It was not until I read Rush’s interview with Donald Trump that I realized that this isn’t just a giant publicity stunt to sell a new line of ties:
RUSH: Why are you thinking about running for president? I’ve talked to you over the years. I’ve listened to you on various places in the media for years. You sound different this time. You sound really ticked off. China, the economic direction of the country, you sound like it’s really bothering you now more than just something to say.
TRUMP: Well, you’re right about that, Rush. I’ve seen what’s happened to this country. We’re no longer respected. You have places like China, and I know the Chinese, I do business with the Chinese. I’ve made a lot of money off the Chinese, believe me. I had a partnership with Chinese people. It wasn’t fun, and I made a lot of money. I came out very, very strong.
RUSH: So why are you ripping ‘em now?
TRUMP: Because I watch them and I see what they’re doing to the country, and I understand China, and I understand the Chinese mind. I understand where they’re coming from. They are not our friend and when I sit down — I sold an apartment recently for $33 million from a very nice couple from China. Thirty-three million dollars for the apartment, I’m very happy about it, but I sit down with people and I talk to ‘em, from China, and really much more so prior to when I thought I may be running for president, because they’re not stupid people. They’re very smart people. They told me very, very distinctly that they cannot believe how stupid our representatives are in the United States. They cannot believe that they can continue to take all our jobs — you know, through the manipulation of the currency, of their currency, they make it almost impossible for our great companies to compete and —
It’s a long interview, but I can imagine this being an applause line on the stump; American audiences are usually receptive to the idea that the rest of the world has been free riders on the backs of our military spending . . .
TRUMP: Rush, we’re not only talking about this one country. You look at South Korea, what they did. We signed a trade pact that nobody in their right mind would have signed. And it was so bad, and yet they didn’t want to sign it. Now, two months ago when bombs started getting lobbed over by North Korea and we send this incredible aircraft carrier, the George Washington and 17 destroyers heading right to North Korea, all of a sudden they sign and they announce that they are friends of our country. It’s a lot of crap. They make billions of dollars of, let’s call it profit, off the United States, Rush, billions of dollars. Why aren’t they paying for protection? We protect South Korea, and I know the Koreans very well. I had a partnership with the Koreans that was a fantastic partnership. I built Trump World Tower with Daewoo, which was a Korean company, and I did very well and they did very well. So I understand the people. And, by the way, I don’t dislike the Chinese people, I don’t dislike the Korean people, because if I were them I’d be doing the same thing. If our leaders are so stupid that they allow what’s happening — we can’t have jobs created, Rush, in this country if China is making all of our products.
Although I shouldn’t be surprised, Trump did get a key fact wrong:
TRUMP: Yeah, and we’ll be up there pretty soon because there’s nobody to call OPEC. You know, if it weren’t for us — why do we have troops in Saudi Arabia? We have troops in Saudi Arabia, can you imagine they’re not paying us with the money they’re making. They’re making more money than any country has made in the history of the world, legitimately making that kind of money. They form OPEC, they have 12 men, in this case all men, they sit around the table, any time there’s a minor incident in the world they raise the price of oil because, you know, they figure, well, nobody’s gonna call. When oil goes over $40 a barrel it’s almost impossible for our country to do well.
The U.S. has not had a significant military presence in Saudi Arabia since 2003; our troops exited via Iraq. For several years thereafter, about 500 personnel from the 64th Air Expeditionary Group were stationed at Eskan Village in Saudi Arabia.