MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski moderated an hour-long town hall with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump today in Charleston, SC. The event also featured questions from SC voters. Below is a rush transcript of the town hall.
MANDATORY CREDIT: MSNBC’S “MORNING JOE”
Air Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 8 p.m. ET
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP: I am going to be the greatest jobs president that god ever created. Remember that. If I get elected president, we will make America great again. The weakest person on this stage by far is Jeb Bush.
JEB BUSH: You want to talk about weakness? It's weak to disparage women --
TRUMP: No, it's not --
BUSH: It's weak to disparage Hispanics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald has this weird pattern. When you point to his own record he screams liar, liar, liar.
TRUMP: This guy will say anything. This guy lied about Ben Carson when he took votes away from Ben Carson in Iowa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Building a hotel overseas is not foreign policy.
TRUMP: Yes. Every guy that's attacked me so far -- they've all got debt (ph). We got to keep it that way, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: MSNBC presents an exclusive town hall with Donald Trump. Here now are Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Good evening and welcome to an exclusive MSNBC town hall event. We're here in Charleston, South Carolina where in just three days the voters of this state will choose who they want to be the Republican nominee for president.
Here in the first in the South primary the stakes could not be higher. We've hit at a potential crossroads in American politics. An angry electorate has turned everything we thought we knew about politics and elections on its head. The establishment in both parties is trying to fend off outsider candidates and as Ron Fournier of the "National Journal" put it, "this election is coming down to a simple question: which side of the barrier are you on? The people's or the government."
The man who has defied conventional political thinking at every turn is Donald Trump. He came in second in Iowa and crushed the field in New Hampshire. And is currently cowering over all challengers in South Carolina. Now that is despite his debate performance that honestly most analysts including us called disastrous.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: It was.
BRZEZINSKI: Just terrible.
SCARBOROUGH: It -- I thought it was.
BRZEZINSKI: That's what we thought.
BRZEZINSKI: The other candidates are digging in, though because he's climbing in those polls and keeps on climbing. They're on the attack as they do everything they can to keep him from winning Saturday's primary. If they fail and Trump takes the Palmetto state, can they stop him anywhere next? Joining us now, the front runner for the Republican presidential race, Donald Trump. Donald --
BRZEZINSKI: All right.
TRUMP: Great to be back.
BRZEZINSKI: Good to have you.
TRUMP: I thought I did great in that debate. I actually had a great performance --
BRZEZINSKI: I was worried. I just didn't think it was good. I was like, what is going on? What is going on --
TRUMP: A meltdown. I saw -- no. I thought it was good. I was being hit from every side. It was tough. I was -- you said I was too tough but I thought I had to be tough. I thought I did well. "Drudge" and "Time Magazine" said I won that debate so I'm not going to dispute (ph) the fact. I thought I was --
BRZEZINSKI: Well, here I thought Jeb Bush had a good night. I was thinking go Jeb and then --
TRUMP: I don't think he ever has a good night.
BRZEZINSKI: Come on --
SCARBOROUGH: You guys, stop it.
BRZEZINSKI: OK, let's get to --
TRUMP: He has some big problems.
SCARBOROUGH: Let's talk about that first of all. I want to go over a lot of polls --
SCARBOROUGH: That show you way ahead. There's a new one out that has the race a lot closer but let's start with this question. Now that as we said this morning on the show, if you look at a lot of the polls a lot of people are starting to say you could be the Republican nominee. So we need to step back and --
SCARBOROUGH: Ask a lot of questions.
SCARBOROUGH: A lot of questions about your general philosophy. Why is it that you feel it's necessary to attack Jeb Bush, to attack John McCain, to attack all these people?
TRUMP: I don't attack John McCain, actually. I do attack people when I'm attacked. I have -- I don't care too much about Jeb except he spent $22 million on negative ads. Every time I turn on a television I see a negative ad. He's got money from all of the different donors and special interests and lobbyists. And they put a lot of negative ads and that's Jeb more so than anybody else.
So I hit Jeb because he's sort of easy to hit to be honest with you. If he weren't doing the negative ads I wouldn't even be talking about Jeb to be honest with you. And now, Ted -- we go back and forth but Ted -- what he did to Ben Carson I thought was disgraceful in Iowa. When he said he was out of the race. Essentially he said he was out of the race and this race is over. Come with me, come with me.
I thought that was bad. I thought the voter violation fraud document that he did was -- I thought it was horrendous. And he's told lies. He tell lies. In fact, your friend Rubio -- you like him very much, I know that. But he came out and he accused Ted of being a liar.
TRUMP: And I said, oh good. That's good because now I can do it also. It's just perfect.
SCARBOROUGH: So let's go over some polls and we'll talk --
SCARBOROUGH: A lot about some of these questions. There's a brand new Monmouth University poll out. It actually finds you with a 16 point lead in South Carolina, 35 percent to Cruz's 19 percent, to Marco at 17. A new Bloomberg South Carolina poll just released tonight puts you ahead of Ted Cruz -- 36 and 17 percent, Rubio again at third at 15 percent.
The newest poll from American Research taken over the last three days since the debate puts you at 33 percent to Marco's 17 percent. South Carolina House Republican survey has you up 18 points. The CNN ORC poll taken last week through Monday shows you're 38 percent, Cruz at 22 percent. In Nevada, you double the field among Nevadan voters at 45 percent and we could go on and on.
A new national Quinnipiac poll just out this morning has you at 39 percent, 20 points ahead of Marco Rubio. And the Reuters tracking poll has you at 41 percent to Cruz at 17 percent -- this is a national poll. Carson at 19 percent and Rubio at 10 percent. So all that --
SCARBOROUGH: You're way ahead.
BRZEZINSKI: That's good. However, Donald, in a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal national poll that was taken after Saturday night's debate, Ted Cruz now leads Trump by a slim two point margin. Twenty-eight to 26 with Marco Rubio in third at 17 and late this afternoon Governor Nikki Haley endorsing Marco Rubio. Are things closing in here in South Carolina?
TRUMP: Well, I think most of these polls were taken after the debate and they worked out good for me. And it was taken after the debate. I have never done well in the Wall Street Journal poll. I think somebody at Wall Street Journal doesn't like me but I never do well with the Wall Street Journal poll.
So I don't know. They do these small samples and I don't know exactly what it represents. But I am really honored by those poll results. Those are great poll results overall.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you think Ted Cruz came out and attacked you and said that you were the king of frivolous law suits. And Mika, what exactly did he say?
BRZEZINSKI: He says, "I have to say, Mr. Trump, you have been threatening frivolous law suits your entire life. Even in the annals of frivolous law suits this takes the cake."
TRUMP: Well, look, I've had great success in business. I've had great success with law suits. I've had great success in things I do and I don't know that we're going to have a law suit. But we certainly want to keep somebody honest and he makes statements about -- like as an example I'm pro-life and he said he's not pro-life.
He can't say that. It's like saying -- no, but it's the same thing --
SCARBOROUGH: But your opponents would say though you haven't always been pro-life.
TRUMP: No, that's true and so was Ronald Reagan likewise so --
SCARBOROUGH: Right. What happened? When did that change?
TRUMP: It changed years ago and what happened is I saw things with people and people that I know and people that I respect that made me change. Ronald Reagan changed. If you look at Reagan --
TRUMP: He said he evolved. He used that expression.
TRUMP: Ronald Reagan actually used to be a fairly liberal Democrat and he began a fairly conservative conservative. I mean, fairly. But at the --
SCARBOROUGH: But Ted Cruz says, "We can't count on Donald Trump in the future especially in picking Supreme Court justices --
TRUMP: Well --
SCARBOROUGH: If he's changed in the past. So how do you convince --
TRUMP: I'm the only one -- by the way don't look at (inaudible) --
SCARBOROUGH: How do you convince a Republican like me --
TRUMP: That's fine.
SCARBOROUGH: That if you were nominated --
SCARBOROUGH: You're not going to nominate the type of Supreme Court Justice that always seems to flip.
TRUMP: OK. So if you look at me as a conservative, OK? And I'm sure that that's necessarily the most important word but I say I'm a common sense conservative. I'm the most conservative on the border. Nobody tougher than me on the border. In fact, Sheriff Joe just endorsed me from Arizona and when he endorses you you're pretty conservative, you're pretty good on the border.
I think I'm the strongest on the military -- most conservative on the military, strongest on the military. The best with the vets. I have more veteran support than anybody else by far. We're going to get rid of common core. I'm very conservative on that issue. Common core is going. We're going to have local education. It's going to be much better, much less expensive.
On the second amendment I am absolutely the strongest in the group on the second amendment --
SCARBOROUGH: So let me stop you there. The second amendment, very important in this state. Heller -- the decision that Supreme Court passed that are decided on actually found out that the second amendment. Ruled that the second amendment went -- meant what a lot of people long believed that it meant. That Americans have a right to keep and bear arms.
SCARBOROUGH: Will you make upholding the Heller decision a litmus test in Supreme Court nominees --
TRUMP: Yes, I would --
SCARBOROUGH: You send?
TRUMP: Yes, I would. And I talk about it all the time.
SCARBOROUGH: So you won't nominate --
TRUMP: Absolutely --
SCARBOROUGH: Somebody to the Supreme Court unless they agree with Scalia on the Heller decision --
TRUMP: Correct --
SCARBOROUGH: That the second amendment means Americans --
TRUMP: Correct --
SCARBOROUGH: Have the right to keep and bear arms.
TRUMP: I give that commitment right now. Absolutely. And I've been very strong. I'm a member of the NRA. My sons, Don and Eric are members of the NRA for a long time. They're hunters, they're great members --
SCARBOROUGH: Right --
TRUMP: Of the NRA. If in -- if you take California. If it -- excuse me. If in California we had somebody having guns on the other side. We had the two radicalized people and if we had guns on the other side -- bullets coming the other way you wouldn't have had the 14 people killed. The best example is not this country.
Paris has the toughest gun laws in the world they say. France has the toughest gun laws as a country they say. If you take France and all the bad guys have the guns. Nobody had guns in the room. They sent into the various rooms people. A hundred and thirty people killed.
It was like come on over here, boom. Come on over here, boom. If people on the other side had guns, Joe, it wouldn't have been that way. And people really seriously wounded. It was many more people in Paris.
But you look at it. If they had guns on the other side with the bullets flying the other way -- and I have this argument with people all the time from New York. Because a lot of New York they say, "get rid of the guns." The fact is, they can't argue. They can't beat me in the argument.
It's impossible to beat and then the next day I'll say so did I convince you? They always say no. They always say no.
BRZEZINSKI: So we're going to get deeper into your policies, positions coming up.
BRZEZINSKI: Want to get a sense of the state of the race though as we move on here. President Obama even talked about you saying, "I continue to believe Mr. Trump will not be president. And the reason is I have a lot of faith in the American people and I think they recognize that being president is a serious job. It's not hosting a talk show or a reality show. It's not promotion. It's not marketing. It's hard."
The sitting president, Mr. Trump thinks your candidacy is an aberration or a joke --
TRUMP: I don't think he does at all. I tell you what if I would have run four years ago he wouldn't be president right now. I don't think he thinks that at all. It's very interesting. It's very interesting with President Obama. Going to go down as one of the worst presidents in the history of this country.
He was -- has been a disaster on the military. You look at what -- we can't beat ISIS. He's been a disaster on health care because Obama's got to be repealed and replaced. And I'm just talking about not even from my standpoint. Rates are going up, your premiums are going up -- 25, 35, 45, 55 percent. People are getting killed --
SCARBOROUGH: So you're going to repeal Obamacare --
TRUMP: He lied about -- repeal and replace. Absolutely --
SCARBOROUGH: What do you replace it with?
TRUMP: Health care savings plans, one way. We have to get rid of the lines between states. I do tremendous health care.
TRUMP: I have so many employees. I have thousands of employees. I've employed tens of thousands of people. I built an unbelievable business and one thing that has come out when I filed the documents with the FEC in terms of my business --
TRUMP: I built an unbelievable business. So I have tremendous numbers of people --
SCARBOROUGH: So let's clarify (ph) --
TRUMP: Joe, we have to get rid of the lines. There's a line --
SCARBOROUGH: Right. So you're talking about letting people shop from one state to another --
TRUMP: We have to.
SCARBOROUGH: To insure -- so let me ask you this, though. There is a guarantee now that all Americans get health care. This has been -- well, in New Hampshire it was supposed to be a big problem for you --
TRUMP: We're going to keep it an open --
SCARBOROUGH: Are you going to guarantee all Americans health care?
TRUMP: Joe, Americans aren't getting health care lately. You know --
SCARBOROUGH: I know but I'm not -- but this is what I'm asking you. Just like you've guaranteed -- what you've guaranteed on the second amendment. This has been a fight within the Republican party and what it means to be --
TRUMP: Sure. Sure.
SCARBOROUGH: Conservative. But you have constantly said even in New Hampshire -- the live free or die state that every American should get health care. Is that your position --
TRUMP: Let me tell you, that's not what I said. That's not what I said. Here's what I said. We're going to have great plans. They're going to be much less expensive and they're going to be much better because the Obama plan is unaffordable and it's a disaster.
And by the way in '17 it's going to die unless the Republicans continue to fund money like -- it's not affordable by the country, not affordable by the people. But what I say is this, we're going to have great plans. But there will be a group of people that is not doing well, that has no money. We cannot let them die in the streets.
TRUMP: And we'll work out either through Medicare which we'll save or something. We will work out a plan where instead of having people dying in the streets. And I say to the Republicans all the time. And by the way I get standing ovations from Republicans, from Republican groups. I got one yesterday.
I said we can't let people die in the streets. We got to work out a deal with the hospital or with somebody in that community where if somebody is sick and really sick. And they don't have housing and they don't have --
TRUMP: All -- we can't let them die.
SCARBOROUGH: So all Americans will get health care of some sort --
TRUMP: We're going to take care of them. We're going to take care of them. We have to take care of them. Now, that's not single payer. That's not anything. That's just human decency. And I'll tell you what. Every single time I say that, I say to people in the audience -- I say, "so what do you think?" They all stand up and give me a standing ovation, OK?
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
TRUMP: So some people would take that and they'll say, "oh, that's terrible." That's -- what we're going to have is we're going to have private plans, we're going to have maybe the health care savings plans which are very good. We're going to get rid of the lines.
You know what happens when you get rid of the lines? You have tremendous competition and the price goes way down. The reason the lines are there is because the insurance companies are making a fortune having monopolies in the various states. And --
SCARBOROUGH: All right. We're going to get back to that. We're going to ask how you pay for that and a lot of other things but we need to go to break.
BRZEZINSKI: We're just getting started here in Charleston. When we come back and we're going to be asking Donald Trump about how he would handle the FBI for threats (ph). The break-ins to one of the San Bernardino children's (inaudible) iPhone. You're watching the exclusive town hall with Donald Trump here on MSNBC.
BRZEZINSKI: Welcome back to the exclusive town hall with Donald Trump. We're going to focus on foreign policy.
BRZEZINSKI: Harkening back to that debate performance though. Jeb Bush was attacking you and you were attacking back. And you started talking faulty intelligence and 9/11. And then the war in Iraq and I thought, "my god. He's speaking to me. I don't disagree with him." But I'm not --
SCARBOROUGH: That's not a good thing in a Republican primary --
TRUMP: No, I understand.
SCARBOROUGH: That's a very bad thing in a Republican primary, Donald --
TRUMP: I'm really speaking to the American people. Look, Jeb brought his brother in to help. He needed -- he brought his mom in and he brought his brother, OK?
TRUMP: I don't know who else he's going to bring in but he needs help. And he brought his brother in and once he brought his -- like, four weeks ago Hilary brought in Bill. And I hit them because I thought it was appropriate to hit them. Because once they're in now the brother came in.
So when Jeb at the Reagan museum came out and he said very strongly, "my brother protected us and he protect us." And he meant he protected us after the World Trade Center came down. They forgot one thing. What about during when the World Trade Center came down --
SCARBOROUGH: So I guess this is the Republican in me but how can you blame George W. Bush --
TRUMP: I'm not blaming anybody --
SCARBOROUGH: For the 9/11 attacks --
TRUMP: I'm not blaming anybody but if you go back and you'll see the CIA and the NSA and all of the other groups, they were not getting together, Joe. They were not doing well. They hated each other, the top people hated each other, they weren't talking. They had a lot of intelligence, they knew something bad was going to happen. I'm not blaming anybody.
TRUMP: You were the one that pointed out two years before the World Trade Center came down I in my book was talking about Osama Bin Laden. And I'm not a politician. I wasn't a politician so if I know about Osama Bin Laden why didn't the government know about --
SCARBOROUGH: So --
BRZEZINSKI: It just seems like the punch a Democrat would take against a Republican candidate --
TRUMP: It's not -- I don't think it's Democrat --
BRZEZINSKI: When you're in South Carolina.
TRUMP: I will tell you this, I will tell you -- I will have more cross-over votes. If I get the nomination, I will have more cross-over votes than anybody that's ever run for office. I will have Democrat votes, I will have independent votes. I will do tremendously with cross-over. One other thing. I will have states that nobody ever thought of getting in terms of a Republican. I think --
SCARBOROUGH: Like name one --
TRUMP: I have a chance at New York. I think I have a great chance at Michigan. States that are not in your six states that we always talk about with the Ohio -- that sort of you can get. I'll definitely get Pennsylvania, I'll get Ohio. I think I'm going to win Florida. You see how I'm doing in Florida --
SCARBOROUGH: So --
TRUMP: But I'll get states like a Michigan and a New York --
SCARBOROUGH: But USA Today this morning the headline was that 38 percent of Americans are scared of you getting the presidency. Of course, something like 33, 34 percent were scared of Hilary. So the numbers are up there --
TRUMP: By the way all --
SCARBOROUGH: That's a lot of people --
TRUMP: All of the top candidates had the highest numbers.
SCARBOROUGH: So how do you bring that number down --
TRUMP: You saw me bring it down. I brought it down -- remember how high that number was six or seven months ago and everybody was amazed --
SCARBOROUGH: For the Republican --
TRUMP: How I brought it back down? That just comes down --
SCARBOROUGH: I need to follow-up on the 9/11 comment there because I don't know if it's the same book but we talked about it this morning on the show. In 2000, you also said that you thought that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. What happened between 2000 when you wrote that --
TRUMP: So we were told they had weapons of mass destruction --
TRUMP: But he didn't have weapons of mass destruction. Now, the only question is did the government know he didn't? Why did they go in -- look, Iraq did not knock down and the Iraqis did not knock down the World Trade Center --
TRUMP: OK? So we attacked Iraq but they didn't knock down the World Trade Center. We attacked them for a reason. They didn't knock down the World Trade Center --
SCARBOROUGH: Did you believe in 2003 in March when we went to war that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction --
TRUMP: I didn't know. If you would have watched you would have probably thought they did but I didn't know. But the government should have known and they didn't have. And we attacked a country and destabilized the entire Middle East. Look --
SCARBOROUGH: Fine. So a lot of people obviously are sorting through this. So help us sort through this --
TRUMP: OK. Sure.
SCARBOROUGH: So you said that there are comments that you've made before we went to war. Nobody can find those. I've seen two comments --
TRUMP: Excuse me Joe, Joe --
SCARBOROUGH: Right after we went to war at that time --
TRUMP: I'm a real estate person, I'm a business person --
TRUMP: Nobody cared about my comment. In 2003 you saw comments. I was against the war.
SCARBOROUGH: So --
TRUMP: In 2004 --
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on, this is what I want to talk about. In 2003, you said two things. I believe a couple of days after you were recorded saying it was going to be a disaster but you also said in another quote right after we went in that it would be great for the stock market. Are those --
TRUMP: Well, I'm not saying great for the stock market doesn't mean do it. Look --
TRUMP: I said the war is a disaster because you're going to destabilize the Middle East. I said it long before 2003 but I'm not a politician. I'm not saying it as a -- now I say things as I guess I'm a politician I hate to say --
SCARBOROUGH: So what does that mean going forward?
TRUMP: No, no. Let me tell you what it means. It means the following. Somebody had vision. I'm the only one that said don't go in and I said it 2003, I said it 2004. Now, a couple of people in your world said, "you know what, we don't have any evidence" and he said it before which I did. But I said it to people --
TRUMP: It doesn't mean they're going to put it in the newspapers as a business person. But they said, "he really said it right after the war started that we" -- and there's plenty of proof of that. There's headlines and magazines. Don't go into the war. You're going to destabilize the Middle East.
And I said Iran will take over Iraq. Iran will get the oil. I said all of these things and on top of it I didn't -- nobody knew ISIS. But on top of it I said, the worst, meanest group of people and the people who hate the most, they're going to do the best. That turns out to be ISIS. I also said and the oil --
SCARBOROUGH: So where did you say this?
TRUMP: I said it all over the place. It's written all over the place, Joe -- 2003, 2004 headlines and articles. I would --
TRUMP: Look, nobody's questioning about my being against the war. What they are saying is, "well, he was a little bit after the war." A couple of people in your world said, "that's OK because he was early on -- very early on he was against."
SCARBOROUGH: What about everybody else?
BRZEZINSKI: Can you share with us three people who would consult with or want to hear from on foreign policy?
TRUMP: I would say that I'd rather not because I'm going to be announcing a team in about a week that is really a good team. And a team that was recommended highly by me -- by -- to me. And a team that I've seen both -- and read about both in papers and seen on your show. I know the people but we're announcing a team in about a week. And I'm going to keep it a little bit secret.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. So I want -- I want to -- we want to go questions in the audience. But before we get off of national security --
BRZEZINSKI: Yes --
SCARBOROUGH: I just got to ask you this question.
TRUMP: Go ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: Nobody around our table understood this morning why Apple would not help the government in cracking into the phone -- the iPhone --
SCARBOROUGH: Of one of the two terrorists in San Bernardino. First of all, do you think Apple is in the wrong?
SCARBOROUGH: And secondly, if you are president, Donald Trump, what do you do as far as changing laws to make technology knowledge that --
BRZEZINSKI: Try to deal with this situation --
SCARBOROUGH: Tech companies comply with the needs of the government?
TRUMP: I think it's disgraceful that Apple is not helping on that. I think security first and I feel -- I always felt security first. Apple should absolutely -- we should force them to do it. We should do whatever we have to do and I guess he wants to be a good liberal and he doesn't want to give the information.
But we -- on that -- as an example, those two people killed 14 people. There were other people that saw the bombs laying all over the flu system (ph) like a normal apartment. You had bombs laying all over the floor. You had all sorts of ammunition. You had all sorts of everything in that apartment.
People knew that. I'd like to know who else knew it because they're almost as guilty and maybe just as guilty. I think you have to be able to correct that and I think Apple is absolutely in the wrong.
BRZEZINSKI: OK. We're going to take questions from the audience.
BRZEZINSKI: The first one is from Monique (ph). She's actually a Democrat but Democrats can vote in these South Carolina primaries --
TRUMP: OK. That's true.
BRZEZINSKI: Monique (ph)?
QUESTION: Mr. Trump --
QUESTION: My husband and I -- we are Democrats so we are also successful food entrepreneurs. A lot of the principals we use are directly from your teachings, the books we've read. So in the current administration, African Americans have felt as though they can do anything, be anything. If you're elected, how will you relate to the African American community, minority business owners --
QUESTION: Small businesses? Do you have a plan?
TRUMP: Yes, I do indeed. So I have to say we have right now an African American president and if you look at unemployment with African American youth, Monique (ph), it's 58 percent, 59 percent. Probably even higher than that. If you take African Americans who I have friends that are having a hard time getting a job in prime age - 30, 40, 45 even 50 - their numbers are not comparable to what white men or women in business are. It's not good. You understand that.
We have had an African-American president now for seven years. Going on eight years. He has done so little in terms of economics, and in terms of really getting youth thinking - there because I see all the riots, I see all the problems, you see nothing but problems. Barrack Obama has done nothing, absolutely in my opinion, nothing economically for African-Americans, especially youth but for African-Americans all over, generally.
We're going to bring back our jobs. We're bringing 'em back from China. We're bringing 'em back from all over Asia. We're bringing 'em back from Mexico.
QUESTION: But what would you do - you talk about this a lot, I understand that, it certainly helps the corporations, but what about entrepreneurs? What are you going to do specifically to help the small business owners like (Mani)?
TRUMP: Number one, we have to get rid of rules, regulations that you have - regulations that are so bad now - I have friends, they have small business, and this is whether it's African-American or not, and you know exactly what I'm talking about - the rules and regulations, the regulations of companies today are so outrageous that they cannot compete with similar companies in China, Asia, other places. They can't compete.
So the regulations are going to be gone. We're going to give incentives. We're also doing major tax cuts because small businesses are paying taxes that are far too much, and you're paying a lot of tax. Well, I guess you're making money. Are you making money? You read my book so you should be making money.
(UNKNOWN): There you go, there you go --
(UNKNOWN): We're going to go to a commercial before --
(UNKNOWN): -- take more of your questions when we come back. When we come back.
(UNKNOWN): More questions from Donald Trump and from the audience, the (INAUDIBLE) are gathered here in South Carolina. We're watching an exclusive Town Hall with Donald Trump right here on MSNBC.
(UNKNOWN): -- the audience. (Barbara). (Barbara)?
(QUESTION): Hi, Mr. Trump.
TRUMP: Hello (Barbara).
(BARBARA): Hi. I wanted to ask you when will we ask our allies to help fund the U.S. troops stationed in their country for protection?
TRUMP: All right. I talk about it all the time, (Barbara). We have so many countries, South Korea - you know I order thousands of television sets a year for different projects and they're all made, all made in South Korea. Other than Sony, which is Japan, but, I mean for the most part - LG, Samsung - it's such a great question because these countries are making a fortune.
And we take care of Saudi Arabia. We take care of Japan. We take care of Germany. We have - you know when you look at our budget for military it's 10 times higher - so much bigger than anybody else in the world. But what do we do? We take care of all these other countries. The question is such a great question. I talk about it, and I just can't even understand.
Saudi Arabia was making a billion dollars a day, prior to the oil collapse, so now they're making half, OK, they're making plenty. And yet we take care of them. They pay us peanuts, we've --
(UNKNOWN): Should we force Germany and Japan, to start carrying their load, build up their own military and start funding their own defense, instead of the United States?
TRUMP: At a minimum, I think it's fine what we're doing but they have to pay us for it, they have to pay us so we don't lose tremendous amounts of money.
(UNKNOWN): If you go in and fight, have the country, our country, lead the war against ISIS --
(UNKNOWN): -- as you've said you're going to do. Will you do what Bush 41 did, and force countries like Japan to write checks?
TRUMP: I would do that and I would want other countries - you know the Gulf States, if you look, the Gulf States aren't doing anything and they're big beneficiaries and they have more money than anybody else. We have $19 trillion in debt - it's going to be $21 trillion because of the horrible budget that was just passed four weeks ago, which is shocking that they just did that - so we're going to have $21 trillion in debt - we can't keep doing this.
And if we're taking care of Saudi Arabia they're going to have to pay us. And if we're taking care of South Korea which makes a fortune, you know it's an economic behemoth --
TRUMP: -- and we have the madman right next to him and we have 28,000 soldiers on the line - we're going to have to do something.
(UNKNOWN): And now we're going to go to the studio audience. I wish we had three hours, we don't so I'm going - I've got to dig into a couple of things you said here quickly.
First of all you talk about the $29 trillion national debt. That's something that - that's a top issue for me. If I listen to the people I've been listening to for years on these issues, they tell me your policies would add another $10 trillion, $11 trillion to the national debt.
TRUMP: They're wrong.
(UNKNOWN): How are they wrong?
TRUMP: All I'm saying is my policies are going to reduce taxes, OK? And the taxes is going to bring jobs back and we're going to bring jobs back into the country big league, and we're going to have a dynamic economy again.
You know last --
TRUMP: Joe, we have no growth.
(UNKNOWN): Are you going to cut spending?
TRUMP: I'm going to cut spending big league.
TRUMP: Department of Education. We're going to cut Department of Education. We spend more money per pupil than any country in the world by far and we're ranked number 30 in the world. You have all of these countries, whether it's --
BRZEZINSKI: Bless you,
TRUMP: Oh, I thought she was a - she sneezed.
SCARBOROUGH: That wasn't a protester.
SCARBOROUGH: You're so used to protests, somebody sneezed and you're ready to throw them out.
TRUMP: (Barbara)'s going to go over there and show what a big --
TRUMP: -- she's a healthy, she's a healthy person.
TRUMP: But you look at - we're number 30 in the world, Department of Education, that's because I said, we're going to bring
(SCARBOROUGH): That won't balance the budget.
(SCARBOROUGH): You've got to look at entitlements too, do you not?
TRUMP: What we're going to do more than anything else, we're going to bring, we're going to cut - we're going to cut tremendous amounts of money - let me give you an example.
Drug companies. Now, you take somebody like Woody Johnson, good guy, Johnson & Johnson. These people are in charge of - meaning Woody - are in charge of Jeb Bush's campaign finance. He's the head of campaign financing. Jeb Bush raised $148 million, total waste of money. He might as well throw it out the window. Wouldn't it have been nicer if instead of running a failed campaign he gave it to the Wounded Warriors or gave it to somebody. But the problem is, we don't negotiate - we're the largest drug producer, and - we're the largest drug buyer in the world. We don't negotiate. We don't negotiate.
You pay practically the same for the country as if you go into a drug store and buy the drugs. If we negotiated the price of drugs, Joe, we'd save $300 billion a year.
Now, these candidates - I self-fund, I'm going to do it. These candidates are all controlled by the drug companies, the lumber companies - they're never going to do that. They're never going to do it.
There's tremendous fat. Joe, there's tremendous fat in our budgets. Tremendous fats. Beyond belief. But the candidates are all controlled by the people that make money off the fat.
(SCARBOROUGH): I know we've got to go to the audience, but entitlement reform, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid --
SCARBOROUGH: -- combined.
SCARBOROUGH: -- are going to consume every dime that goes to Washington, D.C. --
TRUMP: Fraud and abuse.
TRUMP: It's a huge number. Waste, fraud - you know people --
SCARBOROUGH: What about raising the retirement age? People are living older than they ever have --
TRUMP: Let me just say. Waste, fraud and abuse is massive in Social Security and Medicaid.
SCARBOROUGH: Why wouldn't you raise the retirement age if Americans are getting older and living longer and longer.
TRUMP: I'm not doing it. I don't want to do it. I don't want to do it. Two reasons. Number one I don't want to do it and number two, the Democrats aren't going to do it.
You know the Republicans also have to get elected, you do know that. And if you watch Bernie, and if you watch Hillary, they don't only want to not cut, they want to increase Social Security.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
TRUMP: Now. I'm not doing it for that reason. I'm just saying this. We don't have to do it. We're going to make our economy strong, we're going to make our economy rich, and we're not going to have to --
SCARBOROUGH: You know tonight I know Mika why we have the three hour program --
SCARBOROUGH: There's not enough time to follow up --
BRZEZINSKI: The two of you, right --
SCARBOROUGH: This is (Kevin McCarthy). Not that (Kevin McCarthy) we know, but (Kevin McCarthy). Go ahead (Kevin).
(MCCARTHY): Mr. Trump, jobs are a big issue you talk about a lot. Some of these trade agreements like NAFTA and others have been very destructive for the working class. My question is what specific steps would you take to help renegotiate those deals or help protect American jobs?
TRUMP: Our trade agreements are a disaster. Partially because, again, contributions to the various people that run things. Like the Senators, et cetera. TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership, is a disaster because they don't talk about monetary manipulation and devaluation. They don't talk about it.
The number one way the countries are killing us is with devaluations of their currencies. And our companies can't compete. You take a look at what's happening in Japan with the devaluation of the yen. Just look at this. Caterpillar is having such a hard time competing with Komatsu, which is a big tractor maker from Japan. The - a friend of mine bought all Komatsu, all his life he's bought big Caterpillar, big contractor, big contractor.
He bought, his whole life; he bought Caterpillar. Now he's buying Komatsu. Not because he wants to. He said they devalued the yen to such an extent that it's absolutely impossible to compete. So he bought it, and he's very unhappy about it.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disaster. And it shouldn't be signed. The NAFTA agreements and trade agreements that we have generally will be fully renegotiated by me. We have right now a deficit with Mexico, a 58 - a trade deficit, $58 billion. With Mexico. We have a $500 billion deficit with China. Can't have this. We will renegotiate.
Carl Icahn came out, he endorsed me, said Trump is the one that knows what the hell's going on. We have another problem. We have corporate inversions where you have companies that are leaving our country --
That's a big problem.
SCARBOROUGH: It is a big problem. Let's talk about China, though, for a second. You've talked before about slapping tariffs, 40, 45 percent on China if that's what it took, but wouldn't --
TRUMP: Not actually what I said. The New York Times said I said that. But actually I was at a meeting with the New York Times. I didn't say it --
TRUMP: I said it is a threat that I would use against China.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you understand though that if we get into a trade war with China, that that could hurt a lot of working class Americans who depend on cheap products from China to be able to get by.
TRUMP: It's going to hurt China more than it's going to hurt anybody. We have all the keys, all the power, look - China has been - it's been one of the great thefts of all time, what they've done to the United States. And I have great relationships - I sell condos for tens of millions of dollars to Chinese, I have the largest bank in the world, which is from China, as my tenant in one of my buildings in Manhattan. I bought a building, I have a building through China, the Bank of America Building in San Francisco - I mean I do a lot of business with China.
SCARBOROUGH: I want to ask you something though, because before we go to break --
TRUMP: We can't let China continue to get away with what they're doing to our country.
SCARBOROUGH: So are you talking about with China, whether we're talking about tariffs, are you talking about more threat than action?
TRUMP: No, no. It's a threat but you have to be able to put it in place. What China has done to us with devaluation of their currency is unbelievable. And nobody thought they were going to do it again, and then four months ago they had the largest devaluation they've had in 20 years. The largest in 20 years. Now they're going to do it again.
Our companies can't compete. They are devaluing their currencies, a company can't compete.
BRZEZINSKI: All right, we're going to take a break. They are just days away from heading to the polls here in South Carolina.
(INAUDIBLE) make up their minds. We will return with more questions from the audience. And we'll get into Donald Trump's (INAUDIBLE) see if the numbers add up.
You're watching an exclusive Town Hall with Donald Trump, right here on MSNBC.
BRZEZINSKI: -- here in South Carolina, taking questions from voters ahead of Saturday's primary here.
So, Donald Trump, we have (Colin Baldwin) who is joining us. He's an Independent, right (Colin)?
(BALDWIN): Yes ma'am.
BRZEZINSKI: OK (Colin) take it away.
(BALDWIN): Mr. Trump, multiple past presidents have attempted to establish a peace agreement between both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And the one common theme is that they've all been unsuccessful. What specific steps would you take to establish an agreement between both sides?
TRUMP: OK. I think it's probably the toughest agreement of any kind to make. It has been going on for many years, many friends of mine have been involved, they're very good businessmen, good negotiators. A lot of people say an agreement can't be made, which is OK, sometimes agreements can't be made, not good. But you have both sides really, but you have one side in particular growing up and learning that these are the worst people, these are the worst people et cetera et cetera.
It is a very, very tough agreement to make. I was with a very prominent Israeli the other day, said it's impossible because the other side has been trained from the time they're children to hate Jewish people. But I will give it one hell of a shot. That I can tell you. But of all agreements - I would say if you can do that deal you can do any deal. That's probably the toughest deal in the world right now to make and it's possible it's not makeable because don't forget, it has to last.
It's wonderful to make it and it doesn't work. But it has to last. To make lasting peace, there, probably the toughest deal of all but I'm going to give it a shot.
SCARBOROUGH: Whose fault do you think it is (INAUDIBLE)?
TRUMP: You know I don't want to get into it. I don't want to get into it for a different reason.
SCARBOROUGH: Israeli or Palestinian?
TRUMP: I don't want to get into it for a different reason, Joe, because if I do win, there has to be a certain amount of surprise, unpredictability, our country has no unpredictability. If I win, I don't want to be in a position where I'm saying to you, and the other side now say, "We don't want Trump involved, we don't want" - let me be sort of a neutral guy, let's see what - I'm going to give it a shot. It would be so great.
I would be so proud if I would do that. I don't know if it's doable, I have friends of mine that are tremendous businesspeople that are really great negotiators, they say it's not doable, you understand a lot of people have gone down in flames trying to make that deal. SO I don't want to say whose fault is it, I don't think it helps.
BRZEZINSKI: All right. We're going to take a question now from (Stephanie Brumet). She's an Independent. (Stephanie).
(BRUMET): Hi Mr. Trump. Thank you for being here.
TRUMP: Hi (Stephanie). Thank you.
(BRUMET): My question is in regard to political civility. So we have - I think you've been really successful in tapping into the kind of voter who wants a politician to tell it like it is. Wants a politician to be honest. And so I think you've done a successful job of tapping into that passion.
My question is where do you think the line is between boldness and honesty, and disrespect and rudeness. And does that line change --
TRUMP: -- no it's - I'll give you an example. One of the speeches we're having a great time - I never said the word. I opened my mouth, and they go - all of your networks go, "Beep," and they thought I said this terrible word. I didn't say the word. That was a real bad word, I didn't say it at all and the place --
BRZEZINSKI: But you whispered it Donald. You whispered the word.
TRUMP: The other one I actually, you know, you can give me a negative credit on this one. I actually repeated a word. I said, "I didn't say this word, I didn't say this word," and then I was --
SCARBOROUGH: -- so don't (leave that) towards other people. Because you like hammering other people. As a politician I always had a rule - you couldn't be at war with more than one person at a time. Your rule seems to be - you have to be at war with at least a dozen people at a time. What happens if you're President of the United States, and, and - you look at Barrack Obama, one of his problems, biggest problems, people on the Hill, Democrats and Republicans will say, is that he doesn't have friends on the Hill.
TRUMP: He doesn't have friends.
SCARBOROUGH: Are you going to have friends on the Hill?
TRUMP: I started out I was one of 17 people, and we're not including the Democrats. It was coming at me from every which way. I was very strong and very bold and I hit a lot of people. I knocked out Lindsey Graham, I knocked out Perry, I knocked out a lot of people, Walker, we knocked out a lot of people --
SCARBOROUGH: And you're still hammering.
TRUMP: And I have to. Because I still have (six) left.
SCARBOROUGH: But if you knock out everybody else, and you're President of the United States, then you have to deal with 535 people that are going to be hammering you every day.
BRZEZINSKI: Do you have the temperament?
SCARBOROUGH: Do you have the temperament to be President?
TRUMP: I think my biggest strength --
SCARBOROUGH: Jeb Bush would disagree.
TRUMP: Jeb Bush is a sad case, OK --
SCARBOROUGH: There you go again.
There you go again.
TRUMP; I'm not saying - I'm just saying it's a very sad thing. I said he's a low-energy person. Look, a year from now, people will respect what I did. I had Lindsey Graham, who was at seven percent, after I hit him he was at nothing and he left the race. Now he's an angry person, I see him on television saying things it's like - I mean he's like an insane person.
SCARBOROUGH: Again, again.
TRUMP: Our country doesn't win anymore. You're so worried about being nice and being politically correct. So what would you rather have me do? Be nice to everybody and now instead of all those people getting out they're still in so hammering me? You get --
SCARBOROUGH: It's not what I want, it's not what she wants. It's do you have the temperament to deal with 535 people --
BRZEZINSKI: Join the debate. (INAUDIBLE) you're the guy who has his finger on the button.
TRUMP: The debate? I was being hit by the announcer, John Dickerson, everybody was really being, sort of culled, to go off --
They were asking, your brother was told this or this by Donald Trump, and they have to respond. I was being hit by everybody, finger on the button. I'm the one, the only one, that said don't go into Iraq. So don't tell me about finger on the button.
I want to build our military so strong, so powerful, that nobody's going to mess with it.
SCARBOROUGH: So what does that mean? Is that more money too?
TRUMP: No, it's more money, but it's cheap compared to what we're doing right now. Nobody respects us right now. They don't respect us -
SCARBOROUGH: But are you talking about bigger defense budgets? Because right now, we're already spending -
TRUMP: I'm talking about better negotiated defense budgets. Do you know that we're buying equipment that the generals and the colonels and the people in the field don't want because these companies have political contacts? So much of it has to do with the fact that I'm self-funding my campaign. I can do whatever I want.
We're buying equipment that we don't even want because certain companies have better political skills. And you see it all the time. They're getting a plane they don't want. If they want the other one, they could have gotten it cheaper, but to get this one because - we're going to have a better, stronger military. And we're going to watch it so much, we will save so much money.
Joe, there is so much corruption. There is so much waste and abuse in the military and elsewhere. But we're going to build our military strong. It's the cheapest thing we can do.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
BRZEZINSKI: All right. When we come back, our final questions and thoughts here in the (INAUDIBLE). You're watching a special edition, an exclusive MSNBC town hall with Donald Trump from Charleston, South Carolina.
BRZEZINSKI: Welcome back to our town hall event with Donald Trump, from Charleston South Carolina. We have a few final moments with Mr. Trump.
I wanted to describe a candidate to you. The candidate is considered a political outsider by all of the pundits. He's tapping into the anger of the voters, delivers a populous message.
He believes everyone in the country should have health care, he advocates for hedge fund managers to pay higher taxes. He is drawing thousands of people at his rallies and bringing in a lot of new voters to the political process. And he's not beholden to any (inaudible).
Who am I describing?
TRUMP: Or any special interest, or any donors. You're describing Donald Trump.
BRZEZINSKI: Actually, I was describing Bernie Sanders.
TRUMP: Oh, that's good.
SCARBOROUGH: Is it insulting -- because there are some similarities.
TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you, we're different in one primary -- I'll tell you, there's one thing that we've very similar in. He knows that our country is being ripped off big league, big league, on trade.
The problem is, he can't do anything about it, he's not going to be able to do, whereas I'm going to do things.
SCARBOROUGH: Why not?
TRUMP: Because he doesn't understand it. I mean, he doesn't understand what's happening. But he does know that China and these other countries are ripping us off -- Mexico. You see (inaudible) moving down, they're moving down to Mexico. Nabisco is moving.
The whole thing is crazy, what's going on with Mexico.
He does understand that, much more so than many people, but he'll never be able to do anything about it.
SCARBOROUGH: Would you rather run against Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton?
TRUMP: Well, that's a great question. I think I'd rather run against Hillary, just because I'd love to beat Hillary. I think I can beat Hillary so easy.
But -- but honestly --
I -- don't know. I mean, I'm pretty good with the legal stuff, and I don't know how she gets out of that quagmire of the emails. I --
SCARBOROUGH: Do you think -- do you think she'll be indicted?
TRUMP: I think maybe she will, but I think if she isn't indicted, the only reason is because the Democrats are protecting her. She is being protected 100 percent.
Because you look at General Petraeus, you look at all the all the other people that did a fraction of what she did --
SCARBOROUGH: Would you ever consider -- speaking of General Petraeus, would you ever consider General Petraeus, possibly, as a vice presidential candidate if you won the nomination?
TRUMP: We can't, now. He has been so badly hurt.
BRZEZINSKI: What about a general?
TRUMP: He has been so horribly -- well, look, he did a nice job. But he has been -- it was just, he had bad judgment.
But she has much worse judgment than he had, and she's getting away with it. It's unfair to him.
And by the way, I came out -- the want to take away further rank, they want -- and I was, for the last month and half, I was saying leave General Petraeus alone. He has suffered enough. Leave him alone. I said go get ISIS, don't get General Petraeus.
BRZEZINSKI: Donald, you said you're going to build a beautiful wall and Mexico is going to pay for it.
TRUMP: Right. Right.
BRZEZINSKI: But you never say how. You say believe me, they are.
TRUMP: So easy. It's so easy.
BRZEZINSKI: Believe me is not an answer. How?
TRUMP: Believe me. Let me tell you. Believe me.
BRZEZINSKI: How are you going to make Mexico pay --
TRUMP: Can I tell you? Can I tell you? You have to stop and I'll tell you.
BRZEZINSKI: Tell me.
TRUMP: We're going to have a trade deficit of $58 billion, OK? The wall is going to cost a fraction of that, maybe 10 (billion dollars) or $12 billion, and it's going to be a real wall. It's going to be a high wall. It's going to be a beautiful -- it's going to be a wall that works.
SCARBOROUGH: How do you get Mexico to pay for it?
TRUMP: Very simple. You have five different ways. Number one -- here's the key. They are making, right -- if you look at it as a company -- $58 billion. The wall is a -- a year. We have a trade deficit with Mexico of $58 billion, all I have to do it start playing with that trade deficit, and believe me, they're going to pay for the wall. You watch.
SCARBOROUGH: Is there going to -- a possible trade war with Mexico?
TRUMP: I'm talking about negotiating with them, I'm not talking a trade war with -- I'm talking about Japan. We have all the cards, Joe. If we -- I was in Los Angeles, I see these massive ships coming in with cars. We have all the cards, we don't play them. We don't have the politicians that know how to play them.
We're negotiating against great negotiators. China, Mexico, Japan, believe me, we're going to start doing great with those -- that trade. And that's the thing. Bernie Sanders can't do it.
The bottom line, I think he would be easier to beat than Hillary --
TRUMP: -- because I always wanted to run against a socialist in this country. I can't imagine it. I think he'd be easier to beat.
BRZEZINSKI: So let's get some final questions from our audience. Rebecca is a Republican. Rebecca, take it away.
QUESTION: Hi. Hi, Mr. Trump. I was just -- I'm a college student, so education is really important to me. And I was just wondering, since there's so much going on right now in the rest of the campaign, I was just wondering how you are going to -- what -- like, what are your thoughts on Bernie's higher education plan and how he's going to reduce the cost --
TRUMP: The problem with Bernie -- thank you. That's a very good question. The problem with Bernie's plan is everyone's going to pay 95 percent taxes. I mean, you know, you have that and you have all the other things that he wants to do, and you're going to have --
SCARBOROUGH: So then what -- let's talk about cost then.
TRUMP: -- you're going to have a tax rate of 95 percent.
SCARBOROUGH: So how do we reduce the costs for colleges? It's insane, the inflation rate --
TRUMP: You're right.
SCARBOROUGH: -- for higher education is --
TRUMP: You know why?
SCARBOROUGH: -- absolutely insane.
TRUMP: Because the students are a conduit to get all this money to the colleges. The colleges have gone crazy. You look at the fees they're paying, you look at the kind of numbers that the administrators make. Colleges have gone up practically more than anyone because the students, they're the real losers in this thing. They go borrow the money from the government and the colleges charge more and more and more, disproportionately more. They have to bring down their costs.
We have to help the students, Joe, because what the colleges have done, their costs have gone up more than anything because the government basically gives them the money to do that through the students, but the students have to pay back the money. It's not fair to the students.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
BRZEZINSKI: OK. We've got -- we've got Jiral (ph) now --
TRUMP: Good question. Thank you.
BRZEZINSKI: -- who has a question. He's a Democrat. Jiral (ph), take it away.
QUESTION: Hello there, Mr. Trump. Thank you for being here. My question is you're facing stiff competition from Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. How do you think you will set yourself apart from those two candidates, and how are you going to go and win the general election against, say, Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton?
TRUMP: Well, I think I will set myself apart because my policies are better, I'm a much better businessperson than they are. They've never employed anybody, ever. I think I'm a better leader, I'm going to bring the country together far better than they're going to do, far better than they're going to do.
You look at a guy like Ted Cruz, he's a nasty guy. He can't even -- he doesn't have one Republican endorsement from the Senate and he works with the Senate. Think of it. Hard to believe. Not one senator has endorsed him, and he's a senator.
And it's fine to stand on the floor of the Senate for a day or two days and have everybody else in the Senate laughing at you and you do nothing. I mean, he accomplished nothing with that. He went out and he, you know, talked and talked for two days, he filibustered for two days, he got nothing out of it.
I will bring the country together. I will take care of our country. I'm going to make our country rich again and then I'm going to make our country great again. But we have to become solvent, we have to become rich again before we become great.
We owe $19 trillion, we've got to start paying it down. We've got to start balancing budgets. But there's so much fat in this country, and I understand it, they don't. No politician will ever understand it.
SCARBOROUGH: So I want to back to the temperament question again. You say you're going to bring people together, but you just attacked Ted Cruz in that question. I'm not judging you for doing that --
TRUMP: No, no. I'm attacking because he attacked me.
SCARBOROUGH: -- I -- but, I mean, you're -- this is not about whether I think it's a good idea or not.
TRUMP: Joe, Joe, Ted Cruz does not have the temperament, I'll be honest.
SCARBOROUGH: The question is, though --
TRUMP: Ted Cruz does not have the temperament.
SCARBOROUGH: -- how do you convince Americans, people in South Carolina, people in California, people all across the country, that when you get -- become president of the United States, you will have the temperament to govern and to bring people together? To bring Nancy Pelosi together with Paul Ryan --
TRUMP: I think I'll be able to do that.
SCARBOROUGH: -- together with Mitch McConnell --
TRUMP: It's what I do.
SCARBOROUGH: -- together with Chuck Schumer?
TRUMP: Yeah, that's what I do. I do deals. I mean, you have to do deal. We don't want to do the executive orders all the time. It wasn't supposed to be about executive orders. You have to bring them, like Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan, you have to bring them together.
When I speak in front of a group of people and it's thousands and thousands of people, by the time I end up finishing that, everybody likes Donald Trump. You said -- you saw that where my favorability, when I speak to people, goes up to the 70s, 80s and 90s after an hour speech. I bring people together, and it'll be a much different country and a much better country than it is right now.
We're a divided nation right now, Joe.
TRUMP: And we're like the sad -- we are like a nation that's being taken advantage by every -- by everybody.
SCARBOROUGH: So let me ask you --
TRUMP: We're going to be brought together.
SCARBOROUGH: -- what president or presidents would you look to for inspiration? What president's portrait would you put up on the wall in the Oval Office that you would use as a guide?
TRUMP: I really liked the temperament and the attitude of Ronald Reagan. I really thought that he had something very special.
SCARBOROUGH: But you were critical of Reagan --
TRUMP: I was -- I was critical on him with trade. I've been critical of every president because of trade, because we have been -- since I've been old enough to really understand what's going on, we have been just decimated by trade deals.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. So I --
TRUMP: But I think --
SCARBOROUGH: -- I don't want to get sidetracked, what about Ronald Reagan did you like?
TRUMP: I liked his attitude, I liked his style, I liked the way he brought the country, to a certain extent, together, including -- I liked the fact that he was able to get along with Tip O'Neill and they were able to make deals together, even though they were very different people. And they actually liked each other very much.
You know, today, you have -- you know, those days, you used to have the Republicans, Democrats, they go have dinner together, they have their families together. Today, the hatred in Washington is unbelievable.
SCARBOROUGH: They don't do it anymore. So what president would you look to to learn negative lessons, the things not to do?
TRUMP: I think Obama.
TRUMP: I think it's been -- he's been such a negative source. He has been so negative. Even -- and I said it before -- even with the African-Americans, the African-Americans are not partaking in anything having to do with the upside of this country. And I think I will do phenomenally with the African-American voter, and you've seen that in the polls. I mean, I'm getting numbers that nobody's ever seen before from the African-American voter.
BRZEZINSKI: All right. Our final question is from Brenna (ph). Brenna (ph) take it away.
QUESTION: Hello, Mr. Trump.
QUESTION: My question for you is why did you decide to run for the presidency in the first place?
TRUMP: Very simple.
SCARBOROUGH: It's the Roger Mudd question. Why do you want to be president?
TRUMP: Very simple -- it's a -- I have such a wonderful answer. My theme is Make America Great Again. I want to make America great again.
TRUMP: I want to make it strong because I love the country. I didn't need this, Joe. Believe me, I have a wonderful life, I have a wonderful company, I have a wonderful family --
SCARBOROUGH: So why did you do it?
TRUMP: -- this is a lot of work. I want to make America great again, and we can do that. Militarily, we're going to do it, with trade we're going to do it, with health care we're going to do it, we're going to do it at the borders; our borders are like Swiss Cheese. People pour across the borders like we don't have any borders.
SCARBOROUGH: Is it worth it?
TRUMP: Well, look. It's been certainly interesting. It's not easy It's a lot of work. I mean, I'm here. I could be someplace else, to be honest with you. Okay, I'm being drilled by the two of you; I could be someplace else.
But so far I think it's really been worth it. It's been one of the most interesting experiences -- probably the most interesting experience of my life. I've enjoyed it. I think I've done well. And we'll see what happens.
BRZEZINSKI: That does it for us here in Charleston.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you, Donald.
TRUMP: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: We appreciate it.
BRZEZINSKI: Thank you to the audience.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you, guys.
BRZEZINSKI: Thank you so much.
BRZEZINSKI: Our thanks (ph) to Donald Trump for taking the questions. Thank you very much.
BRZEZINSKI: We're going to be back with you live starting at 6:00 Eastern tomorrow, live from Charleston.