Interviewing Donald Trump this morning, MSNBC's Chris Jansing put on her Democratic strategist hat to press the Republican real estate mogul with liberal talking points.
After Trump, responding to Jansing's question about what he would do to fix the economy, suggested cutting taxes to spur economic growth, the host of Jansing & Co. groused: "A lot of people sitting out there, with all due respect, saying spoken like a true businessman but not about the little guy. Tax breaks for the rich, not for the middle class."
Not missing a beat, Trump retorted: "But Chris we're the highest-taxed nation in the world, as it stands right now. And that's a pretty bad statement when you think of it."
At 39.2 percent, the United States does indeed have the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world.
Jansing conducted the rest of the interview in a congenial manner, giving Trump the opportunity to express his disgust with China's economic policies and with the Obama administration's unwillingness to take a strong stance against America's largest creditor.
"I would tax China because they're manipulating their currency," asserted Trump. "China is an absolute abuser of the United States – they have no respect for our leadership."
A transcript of the relevant portions of the segment can be found below:
Jansing & Co.
February 17, 2011
10:44 a.m. EST
CHRIS JANSING: He's a real estate mogul, a billionaire businessman, a successful TV show host. But Major League baseball owner or even president of the United States? It does seem like the possibilities are often endless for Donald Trump, who we're pleased to have join us on the phone this morning. Good morning, how are you?
DONALD TRUMP: Hi, Chris.
JANSING: Alright, let's get right to it. Everybody wants to know, here, are you running for president?
TRUMP: Well, you know, I have a big show coming on soon, on your favorite station, NBC, and they're wonderful people and I will not be announcing anything until June. But I have been thinking about it very, very seriously and there's a very, very good chance I could say yes because I just don't like what's happening to the country. I see the country. I see what's going on. I deal with people from other countries. We are no longer respected as a nation. We are being taken advantage of by everybody from China to Mexico from India to whoever you want to say. And then you get to OPEC where you have the 12 nations sitting around telling us what we have to pay for fuel. Which, by the way, if you did that in this country, it would be considered illegal. So I see the way we are treated as a country and I am seriously thinking about it. And I'll make a decision before June.
JANSING: Let me ask you, for example then, if you were commander-in-chief, I know debt is an issue for you. You're not so crazy about how much we're borrowing from China and right now frankly we are not seeing much of Democrats or Republicans proposing cuts on things like entitlement spending. How would you fix our deficit? How would you fix our economy?
TRUMP: Well for one thing, I wouldn't be raising taxes. You know, what a lot of people don't know: we are the highest-taxed nation in the world, okay. So it's not like oh, gee you can raise taxes so easily.
JANSING: A lot of people sitting out there, with all due respect, saying spoken like a true businessman but not about the little guy. Tax breaks for the rich, not for the middle class.
TRUMP: But Chris we're the highest taxed nation in the world, as it stands right now. And that's a pretty bad statement when you think of it. And what I would be doing, however, is I'd be taking in hundreds of billions of dollars from other countries. As an example, we protect South Korea. Why aren't they paying us? We have thousands of troops in European countries, tens of thousands of troops. If we're protecting countries why aren't they paying for it? I would tax China because they're manipulating their currency. They are taking all of our jobs. China is an absolute abuser of the United States – they have no respect for our leadership. They are an absolute abuser. I would tax China. We would take in hundreds of billions of dollars. You know China made $300 billion, so-called profit, on us last year. $300 billion. Now I love free trade, but that's not free trade. And frankly Chris, China, if you try to do business in China, it's very, very difficult. Whereas if they want to do business with us, come on in folks, enjoy yourselves.
JANSING: One of the things that people love about you, I think Donald, is you say what you think. But there is such a thing, and I don't mean to make light of it especially with what's going on in the Middle East, about diplomacy. Would you be willing to dial back some of the rhetoric, even what we've just heard from you, if you were a candidate or president of the United States?
TRUMP: Well the problem with this country is that we have too much diplomacy. We have diplomats negotiating trading with Japan, with India, with Mexico, with China. And you know what a diplomat is? That's somebody who's trained to be nice. They are trained to be nice people and I think that's the problem, Chris. I think we have too much diplomacy in this country and we don't have enough straight talk.
--Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.