On the runway preparing for takeoff from San Francisco after angry street protesters forced him to hop a fence to get to his speaking engagement at the California Republican Convention, GOP presidential primary front-runner Donald Trump spoke with talk-radio host Michael Savage.
Savage began by asking Trump to comment on the protests Friday morning outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Burlingame, where some 100 demonstrators blocked streets, chanted and waved signs with messages such as “Dump Trump” and “Racist rhetoric not welcome here.”
But Trump apparently didn’t want to talk about eluding the protesters.
Instead he responded to Savage’s question by reiterating his complaint about the primary system run by the states, which has allowed rival Sen. Ted Cruz to garner delegates in some states without a popular vote.
“Well, it’s terrible, you have Lyin’ Ted Cruz – he’s got millions of votes less than me, hundreds of delegates less, and they try and steal an election. It’s a rigged system,” Trump said.
“But we have so much more. I think we get it right on the first ballot, Mike,” he said. “We’re going to get it right on the first. We’re way over.”
Savage said he and some of his callers were “moved” by Trump’s foreign policy speech Wednesday at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., in which he laid out his “America first” vision.
Referring to Trump’s vow in the speech to revamp NATO, Savage asked him how he would make the other NATO members pay their “fair share.”
“Ask them, Michael,” Trump said. … “You gotta say, ‘Look, we’re not going to protect you.’ We can’t be taken advantage of anymore, Michael. In NATO, they have 28 nations. We can’t be taken advantage of, with any of these nations, getting protection and not paying what they’re supposed to be paying as for our agreement.
“All of that’s going to stop,” Trump said. “And so many other things are going to stop, that we’re going to make great trade deals, and we’ll make our nation rich again.”
Trump said bad trade deals with China and others have made America a “debtor nation.”
“We owe $19 trillion, and then the NATO nations, many of those nations – and I mean really many – they’re not paying what they are supposed to,” he said. “So they think the United States is led by maybe stupid people or weak people, and they won’t ask.
“But I’ll be asking for the back pay also.”
Savage recounted his remark to his listeners Wednesday after the foreign-policy speech that Trump’s “America first” philosophy was misinterpreted as isolationist.
He argued Trump’s policy is “based more on making America’s interests dominant, not subservient.”
Trump replied: “I’m not an isolationist … but I am a person that wants fairness for our country and our people and for our taxpayers. And we can continue to go on like this.”
Savage asked Trump about his desire to seek peace, prosperity and trade with Russia rather than provocation.
“Well, look, you know, Russia can do a lot of good for us,” Trump said. “I mean, when I heard six months ago they wanted to bomb the hell out of ISIS, and maybe they had other things in mind, also, because, you know, they have a different view on Syria than our so-called leaders, and, you know, frankly, our people ought to start rethinking their whole policy. But ISIS, they want to bomb, and we had people saying we don’t want them to bomb ISIS. And I’m saying, ‘What are these people thinking about?
‘We never walk from the table’
Making the case further for cooperating with Russia on defeating ISIS, Trump asked, “First of all, do you know how expensive it is?
“I mean, so expensive that Russia sort of left a little bit earlier, I think, earlier than they were going to – and I’ll bet you that was a cost problem. But, here’s the thing, Michael, wouldn’t it be great if we got along with Russia?
“You know, Putin said very nice things about me. It has zero influence. He actually called me a genius, but that’s OK. Has zero influence on me, Michael, zero,” Trump continued.
“But if we can make good deals. And you know what? If we can’t, I’ll know almost instantaneously, and I’ll walk from the table.”
The problem with the U.S. and European powers’ negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, Trump said, is “we never walked from the table.”
“We don’t walk. We never walk, we just keep agreeing to whatever they want,” he said.
Savage contrasted Trump’s philosophy with President Obama’s, which he dubbed “America Last.”
Trump said in his speech Wednesday that Obama “gutted our missile defense program then abandoned our missile-defense plans with Poland and the Czech Republic.”
“He supported the ouster of a friendly regime in Egypt that had a longstanding peace treaty with Israel – and then helped bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power in its place,” Trump continued.
“Israel, our great friend, and the one true democracy in the Middle East, has been snubbed and criticized by an administration that lacks moral clarity,” he said.
Wrapping up the interview, Trump told Savage he was on the runway preparing to head back to Indiana, whose primary Tuesday is widely regarded as a must-win for Cruz.
“We are doing great there,” Trump said. “We’re getting wonderful poll numbers. We have unbelievable people. We have, as you know, Bobby Knight. He endorsed me yesterday, and he’s fantastic. A real champion, a real winner.”
After the Indiana, the primary contests moves West, culminating in California June 7, where, Trump noted, according to a recent poll, he has 48 percent of the vote, compared with 20-something for both Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
“So, it’s a lot of work,” Trump told Savage, “but the end result is we’re going to make America great again. And we’re going to make it great maybe than ever before.”