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NBC News " Meet The Press" - Transcript: Trump On Religion

Interview

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Date:
Location: Doral, FL

Keyword Search : Mother

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

DONALD TRUMP:

Good morning Chuck, I'm liking you more and more all the time. Those are great numbers.

CHUCK TODD:

You like the poll numbers I'm guessing?

DONALD TRUMP:

I certainly do.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start with what you did in Iowa last night. You brought your bible to the event. What do you believe a person's faith matters to voters? Do you believe a person's faith should matter to voters when it comes to the presidency?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I can't speak for everybody. To me, that, you know, has a big bearing. The evangelicals have liked me a lot. And you know, I'm not saying I'm the perfect person, but they have liked me a lot. And I went and spoke largely in front of evangelicals last night. And we had a tremendous time. We had standing ovations and they had a lot of fun. I brought my bible. And they liked that. My bible that was given to me by my mother. And we had a great time. And, you know, the polls indicate that I'm doing very well with the evangelicals in Iowa and elsewhere. So I'm very happy about that.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, look. In response to this controversy about the questioner at your town hall in New Hampshire. You tweeted out that you're not morally obligated to correct anybody who criticizes the president. And I think you're right about that. But isn't it appropriate at times to raise the level of political discourse and to correct sort of mythologies that are out there so that we're ultimately all dealing with the same set of facts?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I think so. But you know, the president can really defend himself very well. He's a very capable person for that, you know, purpose. And he's able to do that. And, you know, I sort of put myself in his position. And I say, "Well, what happens when somebody says something about me, is he going to defend me?" And I can tell you emphatically that the answer is no.

So this man got up and he felt very strongly, whoever he was, he felt very, very strongly and very powerfully about something. And, you know, whether we all agree with it or not, it wasn't my obligation to defend. In fact, as you know, because I also tweeted that this is the first time I've ever gotten in hot water for not saying anything. I didn't do anything. And--

CHUCK TODD:

But the other part of his question was, it sounded like he wanted to get rid of all Muslims from America. That's the part that some people believed was the most offensive part of his question. Why not push back on that?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I feel strongly that Muslims are excellent. I know so many Muslims that are such fabulous people. But there is a problem. I mean, there's no question about it. And, you know, we can be politically correct, and we can say there is no problem whatsoever. But the fact is, there is a problem with some. And it's a very severe problem. And it's a problem that's taking place all over the world. But I have such great respect and love for so many of the people. I mean, they are great people.

CHUCK TODD:

Can you imagine supporting or being comfortable if a Muslim ever became president of the United States?

DONALD TRUMP:

I can say that, you know, it's something that at some point could happen. We'll see. You know, it's something that could happen. Would I be comfortable? I don't know if we have to address it right now. But I think it is certainly something that could happen.

CHUCK TODD:

You said you'd have no problem putting a Muslim in the Cabinet

DONALD TRUMP:

I mean, some people have said it already happened, frankly. But of course you wouldn't agree with that. And I--

CHUCK TODD:

Well, no, but actually let's get to that. Why won't you concede that the president is a Christian and that the president was born in the United States?

DONALD TRUMP:

Because I don't talk about people's faith. Now in all fairness, he said he was a Christian and he said he is a Christian. He attended the church of Reverend Wright. And so, you know, I'm willing to take him at his word for that. I have no problem with that.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, why not take the birth certificate at its word?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I just don't want to discuss it. I mean, frankly, you know, when you get into these subjects, I want to talk about jobs, I want to talk about the military, I want to talk about the vets and frankly how badly they're treated. They're treated like third-class citizens. We're treating the illegal immigrants better than we treat our vets. And those are the things that I want to talk about. The other's a long, complex subject that I just don't like talking about, and I won't talk about it.

CHUCK TODD:

Don't you think you would have people more open to your message on jobs and the economy and things like that if you sort of put that other thing to rest?

DONALD TRUMP:

No, Chuck. I think we have two things that are totally different. I just don't discuss it. And it really hasn't been brought up for a long time. I mean, you're bringing it up this morning. But I'm into the world of jobs, I'm into the world of military and vets and frankly, I discuss ObamaCare because ObamaCare, you see what's happening with the premiums. They're going through the roof. A lot of problems with ObamaCare.

CHUCK TODD:

Two quick questions, this week we're going to see a lot of world leaders come to the United States, come to Manhattan, probably hanging out in some of your buildings that you own. Let me start with Vladimir Putin. Your counsel, your outside counsel intimated that you may have a meeting with the Russian president. Do you plan on trying to do that?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I had heard that he wanted to meet with me. And certainly I am open to it. I would love to do that if he wants to do that. I don't know that it's going to take place. I'm not sure. I know that people have been talking. But we'll see what happens. But certainly, if he wanted to meet, I mean, I'd enjoy doing it.

You know, I've been saying relationship is so important in business, that it's so important in deals, and so important in the country. And if President Obama got along with Putin, that would be a fabulous thing. But they do not get along. Putin does not respect our president. And I'm sure that our president does not like him very much.

CHUCK TODD:

And let me ask you about the pope's visit. You know, he's been pretty tough on capitalism and pretty tough on people that he believes overly worship money. You're somebody that likes to brag about how wealthy you are. What do you make of what the pope would think of sort of the way you speak about money?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I think if he knew me, I think he'd like me. If he doesn't know me, perhaps he wouldn't. But if he knew me, I think he'd probably like me. He's a little bit of a different kind of a pope. There's no question about it. He's taken on some pretty big political subjects like climate change. And it's very interesting. But he's got a certain way about him that's very unique and very nice.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Donald Trump. I'm going to leave it there. I know we're trying to put together another face-to-face soon, I look forward to that. Thanks for coming on the show.

DONALD TRUMP:

I do too. Thank you very much Chuck.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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