Welcome to Examining Politics, a daily podcast production from the newsroom of the Washington Examiner. I'm your host Michael Graham. Every Thursday, we bring you our outstanding political reporter Salena Zito for an episode of Main Street Meets the Beltway, a co-production of the Washington Examiner and Sirius XM radio. If you're a Salena Zito fan like I am, you definitely want to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Google Play by searching Washington Examiner. That way you'll get Selena every Thursday, and every afternoon you'll get an update on the biggest stories of the day from the Washington Examiner newsroom. This week it's a very special episode, it's the raw audio of Selena Zito's one-on-one interview with President Donald Trump. Maybe you've seen a little of the controversy surrounding President Trump, Andrew Jackson and the Civil War. Well now listen to the interview that started it all. [Begin Interview] I want to ask you some domestic questions, but I do want to ask you about Egypt. Okay. You know, I thought it was... how do you see our relations... your relations developing with them given the release of the human rights worker that you got out that I don't think a lot of people talked about. I see our relationship with el-Sisi as very good. I think he has done a tremendous job, a very difficult job he's got. And, I think our relationship is very good. As you know President Obama tried to have Aya released for three and a half years. They were unsuccessful. I was with President el-Sisi for 10 minutes. During the 10-minute period -- I was with him for longer but privately in those two chairs. See those two chairs? They're very famous chairs actually [Laughter]. But during the 10-minute session I said it would be a great honor for this country And I think would be a very positive step if Aya were released. And I didn't even ask for her husband, because her husband is not an American citizen, as I understand. And he said I would like to consider that. And I said I really think it's very important. And he was so great, and he not only released Aya, he released her husband and he released 8 people total. And I thought I thought it was fantastic. What did that feel like for you? It, it just meant, because I happen to think he's a good man. He's a strong person, but he's a good man with a great heart. And I know he didn't like President Obama, and I know President Obama didn't like him, but I do like him, and I thought that was a great and brilliant gesture. I thought it was a very smart gesture and I very much appreciate it. She would have been in jail for 28 years. She's a young person, she's a good person. She was a totally innocent person. She would have been in jail for 28 years, can you believe it? I said to her, what, what's your term? Because she came up the next day, she was so happy. She said, well sir, I would have been in for 28 more years. I said 28 more years? That's a lifetime. That's 28 years. That's not 28 years but you're out in one year for good behavior. Right. Okay, that was 28 years. So, one of the most common questions I hear, I travel for my job across the country, spend a lot of time in the Midwest, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and one of the most common questions I hear from people who supported you... Right ...they want to know what your impressions are of being president. What's it like? What's your day? First of all, this just came out. They just... This was our final printed map. All in that red area. We're red and Hillary is blue. This just came in out. This is the final print. Pretty good. How does that make you feel? Very, very, uh, honored, and proud, and I love the people of this country. These people are incredible people. I mean, look at those numbers? How do you stay connected to those people? I think I'm doing... for instance, I don't know if you were here, but I just did a whole thing on aluminum, which is just being destroyed [Inaudible] I just did something last week on on steel. And you know, that's a first step, because you can't just do what you want to do. You have to go a step, you have to do the study, you have to, you have to review the study, you have to go through a process. And then you can do what you have to do. It's gonna happen pretty soon. We've been tremendously mistreated by the world, with dumping and with, you know, what's happened to our country. Donald Trump How... But we're freeing them up. We're getting rid of, uh, we're getting rid of tremendous regulation and, you know, one thing that has been said Salena, cause I really believe... I don't think any president has ever done as much as I've done in the first hundred days. I also think the first hundred day standard is ridiculous, because I've done some things that people don't know, like I set the foundations for relationships, as an example with President Xi from China, who I think is a very good person. Who wants the best people for his people. Who also doesn't want to see war against North Korea. But I have a... I think he's a fantastic person. Now maybe he won't do anything for the United States, or maybe he will. But I think he's a fantastic person. My, my opinion of that won't change. We had an amazing... uh, you know I don't know if you know, but the Chinese, very organized, were in the meeting. So when I met him at Mar-A-Lago, where he wanted to be. You know, Mar-a-Lago is a dealmaker's paradise because everybody is comfortable there. You understand. And they wanted to be there. They've been here, they wanted to be there. You know, there's a great warmth and the great... a great feeling at Mar-A-Lago. She knows. It's just... just... it's just amazing place. And we sat in that living room, in these big beautiful chairs, and we sat there... it was supposed to be a 10-minute... 10-minute one-on-one. Then we go into a breakout room, where we have 40 people... 40 people, you know... Right 40 each. That was going be the whole day. And I was told by Steve Schwarzman, of Blackstone, that President Xi is a great guy, if you could get to know him one-on-one, would be much better than sitting in the big... so we sat for 10 minutes, but the 10 minutes turned out to be three hours. And our people went ahead. The next day, it said same thing: 10 minutes, 45 minutes, you know, with 10 people, three hours with 30 people, 3 hours with 40 people, you know. Big groups of people. Including him and I. So, the next day was 10 minutes and it turned out to be three hours, and we had dinner that turned out to be 3 hours. So, the relationship... No, we have a real relationship... he's great. I spoke to him two days ago. He, he's a great guy. Now, with that being said, he is... he's in love with China, and he's in love with the people of China, and that's a great thing, but I think he is going to try and help us with North Korea And that's the important part. Because he doesn't want to see as attacking North Korea, and I think you'd love to see if we could work something out. Now that might happen or may not, but the point is I've created foundations that nobody's ever done before, whether it's Prime Minister Abe or the President of China, or so many others that we have. Today, we had, as you know the President of Argentina, right? Macri? President Macri. Right, right. and that's all part of this very complicated, very large-scale puzzle. How do you approach your day? What's your day like? A lot of the people who voted for you, they... they're very curious to find out, you know, what would it like, you... all of a sudden, you're President, you come into the office... what's your day like? Well, first of all I want to thank you, because you've treated me very fairly. I've been watching you for a long time. Oh, thank you sir. I try. So, I want to thank you, and I really I mean that too. I mean it too. So, my day is very long. I actually never thought, you know, when I was doing many real estate deals at one time, I always thought that was going to be more comprehensive and lengthier in terms of a day than this, it's not. And, you know, these decisions are also so important. You can't make a mistake. Yeah. You can make a mistake in deals, and you work it out. These deals, you make a mistake, you can't. These things, these transactions, you make a mistake there's nothing to work out. It's, you know, it's trouble. It could be big trouble, and it's life-threatening trouble for lots of people, potentially. But I'm up very early. I go in very late, spending a lot of time in this office. And it's, it's very... it's very much busier than I thought it would be. Now this office seems very peaceful... Right. ...at least at this time of the day. Do you, do you, do you find there times of the day where you walk into here, you know, you talk to these guys that used to be President? I mean... Well that one over there is Andrew Jackson, so it used to be Ronald Reagan. But then it got back, and I said, they said my campaign is most like... my campaign and, and when, was most like Andrew Jackson... Right with his campaign, and I said, when was Andrew Jackson. It was 1828. That's a long time ago, that's Andrew Jackson. And he had a very, very mean and nasty campaign because, they said, this was the meanest and the nastiest, and it's unfortunately continues. His wife died. His wife died. Yeah. They destroyed his wife, and she died, and you know he was a swashbuckler. But when his wife died, you know, he visited her grave every day. I... I visited her grave actually, because I was in Tennessee. Oh, that's right. You were in Tennessee. And it was amazing. The people of Tennessee are amazing people. Well, they loved Andrew Jackson. They loved Andrew Jackson in Tennessee. Yeah, he's a fascinating... I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little bit later, you wouldn't have had the Civil War. He was, he was a very tough person, but he had a big heart and he was he was really angry, that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said there's no reason for this. People don't realize, you know, the Civil War... Yeah, it was... If you think about it, why? People don't ask that question. But why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out. One of the things that people have said when I talk to them, because, I told them I was coming to interview you, is they ask that, you know, I said what would you want to ask them? They say, we have your back and.. They really do. They really do have their back More than ever before. The base. And, and you look at their towns, and you said carnage in your inaugural address. There are plenty of town that I've been in, East Liverpool, Ohio, Fort Heights, Illinois, the opioid crisis is just tearing these towns apart. But they, when I asked this one woman, Bonnie Smith, I said so what do you want him to do? And she said, I want him to bring our country back. Yeah, we're doing it. I think, what do you want him to do for you and she said I don't want anything from him. They don't. I want it for my country. My people, they're the greatest people. So they had on Fox the other night, you know, the first 100 days. Who, she's very nice. She's coming tomorrow. Is she coming tomorrow? She's done a good job. But anyway, so she has her own, you know, a lot of people. So who thinks President Trump has done a poor job? One guy raises his hand. Who thinks he's done a great job? The whole place went crazy. The whole room went crazy, more than that election day. I believe it is much more than election day. I don't know if you can feel it. I was just told by Kelly, who was just here, Congressman Kelly. Mike Kelly, from my, he's my Congressman. Who's the greatest guy, he was just here, for the aluminum thing, you know. We're gonna do a big... we're gonna bring aluminum back. We're gonna bring steel back. it's all happening, believe me. I mean, unfortunately, we have to go through a process. You can't just say, I'm gonna raise tariffs, you have to go... Inch by inch. We are going to study. After the study, we are going to analyze this stuff.. Otherwise, you know, you're going to have a lot of bad things happen. So we're doing it step by step. It's going to happen. But he said, man you are so much higher than even on Election Day. Oh in Erie, in his, in Erie County, which... which was the first time since 1972 that they voted for a Republican, Frank and I were just there this past weekend. [Crosstalk] and they love you, the one guy said, I actually think I like him more than I did when I voted for him. There was a man in Ashtabula, Ohio, which you flipped by 19 percentage points, who said I didn't vote for him. I didn't vote for Hillary, but I like him because he stands up for the... for my community. How do you stay, how do you keep that connection with those people? I think we're doing it, by doing what I'm doing now. For steel for aluminum, for the mines I mean... look at the miners. The miners, there I got a close to 100%, who wouldn't be with us, right? The miners. I just freed up the mines. Clean coal. Clean coal, now they don't have to compete against, you know, other sources... Shale. But but clean coal, and we're going to bring the mines back. We're bringing energy back. We were at a point where energy guys for the first time in my life were losing everything and letting everybody go. Nobody's ever heard of that before. And the miners are so great. West Virginia, Wyoming. I mean you know I'm going to be in Pennsylvania on Saturday night, are you going? Yeah, Of course. Packed. It's going to be in my hometown. What about... Packed. Yeah, you're right there. You, what about, I think that it's Governor Christie you appointed on the opioid crisis. Right, one of the biggest Just devastating in, across the country. There are two things that people don't talk about that are really bad. Number one is the drug problem in this country, that the wall will help solve. Believe me, the wall is a very big thing. And the other one is human trafficking, people have no idea. It's essentially slavery, except worse. And human trafficking now is so bad... and you know the wall helps with that, because they bring people over and they bring people back. You can't do that if there's a wall, and it's very hard. But the human trafficking problem is a tremendous problem in this country that people don't talk about, and the other is opioids and drugs generally. The opiods are destroying communities. When I won New Hampshire, for some reason New Hampshire has a disproportional problem, bad problem with drugs. And I told we're going to solve the problem. And if you look at the, the... it was, when I won that in the primary, that was really my first big thing. And even though I came in second in Iowa, should have one Iowa, but a lot of things happened. Well I thought was interesting, when you won Iowa, is that if you look... drill down on those numbers, you won the evangelical voters. I won the evangelical, right from the beginning. They're unbelievable. Do you think it's because they think you project strength and you will you will stand up for their beliefs? I think so. I think that the evangelicals were unbelievable... the Christians. We had, you know, first of all double the amount voted, and I got 84 percent. So I doubled the amount of the previous election, and I had 84 percent, which nobody has ever had before. So, if you think about it, that's why I won the election. I also think they respected honesty. Yeah, well I think... They're great people. Even if they don't like content [Inaudible] Well Pastor Jeffress, you know, from Houston, is great. And I didn't know him at all, and I see him and he says Trump may not be the perfect Christian, and maybe he's done things that maybe we're not supposed to be doing, but he's the best leader by far. And I'd rather have the best leader then have some guy that has every value that I have, but that, you know, doesn't... doesn't really lead. You created an interesting coalition. Did you do it on purpose, No, I didn't do anything on... I just... Did you go on gut? Honestly, I spoke from my heart. Yeah, gut. But I spoke from my heart more than anything else. And you know I didn't have the pollster stuff, and it was only until later they started hiring these pollsters, so I said what are you doing? What are you wasting your money for? You know, some of my my people started hiring pollsters and, but, and I always said, in fact, Hope say [inaudible] what are you wasting your time? Second of all, I read polls every day in the newspapers. Of course, a lot of them turned out to be fake polls, in my opinion. Remember ABC-Washington Post a week before the election? They had me twelve points down, and I said there's no way with... because we go to a community that has 35,000 people show up, Hillary go there she'd have 500 people and then I'd read that I'm down. I said there's no way, and we complain to them, it turned out they interviewed mostly Democrats. And the following week, they came up with a poll that I was one down, and the next week they came up I was one up. But I'm telling you, those polls are fake and what they do is they suppress the vote. They totally suppress the vote. Because people would say, you know, I love Trump, but I also want to go to a movie tonight, I'm not going to vote, and I'm going to go to a movie. I wish he would win, but he can't win, because the polls are saying he can't win. They suppress the vote. It's a difficult narrative to watch. I think the 100 day thing in a lot of ways is a false measuring stick, because it's only 100 days. But what would you, do you have like three top things, if you are blessed enough to be in office for eight years, what are three top things that you'd like to walk away and say, I did this? Well, I think the Supreme Court is very important, because you know somebody wrote, in fact, it was our friend from Fox, he wrote that article yesterday, which was amazing -- that the Supreme Court is so important, because every five to four decision is because of me. A win. And that could go on for 40 years, because he's a young man, Gorsuch, Justice Gorsuch is a young man. That's a very important thing. But what I'd like to do is peace, I like, you should have great strength for our country and peace, and I'd like jobs, and I also think Supreme Court is very important. It's very interesting, because they wrote an article yesterday and I never thought of it this way. The Supreme Court is so -- such a big thing, and don't forget I got him not just nominated, but I got him confirmed in that hundred days. So that was pretty amazing. What are the three foreign leaders that you that you really see yourself building a strong relationship with? Well I like a lot of them. It doesn't have to be three. Just, who are you... Yeah well, believe it or not I had a great relationship with Chancellor Merkel. They come up with this thing about shaking hands --I shook her hand four times before I sat down -- and it turns out that either a reporter or somebody said, shake her hand. I never heard it, but I would have been glad to shake... and they made the shaking of the hands. It's a big deal. Do you get... do you get frustrated... why is that a story? Don't forget. I was with her. I couldn't believe it. They made it like I was rude. I sat in those chairs, you know, the scrum where it comes in, with all these people screaming and shouting. Yeah So it sounds like somebody said something about shaking hand. Well maybe she didn't, there's so much noise because they're all going crazy. But, I was with her for a long time before that, and I shook her hand on numerous occasions. We get along great, okay? Merkel. I get along great with President Xi. I got along great with Prime Minister Abe. I got along great with all of them. Macri, I know, you know from Argentina. I know him. He was a friend of mine 25 years ago. His father was in the real estate business. I didn't know that. and, I actually, yeah, I got along great. His father's a great guy, and he's a great guy. But every single one, I mean, name 'em. Now, I mean, I haven't met Putin yet. I haven't met a couple of them yet. But everybody I've met, I got along fantastically with. Theresa May, I thought she was great. Haven't met France, and that's obviously that's going to be a new one. Yeah. So that'll be interesting to see what happens. What do you think the three... what three foreign threats keep you up at night? What keeps you up at night? The biggest threat... Well not much because frankly by the time I get up, it's like, you know... it's a very... it's a very intensive process. Really intense. I get up late. I get up to, you know, up there late. Up to bed late. Like how many hours of sleep do you get a night? Like four? Yeah Four. I would say four. Have you always been like that? Or is it... Yeah, Pretty much always. But four, but, but which, you know, gives me an advantage. Plus I can call foreign leaders you know - at two o'clock in the morning. Because they have different time. Yeah, because then, it's prime time two o'clock in the afternoon, or something, right. So it gives me a little bit of an advantage. But, but, it's it's been a great period of time. I think we're doing a good job. We're bringing back jobs. The stock market is up almost four trillion dollars. What are you most proud of since you've become President? What are some of these... because you have you done a series of executive orders that impact middle America. But I've also had 28 pieces of legislation signed. People don't talk about it. You know, they're saying, oh he did executive orders, but he, well first of all I've rolled back... Some of your legislation... I've rolled back, yeah, I've done a lot of legislation too -- in fact I think we'll have 32 pieces of legislation before, you know, the.. the... you know, the artificial hundred days is up. I think one of the best things I've done is created a foundation for a great president. I think I have a great foundation with foreign leaders and with labor leaders and with workers and with companies. I legitimize President Obama's red line in the sand, which we had to do. See, he's even shaking his head, but it's true. Were you, were you, I mean, what was that decision... what was that decision like for you? Somebody had to do it. It's hard. It's a hard decision. First of all, you don't know, you know we're gonna shoot 59 missiles off. Every one of them hit the target. It was amazing, from way out at sea if you think... you know hundreds and hundreds of miles away. The level of talent, and the level of technology is amazing. 59 out of 59. And these things -- sometimes at 10 feet off the ground. Can you imagine if you're farming, and the thing goes over your head at 700 miles an hour. You say, what was that? But it's very low. That's why it's not detected, and knocked out 24 planes, which we didn't anticipate to do to that extent. But 24 planes, that's a lot of jets. Yes. But it was a hundred percent. It was a hundred percent hitting the targets. 59 out of 59. But I'll tell you, it's tough because you don't know that's going to happen, you know, is one going to go haywire and will end up in a city, or end up in a town and kill a lot of people? So you don't know. But it was an important decision. Not an easy decision to make, because, you know, when you say yes, that means there's death, and death is very tough. It's very tough, you know, it's... there's a lot of weight on that kind of a decision. Was that your toughest decision you made so far? Yeah, I probably would say yes. And how... how is North Korea weighing on you now? Well, it weighs, but we have to prepare, be prepared for the worst. We have to be prepared to do what we have to do. We can't allow this to go on. He's very threatening. He's very saying terrible things, and people can't do that. You're... last question, you've been really generous with your time. No, you've been great and I appreciate it, so... Tax reform. I know... I know your proposals in its infancy, but you're a middle class guy, you're sitting in... Those are the biggest beneficiaries. Yeah, just explain that a little bit. Honestly, they're the biggest [Inaudible], they're the biggest... that's the ones I care about. I don't care about... I don't care about this, you know, like, business, if I go back I'm going to, what, build buildings again and stuff? Who cares, it doesn't matter when you look at this. You know, one thing I did which was you know, it's gotten no talk because most people don't know, but I renegotiated the F-35 contract, where I saved $725 million on 90 planes. We're buying 2,500 planes so if you multiply that out, you know, it's billions of dollars, and I'll do that with many things. It's natural Hillary would have, I mean, this is off the record, Hillary Clinton's not going to do that. I read an article in The Wall Street Journal about the F-35 is a disaster, the program. Seven years later, four hundred billion over budget. I went in and renegotiated the next lot of planes, it was a lot for ninety planes. I got 725 and General Mattis said I've never seen anything like that in my life, and he's been doing this for a long time. But I'll do that. That's $725 million and, and so that was, that was great. But I think just keep it going. I think it's been a really great period of time. I'm being very untreated, you know, treated very harshly by the press. I know this, Ronald Reagan said this too. I thought after I won the press would then become fair, and after I won the press became far worse than it ever was, you know, I mean. I believe that famously just didn't even, he just stopped watching, or stopped reading the papers. I've done that. You probably heard, I mean I don't watch CNN anymore. I don't watch in MSNBC anymore. It's all it is, a hit. If I negotiated the greatest deal in the history of the world, they would try and make it look negative. You know, I never thought I had this ability. I am totally able to not watch things that are, you know, unfair and unpleasant. And it keeps you right. You know, it really is a good thing for you. So it's been very positive, and you've been very positive. You I watch, and read. Take care of yourself, okay. You take care, okay? Mr. President, thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you for listening to the Examining Politics podcast, a daily production of the newsroom of the Washington Examiner. You'll find these podcasts posted every afternoon to update you on the day's biggest stories and politics in Washington and around the country. You can find these podcasts at washingtonexaminer.com or to make sure you never miss an episode, just subscribe at iTunes or Google Play. Search Washington Examiner and if you have a question, comment, or complaint, don't hesitate to send it to email@example.com. Thanks again for listening. I'm your host, Michael Graham.