Donald Trump unleashed his opinions during a lengthy segment on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program Thursday, saying he's more qualified for president than any "dope" senator and that he's more than ready to make a serious run for the White House.
"I looked at it but not seriously," Trump told the program
in a pre-recorded interview. "Mitt Romney let a lot of people down last time. He was supposed to do better and he disappeared. He choked. Something happened to him at the end last time."
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Trump said he's running because the United States is in trouble and has a "big fat bubble" with "artificially induced low interest rates, [and] a stock market that benefited me, but we're in a bubble like you have never seen before."
And he predicts "bad things happening economically" without "proper leadership," like he can provide.
But he didn't pull any punches during the segment, ridiculing conservative pundit George Will as "a dope," calling Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio "overrated," and even handing former President Bill Clinton, who he called "probably" the best of the modern presidents, a backhanded compliment:
"Had he not met Monica [Lewinsky], had he not met Paula [Jones], had he not met various and sundry semi-beautiful women, he would have had a much better deal going," Trump said.
He bragged, though, that he is more qualified to be president than anyone else running, and ridiculed President Barack Obama for golfing too much, saying that wouldn't happen if he were president.
"There won't be time to go golfing all the time," said Trump. "Obama plays more golf than professional players on the PGA Tour. Tiger [Woods] should play as much as Obama; he'd be doing much better."
The GOP establishment considers Trump a long-shot, but if he remains in the top 10 percent of the national polls, he'll be able to participate in the upcoming Fox and CNN Republican debates, a place where many pundits say he should not be.
"I do a book called 'The Art of the Deal,' it's probably the No. 1-selling business book of all time," Trump told the program. "I go to the Wharton School of Finance. I was a good student in the hardest school there was to get into," he said.
"And then they say, 'Oh, he's not qualified,' and they take some dope who becomes a senator who's nothing, and he's qualified to be on the stage, but Trump isn't qualified? Give me a break."
Trump also told the show there are "incompetent people" negotiating trade deals that caused the U.S. to lose money at every step.
"China and all of these people, Mexico is the new China, by the way, Mexico is unbelievable what they're doing with cars and industry," said Trump. "They're taking our business like we're a bunch of babies. We don't have our best and our brightest negotiating for us. We have a bunch of losers, a bunch of political hacks."
One of those is Caroline Kennedy, who became the ambassador to Japan after telling the White House she wanted a job.
"She's like a negotiator for us in Japan," he said. "It's ridiculous."
Trump said he'd want a tough negotiator to serve as secretary of the Treasury, such as a Jack Welch or Carl Icahn, instead of people who are "soft and weak and frankly stupid and incompetent."
Trump also weighed in on his competition for the nomination, calling former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush a "nice man" who "doesn't want to be doing what he's doing."
"I call him the reluctant warrior, and warrior is probably not a good word," said Bush. "But I think Bush is an unhappy person. I don't think he has any energy, and I don't see how he can win."
And as for Rubio?
"He lost me when he grabbed water when he was responding to Obama's speech," said Trump. "He grabs the water. It wasn't in a glass or even a cup. See? It was a bottle of water with a label on it, and I said, 'What happened?' I think he is highly overrated, and by the way, I have much better hair than he does."
But he insisted that he is a nice person and a good family man.
"I have great relationships, great friendships, great everything," he said. "It doesn't matter, because this is going to be an election, in my opinion, that's based on competence. Because people are tired of being patsies for China, for Mexico."
He said he is proud of his children and raised them to do well by being frank with them.
"I drive them crazy," he said. "You know, drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes, before they could speak. Like when they're 2. I take Ivanka, Don, Eric, now Baron, doing really nicely, a good boy. Tall and just turned 9. He's 5-5, just turned 9. I hope he's not 7 feet. He's a beautiful kid, good kid. I tell them, no drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes. Usually say no tattoos, too. If you look at society, I think we have given up on that, right?"
He admitted his interviews are fast-paced, but he said he's also having fun and that he gave up a lot, including a major television show, "The Apprentice," to run for the presidency.
"I want to do well, but I'm not a masochist," he said. "I have always heard that a very successful person cannot run for a political office. I always told that. Maybe it's true."
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