Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Exclusive Interview with Donald Trump. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 9, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, OUTFRONT: Thanks so much for watching live from Miami. We will be back here tomorrow night. AC 360 starts now.
[20:00:24] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening from Miami- Dade College. We are now just an hour away from tonight's Univision Democratic debate seen right here on CNN. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are going to take the stage shortly. She, of course, coming off a win in Mississippi, which was expected. What wasn't expected was his win in Michigan. There is no overstatement to call it a shocker especially considering he was down by about 20 points in the polls going in. So what happens on the debate stage behind me tonight has taken on a completely new level of importance in a race that's gone to a new level.
First though, the Republicans who are going to be taking part in tomorrow's CNN debate at a nearby University of Miami. I sat down today with Donald Trump the front-runner. And as you might imagine, he made headlines. He said that he expects a softer tone tomorrow night at the debate. However, he is still calling his leading rival lying Ted. We will bring you the interview in depth right after Sara Murray sets the Republican stage.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was watching the news in one of the rooms, and every single advertisement was about me. And it was during my tournament. I'm turning my tournament. I go from tournament to horrible land. Every -- the most vicious.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER (voice-over): In the face of an onslaught of attacks, Donald Trump is triumphing, notching three more victims Tuesday night and nudging the party to rally behind him.
TRUMP: The bottom line is we have something going that's so good. We should grab each other and we should unify the party and nobody is going to beat us, OK.
MURRAY: The billionaire businessman celebrating with a surreal election night event, responding to a drum beat of criticism about his failed ventures with an evening designed to showcase Trump branded products.
TRUMP: And we have Trump steaks. And by the way, if you want to take one, we'll charge you about what, 50 bucks a steak, Donald. MURRAY: According to news reports, Sharper Image no longer sells
TRUMP: You'll love Trump steaks.
MURRAY: And Busch brothers provides steaks to Trump hotels and golf clubs. So it's unclear where the slab of meat Trump touted came from.
Now that the fight for the nomination is looking more like a two-man race, Ted Cruz isn't letting up.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't have any steaks to sell you. I don't have any wine. I don't have any cleaning products.
MURRAY: The Texas senator emerging with a victory in Idaho Tuesday and today getting another boost with an endorsement from former presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina.
CRUZ: Carly's being with us today is just one more manifestation of what we have been seeing playing out over the last several weeks, which is Republicans uniting, coming together behind our campaign.
MURRAY: But for Marco Rubio, a brutal night. Another winless evening and even steeper odds as he pins all his hopes on Florida.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You believed in me once. I am asking you to believe again. We can win this election, and we will. I need your help next Tuesday because we are not just going to win the Florida primary. We are going to win Florida in November.
MURRAY: Today John Kasich is still holding on. Outperforming Rubio last night and fighting for victory in his home state of Ohio next Tuesday.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And with those states that have not yet selected a delegate, basically, the three, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and I, are dead even going into the last half of this whole match. So don't be thinking it's over yet.
COOPER: Sara Murray joins us from the University of Miami which is the site of tomorrow night's CNN Republican debate.
What can we expect from the GOP candidates at that debate?
MURRAY: Well, Anderson, there is no doubt that Ted Cruz wants to turn this into a two-man race with Donald Trump. But as Donald Trump said to you, he want a kinder, softer, gentler debate and I think that is because he wants to come off as more presidential than perhaps he and others did in the last debate stage where they were comparing hand size among other things.
And I think for Marco Rubio and for John Kasich, the stakes could not be higher. These two candidates need to prove to voters that casting a ballot for them is not a waste. Both of their states coming up March 15th. And it is pretty much do or die for both candidates, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Sara Murray, thanks very much.
And the debate is one of the things I talked to Donald Trump about today.
Coming up right now, the wide-ranging conversation with Trump. How he sizes up his competition. His thoughts heading into tomorrow night and next week's winner take all Florida primary. I pressed him on specifics on his promise to reverse what he sees as this country's weaken position in the world as well as his evolving positions so it says on fighting terrorism that some military and legal analysts say could amount to war crimes. We spoke earlier today at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.
COOPER: Huge night last night. Do you have any idea that you were going to win as big as you did?
[20:05:02] TRUMP: Well, I felt good. I mean, Mississippi, I was in three or four times and it was like a love fest. And so, I felt very good about it. Michigan has been great. It has been great for me for a long time. I have so many friends there. I had no idea it would be that big.
COOPER: Do you think it's the message on trade in particular in Michigan that was effective? Sanders winning as well there. You have a very similar message.
TRUMP: I think they want strength. I think they want military. I think they want to take care of vets. I think they hate Obamacare. But I would say ultimately it's about jobs and the economy. And you know, Michigan has been stripped. You look at those empty factories all over the place. And nobody hits that's message better than me. I'm going to take care of it. I'm going to stop it. I'm going to stop the craziness that is going on. If you look at what's happening, how -- even today, I mean, we're just shipping company after company after company is leaving this country and leaving jobs behind. And I'm going to get it stopped.
COOPER: Two new polls out today. Quinnipiac, also a CNN one both showing essentially the same thing. You are way ahead here in Florida. Almost I think 2-1 against Rubio. And even in Ohio leading Kasich with six points and seven points in each poll. If you win Florida and Ohio, is it over?
TRUMP: I think so. I think if I win those two, I think it's over. I thought Kasich said after Michigan he was going to drop out, to be honest with you. He was saying that he will win Michigan, he will win it easily. And he --
COOPER: He is now saying Ohio. If he doesn't win Ohio -- TRUMP: And I was saying Ohio. But no, he said Michigan. He was
said, you know, it's his neighbor. And he said he is going to win Michigan, and he was pretty confident of Michigan. And I thought he said he was going to drop out if he lost Michigan. I guess he's not going to do that. So I think we are going to do very well in Ohio. I know Ohio very well. I have many, many friends.
COOPER: You think you'll win there?
TRUMP: Well, even Paul O'Neill of the Yankees endorsed me. He is from Ohio. Great guy. And he endorsed me last night at the press conference. I think I'll win Ohio, yes. And I think - I mean, we just have better policies. The country is sick and tired of what they are seeing. The country is sick and tired of these politicians that's talk and to all talk, no action. And they are all tired of it, Anderson.
COOPER: So if Kasich drops - if you win Ohio, Kasich drops out and out you win Florida and Rubio is gone and it's just you and Cruz, if you don't get all of the delegates needed to win by the convention --
TRUMP: Well, I think if I win Ohio and if I win Florida, pretty much, you're going to be pretty much assured of doing that.
COOPER: You think you'll get all the delegates?
TRUMP: I think so, yes. I really think so. I don't see the convention going that route. I see probably getting the delegates. You know, it is like the fighters. That's the ultimate way of doing it. You knock them out. If you knock them out, nothing can happen.
COOPER: You want to go for knockout?
TRUMP: I would rather go for a knockout.
COOPER: If you get to the convention, though, and you don't have the delegates, is any kind of a deal acceptable to you other than you getting the nomination?
TRUMP: Well, then you have to fight it out. But, you know, it is really unfair. Let's say you get there and are a few short but you have 1200, let's say, and somebody else had 500 or 600. Because I'm way ahead and in all fairness to Ted, he is the only one who beats me, but he doesn't say I beat him two or three times for every time he wins one. And we won the important ones. We won the big ones and we won last night. I mean, last night was a romp.
So, look. Ted, the problem with Ted is he walks in with the viable, hauls up the viable. You know, I call him lying Ted.
COOPER: I have heard that.
TRUMP: Puts down the bible and then he lies. I have never seen a man lie this much. But even --.
COOPER: You think for a guy who says he is very religious, you are surprise?
TRUMP: No, Ted. I call him lying Ted. He is lying Ted. And you know, that's his name. And I think frankly that name has stuck because the evangelicals are on my side. They don't like liars. Evangelicals do not like liars.
COOPER: So if it goes to convention, you don't have -- you are a couple short or couple hundred short, for you, that doesn't matter. It's got to be you as the nominee? No other deal is acceptable?
TRUMP: I think this. If you go to the convention and because of some artificial number that they said, if you go to the convention and you are leading by a lot of delegates, I think you should get the nomination. And that will be me. I'll have far more delegates. Now, whether I get to that artificial number, I don't know, but I think I will.
COOPER: You've had a lot of money thrown against you in just these last couple of weeks.
TRUMP: This never been anything like it.
COOPER: This whole never Trump movement, is it dead do you think?
TRUMP: Well, I think it's mortally wounded. I do think it is mortally wounded. Marco had a very rough night. He had no delegates. He got nothing. And that was a very, very bad night. And, you know, when people have hit me, if you watch, and it's been the story of my life, (INAUDIBLE), but everybody that's hit me has gone down. They all came at me. Perry came at me. I can go through Lindsey Graham came at me. Bush came at me. Every one of them came at me. And every one of them that's come at me has gone down. And wouldn't it be nice to have that happen with our country where we can very simply win again?
COOPER: So what do you think was Rubio's demise?
TRUMP: I think he tried to be Don Rickles, frankly. He wanted to be Don Rickles and he's not Don Rickles. And it took me by surprise. I mean, I'm standing at one of the debates and all of a sudden, he got nasty. He was very nasty.
[20:10:05] COOPER: Did he get under your skin?
TRUMP: No, he didn't. Nobody gets under my skin. I mean, you have to handle it. But he was really rude. And, in fact, for a while, I wasn't even sure if what I was seeing was right. Then he had a horrible debate with Chris Christie where he folded. I mean, he totally choked. And you know the expression. Once a choker, always a choker.
COOPER: Do you think going after you, you know, with jokes, with humor, with insults, that took him off his message?
TRUMP: I think so. He wasn't only joking. I mean, he was insulting and, you know, made up insults, a nasty insults. COOPER: And it weakened him do you think in a long term?
TRUMP: It turned out to. I didn't know it would. I mean, I think I hit him very hard. I probably hit him much harder. But maybe for me it's more natural. It wasn't natural for him. And took him off his game. Amazing, I've never seen anything like it. And he went from being, you know, from doing pretty good to now he is at the bottom of the pack.
COOPER: I want to ask you about Cruz in a minute. But just in a big picture, have you given much thought to how you want to define the GOP? I mean, you will be not only the nominee, you will be standard bearer for the Republican Party. How do you want to redefine the GOP?
TRUMP: OK. Well, I think the biggest story in all of politics, all over the world right now -- I've been on the cover of "Time" magazine four times in the last short number of months - I mean, because of what's happening. There's a movement. And it's millions and millions of people that are disgusted with the incompetence of our politicians and our leaders, if you want to call them that. I don't even call them that. I hate to use it.
COOPER: Republicans and Democrats?
TRUMP: Republicans and Democrats. And I'll get to the Republicans in a second because they are blown a great opportunity. So you have primaries. And millions of people more are going to the primaries and voting. And in all fairness, it's because of me. I'm not going to joke. It's not because of Ted Cruz who nobody cares about. Millions of people are going to the polls. More people than did four years ago and did ever. By the way, ever. You report on it. Millions of people, it's the biggest story. And people come up to me, Mr. Trump, when I'm signing autographs or shaking hands. Mr. Trump, 50 years old, 60 years old, I've never voted before, but I'm so proud to be voting.
COOPER: So you want a more populist GOP?
TRUMP: No, no, I'll tell you what. I'm a conservative person. I don't think the labels matter. You know they say he is not -- Jeb Bush used to say he is not a conservative, OK. He is not a conservative. I say, what difference does it make? I mean, who cares? I have very conservative views. But one view that probably isn't considered conservative, but is it smart trade. I want smart trade.
COOPER: Your position is actually similar to Bernie Sanders in some way.
COOPER: His response to that and to critics who say he's destroying the GOP brand and perhaps even the party itself.
Plus, he talks about his victory speech which as you saw in Sara Murray's report, turned into sort of infomercial for all things Trump. Some of which are not actually products still sold by Trump. That and more as we count down to the Democratic debate at the top of the hour and after hour the debate analysis later tonight.
[20:16:56] COOPER: As we count down to the Univision Democratic debate which you can watch right here on CNN tonight and tomorrow's CNN Republican debate, not far from here.
More with my conversation with the front-runner of the Republican Party, Donald Trump. In part two, his trade plan and his answers to critics who say it will boost prices of the things that Americans buy. Also his answers, the comparison I grove between him and Bernie Sanders.
COOPER: Your position is actually similar to Bernie Sanders in some way. I mean, you are both --
TRUMP: Except I can do something about it. The difference between Sanders and I, I watched him recently. And he is right about one thing. The world is ripping us off on trade. It has been a horrible thing. It has been horrible, horrible experiment. I have been against it for years. You know, if you look back, I have been against it your friend Wolf Blitzer actually did a tape of his interviews with me from like 15, 17 years ago. And I was saying the same thing, a little bit different nations like Japan who is really ripping us off.
COOPER: But your position is pretty un-Republican. I mean, Larry Kudlow who, you know, is positive about your corporate tax policy, he's critical of you on trade. He says that essentially it's going to be raising prices for people on consumer goods, on electronics, on cars and other items. And it's essentially a tax on people who can't afford it.
TRUMP: No, I have heard Larry. And let me tell you what's going to happen from a practical standpoint, from a negotiating standpoint. The world is ripping us off because of manipulation, monetary manipulation, devaluations, OK. They are great. The greatest player of them all is China. Nobody has ever played the valuation game with their currency better. It's currency devaluation, than China. China is a grand master. Japan is doing very well. But some of these countries are just absolute masters at it. When we start getting tough, and they think that we're serious, and I'm totally serious. I would put a tax on it in two seconds.
COOPER: You talk about a 45 percent tax --
TRUMP: I've talked about different taxes. I have also said - I didn't say I was going to put. I said use it as a negotiating tool, and I would if we couldn't make the right deal.
COOPER: But that would raise prices for consumer goods. TRUMP: China just devalued their currency recently more than they
have at any time in more than two decades. This was like shocking. And the only reason they did it is because we're weak and have no leadership. It makes it impossible for our companies to compete with Chinese companies and China generally, OK. It makes it absolutely impossible. The threat of me doing this, for instance, the threat of doing it against Japan or China, tell Japan, by the way, when your cars come in you are going to have to pay a 35 percent tax. I sued 35 percent. I only used 45 if somebody is really egregious and, of course, now you have many people that are really egregious.
COOPER: So you are seeing this as a negotiation tactic?
TRUMP: Absolutely. And you know what is going to happen? When they see that we are not playing games, that we are really do because I would do it in a heartbeat. I would love to do it. When they see that we are not playing games, they are going to stop playing with their currencies and they are going to stop taking our jobs to the extent that they are taking them right now.
COOPER: You do worry a lot of people, obviously, in the Republican establishment, though. You know this better than anybody and I know you don't like the NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll. Anew one just came out today and saying the majority of the American voters, six in ten, saying you are harming the GOP's image. Two-thirds have a negative impression of you. How do you go about bringing the GOP back together?
[20:20:06] TRUMP: Look, first of all, millions of people now are voting more as we just said, more than they were four year ago, eight years ago, 16 years ago. Millions and millions of people. They would never see anything like it. I was in South Carolina and a woman came up who was at the polling. She said, you know, Mr. Trump, I've done this for 24 years. I've never seen anything like it.
COOPER: There's a lot of higher voter turnouts. So you are saying that's bringing new people in and --
TRUMP: But many more people are coming in. You know where they're coming from? They are Democrats and they are independents and they are people that never voted before. And don't kid yourself. The people that never voted before, that's a huge part of it. They are coming in in tremendous numbers.
So many people have told me that, Anderson. They said I have never voted before. I mean, these are people that are 60 years old. I'm not talking about somebody that's 18. They never voted before and they are coming in. And I have had hundreds of people telling me that just walking down the line shaking hands.
COOPER: So when Lindsey Graham said choosing between you and Cruz would be like choosing between being shot or poisoned. He is now saying that he will go for Cruz.
TRUMP: Yes, that is OK. Look. Let me explain. I was very hard on him. He was very nasty. They were all nasty. And when they are bad you have to do something about it. Lindsey Graham started at seven percent. I got into the race and he attacked me. And Lindsey Graham went home at zero, at zero. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina where he is a senator was at one when I was at 40 and I won South Carolina. Just so you understand. And I watch this guy who ran for president and he left in disgrace. He was a fool. He left in disgrace, OK, in disgrace. He made a fool out of himself. I don't think he could be elected again in South Carolina because he ran so badly. OK, no way.
Then I see him on television like nothing happened talking about Donald Trump. Donald Trump is this. Donald Trump is that. I destroyed him in the sense of we were competing. We were combatants. Then I hear him talking about the war. I have been doing this for ten years. You know why we have been doing it for ten years? Because, of guys like him. He wants to attack Syria and ISIS at the same time, OK? Now for what reason? I want to knock out ISIS. You do one at a time.
COOPER: So how does the GOP differ under Donald Trump than under President Bush, than under --?
TRUMP: It would be smarter. It would save money. It would have balanced budgets. It would have many more products made in the United States. It would have smart trade, not free trade. I'm a free trader. The problem with free trade, and it's a very big problem. We need smart leadership. To have free trade successfully, you have to have a really smart group of people at the top and person. We don't have that. We have people that are grossly incompetent.
We are dealing against China. I've made a lot of money dealing against China. I have buildings. I own the bank of America building. A big chunk of it in San Francisco. I owned 1290 Avenue of America. I got it by competing against China. I didn't get it because of China. I competed against them. I won and I have these assets, these great assets.
You know, I have told you before, I have the biggest bank in the world is a tenant of mine in Manhattan. I sell condos to the Chinese. I get along great with the Chinese. I have no problem with the Chinese. I wish we could do it. In fact, I respect China. They gotten away with murder. The single greatest theft in the history of the world what China has done for the United States. We have rebuilt China with what they have taken out of our country.
I want to ask you about Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz says flexibility is Washington code word for he is getting ready to stick it to the voters. What does flexibility mean to you?
COOPER: Well, as you might expect, he had a lot to say about Senator Cruz, his tough rival in the polls of right, at the right. More of our conversation with Trump just ahead.
Plus what to watch for in tonight's Democratic debate right here which starts at the top of the hour. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders facing off in the wake of his own unexpected win in Michigan that is just days from Florida's important primary.
[20:27:55] COOPER: We're a little more than a half hour away from the Democratic presidential debate here in Miami. Univision is hosting it. CNN is bringing it to you live. You can watch it right here on CNN at the top of the hours.
Tomorrow, though, Republicans will be debating that the University of Miami. That's also on CNN. Florida's primary is on Tuesday. And tonight Donald Trump is riding a new wave of momentum after winning big in Michigan and Mississippi last night. He also won the Hawaii caucuses. When I sat down with him earlier today, we talked about his rival Ted Cruz who also had a big win last night in Idaho and today, got a ringing endorsement from their former mutual opponent Carly Fiorina.
COOPER: I want to ask you about Ted Cruz. You talked about the importance, you know, you and I talked about the importance of being flexible.
TRUMP: He's totally inflexible.
COOPER: Cruz says flexibility is Washington code word for he is getting ready to stick it to the voters. What is flexibility to you? On what can you work?
TRUMP: It's negotiation.
COOPER: So you can work with Democrats?
TRUMP: Hey, I wrote "the art of the deal." OK.
COOPER: How important is unlocking gridlock in Washington?
TRUMP: Very important. We have total gridlock. Nobody can do anything. We have corporate -- you take a look at corporate inversions which, by the way, the senators, they don't even know what it is. We have companies leaving our country. They are leaving for two reasons. Because the taxes are too high and I cut taxes very substantially and Larry Kudlow, by the way, loves my tax plan.
Taxes are too high and because they can't get their money back. They have money. You know, Anderson, they have money outside of this country. Billions and billions `of dollars, big corporations like Pfizer. That is leaving now moving to Ireland. So they have money out there.
Every Democrat agrees we should let it come back. Every Republican agrees we should -- they all agree that we should let it come back. Who wouldn't? In other words, let the money come into the United States. They have agreed for four years they can't make a deal. You know why? There's no leader. I could sit these guys down in a room and within 20 minutes we would have a deal. COOPER: So Donald Trump as president reaches out to Democrats and
TRUMP: Well, that's the way it was set up, Anderson.
COOPER: Because there are some conservatives who say look, it's more important to stand on principle than it is compromise.
TRUMP: I watched Ted Cruz make a fool of himself. I watched Ted Cruz filibuster.
[20:30:00] For how long did he do it? For two days or something?
I also watched 99 senators sitting back and laughing at him and saying, "Hey, when do we get back to work?"
Now, they don't get along and everything so getting back to work doesn't help either. His filibuster did nothing. What did they do? He wasted a day and half while he sat there and told stories about Alice in Wonderland.
COOPER: What do you want to make deals with Democrats on? Where do you see room for a compromise?
TRUMP: OK. Well first of all, I'd start with corporate inversion, because I can that one on about two seconds. The money has to come back in them. They have $2.5 trillion, probably $5 trillion. But the government says $2.5 trillion that companies want to bring into the country. Right. They can't bring it in.
Some countries --some companies are leaving to get their money. Not just the taxes. They are leaving because they can't bring their money back in. I could solve that problem in 10 minutes. OK. But there are many things. We have to make a better health care deal. We have to work on education. We have horrible education. We're number 30 in the world in education and yet number one per pupil in cost.
COOPER: So those are all things you can make compromises on with Democrats to get something done?
TRUMP: Of course you can. Of course you can. You can't be inflexible. Look, if somebody wants to sell this house and they want a billion dollars. I want a billion dollars. You have to negotiate a little bit. OK.
COOPER: So the other knock that, you know, because some conservatives make, certainly to make on President Obama. They say he is sort of an imperial president. Its one of the things Cruz is saying about you. Even these are the pledge that you are having people make at rallies. He says that you're-- they're treating your supporters like subjects to a king. The implication being as president you would be ...
TRUMP: It's just words. Look, its just words. Ted, it's just words with Ted. Ted is a guy who's somebody he's a very inflexible guy who never -- he'll never make a deal. You talk about gridlock now. If Ted Cruz became president you wouldn't have anything done and Washington would be a total piece of stone. You wouldn't make any -- just I understand you know, he talks about he's a constitutionalist. OK, the constitution was set up with senators and congressmen and you are supposed to work and make deals.
COOPER: Do you see the constitution ...
TRUMP: And two parties. And it could be more than two parties but two parties.
COOPER: Do you see the constitution as a living breathing document that -- or do you see that something set in stone from long ago? Those are sort of ...
TRUMP: I see the constitution as set in stone. I see it as one of the great documents of all time. I also see it as something that says you're going to sit down and make deals. I mean look, if Ted wants something, health care and he won't negotiate, the other side is not going to negotiate either. There is going to be a little bit of movement. And that's wrong.
COOPER: And that's key to you to end gridlock in transition?
TRUMP: Yeah, but I'm going to make a better deal on the other side.
COOPER: All right.
TRUMP: I'm going to make a better deal.
COOPER: On foreign policy. Is there -- and maybe you've been running a campaign. Have you started thinking about a -- sort of a Trump doctrine when for using foreign power overseas. What criteria do you look that?
TRUMP: First of all, there can be no doctrine because everything is different. Every situation is different. And I didn't want to go into Iraq and I'll say it 100 times. I didn't want to go , you know, there is way you were on Howard Stern's show years. You know, before it ever happened. And if he asked me that question and he's a friend of mine. He's a good guy actually, much different than you see on radio. Believe me.
COOPER: It's a great interview.
TRUMP: H is a great guy. But Howard asked me and I said, "Well, I don't know." That's was the first time it was ever asked. But don't forget I'm an entrepreneur. They don't ask me about me simply going into Iraq at that time? And this was long before we went in. And you could see that I was very hesitant. That's was like I wish I go in. Look ...
COOPER: What criteria would you use for sending troops somewhere?
TRUMP: Let me just tell you. Going into Iraq, my opinion, was one of the worst mistakes in the history of this country. It was one of the worst decisions ever made in the history of this country. It started everything that's happening today in the Middle East is because of that one decision to go into Iraq, OK? It was a horrible decision, including the migration. Everything that, you know, it's a mess.
Now if Saddam Hussein was there, would we be better off? Absolutely. You know, hey, this was not a nice man. This wasn't great guy, but Saddam Hussein did one thing. He killed terrorists. He was a professional killer of terrorists.
Now you want to be a terrorist? You go to Iraq. That's called the Harvard of terrorism. Look, whether it's Gaddafi, so terrible decision, Hillary Clinton. Whether it's Saddam Hussein, we were a lot better off before.
COOPER: Do you think your ...
TRUMP: And besides that. Iraq did not knock down the world trade center. Just in case you had any questions.
COOPER: Do you think Islam is at war with the west?
TRUIMP: I think Islam hates us. There is something -- there is something there that is a tremendous hatred there. There's a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There's an unbelievable hatred of us.
COOPER: In Islam itself?
TRUMP: You're going to have to figure that out. OK. You'll get another Pulitzer, right? But you'll have to figure that out. But there's a tremendous hatred. And we have to be very vigilant. We have to be very careful. And we can't allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States.
COOPER: I guess the question is ...
TRUMP: And of people that are not Muslim.
[20:35:01] COOPER: I guess the question is, is there a war between the west and radical Islam or between the west and Islam itself?
TRUMP: Well, it's radical but it's very hard to define. It's very hard to separate because you don't know who is who.
Look, these two young people that got married, she supposedly radicalized him. Who knows what happened?
COOPER: The San Bernardino killer?
TRUMP: The bottom line is they killed 14 people. They gave them baby showers. I mean, they were friends of theirs and they walked in and they killed them. There's unbelievable hatred.
You look at Paris, 138 people killed. Many, many people are going to die in the hospital. Mortally wounded, horribly wounded, horribly wounded. And they walk into a room and boom, boom, boom. There's a sickness going on that's unbelievable. And honestly, you have to get to the bottom of it.
COOPER: You talked about going after the families of terrorists. You now reversed that essentially ...
TRUMP: I didn't reverse anything.
COOPER: You would still want to go after the families of terrorists?
TRUMP: No, no, no. I didn't reverse anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Donald Trump had a lot more to say about what tactics he would try to use against terrorists. How far he's actually willing to go and what he thinks about waterboarding. What we talked about today, some were calling his -- and we also talked about what some were calling, it's a real victory speech last night.
Let's go ask our political panel what they are expecting to see at the Univision Democratic Debate which starts at the top of the hour now just a minutes away. We're going to bring it you live, starting at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
COOPER: Looking in the two podiums here in Miami tonight. We're less than 20 minutes from now and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will be facing off in Democratic debate. CNN's bringing the Univision Debate to you live.
Now earlier today, I interviewed Republican frontrunner Donald Trump fresh off his big wins yesterday and his pretty surreal victory speech which was we've said, he used to showcase something Trump products which aren't actually products that are available.
[20:40:10] Steaks, some are calling it a QVC moment filled by Mitt Romney's recent remarks. I asked Trump about that. You'll hear his response in a moment. But, first let's pick up the interview where we left off before the break. Where does Trump stand now on his comments about going after the families of terrorists?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
You would still want to go after the families of terrorists?
TRUMP: No, no, I didn't reverse anything. I clarified very simply we have laws. We have to obey the laws. Now there must have to be one what
COOPER: During the candidate of church would be against the law.
TRUMP: I didn't say kill. We have to go after them. The family knows would have terrorists in that
COOPER: What does that mean? Kidnapping them?
TRUMP: You have a terrorist you have we going to do something and it's the only way you going to stop it. You know, I tell the story of General Pershing and take a look at General Pershing in 1990 in the Philippines, how he stopped terrorism. OK. You'll take a look at it. It's too long a story to tell on the tape. It will take the whole thing but it's one of the very interesting and very powerful stories.
Look, we're going to have to be a lot tougher. We are playing with a different set of rules. ISIS chops off people heads. ISIS drowns people in steel cages and pulls up the cage an hour later. Everyone is gone, 40, 50, 60 people at a time.
COOPER: Were you said the other day we have to play the game, you said we got to play the game the way they play the game.
TRUMP: We have to play the game at a much tougher level that were plan.
COOPER: What does that mean though?
TRUMP: We have to expand those laws.
COOPER: Does that mean cutting off heads?
TRUMP: No, it doesn't mean that but we have to expand the laws luck.
COOPER: What is explains the laws?
TRUMP: Anderson, lets me explain something we are playing at this level and they don't care. They have no rules. And we have these rules that are very onerous. I mean our military is got brought in because ...
COOPER: Geneva Conventions on war. There's ways -- there's rules in a battle.
TRUMP: I know that, but, you know what, it's funny. It's very interesting what's happens with the Geneva Convention. Everybody believes in the Geneva Convention until they start losing and then they say oh, let's take out the bomb. OK. When they start losing. We have to play with a tougher set of rules. We have laws. We don't allow water boarding.
Think of this ISIS is -- these are smart people. These are people that know the internet better than we do and we're the ones that's, you know, came up with it. ISIS is sitting around. They just chopped off 20 heads of Christians and others. They just drowned 40 people. And they are sitting around watching us arguing about water boarding.
COOPER: When you say increase the laws and do more than water boarding, what is that specifically?
TRUMP: I'll work it with the generals. I'll work wit the generals. COOPER: I talked to General Michael Hayden.
TRUMP: For sure he says it's terrible that we talk that way. And, you know, what that's why he's been fighting this war for many years. OK.
COOPER: He is the Four-Star General Former CIA. Fomer Head of the CIA., he says sharing foreign policy ideas are frightening.
TRUMP: Oh, yeah I know well, his, he frightens me because we've been fighting ISIS for many years and this shouldn't have taken -- this should have been over with quickly. So that's the problem we have these people that are frightened because I'm protecting chaos.
COOPER: But do you think the problem with fighting ISIS is that we're not using the same tactics that they are?
TRUMP: We're not fighting it strongly enough. We have to end it and get become to rebuilding our country. Our infrastructure is falling apart. Our country is falling apart. Our country is falling apart. Our bridges are falling down.
You know, 60 percent of our bridges are in dangerous condition? And we're spending trillions, trillions of dollars in the Middle East. We have to fight it viciously and swiftly and we have to knock out ISIS. Now I didn't want to go into Iraq. But the problem now is the way Obama got us out was a disaster.
And if you remember, when we got out -- and I said it on your show two or three years ago. I said take the oil. Did I say take the oil?
COOPER: Yeah, you did.
COOPER: So when you say so are you still in support of water boarding and more?
TRUMP: I'm in total support of water boarding. It going to be within the law but I have to expand the law because a lot of people think it's not within the law now because of this administration. So they are allow to chop off heads and we aren't allowed to water board. Somehow we're at a big disadvantage. I will tell you that right now.
COOPER: On a -- yeah.
TRUMP: And, again I was going to give you the analogy. So they are sitting around having dinner. They believe it or not, even though they chop off heads and even though do they drown people, and they are talking. Can you imagine the conversation when they are talking about how weak and soft and pathetic we are and they go out and chop off people's heads? OK. They can't believe it. They can believe it.
COOPER: I asked about ...
TRUMP: The fact is, just in a nutshell, we have to be much tougher. If we're going to beat ISIS, we have to be much tougher than we are. When you have General Hayden saying, "Oh, that's so terrible the way Trump is talking," that's why we're losing.
COOPER: I got to ask you. I watched the press conference you gave last night. The victory speech. Obviously huge night for you. Just a couple factual things. The steaks you showed, those aren't Trump steaks, right?
TRUMP: Oh, no they are Trump. No I buy them. I'm not going to kill the cow.
COOPER: No but they aren't sold those are because ...
TRUMP: No, no, we sell excuse me.
COOPER: For showing this thing was to fight back in Flint and Mitt Romney said about ...
TRUMP: No, no just I understand Trump steaks.
[20:45:00] We sell the steaks through my clubs. I have many clubs and hotels. So we sell this cow ...
COOPER: But they aren't sold at sharper image. They are not
TRUMP: Oh no, they are sold differently.
COOPER: That business is gone.
TRUMP: No, no it's the same thing. It's an offshoot of it. I mean it's the same thing. We have, we do a tremendous steak business.
COOPER: Because those steaks weren't bought locally from a meat supplier?
TRUMP: No, no. We buy a lot of steaks from different places. I don't want to but if I'm in California, I don't want to buy my steaks in New York.
COOPER: So those steaks you sell ...
TRUMP: ...we sale the steaks, and largely, to our hotels and our clubs and things like that. You know, it's a small business..
COOPER: And the magazine, you showed up, that's not the Trump magazine that Mitt Romney was talking out?
TRUMP: I've had many magazines. Every time I open a business, I'll sometimes open a magazine for a period of a year and get the business started and then close it.
COOPER: If people were pointing out today saying, "Oh, look, the items you were showing last night, in order to push back against Mitt Romney, you know, the implication was those are Trump steaks available nationwide somewhere they're not." TRUMP: ...where they are available nation wide. You can buy them at different places that I own. I own many, many places.
COOPER: You can buy them if you eat in your restaurant here somewhere?
COOPER: You can't go on the internet and buy them.
TRUMP: The magazine, that magazine has been with me for a long time and you've morphed it in.
COOPER: But that's not the Trump magazine that Romney was talking about.
TRUMP: ...many magazines when I start a business, and I keep it open for a year or two until the business gets going.
And after the building, if business gets going, you close it up. It's like a lost leader, because frankly, you don't make any money with these magazines.
COOPER: Finally, the debate tomorrow night, do you expect that the tone, the tenor to be different than the last?
Last one was tough and then you had people on both sides come after you?
TRUMP: It's such an interesting question. I think it's going to be much different. I must tell you, last time, I was leading.
And by the way, I don't know how you feel about it, but every single poll said that I won the last debate, every -- Drudge said it, Time Magazine said it. You know, they do those online poll. With hundreds of thousands of people calling in, but, I was in the '60s and '70s percentile.
Now, when I went into that, I said, this is going to be an interesting evening. I will tell you. It's going to be a tough evening.
Many people said, "Oh, boy, I wouldn't want to be you tonight." That was going to be a tough evening. I mean, they were like wounded. They were really wounded.
I think this is going to be much different. Now, I may be wrong, but I am now far and away the front-runner. I think -- here's the thing, the Republican Party is sitting on something that's so bright. They are sitting on millions and millions and millions of people that want to be part of it.
The worst thing they can do is knock me out. If I get knocked out, if I don't make it, every one of those ...
COOPER: Do you think they'll going to start to coalesce around you?
TRUMP: ... every one of those, I'm the only one can beat Hillary and I'll beat her easily.
I'll bring in Michigan, I may bring in New York. You know, we always talk about the path. You know, the path is much tougher for a Republican, you do understand that structurally.
Because if they lose Ohio, it's over, If they lose Pennsylvania, they loose Florida, it's over.
But I'll bring in states along the other. First of all, I'll win in Florida.
COOPER: Will you debate Cruz if it's one on one?
TRUMP: Yeah, that's fine.
COOPER: You would do a debate with Cruz ....
TRUMP: I don't think he's a good debater. I think he's -- frankly, the way I look at Ted, I think it's very phony. I think Ted is actually a bad talker, pretty good debater, bad talker, can't talk.
I don't mind debating him at all. The problem is when I debate somebody, then people say, I'm not a nice person. But they say you won the debate.
COOPER: So, bottom line, tomorrow night you're expecting a different tone, but you'll be ready for anything?
TRUMP: ... be softer, but I'll be ready. I mean, you know, I think that Marco is going to be a different person. Marco has been, you know, mortally wounded. You know, question is, will Marco even be there? I hope he makes the right decision. I'm not going to make the decision for him.
But Marco has been, you know, pretty, badly wounded. It will be interesting to see what happens. Kasich is interesting, because he said he's going to win Michigan and he lost. He said he's going to win, I mean, he said it to you. I think I watched him on your show.
COOPER: He never came out and said he'd win. But, he said, he thought he would do very well.
TRUMP: ...said, he would Michigan. He didn't even come in second. OK.
So, you know, I mean, I was of the impression if he didn't win Michigan -- I'm not talking about Ohio, I'm talking about Michigan.
If he didn't win Michigan, he would drop out. He came in third. OK. He didn't even come in second.
So, it'll be interesting to see what he says. And Ted is Ted. I mean, we've been playing the game now for a long time.
These debates to me are getting very boring, if you want to know the truth. COOPER: Mr. Trump, thank you.
TRUMP: Have a good time.
COOPER: Appreciate it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
A lot to talk about in that interview. Just ahead, we'll have some reaction to what Donald Trump said.
Steaks and all, we'll also talk about what is at stake tonight for the Democrat, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton about to take the debate stage in about 10 minutes. Stay with us, we'll be right back.
[20:53:14] COOPER: Well, the Univision Democratic Debate will be starting here on CNN just a few minutes from now you can watch right here just stake around for that. There's a lot of excitement in this hall. We're also looking forward to our CNN Republican Debate over the University of Miami tomorrow night. It's a very busy week for us in light of my conversation with the GOP front-runner, I want start offer panel discussion on Donald Trump and then will switch the Democrats his victory speech last night his opponents and also his path going to forward.
Joining us right now with CNN "Inside Politics" Anchor John King and Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger. You know, it's interesting to hear Trump. He is clearly you and I we're talking about this. He's aware of the moment he is in right now.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR, "INSIDE POLITICS": Yeah. I take the whole interview globally. Especially when you start very measured, leaning back. You asked him a question about Larry Kudlow his used in China trade. Six weeks ago, Donald Trump would not have let you finish that sentence. He would have jumped and attacked Larry Kudlow. He would made a solution on steaks. He would have been more combative.
He understands you heard a bit debate last night before he got into the infomercial two where he said its time to let keep the Republican Senate, keep the Republican Congress. He understands the moment that he's very close to being the presumptive nominee and trying to see more measured, trying to see more frankly, in a word, presidential.
COOPER: He can't stop himself from like going back to what Mitt Romney said about his failed businesses showing steaks which are not steaks that are -- they aren't Trump steaks. They are bought from a local meat seller in West Palm Beach Florida called Bush brothers that still sold
KING: Irony there? That was witness.
COOPER: It's a minor ridiculous point but the fact that he was sort of fibbing about it in a nationally, you know, broadcast press conference is kind of surreal. GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, he can only exhibit a certain amount of self-control to a point, I think, and I thought he was trying to do so with you today because, clearly, people have gotten to him and said, OK, you need to act presidential. But then when you ask him a question, he turns into sort of Donald Trump who has to go on the attack, attack, attack.
[20:55:00] KING: He got most of the way through. Ted Cruz doesn't get under my skin, doesn't get under my skin, roar.
COOPER: I want to bring Alicia Menendez, on Fusion. This is the Network Univision. Thank you so much joining us its pleasure to be here. What are you looking on the stage now? I mean, it comes at a critical time. We do a debate on Sunday night with the democrats for the states now. I mean, a lot has changed just since then.
ALICIA MENENDEZ, FUSION CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and listen, I think the candidates understand that they're speaking tonight to a broad audience, but also very specifically to a Latino audience, which Univision knows that it caters to.
So, top of mind for that audience economic issues, one and three Latino voters say that's what's top of mind for them but, immigration, of course, a deeply personal issue to this community.
I saw a study that said one in every three Latino voters actually has someone in their family who is undocumented. When you think about that, that's an issue not only that, you know, you might say to a pollster, yes, it's important to me. It's an issue that actually gets you out on the door on Election Day, especially the candidate like Donald Trump.
COOPER: And also, Alicia, I've seen polls based where they show Donald Trump very unpopular among Latino voters in a general election.
I'm curious to see how much they sort of try to define the GOP as Donald Trump's party and how much they try to talk about Donald Trump.
MENENDEZ: I think they would be insane not to. I think Democrats see that there's an opportunity for them to pivot to the general election to use Trump as an example of what the GOP stands for.
And yet, even though you see a vast majority of Latino voters saying that they find Trump's remarks on immigration abhorrent. You also see that only a small percentage thinks it's reflective of the Republican Party overall.
So the question is, if it's someone other than Trump namely, if it is Cruz, can he get out from under the damage that Trump has done?
BORGER: And, you know, tonight, you'll see Hillary Clinton hug President Obama to a certain degree on the executive orders on immigration. But on the question of deportation ...
MENENDEZ: Yeah. BORGER: ... and the number of illegal immigrants who have been deported, it's a very big issue in the Latino community. And we'll see how she deals with that.
KING: I think it fascinates questions, who are they talking to? They have a national audience, but Senator Sanders is trying to build the relationships from the Latino community, very important to him, because he's a newcomer, because he's from the state of Vermont.
So, is he want to focus there or does he want to focus on Ohio or Illinois next week, because he has a national audience, even though he's at a Univision debate.
Also on the trade issue, does he want to talk like he talks to the Rust Belt about, you know, you're getting screwed by these deals, we need to be tougher, we need to take them away.
Well, in Florida and among the Latino community, a lot of the small businesses do a lot of business throughout the hemisphere.
They have family relationships, they have cultural relationship, they have historical relationships.
So, the tough on trade argument that you can sell in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois is a little bit different here when you get to Florida.
COOPER: And does Hillary Clinton start to -- I mean, did she learn some lesson from what happened in Michigan and start to pivot that, you know, famous word of politics which you can interpret in a multitude of different ways?
MENENDEZ: I saw a statistic that should perhaps, make the Clinton campaign nervous, which is that about 18 percent of the early voting that's been done in the state by democratic voters are from voters who did not vote in the last two elections.
So, those are voters that are more likely to come out and vote for an outsider candidate, which is what Sanders is trying to position himself as.
So, I think you have the possibility of seeing the type of spike we saw in Michigan that pollsters missed, actually happen on Election Day.
BORGER: It's such a diverse state, though, right? And I think that, you know, somebody who can win Florida in either party can say, I have an appeal to a broad coalition because, you know, this is in many ways, three different states.
And so, you know, either one of them would want to win this state.
COOPER: And just in terms of delegate count. I mean, that you have that floating around in your head at all times. I mean, Bernie Sanders had, I mean, amazing win in Michigan, surprised a lot of people, certainly in the pundit world. The path forward, though, is tough. KING: And yet, she stretched her lead last night in the delegate race.
So, you have two campaigns going on. Her campaign says it's OK. Yeah, we took a punch. We didn't want to lose Michigan, it's embarrassing. But, we stress our lead in the delegate debate for the psychology of the race is now in Sanders camp.
And the question is one win is not enough, but, if he can take in Ohio and in Illinois, or at least, one of them, if he can have a stronger showing in Florida than people expect. Last night was an opening, it was not a game-changer. It was an opening to a game-changer.
Next Tuesday could be a game changer if he wins again. If he understands the pressure up there tonight, she wants to put him back in his place, if he will make him more of a message candidate.
So, they both have reasons to escalate the attacks because of the stakes in the campaign, but there are huge risks if you do that, too. That's what I'm fascinated by, the chess.
COOPER: Right, how aggressive is it going to get tonight? I mean, we saw a lot of tension on the stage on Sunday ...
COOPER: ... of the debate over the issues of NAFTA and trade. But, are they going to be coming out from the get-go ready to go?
BORGER: I think they might. It's hard to say, but so much is at stake, particularly for Bernie Sanders right now that I can't imagine that he would back off. He was very aggressive from the last debate. I think he'll continue.
COOPER: Yeah, well, I want to thank John King and Gloria Borger, Alicia Menendez, it's great to have you. Thank you for joining us.
We will see all of our panelists after the debate. It's about 10 seconds way now.
[21:00:00] Time now for the main event and we'll be on live right afterward. Here it is.