Joining us on the phone, the frontrunner, Republican race for president, Donald Trump. Donald Trump, we're trying to figure out exactly -- there is that wonderful moment in Tootsie" where Bill Murray says he likes people that go to his plays and leaves in a couple days later and asks the question Well, we had a great evening, Joe. It was an amazing evening. Amazing group of people. And we had actually more than 2,500 people. We had a room that was filled. They had closed circuit televisions that were all over the place because they had areas of the building that the people couldn't get into the main auditorium. It was just an incredible -- it was an incredible place. And they're incredible people. And they are Trump voters. I was hearing you say before and Kacie, who is wonderful and all, but those are Trump people, those are people that are going to be voting for Trump, in my opinion. I would say - Let's say 99 percent of them, I guess you always have a few, but most of them. It was really like an evening of love. It was a love fest and we all had a great time and I left and then I found out, oh no, I have to call into your show this morning. And that was not good. And, you know -- Did you just say -- Wait. Wait. Did you just say that was not good? You're saying such nice things this morning that I hate to break it up. I'd rather just listen. OK. Well I have - I know you are uncomfortable saying nice things -- May I please proceed? Let's ask about politics first then we'll get to policy second round. OK. Go ahead. OK, John Heilemann? Mr. Trump, I'm curious, I know you talked last night a little bit about you heard some rumors, as we all have, that some of your Republican rivals might be getting ready to go negative on you and start spending money on television. How do you -- what's your take on that and what is your plan to respond? I know it's hard to respond until you know what they're saying. But I'm sure you have a general attitude towards that. Well, John, I've heard that they're going to spend about $10 million. The three names that I mentioned was Marco Rubio and Scott Walker and Jeb Bush. And I heard that. I don't know. And I bring it up because I want people to be prepared for it. When they see slanderous ads or ads that maybe aren't true, and in some cases maybe are true. I want people to be prepared for it. So I bring it up. Now it may or may not happen. So far it's been, to me, very interesting. Lindsey Graham was at 1 percent. He attacked me viciously. He went down to zero. I don't even know how you can get zero. How do you have zero in a poll? You know, you have thousands of people, not one person votes. The other one was Perry who really attacked me very strongly. And he went from 4 percent or 5 percent down to 2 percent. Looks like he's going to be out of the race. So you know, that's really the ultimate compliment when you get attacked and people go down. I assume they would go up, to be honest with you. But they both went down. They got tremendous air time in the attacks. Yeah -- Jon Meachum -- But it is a compliment. Jon Meachum is with us from Nashville and has a question. Jon. I'm just curious, besides books you've written, are there some important political biographies that you have engaged with in the past years that are helping you as you think about what's going on right now? Well, John, I've always found anything having to do with Abraham Lincoln fascinating. I found, you know, many, many -- I will read anything about Lincoln. I just found that whole era fabulous and fascinating . You know, I studied it. I like it. You learn from it. But I found him to be a fascinating guy. Very complex person, as you probably know better than I. But you know, I -- I gave an answer the other day on Meet the Press" and I think it was a very good answer. I was a little bit criticized for it All right. Michael Warren is us with. Michael. We heard earlier in the show from Jeb Bush saying in his town hall down the street from yours last night that, you know, Donald Trump doesn't have a conservative record, that there are other candidates in this race like himself, like Jeb Bush, who can point to two terms as governor of Florida that actually accomplished a conservative record on policy. What's your response to that? How can Republican voters know that you're not just telling them what they want to hear, that you actually believe in these conservative policies that you've been espousing for the last several months? Right. And it's a very fair question. And, you know, I live in Manhattan and I grew up in Queens, but I've lived in Manhattan, I left my father's business at a pretty young age. I moved into Manhattan. Everybody in Manhattan is a Democrat. Everybody. You sort of grow up in that atmosphere. And virtually you see races where Republicans don't even run. There's nobody on the line. If you get -- if you're a Democrat nominee, you automatically win the election, whoever gets that wins the election. So I grew up with that. And if you look at it and if you really think about it, Ronald Reagan was a Democrat. And really a Democrat with a liberal leaning or liberal bend and became a Republican and a pretty conservative Republican. I wouldn't say the most by any stretch. But a pretty conservative Republican. And that's where I am. And when I started really getting involved politically was actually, you know, people don't realize it - I think Joe and Mika realize it -- but I've been involved in politics for a long time. Usually on the other side. I actually got to know Ronald Reagan. I think he liked me. I liked him. But when you get down to it, I am a conservative person. I am, by nature, a somewhat conservative person. I never looked at putting a label on myself. Because frankly, putting a label on myself, it didn't matter. I wasn't in politics. It didn't matter whether I was a Republican or whether I was -- it was something that absolutely had no bearing on me. But if you look at my general attitudes in life, I think I would have certainly the more conservative label put on me. All right. Donald, I want to ask you about the American dream, your slogan is make America great again." I'm curious on the issue of wages So Mika, it's such a nasty question because the answer has to be nasty. We're in a global economy now. It used to be people would leave New York state and companies would leave New York state or leave another state and go to Florida, go to Texas, go to wherever they go because the wages, you know, all sorts of different things. Now it's not leaving New York or New Jersey or wherever they're leaving. Now they're leaving the United States and they're going to other countries because they're competing for low taxes and they're competing for low wages. And they're competing for all sorts of things. And one of the things that's happening is China with what they're doing with their currency with the devaluations. They're making it very, very difficult for companies to compete. So what's happening now is people are shopping. Companies are shopping. I see companies where they have international finance years. People that live in London, they don't even -- they're not even citizens of the United States. They're shopping their companies to different places. And we can't have a situation where our labor is so much more expensive than other countries that we can no longer compete. One of the things I'll do if I win, I'll make us competitive as a country. But we are no longer competing against one state against the other. We're competing -- It's the United States against other places. Joe, where the taxes are lower, where the wages are lower, where lots of things are lower. Now -- I want to create jobs so that you don't have to worry about the minimum wage. They're do a great job that they're making much more than the minimum wage. But I think having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country, Mika. Okay. That's an answer. And then also on foreign policy, just overall, how you would describe the Trump doctrine? What does that look like? Well, in terms of foreign policy, we don't get along with anybody, just so you understand. I mean, they've had a terrible number of years. We don't get along with anybody. And yet, everybody takes advantage of us. Whether it is trade PACs or anything, you look at the trade PACs we have, they're so horrible. That's why I said I'm bringing Carl Icahn in. I'm bringing friends of mine in who are among the best -- that actually are the best in the world. We're going to straighten it out. But in terms of military, we're going to make our military so big, so strong, so powerful. We're never going to have to use it. Nobody is going to mess with us, Mika, and we're doing just the opposite right now. We're not a respected country. We're laughed at, we're scoffed at and everybody that deals with us takes advantage of us. Let me ask you a question, Donald. It's strange, you actually have liberals and libertarians coming together over criminal justice reform. A lot of people on the right and left think it doesn't make sense that we have so many nonviolent offenders in prison and we spend $80 billion a year just incarcerating Americans. We spend four time the amount keeping people in jail than we do on educating Americans. Have you been following the talk about criminal justice reform? I have. Do you think we need to stop putting so many nonviolent offenders in jail and paying $80 billion a year? Well, I have to say this, in terms of our cities and in terms of the violent offenses, we have to get a lot tougher. Because if you look at what's going on with Baltimore and with places like Chicago where we have great people - You know, I know the chief of police said these are fantastic people, they have to be able to do their job and if they do their job, if they're allowed to do their job the way they know how to do it, they'll stop the onslaught of crime that we have in this country -- Right. So that's for violent offenders. What about nonviolent crimes? What about marijuana? Should a kid be thrown in jail because he gets busted for marijuana? I don't really think so and I think that maybe the dealers have to be looked at very strongly. But then you have states all of a sudden legalizing it. So it's sort of hard to say that you're on one side of the border and you go to jail and you're on the other side and you can go into a store and buy it. So there is going to be changes made there, Joe. There has to be. But you just can't. So when you mention the marijuana, that is a very tough subject nowadays, especially since it's been legalized and it will continue to be legalized. Legalized in some states, yeah. Back to the economy. I'm just curious, I asked you this question last time. What is your position -- Don't do it, Mika. Don't do it. It's too early in the morning to ask that question. I know exactly what you're going to ask and it's very early in the morning. I'd rather talk about Mobile, Alabama, what's happening there. [Laughter] I was saying - You know, Joe, I said I know Mika is going to ask me her favorite question. Yes, I am. And I looked at my watch and I said, you know, it's 7:00 in the morning, I got back late last night, and I said I hope instead she'll ask me what happened in Mobile where hopefully your brother will be there, Joe. My brother will be there. Listen, Donald, you know Mika and I know Mika, she has got to ask the question and then you do with it whatever you want and then we'll talk about Mobile, Alabama. All right. Go ahead, Mika. Let me have it. What is your position on equal pay for women and how you would address the ongoing problem of women getting access to capital? Glad you asked that question. Women should have absolute access to capital, Mika. When it comes to categorizing people, men and women into a group, it gets to be very dangerous. When you have to categorize men and women into a particular group and a particular pay scale, it gets very - because people do different jobs. If they do the same job, they should get the same pay. But it's very hard to say what is the same job. It's a very, very tricky question. And I talked about competition with other places and other parts of the world, Mika. This is one of the things that we have to look at very strongly. But you did just say, though, and I think this is what, Mika, you are getting at, equal pay for equal jobs. Because it is tricky. Who would you pay more here, Donald? Just curious. With you or Joe, I would absolutely pay you more. Oh, my god. All right. I would pay you much more. Joe, I would pay Mika so much more your head would spin. Mika, I heard you talking about Mobile. So what happened, Mobile, Alabama, is amazing. We took a barroom, we had 500 people, we thought, and they called and said we're being swamped. Then we took a room for 1500 people. And they call and they said we're swamped. Then they took the convention center and now I understand they're going to have, like, 30 or 40 or something thousand people. They ended up taking the football stadium. So it's going to be an amazing Friday and if your brother is around there, Joe, I have to meet him because you've been saying such great things about your brother. He must be a brilliant guy. Well -- George is bringing three of his friends and he wants to -- He is definitely going to be there. He wants to bring more. He wants to bring more. I told him eight was a little too much. Let's go to Jon Meachum in Nashville. Jon. Now that you've been going around for awhile, what surprised you the most about being a candidate as opposed to being a -- someone who is flirting with the idea? Well, I've had a lot of pleasant surprises, Jon. I've met great people. I've met tremendous enthusiasm. You know, people really want to see it. My theme is make America great again." I've even copyrighted it. Can you believe it? Nobody else can use it. At the beginning That's a lot of billable hours. You know what? I've gained a lot of respect for some members of the press. I've seen a lot of, you know, I've seen a lot of dishonesty with the press. But I've also met some amazing people in the press that really are great political reporters and I'm a little bit surprised at that aspect of it. I'm not surprised that I've met some - I've met some people that write really falsely, you know, where something will be written that just didn't take place and I'm sort of amazed. Even at an event. But I've met some amazing people in the press, in the political press, that I'm very impressed with. So, you know, It's interesting -- As you know, Donald, we talk about everything on this show and we don't hide the fact that we've known you for a very long time. I've even told people on this show that I've called you up and I advised you early on - stop picking fights with people, stop picking fights with people, and you ignore all my advice and then you go up 30 points in the polls. But one thing that I have learned, John Heilemann, is very interesting, that Donald is like - well, actually - We're going to attach Donald to somebody else now. OK. Here we go. Bill Clinton told me not so long ago, if you're going to be a good governor or good president, you have to have a short memory. Donald, if he's punched, punches back. But what I found out over the past month is very short memory. He's always looking for friends. And that's the one thing that always shocks me in politics, people that aren't looking for friends -- People that can forget what happened before and say, let's get together later. That's what Bill Clinton was a master of. And still is. Well, Joe, you have a great example in your studio. John Heilemann, I couldn't stand this guy, right? I could not stand him. What happened is through his cohort mark, I met John and I liked him a lot. And they did an interview. And I actually really like him a lot. Well, you might want to rethink that. So it means I have a short memory. Hey John, who would have thought I would have liked you, right? It's inconceivable. So, you know, I mean, I do like him and I respect him. You know, you do have to have a short memory because a lot of times you'll -- I mean, you meet so many people. You just have to be able to forget it. And I think I'm able to do that generally. Sometimes I'm not. I will say. But generally speaking, I think I'm able to do that. I'll share the moment of bonding that occurred when Mr. Trump walked into the room and said, hey, Heilemann, we should like each other, we're both German. [Laughter] OK. Donald - back -- Let's get serious. So John has a quick question. All right. Go ahead. I'm going to go back to policy for Mr. Trump. How big a problem is the budget deficit and if it's a big problem, Mr. Trump, what would you propose to do about it? And I specifically am curious what you think about entitlement reform and how important that is. OK. It's important, but we have other things important. You know, we spend more money by many, many times on the military than anybody else. I've been analyzing this for the last month. The money we spend is like protecting other places, like we protect Saudi Arabia. We protect South Korea. We protect Germany. We protect so many other places. I'm saying what are we getting out of this? What do we get out of this? These are competitors of ours and they're economic competitors, you know, they're above ours. What are we getting? There are so many places where we can cut because we have these massive deficits. We have -- Now it's really 19 trillion. I've been saying 18 trillion. Now it's really $19 trillion that we owe. We owe China -- Think of this, $1.4 trillion. We owe Japan $1.4 trillion. All of the stuff they sell us and we owe them money. And I say that's like a magic act. How do we owe them money? They take everything from us and on top of it, we owe them all of this money. So there are so many places, John, that we can cut that people aren't even talking about right now, that other candidates don't even know about. I'm very proud of the immigration situation. By bringing it up -- and you know I took a lot of heat that first couple of weeks. Boy did I take -- your friend Rush Limbaugh, he said Trump has endured more incoming -- first time I heard that term talking about the press -- he's endured more incoming than any human being I've ever seen. And then it turned out I was right. And now immigration and illegal immigration is the big topic. I'm very honored about that because it should be. You had the horror shows going on in San Francisco with Kate and with so many others and people are seeing what's been happening. And now immigration is such a big thing. Now we're taking it to the next level with my policy. But John, there are so many place that can be cut that we can get this budget balanced and we can have a stronger country, a much stronger country. So Donald, we have news breaking across the wire. We're going to get you to respond to this. A new Quinnipiac poll has just come across the wire. Get this - and this is about Hillary and the problems that Hillary's been going through. Vice President Joe Biden is running as well or better than Hillary Clinton in general election matchups against top Republicans in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The three of the most important states. And his favorability numbers in general election voters in every state are a lot better than Hillary Clinton's. Let's -- Clinton is still crushing both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden among Democrats -- but when you talk about who can win the general election, watch this. While you and Jeb were feuding in New Hampshire, you actually took the lead according to the Quinnipiac of Bush's home state of Florida. You lead that state's primary 21 percent to 17 percent over Bush. Marco Rubio is tied with Ben Carson all the way down at 11 percent. So you're beating Jeb Bush in his home state of Florida, easily beating Marco Rubio in the home state of Florida. But the shocking news here is that now Joe Biden is doing much better in general election matchups than Hillary Clinton. Are we starting to see -- Do you believe we're beginning to see the decline of Hillary Clinton as a Democratic nominee - presumptive Democratic nominee? Well, I think that could be maybe the beginning of getting Joe Biden into the race. You would think he'd want to get into the race. He's always wanted to do it. He's run, I guess, two or three times and he's always wanted to do it. So this could be it. But I will say this, you know, Hillary, what she did, if you look at General Petraeus, what she did is far greater as a crime and it is a crime. The question is whether or not Democrat prosecutors will prosecute her. And everybody is watching to see whether or not they're honorable. Because frankly, if that were a Republican that did what she did, they would have already been in jail. Look at Bob McDonald in Virginia. Didn't violate a state law. The Justice Department decides to go after him and puts him in jail for five, six, seven, eight years. Very sad. Because he got a Rolex watch and had a diet supplement event at the Governor's Mansion. He's in jail for six, seven, eight years. Comparing that with what's going on here with America's national security, I've got to agree with you. If this were a Republican, somebody would already be indicted. This would have happened a long time ago, the indictment. And I think a lot of people are watching. And they know this is very serious, what she did. It's at a much higher level. Had there not been a Petraeus and, you know, the catastrophic events that happened around him, it would be a different story. But Petraeus on documents that were not nearly as important and on far fewer documents, you know, his life has been destroyed. His life has been absolutely destroyed. Now she has done something at a much higher with much more important documents and it's like nothing seems to be happening. So the world is watching. But you'll see now, what's interesting is that if a Republican wins -- hopefully it's going to be me - but if a Republican wins, you know, you have the statue of limitation that's at least five, but probably six years. Well, you know, Hillary might really have to win this election because if a Republican wins, I would imagine that their attorney general and their people are going to be their various prosecutors will be looking the this because it goes for years after the election, four years after the election. So Hillary might be fighting for her life in more ways than one. Look, what she did is probably criminal. I think almost -- you could say almost certainly criminal. And it looks to me like she's not going to be prosecuted. And that's only because the prosecutors are Democrats. Okay. We'll leave it there. Donald Trump, thank you very much. We'll be watching you in Mobile, Alabama. We'll see you again soon. Thank you. My brother will be seeing you there. Thank you very much. I look forward it to, Joe. Thank you, Donald. Thank you, Mika.