all over the country and all over the world, really. You know Justin Trudeau. You had a relationship with him. What did you think of his response to the Canadian truckers? What do you think he should have done? And do you support the protest of those Canadian truckers?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I do support it, and I have great respect for them and basically their freedoms were being taken away with the mandates and other things that they were talking about very fairly. And I thought they were very brave. I thought it was surprising in one way. I know Trudeau very well. He’s never been happy with me because of trade, because they were really ripping us off, this country. People have no idea.

Canada was one of the worst, one of the worst. You know, you put China up there. The European Union was horrendous, okay, and it used to bother me with the NATO. I’d say, “You know, we protect you. We’re spending all this money to protect you, and then you kill us on trade.” Canada was one of the worst. And I got that horrible deal known as NAFTA, one of the worst trade deals, probably the worst trade deal ever made.

I terminated it. Everyone said it would be impossible; you know, I’d have to go through Congress. I terminated it and we got the USMCA and USMCA, Mexico Canada trade deal, it’s so good for our country, in fact it’s so good Canada wants to renegotiate with, and they shouldn’t do it. They shouldn’t do it because we should have renegotiated NAFTA for 30 years, and they didn’t do it.

We should do it. We got it done, we got it approved, they approved it. But Canada is very unhappy, and Mexico is very unhappy. You know in a way that makes me feel good. In another way, I’d like them to be happy. But I know them very well. But the USMCA has been a tremendous success for us and the country.

BUCK: Mr. President, before we talk to you about your possible political aspirations for the future and what you’re planning for the country, I want to ask you to look across the table for a moment at the Democrats. Clay and I have an ongoing discussion on the show about who is really going to be the standard-bearer for them the next time around? It feels like Joe Biden…

You look at the polls, you see him on TV, there’s a recognition this is a guy who, to say he’s lost a step I think is kind, putting it gently. Clay and I have talked about possible other contenders stepping in for him, maybe the vice president, maybe somebody else, even. What do you think…? Who do you think will be the Democrat nominee or the Democrat standard-bearer the next time around? Is Joe Biden gonna run again or not?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, I don’t think so. I’m watching what you’re watching, and I just don’t think so. I hope he does great for the country. I think it’s too late because I don’t think he can do great for the country. There’s been so much damage done that I think if he turned out to be George Washington and Abraham Lincoln combined, I think the net result is so bad, I just don’t think he can do it.

It’s so far behind, what they’ve done on energy, what they’ve done at the border, what they’ve done… The destruction to this country has been so massive. I don’t think he’s going to run, or I don’t think he’s — you know, he could run and maybe somebody would run against him, and that’s very rare, that something like that would happen. She doesn’t seem to be very popular in the polls. You know, there was the polls of me against him, and I’m leading by a lot.

CLAY: Yes.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: But I was leading. I thought I, you know, was leading a lot the day of the election, too, right. I was. But you gotta be very careful with the election. You’re gotta make sure the vote count is honest. So, I don’t see him running. I see her running.

CLAY: Meaning Kamala.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.

BUCK: ‘Cause Hillary’s —

CLAY: That’s the other one.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I guess you can. You can include her in the she category, right? It’s possible. I don’t see Kamala. She started off at 10 or 11 and she was hot, and by the time they went like four or five weeks she was down to nothing. That’s why it was such an unusual choice, and there was nobody meaner to Joe Biden than her. She called him everything.

CLAY: No doubt.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: She was calling him names that were horrible. So, I said nobody could choose her, and they chose her. But, you know, she was going to reverse. Usually, you choose somebody that starts off at 1 and ends up at 15 or 20, you know, going like a rocket ship up. So they didn’t… So I think she’s gonna certainly put a play in. It’s possible, but I watched Hillary the other day. I just don’t know if she has the energy. I don’t know that she has the energy. I watched her. Look, we had questions when she fell into the car.

CLAY: Yes.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: When her shoes fell off, when she couldn’t lift her foot up in, she couldn’t walk, she kept falling down going into the airplanes. Remember a lot of famous pictures — and then people put the golf ball and the baseball and all that stuff in those pictures. You remember, they blamed me for it. It wasn’t me.

CLAY: Oh, yeah, right.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: They blamed me for it. But I don’t see it. But she’s a very devious person. All you have to do is take a look at Durham report; you see how horrible and vicious — and even the things I go through where, you know, these are Hillary Clinton lawyers. It just never ends.

BUCK: Do you have faith in Durham to get the final answers here about the…? It was a hoax. You were right.

CLAY: And the spying on your campaign, which you said the 60 Minutes clip —

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Spying on my — Remember when I did this —

CLAY: Clip and they said, “Oh, there’s no evidence of that, Mr. President.”

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah. 60 Minutes. She should apologize, ’cause she came at me, “Oh, are you…? There was no spying.” Well, now everybody agrees, even the Democrats; they just don’t want to talk about it. And the media doesn’t like talking about it.

CLAY: CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post almost all refused to even cover that story when the Durham details came out.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.

BUCK: Do you have faith in Durham?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I will say, though, the Washington Post sort of apologized for their coverage. The Times didn’t.

CLAY: Yeah, right?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: But the Washington Post sort of apologized.

CLAY: Maybe Jeff Bezos is trying to get in your good graces.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, the Washington Post, that whole thing in Atlanta, where I have a perfect phone call and all of a sudden, they think I’m trying —

CLAY: Oh, yeah.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: — president, that whole thing, and they gave phony information to the Washington Post. And the Washington Post did a major retraction of that story. I mean, the Washington Post, in all fairness… I’m not saying great because certainly not great at all. But the Washington Post did apologize for a lot of the mistakes that were made. But the Times hasn’t. I wouldn’t say they doubled down.

They sort of just don’t want to talk about it, because you can’t double down. So, Durham has been… He works slowly. And a lot of people were really angry. But he has brought out some devastating blows. And if you really look at it, if you know what this is all about, that’s just a foundation. That’s a foundation for some very, very big stuff. So, yeah, I’m getting to be more and more impressed with Durham.

BUCK: We have to ask you or else our audience will be agitated with us. What is your certainty right now — we know it’s a ways out, but what is your certainty — that you will be running again for president of the United States?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, Buck, I love the country. I have never seen anything like what’s happening right now, and everything I’ve said is correct. I said about the energy; he killed the energy the first day. I mean, the first day! The first thing he did was kill the Keystone pipeline, Keystone XL pipeline, and he never said he was gonna do that. He said, “We’ll look at it. We’ll…” He looked at it for, what, two hours?

What he’s done is so devastating. You know, people don’t realize that I stopped the Russian pipeline. It was dead. He came in and he immediately let it proceed, and it’s one of the reasons — the money is so enormous! I mean, that was amazing. The biggest thing they’ve ever done, Russian pipeline, more money, billions and billions of dollars a day, billions of dollars a week pouring in. I stopped it, totally stopped it.

Putin even said, “You’re killing me on the pipeline.” I said, “Sorry, I have no choice. It’s wrong.” Okay. He approves it. But then they say, “Oh, Trump was nice to Russia!” I wasn’t nice to Russia. And, by the way, I do to want get along. I think getting along with Russia is a great thing. We could have done tremendous…

They have tremendous land, they have tremendous resources, and they need our help too. Now, of course, they’re making so much money because of what’s happened with the cost of… I mean, these barrels are gonna be selling for $200. They were $39, $40, they were $30.

CLAY: It went negative in the twenties, remember?

BUCK: Oh, we had a period of time where, it was no good for Wall Street ’cause they don’t carry oil. But if you actually took a barrel of oil out, we had so much oil, because of certain things that we did, which were great. But if you took a barrel of oil, they gave you $37. In other words, you walk with $37 plus the barrel.

Now, it only lasted for two and a half hours, but during that period, not quite as good as that during that period I filled up the Strategic Reserves. Nobody ever talks about that: 75 million barrels of oil I bought during that period of time. I said, “Tell me about the Strategic Reserves.” I’ve heard about it all my life, hasn’t been filled up in 50 years.

In fact, it’s been empty for many years. And that’s meant for war. It’s 75 million barrels I bought, and we made a great deal. And now here’s the bad part. Biden is using that to try and get the energy. But, number one, it’s not enough, and number two, it’s very artificial. And it’s not supposed to be that way. That’s meant for war. But I filled up the Strategic Reserves at that time.

CLAY: One more question for you if you’ll stick with us to come back. We want to know, are you looking at vice presidential candidates?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: (laughs)

CLAY: I’ll let you think about it.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’ll have to think hard.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

BUCK: We’re here in Mar-a-Lago with President Trump who’s been so kind as to give us some of his time today.

CLAY: And also host us at this majestic place.

BUCK: Yeah. This place is amazing. Mr. President, really a twofer here. Are you running, and who’s running with you? We gotta push you on this. Who are you thinking about running with you, and you also gotta tell everybody, in your mind a hundred percent you’re running? Is that where you are?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, I think you’ll be happy. Let me put… Campaign finance laws, so you can’t talk about this stuff so I won’t. But I think you’ll be happy. I really believe you’ll be happy. I know you guys very well. I’ve known you for a long time — and your show, have to say, congratulations. You’re knocking it dead. And that’s good. Rush would be proud of you, if you want to know the truth —

CLAY: Thank you.

BUCK: Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: — ’cause he was a spectacular person.

BUCK: Who would you be thinking, though, as a vice president, maybe a broader part of the question is who’s getting it right, right now, for the GOP? Who are the people that you’re seeing and you’re saying, you know what? ‘Cause we’re going to midterms here. It’s important.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think a lot of people are doing really well. I think the Republicans are doing really well. You have, I really believe… First of all, I don’t think anybody… Very rarely do you see somebody voting for a vice president, okay? That’s… You know, it’s a big deal and yet people don’t vote for the vice president. But we have a lot of good people. I had a lot of people calling me all the time. They want to be considered because we’re doing very well in the polls, and the polls were… They say, “If he doesn’t run, who do you think?” And then they start getting in. But if he does run, it’s like a 70-point gap.

CLAY: Yeah.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Seventy. That’s a lot. But I will say there are a lot of great people. We have a lot of great people in the Republican Party. I think we’re gonna have a tremendous midterm and then think in ’24 we’re gonna do… It’s gonna be very successful and we’re gonna bring our country back.

CLAY: You’ve got right now I think, or at least we were when you came in the number-one app in America, TRUTH Social, which is a big part of your battle in the social media space. What do you expect and hope to do with that business?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, it’s become a big deal. Everybody’s been terminated or it’s become very boring. Twitter is boring as hell now.

CLAY: They miss you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, they really do. They said… He said the worst business decision he made was getting Trump off. There’s nobody to fight with anymore, and —

CLAY: That’s Jack Dorsey?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Dorsey, yeah. He’s made that statement to, I hear, numerous people. And the same thing with Facebook. They’re dying. You look at Facebook, the first time ever where they went down and —

CLAY: Stock tanked.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Their stock is tanking. And you see what’s happened with what’s going on with TRUTH Social. You know, it’s very interesting. I said, “You think we can get the name TRUTH”? They want to get a name, right? You know, they want a name, like “tweet.” Okay, tweet. They’d like it to be five letters. So they always have an X. You know, put an X in front ’cause — so they gone through all these crazy names that nobody…

I said, do you think you could get the name “TRUTH”? They said, ‘Absolutely not!” I said, “Give it a shot.” The name “TRUTH” was available, and we got it for a very tiny little price, and it’s such a great thing. And their minds are blowing because Trump has the name “TRUTH.” So there’s five letters, and what’s better than TRUTH?

BUCK: Speaking of untruth for a second here, Mr. President, did you break CNN? Because it looks like they’re having a really tough time. (laughing) It looks like that is a place that is in free fall. Obviously, as you know, Zucker is out and it was really weaponized against you as a network, among other places, for four years.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.

BUCK: But are they… It feels like that place will never recover from its all-out assault against Trump.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, they are broken. I looked at their ratings the other day, and they are in very, very bad shape. I know Zucker very well. He actually signed me for The Apprentice, the last good thing he did, I suspect. We had a great run, 14 seasons, which was an incredible show. And I recommended him for that job. Can you believe it?

I recommend this guy for the job. And then about a month in, he had no thought of… He never thought. He was number five out of five. There were five candidates. I was sitting next to the head of Time Warner. What are you working on? It was at a boring deal at the Plaza Hotel. I said, “What are you working on? Who are you? What’s your name?”

He told me. I said, “Oh.” So I figured I’d try and help Jeff Zucker out. I call him up. I said, “You got the job.” He goes, “No way.” I said, “I’m telling you, you got the job.” The next day they called him, and they said, “You got the job.” He calls me and says, “Thank you very much.”

A month goes by, he takes over the job, they start hitting me. And that was their business model to hit me — and I tell you what, it was a disgrace. Jeff Zucker is a disgrace. So just one of those little things. I’ve had some other people. And then you also had people that are great and loyal. We have to mention that also. It’s not as exciting, but we have to mention that also.

But CNN has really done badly, and MSDNC, as I call it — as some people call it, ’cause that’s what it is, MSDNC — is doing horribly. You know, I always thought NBC would treat me great because I did so well for them on The Apprentice. We many times had the number-one show on television. We did great. Our finale I think had 42 million viewers. That’s like —

CLAY: Unheard of today.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, unheard of. And NBC has been terrible, you know, fake news, total fake news. And NBC’s been bad and ABC’s… One thing I would say and it’s why your show is so important: If we don’t straighten out the honesty of the media, this country is gonna have a hard time ever coming back. They used to be a watchdog. Now they’re just a lapdog.

BUCK: You’ve got people listening all across the country, Mr. President. You got about a minute. What do you want them to know, ’cause right now a lot of them are writing into us; they’re worried. They’re worried about what’s happening in this country.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Our country has never been in a situation like this. Our media is broken and corrupt, as you look at, like, CNN as an example. But you look at the Times and you look at what they write, it’s so wrong, it’s so wrong, and it’s been so wrong, the Russia, Russia, Russia, everything. We’re gonna come back, we’re gonna come back strong, we’ll be bigger and better and stronger than ever before. Something’s gonna happen.

CLAY: Last question for you, and this is a fun one ’cause I know you’re a big sports fan. Tom Brady retired.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah.

CLAY: Do you think he’s done, or do you think he’s come back and play? I know you’ve had a relationship with him over the years. He obviously had a very good final year with the Bucs. Kind of suddenly retired. Do you think it’s done or do you think he’ll come back?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think he’s coming back because I watched the way he… You know, everyone said he was retiring but he didn’t sort of say that. I think he might come back and, if you look at statistics, he was leading virtually every category.

CLAY: He was incredible.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: So, I hope he comes back. He’s a great guy.

BUCK: Mr. President, we really appreciate spending time with us today. We know the audience did, so thank you so much — and we also appreciate being able to hang out with you at Mar-a-Lago. So, you let us know where the next Clay and Buck show gets to happen.

CLAY: We’ll be there.

BUCK: Yeah, you tell us where we’ll be. And we also got some fantastic guests, joining us people you’re endorsing as they are running so we’re gonna have Herschel Walker. We’ve got a whole bunch of great guests planned thank you so much for the hospitality and also for the four years you served your country. It was a great time, sir. It was a great time. We appreciate it.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you both very much.

CLAY: Thank you so much for being here, and we’re gonna have another great couple of two hours coming. But thanks for President Trump. If you missed part of it, go listen to the whole thing because I think your audience is going to be thrilled to have heard all that you said today with us. Thank you, sir.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much.



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