Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 12/22/2015


Date: December 22, 2015


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do we want?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do we want him?



know he`s right.

people, they`re bringing drugs. They`re bringing crime. They`re rapists.

old and shameful American tradition. Every so often, like a fever, anti-
immigrant feeling arises.

JORGE RAMOS, UNIVISION: Mr. Trump, I have a question…

TRUMP: Excuse me, sit down. You weren`t called. Sit down!

you get. He`s genuine. He`s the real deal.

TIMOTHY L. O`BRIEN, AUTHOR, “TRUMP NATION”: He has tapped into a part
of the electorate that is, I think, deeply angry about the state of the

TRUMP: How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people
of the country to believe this crap?

MIKE TYSON, FMR. PROFESSIONAL BOXER: You know, this guy is just
saying what people are thinking.

TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown
of Muslims entering the United States until our country`s representatives
can figure out what the hell is going on.


dangerous proposal that overrides history, the law, and the foundation of
America itself.

pitting Donald Trump, full throttle, ready to destroy anyone who gets in
his way.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews.

I don`t think this country`s establishment politicians, the media,
ever got this guy. They certainly underestimated him – not going
anywhere, can`t last. You know, with each week and each provocative
statement, he held to his lead and went a bit further, saying President
Obama was foreign-born, an illegitimate president, calling for a wall along
our southern border, making fun of women`s looks, talking down to a top
Latino journalist, saying thousands of Muslims in New Jersey had cheered

And each time, the knockout verdict came loud and certain. That`s it.
This guy`s finished. And each time, the national public opinion polls said

Well, then in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings, Trump called
for a ban on all Muslims entering the country. And while most people
rejected the idea as un-American, Trump fans held firm. They liked what he

But what about the man himself? Who is this guy so many people have
told pollsters they want as our next president? What`s he done to get
where he is? What allows him to say things that would kill anyone else in
public life? What`s he got hold of?

Well, over the next hour, we`re going to look at the Donald Trump
story as a whole. You`ll see him as a young man, as a budding business
tycoon, and as an entertainer. You`ll see that the experts have been
counting him out for decades.

(voice-over): In the movie “Citizen Kane,” Orson Welles plays the
newspaper baron Charles Foster Kane. Trump told “The New York Times” it
was his, quote, “all-time favorite movie.”

ORSON WELLES, “CITIZEN KANE”: It`s also my pleasure to see to it that
decent, hard-working people in this community aren`t robbed blind by a pack
of money-mad pirates!

MATTHEWS: Trump the candidate echoed those sentiments for months in a
roiling campaign. But in December, many believed he went too far.

TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown
of Muslims entering the United States until our country`s representatives
can figure out what the hell is going on.


MATTHEWS: It played well with some of his supporters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, we are civilized people. These people,
these – with their beliefs – are not civilized and that we can`t change
them. They`re not willing to change.

MATTHEWS: But many in his own party criticized him. The White House
spokesman said it disqualified him from the presidency. And experts
questioned its feasibility and whether it`s the right way to fight

that law enforcement and people in both parties believe we have to fight
terrorism, which is the help of the Muslim American community. And this
hurts us abroad, too.

MATTHEWS: As he had with his campaign kickoff, it once again
displayed Trump`s readiness to conquer by dividing.

TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they`re not sending their best,
they`re sending people that have lots of problems and they`re bringing
those problems with us. They`re bringing drugs. They`re bringing crime.
They`re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

really focusing on immigration policy, and then, suddenly, it is the issue
that America is obsessed with.

ALTER: Trump is acting in a very old and shameful American tradition.
It goes back to the 1850s, when there was a party that had the name “Know
Nothing.” And it was an anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant political party. It
didn`t last that long, but then every so often, like a fever, anti-
immigrant feeling arises.

TIMOTHY L. O`BRIEN, AUTHOR, “TRUMP NATION”: He has tapped into a part
of the electorate that is, I think, deeply angry about the state of the
economy. It`s a group of people who are still suffering from the downturn
in 2007 and 2008.

MATTHEWS: As Trump`s numbers rose in a crowded field…

SUPPORTERS: Go, Trump, go! Go, Trump, go!

MATTHEWS: … the Hispanic population reacted with anger.

On June 26th, 2015, Univision canceled its broadcast of Trump`s Miss
Universe pageant. NBC then announced it would not air the Miss Universe or
the Miss USA pageants, and Macy`s removed Trump merchandise from its
stores. But Trump stayed resolute in his message.

TRUMP: We are taking Mexico`s problems. Mexico is beating us on
trade, and they`re beating us at the border. But Mexico doesn`t want to
take these people.

MATTHEWS: Controversy didn`t seem to hurt him. By mid-July, he
passed the great establishment hope, Jeb Bush, in the polls. He was
finding his audience.

saying what we`re saying in the pool hall, or he`s saying what we`re saying
around the coffee table in the morning. So he`s tapped into something.

MICHAEL WOLFFE, COLUMNIST, “USA TODAY”: I think it is both a bit of
populism, a bit of racism. It is also real.

MATTHEWS: On July 11th, 5,000 people showed up for a Trump rally in
Arizona, a state at the epicenter of the nation`s battle over immigration

TRUMP: These are people that shouldn`t have been in this country!
They flow – they flow in like water!

ALTER: He`s playing on our aspirations to be rich, which most
Americans have. And he`s playing on our disgust with politics as usual.
And that`s a pretty potent combination for him in certain parts of the
Republican Party.

MATTHEWS: Trump led in the polls by a wide margin heading into the
first Republican debate, hosted by Fox News on August 6th.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: You`ve called women you don`t like fat pigs,
dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. Your Twitter account…

TRUMP: Only Rosie O`Donnell.


OMAROSA: When he gave the line about Rosie O`Donnell, and Megyn, I
think, was very surprised, that the audience didn`t boo, but instead they
cheered. They laughed. They rallied. They were supportive. That changed

KELLY: You once told a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice” it would
be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like
the temperament of a man we should elect as president?

TRUMP: I think the big problem this country has is being politically
correct. And honestly, Megyn, if you don`t like it, I`m sorry. I`ve been
very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based the on way
you have treated me, but I wouldn`t do that.

about, you know, whether he was sexist. He flipped this into a discussion
of whether he`s politically correct. And what did he say? You know what?
I`m not politically correct. If you don`t like it, that`s too bad.

TRUMP: You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her
eyes, blood coming out of her – wherever.

MATTHEWS: Comments during a phone interview with CNN`s Don Lemon got
Trump uninvited from a Republican RedState event. Critics roared, but his
poll numbers held strong. Later in August, Trump held a campaign rally in
Alabama, 30,000 people showed up.

TRUMP: We`re going to build a wall.


MATTHEWS: And at a press conference in Dubuque, Iowa, Univision
anchor Jorge Ramos stood up to ask a question without being called upon.

JORGE RAMOS, UNIVISION: Mr. Trump, I have a question about
immigration (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: OK, who`s next? Yes, please.

RAMOS: Mr. Trump, I have a question…

TRUMP: Excuse me, sit down. You weren`t called. Sit down!

COULTER: Again, exactly what we`ve been waiting for. People did not
fly all the way to Dubuque to listen to you read from your little speech,
and that`s exactly what Jorge Ramos was doing. He was reading from a
speech. Trump had him thrown out. It was great. And then Trump invited
him back in and took his question.

TRUMP: Yes. Good. Absolutely. Good. Absolutely. Good to have you

RAMOS: Thank you very much.


BROKAW: There`s an illusion within the American press that we cherish
what we do. I got news for you. You know, if they find somebody who`s
going to give us a punch in the nose or a black eye, they`re turning (ph)
them on. And that`s what happened. Trump knew what he was doing.

ALTER: So the Jorge Ramos confrontation, you know, worked well with
his base. That represented why it is very possible for Trump to win the
nomination but impossible for him to win the election. Any Republican
candidate needs to get at least 40 percent of the Latino vote to have a
chance electorally.

OMAROSA: The more controversy, the higher his numbers went. The more
people criticized him, the higher the numbers went. The more provocative
he was, the higher his numbers went. Donald Trump knew exactly what he was
doing. He was strategic. He was brilliant. And it was the summer of

MIKE TYSON, FMR. PROFESSIONAL BOXER: I would vote for Donald Trump
(INAUDIBLE) Definitely. This is very new. This is the equivalent to Obama
new, you know what I mean? First black president, first interesting

STONE: Now, suddenly, the summer of Trump is becoming the autumn of
Trump. Trump`s not going down, he`s going up.

MATTHEWS: When “Citizen Trump” continues…


WILLIAM FUGAZY, TRUMP FRIEND: I joke and I say, there`s only one
rogue in every family. Donald`s the rogue (INAUDIBLE) He`s a pretty good



MATTHEWS: Donald Trump was born in Queens, New York, in 1946. He`s
the second son of Fred and Mary Trump. Donald grew up with four brothers
and sisters in this 23-room house that his father built.

GRAU: My father was a seven-day worker. He loved – that was his
hobby. He was a task master. He was, you know, a strong man in business.
But successful.

TRUMP: My father would take me – he used to call it the rounds.
He`d take me on the rounds. He`d go around to construction sites. Every
penny counted, every penny in construction and every penny in rent.

OMAROSA: That was how they bonded as father and son. Donald learned
the business by following and shadowing his father from a very, very young

MATTHEWS: During the 1940s and `50s, Fred Trump built housing in
Queens and Brooklyn for returning veterans. And soon he owned 39 apartment
complexes throughout the city and was a multi-millionaire.

ALTER: I think the important thing about Fred Trump is he gives the
lie to the idea that Donald Trump is somehow some kind of self-made man.

MATTHEWS: Friends and family say that Trump was a tough-to-handle

was wild. He was incorrigible. He was difficult, highly spirited.

FUGAZY: I joke and I say there`s only one rogue in every family, and
Donald`s the rogue (INAUDIBLE) He`s a pretty good rogue.

GRAU: He was a brat!


OMAROSA: You know, after enough of this kind of misbehaving and not
following the rules, his dad packed him up and sent him away to military
school. And he actually says it`s the best thing that happened to him. He
really did need the discipline.

TRUMP: I loved it. It was terrific training. It was tough, but it
was good.

COULTER: So he was tough to handle, had to be sent to the New York
Military Academy. Excellent! He`s an alpha male!

MICHAEL D`ANTONIO, AUTHOR, “NEVER ENOUGH”: He`s given a uniform and a
belt with brass buckles that he`s told to keep shiny and subjected to very
intense discipline.

TRUMP: Those were days where it wasn`t like today. I mean, they hit
and they did whatever the hell they had to do. They were a tough lot.

MATTHEWS: Trump thrived at New York Military Academy. He was a star
on the baseball team, was elected captain, and led the honor guard in New
York City`s Columbus Day parade. During the summer, Trump began working
for his father.

TRUMP: We used to have contests, and he used to always respect the
fact that I always had the record. I was able to have painted with two
painters, six hallways in one day. We used spray. That`s the all-time
Trump Organization record. So it was great. At the time, that was like
the greatest achievement of my life.

MATTHEWS: Trump graduated in 1964 and went to Fordham University for
two years before transferring to the Wharton School of the University of
Pennsylvania. He graduated in 1968, and after all his military training, a
medical deferment makes him ineligible for the Vietnam-era draft.

Trump went to work for his successful father, Fred, but the boroughs
of Brooklyn and Queens were not enough for him. He`ll take Manhattan.

TRUMP: From the time I was very young, I`ve been fascinated with the
New York skyline.

MATTHEWS: Coming up, Trump moves across the river to Manhattan, and
the New York real estate business will never be the same.



D. TRUMP: When I graduated from college, I went to work with my
father, and he built housing in Brooklyn and Queens. And it was dangerous
stuff. You would knock on the door, and there would be bullet holes
through the door.

I would say to the people, what are those holes? And they would say,
those are bullet holes, from knocking on the door and collecting rent.

And I said, you know, I think I would rather sell apartments to Johnny
Carson and Steven Spielberg. It`s much easier.

MICHAEL D`ANTONIO, JOURNALIST: As a kids from Queens, Manhattan was
always the emerald city in the distance, a real beacon that drew him.

MATTHEWS: In 1971, Trump moved to his first apartment in Manhattan, a
studio in the Upper East Side. He was 24 years old and family and friends
say he was enjoying himself.

called the “swingle” bars. He checked out the women.

WILLIAM FUGAZY, FRIEND OF DONALD TRUMP: Donald was a high flyer when
it came to that.

D`ANTONIO: He joined some private clubs, and that`s where he rubbed
shoulders with George Steinbrenner and Roy Cohn, the infamous lawyer and
former McCarthy aide.

ROY COHN, ATTORNEY: Wherever I hear that people have been failing to
act on FBI information about communists…

He said, listen, I followed your career, and you seem – you`re a bit
crazy like I am, and you stand up to the establishment. Can I come see
you? And I said, sure.

MATTHEWS (voice-over): Cohn was one of Trump`s first really
influential connections.

TOM BROKAW, NBC SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: He had no scruples whatsoever,
none. Just get the deal done and whatever it takes to get the deal done.
So, Trump used him as his lawyer and to go in and cut deals.

associating with people who are brass-knuckle, tough characters,
uncompromising characters.

MATTHEWS: Young Trump`s ambition was reflected in his early business

D. TRUMP: Well, my first big deal in Manhattan was probably the
convention center.

MATTHEWS: In 1973, Trump saw in the newspaper that the Penn Central
rail yards were filing for bankruptcy.

D. TRUMP: I got an option to the Penn Central land and was able to
convince then Governor Carey that this is the place to build the Convention

MATTHEWS: Trump did not build what becomes the Jacob Javits
Convention Center, but he did make more than $1 million brokering part of
the deal.

In April of 1977, Trump closed a more personal deal. He married Czech
model Ivana Zelnickova. Roy Cohn drew up the prenup.

D. TRUMP: The thing that first attracted me was her beauty. She was
very beautiful. And I liked her because she was also very solid, you know,
everything very boom, boom, boom, very orderly.

MATTHEWS: On New Year`s, 1977, the couple had the first of their
three children, Donald Jr.

Trump set his sights on another troubled Penn Central property, the
Commodore Hotel next to Grand Central Station. He had to convince the
bankruptcy overseers that he could make a deal with banks reluctant to
invest in New York City real estate.

D`ANTONIO: Donald told the Penn Central folks that they should meet
him at city hall and he would introduce them to Mayor Abe Beame.

BROKAW: In New York, real estate is about tax abatements. It`s about
making deals with political people. It`s about zoning. And it`s about
getting the public, and especially the public officials, on your side.

D`ANTONIO: The Penn Central executives arrived at city hall. Mayor
Beame invited them in. There was Donald and the mayor said, what the
Trumps want, the Trumps get in this town.

D. TRUMP: They really didn`t know what the future of New York City
was. And that was both good and bad. It was good, in that I was able to
get tremendous tax advantages and tax abatements. It was bad, in that it
wasn`t easy to get financing.

MATTHEWS: After obtaining multimillion-dollar tax abatements, Trump
received the necessary financing to develop what would become the Grand
Hyatt Hotel.

D. TRUMP: People ask me, how come how is it that you got 40 years of
tax abatement? And I would always say, because I didn`t ask for 50.

BROKAW: I interviewed him when he was an unknown on “The Today Show”
many years ago.

You bought some prized properties at the bottom of the New York market
in the 1970s.

D. TRUMP: Yes, I had a great faith in New York. Primarily, our
purchases have been in New York. And about five years ago, New York was
not considered very hot and cities in general weren`t considered too hot.
I see the inner cities as being sort of a wave of the future now.

MATTHEWS: Trump was on “The Today Show” to talk about his next big
project, Trump Tower.

BROKAW: Well, the Trump Tower now was Bonwit Teller. And he had –
they had beautiful bas-relief carvings, and he just wrecked them. And I
said, how could you have done that?

Couldn`t you have just saved just those sculptures that you had…

D. TRUMP: Well, it would very, very dangerous to have saved them.
They weighed two tons. They were 15 feet high. They were about two-and-a-
half-feet thick, and if they would have fallen, people could have been very
badly hurt and killed. And just to me, it was not worth it.

ALTER: He just ripped those out without any consideration for their
historic value. And the people he had doing the demolition were illegal

MATTHEWS: In an interview with “The New York Times,” Trump said he
did not know they were undocumented workers on the site.

BROKAW: Mr. Trump, what`s left in your life? You`re 33 years old.
You`re worth all this money. You say you didn`t say that you want to be
worth $1 billion.

D. TRUMP: No, I really don`t. I really am not looking to make
tremendous amounts of money. I`m looking to enjoy my life. And if that
happens to go with it, that`s fabulous.

MATTHEWS: In 1981, there was heartbreak. His older brother, Fred, an
alcoholic, died.

His brother was so young when he died, 42 years old, and his brother told
him, Donald, don`t ever drink. Don`t ever get involved with alcohol. And
that`s why Donald, to this day, has never had alcohol, never smoked.
Doesn`t touch the stuff.

MATTHEWS: A few weeks after the loss of his brother, a happy moment
for the family. Donald and Ivana welcomed daughter Ivanka. Trump rode
high in the 1980s, bought a yacht, an airline, a professional football
team, and Palm Beach Palace Mar-a-Lago. With 118 rooms, it is one of the
largest homes in the nation.

ROGER STONE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: People of modest means look at
that, and they say, wow, if I were rich, that`s how`d I want to live.
People love the way he lives, because he symbolizes the American success
story. He symbolizes the way you would live, the bling.

MATTHEWS: Coming up: winning and losing with Donald Trump.

D. TRUMP: A major business magazine came out with a story, everything
he touches turns to gold. And I started to believe that myself.




MATTHEWS (voice-over): The `80s were very good years for Trump. In
1982, he bought a prized piece of real estate along the Atlantic City

To get Holiday Inn to make a deal with him, he invited their
executives to the site and made it look like construction was well under

D. TRUMP: I had every truck available in the area moving on that
site. We had trucks going back and forth and working all over the place.
They saw that action, they were immediately impressed, and we made a deal
like right then on the spot.

MATTHEWS: In 1984, the same year Harrah`s at Trump Plaza opened,
Donald and Ivana welcomed their third child, Eric. A year later, Trump
Castle opened.

D. TRUMP: Beautiful, beautiful.

O`BRIEN: They were cash cows, particularly Trump Plaza. It was the
first casino that anybody driving into Atlantic City hit when they arrived
there. It was essentially a license to print money.

MATTHEWS: Closer to home, actually across the street from his home,
the Wollman skating rink in Central Park had been closed for years. It`s

D. TRUMP: They had spent over $20 million over a seven-year period.
And then, finally, I said, this is ridiculous. This thing shouldn`t take
years to build. And I was able to convince everybody to let me build it.

O`BRIEN: Donald, as the gifted self-promoter, went out there and
pitched this as, I got the project done, what the New York City government
couldn`t get done.

see the same instincts coming out now that you did with the Wollman Rink,
with Trump being frustrated at how inept and useless government is and
jumping in and saying, I`m going to fix this.

MATTHEWS: Across the street from the Wollman Rink, Trump won a
crowned jewel of New York in 1988, the Plaza Hotel, for $400 million.
Ivana was put in charge and spent millions more to renovate.

QUESTION: Is there anything you wouldn`t support your man in?

IVANA TRUMP, WIFE OF DONALD TRUMP: Oh, sure. Oh, sure. I wouldn`t
support if Donald would be running around and fooling around, you know,
and, that, I couldn`t live with.

MATTHEWS: In 1990, the tabloids were reporting that Trump was doing
just that with a young actress named Marla Maples.

COULTER: One headline I think everybody remembers was, “Marla Maples,
best sex i ever had.”


D`ANTONIO: Marla denies ever saying that. But it`s telling that the
tabloids in New York would be so accustomed to Trump craziness that they`d
run with it.

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: Divorce is a challenging and
terrible thing for anyone. We`d see our parents on the cover of “The Post”
every morning walking to school. And they really – I mean, I have to give
them both credit. They did everything in their power to, you know, help us
through it.

MATTHEWS: While the divorce proceedings plaid out in the tabloids, at
the office, it was business as usual. Michael Jackson performed at the
star-studded opening of Atlantic City`s Trump Taj Mahal in 1990.

D. TRUMP: There`s never been anything like this built in this
country. And I think that`s why you see the huge crowds today, and that`s
why you`re going to see the huge crowds for many years to come.

MATTHEWS: It was the most expensive casino ever built, costing more
than $1 billion, most of it borrowed money.

D`ANTONIO: This was a time when borrowing money was easy. Junk bonds
were created and refined during the 1980s.

O`BRIEN: Every marquee purchase, from the Plaza Hotel to the Trump
Shuttle, and later to the Trump Taj Mahal, the construction of that and the
purchase of that was all built on debt.

D. TRUMP: I was taking things a little bit too for granted. A major
business magazine came out with a story, everything he touches turns to
gold, and I started to believe that myself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you owe the bank a little, it owns you. If you
owe the bank a lot, you own the bank. And that`s essentially what happens.

D. TRUMP: I never worked so hard. Convincing those banks to give me
more money, so I could keep going, and ultimately get them paid back, was
one of the best deals I ever made.

MATTHEWS: Coming up: new opportunities and a new audience.

D`ANTONIO: His currency is not really real estate. It`s the name




MATTHEWS (voice-over): For Trump, the roaring `80s were fading into
memory. It was 1990, and with the national real estate market in decline,
Trump`s empire was on the brink of collapse.

MAN: Well, this week, the bankers took over Donald Trump`s life. I
mean, did they take over. From now on, almost everything he does and every
penny, it spends needs their approval.

D`ANTONIO: As real estate nationally and even globally goes down,
Trump goes down with it. And he loses the Plaza Hotel, but he also wound
up being $900 million in hock to the banks.

O`BRIEN: What that allowed him to do was to cut a deal where they
could pay the fees he needed to pay as part of his divorce settlement, the
money he needed to retain Trump – his condo and Trump Tower, which was
really an enormously symbolic security blanket. So, he escaped personal
bankruptcy, but he essentially became a shadow of the guy he was in the

MATTHEWS: Trump`s downturn extended to his personal life. In
December, his long-expected divorce from Ivana became official. He was
single again.

QUESTION: Just this past weekend, you had a big party in Palm Beach.
You invited just a few of your close friends, like the Miami Dolphin and
the Buffalo Bill cheerleaders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump is Hugh Hefner of the `90s.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For an older person, he`s very attractive.

MATTHEWS: He was seen in public with Marla Maples, but he was not
ready to tie the knot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, when is the big day?

MARLA MAPLES, ACTRESS: It`s, truthfully, one of those things we`ve
planned probably a dozen times, and we`re very much committed to each
other. There`s just a little fear, I think it`s more on Donald`s part now.

MATTHEWS: In October of 1993, they had a baby girl, Tiffany Trump,
and two months later, Marla Maples became Mrs. Donald Trump.

Over the next few years, the real estate market rebounded and Donald
Trump was back on top, valued at $450 million on the Forbes` wealthiest
Americans list.

But Trump said it was more than like $2 billion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald is one of the few people, and I think the
researchers at “Forbes” have always said this, who personally lobbies them
to not only be included on the list, but to constantly push himself upward
in the ranks.

OMAROSA, REALITY TV STAR: What people think of Donald Trump is
important to him. He may or may not admit it, but it`s important to him.
All of his this, poll numbers, “Forbes” lists, you name it. His position
matters to him.

MATTHEWS: In 1997, he filed for divorce from Marla Maples. And less
than a year later, Trump fell in love, this time with a 23-year-old
Slovenian supermodel Melania Knauss.

said, that`s a very special person. I knew what I wanted as soon as I saw

MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF DONALD TRUMP: He was very charming and it was
the energy between us when we started to talk. And that`s important, that
we both felt the same way.

MATTHEWS: 1999 was a presidential campaign year and Trump discussed

Give me a scenario, as we say in the movies, of a perfect Donald Trump
run for president. All the way to November next year.

TRUMP: Well, I think a perfect run would be, I do no campaigning. I
run, only on Election Day. I get at least 51 percent in a three-way race.

Trump ultimately decided not to run, but that did not mean he faded
from view.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He essentially became somebody who licensed his
name, ultimately, on an array of products that included vodka, underwear,
mattresses, clothing, an online university and basically anything anywhere
that you could glue his name on, he did and he took the fee.

MATTHEWS: In 2004, Donald Trump got the brass ring of publicity, a
network prime-time television show about what else, Donald Trump. “The
Apprentice” premiered on NBC.

TRUMP: You`re fired.

TARA DOWELL, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: “The Apprentice” is Donald Trump`s
baby. I mean, he is heavily involved. He`s actually there quite a bit.
It is something that he clearly takes a lot of pride in.

MATTHEWS: The show was a hit for NBC and things were going well at
home, too.

In January 2005, Donald Trump married Melania.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you guys sign a prenup?

TRUMP: Absolutely. I won`t need it, but we did sign –

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t believe I just asked you that.

TRUMP: It`s a terrible thing.

MATTHEWS: A year later, Melania gave birth to Trump`s fifth child, a
son named Baron.

TRUMP: There`s nothing more important to me than fatherhood, than
family. And I have great kids. They`re really hard-working.

MATTHEWS: With a hit TV show, a new family and his name everywhere,
things seemed to be going well. But in this decade, there were two more
bankruptcies. Trump Hotels and Casinos accrued an estimated $1.8 billion
in debt and went bankrupt in 2004. Trump Entertainment Resorts hit hard by
the recession went bankrupt in 2009.

Tim O`Brien began writing “Trump Nation” in 2004 with Donald Trump`s
cooperation, and attempted to find out what Trump`s net worth really was.

TIM O`BRIEN, AUTHOR, “TRUMP NATION”: When I went back and started
doing the math around various statements he gave me about how much he said
he was worth, the numbers weren`t adding up.

MATTHEWS: The book came out in 2005, and in 2006, Trump sued O`Brien
for $5 billion. He claimed that he was defamed. To win, Trump had to
prove O`Brien acted with malice. However, the presiding judge denied
Trump`s claim and ultimately dismissed the lawsuit.

O`BRIEN: We deposed Donald for two days and that deposition is one of
the great Rosetta stones of understanding the real Donald Trump. Because
during the course of that deposition, he really couldn`t give a practical
and reliable assessment about how he determines his net worth.

MATTHEWS: In 2011, Donald Trump also began throwing around the
accusation that President Obama was not a U.S. citizen, that no one even
knew him growing up.

TRUMP: You are not allowed to be a president if you`re not born in
this country. He may not have been born in this country.

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: I just thought, come on! You know, by now
we`ve all seen the birth certificate. When everybody else had given it up,
he was still hanging in there on it.

TRUMP: At the White House correspondents` dinner in 2011, President
Obama struck back with humor.

tonight. No one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth
certificate matter to rest than the Donald. And that`s because he can
finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter. Like did we fake
the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie
and Tupac?


MATTHEWS: When “Citizen Trump” returns, Donald Trump is back on the
campaign trail.




MATTHEWS: If some of the experts thought Donald Trump would not have
the political staying power to endure in a crowded field of Republican
candidates, so far, they are mistaken. Trump is savvy about spending
almost all attention, negative or positive, to his advantage, while
attacking his rivals anytime they gain ground. In the middle of September,
the second Republican debate aired on CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re trying to get the Republicans to mix it
up. Carly, Trump says you have an ugly face. What do you think of that?

this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.


TRUMP: I think she`s got a beautiful face and I think she`s a
beautiful woman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I keep hearing, oh, she totally won – no, she
looked like a little sourpuss.

TRUMP: So, this is a plan that`s simple –

MATTHEWS: Voters and candidates look for a shift in focus to issues,
and when September arrived, Trump announced that he had a detailed proposal
for something – a tax plan.

TRUMP: No business of any size from a Fortune 500 company, to a mom
and pop shop, to a freelancer living from week to week will pay more than
15 percent of their business income in taxes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this tax plan he offers something for
everybody. But the most for those who have the most. If you`re concerned
about the national debt, it`s not a plan that you would favor.

CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS: What you`re saying is you make it all up
with growth?

TRUMP: No, no. Not all up with growth. We also start cutting,
because the waste in this country is unbelievable.

TODD: Do you know how many politicians have said this over the years

TRUMP: I know, but I`m not a politician.

TODD: – waste, fraud, and abuse?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How will that happen? Management. He`s a great
leader. He`s going to give it to us, he doesn`t have to say how. He`s
just going to say he will.

MATTHEWS: On October 28, another debate, this time hosted by CNBC.
The moderators were repeatedly attacked by the Republican candidates.

MODERATOR: You`ve been very critical of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook
who has wanted to increase the number of H-1B –

TRUMP: I was not at all critical of him. I was not at all. In fact,
I am all in favor of keeping these talented people here so they can go to
work in Silicon Valley.

MODERATOR: So you`re in favor of increasing –

TRUMP: I`m not at all critical of him.

MODERATOR: Why did I read this and come up with this that you were –

TRUMP: Probably, I don`t know. You people write this stuff.

MATTHEWS: Fact-checkers quickly pointed out Trump was wrong. His own
Web site criticized Zuckerberg. And the moderator herself also noted this
later in the program.

OMAROSA: They were intimidated, afraid, not bold enough. But that`s
not how you handle Donald Trump. He can see the fear in your eyes and he
pounces on it.

BROKAW: The country has kind of bought in. I don`t know what it`s
going to take to change him, but something will come along. I believe the
unforeseen will occur, the UFO theory. Something will happen.

MATTHEWS: In a controversial tryst of politics and celebrity, Donald
Trump hosted “Saturday Night Live.”

TRUMP: Jimmy, how is our economy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amazing, sir. In the words of our new national
anthem, it`s huge.

OMEROSA: Putin has withdrawn from Ukraine, and believe me, he does
not want to be called a loser again. He cried for hours.

TRUMP: Keep up the good work, Omarosa. You`re doing fantastic.

MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, outside 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Myself, I`m Mexican. I`m not a rapist. I`m a
student, right? So, I just want to make sure he listens to the stories and
stops his racism that he`s spreading around the country.

MATTHEWS: At the Fox Business Republican debate on November 10th,
opponents challenged Trump on how he plans to deport millions of
undocumented immigrants.

JOHN KASICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If people think we are going
to shift 11 million people who are law abiding, who are in this country,
and somehow pick them up in their house and ship them out to Mexico? Think
about the families. Think about the children.

TRUMP: Let me just tell you that Dwight Eisenhower, good president,
great president, people liked him, I like Ike, right? The expression, I
like Ike. Moved a million and a half illegal immigrants out of this
country, just beyond the border.

buses to take them back to Mexico. Has he thought about that? Has he
explained how that is going to happen? It`s a totally impractical idea.

MATTHEWS: When Ben Carson was a threat, Trump went, well, ballistic.

TRUMP: How stupid are the people of Iowa, how stupid are the people
of this country to believe this crap?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The unacknowledged part of the Trump mystique is
he`s kind of funny. He`s a draw himself. You look at these other mooks
and they seem to be suffering, Jeb Bush not least of all, as Trump has
pointed out.

Trump is having fun. When somebody is having fun, you start to have

MATTHEWS: But not everybody was laughing as Trump impugned the
patriotism of American Muslims.

TRUMP: I watched surveillance of certain mosques, OK?

I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I
watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people
were cheering as that building was coming down.

MATTHEWS: And after CNN aired footage of a Black Lives Matter
protestors being beaten up by supporters at a rally, Trump tweeted extreme
right propaganda exaggerating racial crime statistics.

Despite inaccurate and controversial claims, Trump continued to sit
atop the GOP polls.

TODD: You`re running for president of the United States. Your words
matter. Truthfulness matters. Fact-based statements matter.

TRUMP: Chuck, take it easy, Chuck. Just play cool.

REPORTER: Are you worried that sometimes he bends the truth?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bends the truth? You know, what? He may. But
he`s still going to get things done.

REPORTER: So you don`t care?


MATTHEWS: After a presidential address on terrorism following the San
Bernardino mass shooting, Trump read his proposal to ban Muslims from
entering the country.

TRUMP: Donald Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of
Muslims entering the United States until our country`s representatives can
figure out what the hell is going on.


MATTHEWS: Reaction was swift and loud.

yesterday is not what this party stands for. And more importantly, it`s
not what this country stands for.

disqualifies him from serving as president of the United States.

BROKAW: Trump`s statement even in this season of extremes is
dangerous proposal that overrides history, the law, and the foundation of
America itself.

MATTHEWS: But Trump actually rose in the polls after this. A large
part of the Republican base seemed to support the idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m supporting him and I`m supporting what I
believe he meant when he said ban Muslim immigration. I don`t believe he`s
racist. I think he`s talking about, you know, we need to step back and
reexamine the vetting process.

MATTHEWS: But many saw this as a game changer. Many thought even
proposing the idea gave ISIS a propaganda victory. Maybe this time he had
gone too far.

ALTER: Do you think something changed in the media`s reaction to him
and the reaction of the America`s public? Remember, two-thirds of
Americans don`t like him. So he already has a very steep climb to actually
becoming president. And I think that many of those people went from seeing
this as a kind of entertaining joke to being a dead serious political

MATTHEWS: And it was topic number one when CNN aired another debate
on December 15th.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN MODERATOR: Governor Bush, you called Mr. Trump
unhinged when he proposed banning non-American Muslims from the United
States. Why is that unhinged?

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald, you know, is great at
the one-liners. But he`s chaos candidate. And he would be a chaos
president. He would not be the commander in chief we need to keep our
country safe.

BLITZER: Mr. Trump?


TRUMP: Jeb doesn`t really believe I`m unhinged. He said that, very
simply, because he has failed in this campaign. It`s been a total
disaster. Nobody cares.

BUSH: This is the problem. Banning all Muslims will make it harder
for us to do exactly what we need to do, which is to destroy ISIS. We need
a strategy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a natural force. He`s a phenomenon. What`s
propelling him? Two things, I think. He`s independently wealthy.

People are fed up with the system. They`re fed up with career
politicians. They`re all beholden to somebody. In Trump, they see a guy
who`s got a few money.

ALTER: They say that politics is show business for ugly people. So,
in his case, whatever his looks, he`s bringing those entertainment values
directly to politics.

MELANIA TRUMP: He will be the best president ever. We love you.

BROKAW: Donald Trump is a top level New York real estate guy. You`ve
got to have big cojones to do that and promote it constantly, reality
television star. I don`t have to talk about his ego. I mean, it sticks
out of every pore of his body. He knows how to take a simple, quick
message and drive it home.

Can he make it last? Good question.

MATTHEWS: Poll after poll shows the heart of Donald Trump`s appeal
lies with the American voter who didn`t go to college, who doesn`t have the
money, hasn`t had the breaks. He is the one rallying to the billionaire
from New York who rages against illegal immigration, against bad trade
deals that cost us jobs, that derides wars he says we shouldn`t be
fighting. Trump seems to be tapping into an injured sense of nationalism,
especially by those most threatened.

For a number of reasons, good, bad, and many would say ugly, Donald
Trump has connected. Label him, attack him, condemn him, but the immense
failure of this country`s political establishment, right, left and center,
to deal with deep national problems, has left the door open in this brash
businessman from the big city has come barreling through.

I`m Chris Matthews. Thanks for watching.



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