Potential 2012 GOP presidential contender Donald Trump says there “absolutely” is a Muslim problem in the world, and he “couldn’t believe” a mosque is being built near the site of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Trump also told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Wednesday night it is important President Barack Obama produce his birth certificate, and put the issue to rest.
In the first part of an interview, the continuation of which will be aired Thursday night, Trump touched on a wide range of social and fiscal issues, including his opposition to gay marriage; his pro-life stance; his opinion that U.S. borders should be militarized to deter illegal immigration; his views on union activity; and the need to be able to shop for healthcare.
O’Reilly asked Trump whether there is a Muslim problem in the world.
“Absolutely, absolutely — I don’t notice Swedish people knocking down the World Trade Center,” Trump said. “I came out very strongly against the mosque being built virtually across the street.
“The fact is, it was so insensitive when they announced the mosque in that location,” he said. “Don’t forget, that’s my territory — Manhattan. When they announced the mosque in that location, I couldn’t believe it.”
Trump said although there is a world Muslim problem, it does not reflect on all Muslims.
“And that’s the sad part about life, because you have fabulous Muslims — I know many Muslims, and they are fabulous people, they’re smart, they’re industrious,” he said. “Unfortunately, at this moment in time, there is a Muslim problem in the world.”
Turning to the issue of Obama’s birth, Trump said at first he hadn’t contested the president was born in Hawaii, but circumstances made him think twice. He also said it is wrong to demonize people who question the need for Obama to produce proof.
“People have birth certificates . . . now, he may have one, but there is something on that birth certificate — maybe religion, maybe it says he’s a Muslim — or he may not have one,” Trump said. “But I will tell you this: If he wasn’t born in this country, it’s one of the great scams of all time.”
On the issue of health insurance, when asked whether he thought people who can’t afford healthcare should have access to it, Trump said there is “a moral obligation to help people,” but he believes people who can pay should be able to go out and price healthcare privately.
“When I buy health insurance, I can’t go across state lines to buy it,” Trump said. “And I can make a better deal in New Jersey than I can in New York. We should be able to go out and price it privately. I don’t want to be stuck with one or two companies in New York. If I want to buy healthcare for my people, I should be able to bid it out.”
Turning to the economy, O’Reilly noted that part of the reason America has just gone through a recession is because of Wall Street actions, and he asked Trump whether he would crack down on brokers.
“I would not do that — you’re making it so tough for our companies, our ‘Wall Street people,’ to compete with the rest of the world,” Trump said. “Because you have guys in London, guys in Switzerland, guys in Hong Kong, that are giving very, very good deals — and they don’t have the kind of regulation we have here. I’m not a big regulation person.”
When asked about unions, and moves across the country to curb benefits, Trump said it is not a one-size-fits-all situation.
“I have a great relationship with unions — I understand what’s happening, let’s say, in Wisconsin,” Trump said, adding that Gov. Scott Walker might be right in dealings with his unions, but “I think it doesn’t necessarily apply to all states.”
“I’ve had great relationships over the years with unions, we’ve had collective bargaining . . . I’ve dealt with unions, because as you know, New York is largely unions,” he said. “I have great friends that are in unions, and heads of unions, so I haven’t had the same difficulty and problem. But I think you have to do what is right for your area.”
On illegal immigration, Trump said: “You either have a country or you don’t; you either have a line and a boundary, or you don’t.”
“Something has to be done,” he continued. “You put soldiers on that line,” adding there is no choice. “They’re coming over, and they’re climbing over a fence, and there’s nobody within 10 miles — and they’re selling drugs all over the place, they’re killing people all over the place — and we’re not doing anything about it.”
Trump said, however, it is hard to generalize about the illegal immigrants who are already in the country.
“You’re going to have to look at the individual people, see how they’ve done, see how productive they’ve been, see what they’re references are — and then make a decision,” he said. “You have some great, productive people — and then you have some total disasters that probably should be in prison.”
Trump then turned to social issues.
On abortion: “As you know, I am pro-life,” Trump said. “I used to not be pro-life; I’ve become pro-life,” adding he has not yet decided whether, if he was president, he would ban abortion. “I’m forming an opinion — I’m forming a really strong opinion, I’ll let you know in about three or four weeks.”
On gay marriage: “I’m against it,” Trump said. “I just don’t feel good about it — I don’t feel right about it . . . and I take a lot of heat, because I come from New York.”
“I say that we have other problems — we have other problems in this country,” he continued. “I don’t think a president should be elected on gay marriage, or not gay marriage.”
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