Donald Trump visited "Larry King Live" on Wednesday night to tout his new book, "Think Like a Champion." In a wide-ranging interview, Trump shared his thoughts on how to prosper in this economy, Bernie Madoff, how President Obama is doing, taxes and his daughter’s love life.
The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity: Larry King: Why this book Donald Trump: A lot of people wanted me to do a book right now about these troubled times that we’re all in. And it’s been sort of interesting. They’re great times, as an entrepreneur. I don’t think I’ve ever seen better times as an entrepreneur. But the world is a mess, and the country is a mess. King: Why [is it a] good time for an entrepreneur and not necessarily for others Trump: Well, this is a time for smart people. This is a time for entrepreneurial people. This is a great time for people like me — and maybe people like you, Larry, because I know you’re a great investor. … Weren’t you involved with [Bernie] Madoff King: A little bit, yes. You weren’t, huh How did you resist him Trump: Honestly, I got lucky. He might have duped me like he did a lot of other people. He is a disaster. But now he’s where he belongs. King: With troubled times like this for the average guy, is this the time to think like a champion Watch Larry King’s entire interview with Donald Trump » Trump: This is the best time to think like a champion. As an example, the house is being foreclosed. You go see your bank — maybe you can make a deal, maybe you can’t. But you can make a deal with a bank on another house, and much better than the one you’re living in. … They’ll do any deal to get rid of their product. They have houses by the thousands. And you go see that bank and you make a deal. King: How do you assess [Barack Obama] Trump: Well, I really like him. I think that he’s working very hard. He’s trying to rebuild our reputation throughout the world. The previous administration was a total disaster, a total catastrophe.
Donald Trump sounds off on AIG
How to protect your family’s finances
And, you know, the world looks at us differently than they used to. … He was handed a pretty bad deck of cards. And I’m not saying I agree with everything he’s doing. … I do agree with what they’re doing with the banks. Whether they fund them or nationalize them, it doesn’t matter, but you have to keep the banks going. King: Do you assess him as a champion Trump: Oh, yes, he’s a champion. I mean, he won against all odds. When he first announced, people were giving him virtually no chance. And he’s just done something that’s amazing. King: Is fear harmful in this [economic] situation, Donald, or is it realistic Trump: Well, I think it’s realistic. People are afraid. They’re scared. They’re losing their jobs. They’re losing their homes. And certainly there is a word known as fear, and there’s nothing wrong with being fearful. But you have to do something about it. And that’s what I write about in the book. You go out. You go to the right place, where there’s better employment. You get a trade where they really need people. King: Have you had to lay off people Because it seems everyone has had to do that. Trump: It’s a sad thing, but whether it’s “The Apprentice” or not, the fact is you have to say to some people: “You’re fired.” The world is different. King: You said that this is a good time to buy real estate. What about financing What if you want to buy and you can’t get the mortgage Trump: Larry, this is a great time to buy real estate. And as far as financing is concerned, the only financing you should be thinking about is seller financing. If the seller won’t give you financing, don’t do it, because the banks are not doing their job. They’re not providing financing for deals. King: New York state is planning a so-called millionaire’s tax. It would affect those with incomes starting at $300,000. Yea or nay Trump: Well, it’s a ridiculous thing. Albany is going to destroy … this state. And they are raising taxes on rich people. The rich people have lots of options, Larry. One option is Palm Beach, Florida. You move down to Palm Beach; it’s not the worst thing in the world. I don’t have to live on Fifth Avenue. I don’t have to live on Park Avenue. It’s hard, psychologically, for me to leave, but very easy physically. King: Why don’t patriots want to pay taxes Trump: Well, I don’t know that that’s necessarily unpatriotic. I think they want to pay taxes. Obviously, you have to pay taxes. But they want to pay a reasonable tax, and they don’t want to see the money squandered. Money in this country is being squandered. King: OK. But then we would debate reasonable. Trump: Well, you always debate reasonable. I think unreasonable is the war in Iraq. I mean, there’s $1 trillion right there. And, more importantly, thousands of people — both on our side and the other side — hundreds of thousands of people killed and maimed and so badly hurt, I think it’s just a shame. Now, to me, that’s unreasonable. And, by the way, … Saddam Hussein did not knock down the World Trade Center. King: Has the economy at all cramped your lifestyle Anything you had to change Trump: No, because I think I understand life. I think I understand how to live. I’m enjoying my life. I don’t really live in an as extravagant a way as people think. As an entrepreneur, this is the best time I think I’ve ever seen in business. King: There’s buzz that your beautiful daughter Ivanka is engaged or getting engaged. What’s up Trump: She has a beautiful boyfriend. He’s a great guy, but they are not engaged.
King: Would you like them to Is he the kind of guy you would except as a son-in-law Trump: He certainly is a wonderful guy. But it’s all up to her. If she’s happy, I’m happy.