NBC's Lauer to Trump: How Do Republicans 'Run Against a Recovering Economy?'

Seeing little hope for Republican chances against Obama in November on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer put this question to Donald Trump: "Isn't any Republican nominee going to have a problem, and that is, by all indications, the economy is getting stronger. So if you're the Republican nominee, how do you run against a recovering economy? How do you say, 'I'm not up with that'?"

Trump, on to promote the upcoming season of The Celebrity Apprentice, tempered Lauer's assertion: "A lot of things will happen prior to November. Gas prices could go through the roof, based on what OPEC is doing to us and lots of other things. Now the economy, they say, is a little bit better now. But they also predict it's going to get worse before the election....I want the economy to do well. But you have to see what happens. And you see how fluid it is."

Here is a transcript of the February 16 exchange:

8:36AM ET

MATT LAUER: Donald Trump, good morning, nice to see you.

DONALD TRUMP: Well, nice to see you, Matt.

LAUER: As always when you're here, let's hold on the show for a second, let's talk a little politics, okay?

TRUMP: Fine.

LAUER: You endorsed Mitt Romney with your usual flair. He held a series of fundraising calls, I think on – yesterday, he did. You were a part of that.

TRUMP: Right.

LAUER: Are you going to play a major role in Mitt Romney's campaign?

TRUMP: Well, I'll do what he wants me to do. They raised a lot of money yesterday, I raised a lot of money for him yesterday. He's a good man, he's working hard, and I hope it all catches on, it should.


LAUER: What's with Rick Santorum here? In the last 48 hours, Rick Santorum has surged into the lead or tied in four national polls. This is not good for the guy you've endorsed. Why can't Mitt Romney close the deal?

TRUMP: It's an amazing thing. But Rick Santorum, if you look at it, he lost his election in Pennsylvania, running as a sitting senator, by 19 points. So the people that knew him best turned him out and they let him go. Locally, he did even worse. So, I mean, when you think of it, what's going on? It's hard to believe. Mitt Romney's a good man, he's got some great ideas, strong on China, strong on OPEC. I don't get it. I don't see why he's not catching on better.

LAUER: Aren't – Isn't any Republican nominee going to have a problem, and that is, by all indications, the economy is getting stronger. So if you're the Republican nominee, how do you run against a recovering economy? How do you say, "I'm not up with that"?

TRUMP: A lot of things will happen prior to November. Gas prices could go through the roof, based on what OPEC is doing to us and lots of other things. Now the economy, they say, is a little bit better now. But they also predict it's going to get worse before the election. I hope that's not true, frankly, because I love this country, I want the economy to do well. But you have to see what happens. And you see how fluid it is. Somebody's winning by 30 points, next week they're losing. That can also happen with Obama and whoever ultimately runs against Obama.

LAUER: Alright, fair enough.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC