Donald analyzes GOP race on eve of New Hampshire.
In another wide-ranging interview with talk-radio host Michael Savage, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested President Obama might not have a desire to defeat the Islamic jihadist group ISIS, and the real-estate billionaire shied away from declaring he would win the New Hampshire primary Tuesday.
Trump repeated his observation that President Obama refuses to identify the enemy as “radical Islamic terrorism,” insisting ISIS and other groups have nothing to do with Islam.
“It’s radical Islamic terrorism, and we have a president who won’t even use the words,” he said. “If you don’t use the words, you’re never going to get rid of the problem.
“Maybe he doesn’t want to get rid of the problem,” Trump said. “I don’t know exactly what’s going on.”
Turning to the New Hampshire primary, Savage noted Trump, who leads by as many as 21 points in the latest polls, is “way ahead of the pack.”
Trump replied: “Yeah, so far.”
A surprised Savage asked, “You’re not even saying you’re going to win?”
“I don’t want to really say it, because I don’t want to bring any bad luck,” Trump said. “I’m doing well. The polls look good. The enthusiasm’s incredible.
“Tonight we’re going to have a crowd of 4 or 5,000 people out – although it’s snowing, so, I don’t know, maybe that will be a little smaller.”
Trump finished second to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in the Iowa caucuses last week, 28 to 24 percent, after polls showed Trump leading the field.
In an interview last week with Savage, Trump said he would have an advantage in the general election over his Republican rivals because polls show he has a chance to win states that recently have gone to the Democrats, including New York and Michigan.
Savage asked Trump about the mix-up during the introductions for the ABC News Republican debate Saturday night in which Ben Carson missed his call and stood at the stage entrance while other candidates passed him.
Savage noted Trump was the only one who didn’t “step over him.”
“All the others walked by him, like he wasn’t there,” Savage said. “He didn’t hear it, or something. You actually stood there and you told him his name was called. And you said, ‘Ben, go ahead, you were called first.’”
Trump said it wasn’t Carson’s fault.
“You couldn’t hear a thing back there. It was really the fault of the network,” Trump said.
So, I walked out and I saw Ben standing, and I said, ‘What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be out there.’
“I stood with him until they got it straight,” he said.
Savage commented that the other candidates “stepped over, basically, a person who had fallen in the street.”
“And that tells you an awful lot about people,” the talk host said.
“It’s like me,” Savage continued. “Brash people from New York are often called names that don’t apply to them. They think if you’re direct and honest that you’re a mean person.
“And what they don’t understand is I’ve lived on the West Coast most of my adult life. All these nice people will stick a knife in your back faster than anybody I’ve met in New York, to be honest with you. I prefer people who are up front.”
Savage referenced a New York Post article published Sunday titled “How Donald Trump helped save New York City.”
Writer Steve Cuozzo said that long before Trump put his name on buildings and ran for the White House, he was New York’s “most important and bravest real-estate developer,” citing eight major projects.
“I did it at a time when it wasn’t fashionable, in many cases, and it’s been great for the city, and I’m very happy,” Trump commented.
‘Let Russia buy some of the bombs’
Turning to the war against ISIS and Islamic jihad, Savage noted that Trump has favored making Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, an ally against terrorism.
“Well, Putin said great things about me. Look, I know when I’m being played and all. But he said, Trump is brilliant, Trump is their real leader and all that stuff,” Trump said. “And, you know what? I accept it. OK.”
Critics said he should have disavowed Putin’s comments, Trump noted.
“What’s wrong with having a good relationship with Russia? What’s wrong with Russia bombing the hell out of ISIS and these other crazies so we don’t have to spend a million dollars a bomb?
“Let them buy some of the bombs, ’cause that’s what’s happening. And I say, ‘I can’t believe these people’ (who disagree). They want to do it themselves,” Trump said.
“We’ve been over there, Michael, for 15 years … and so far we have nothing for it. If Russia wants to be friendly with us and wants to bomb the hell out of ISIS, I say, ‘That’s great, we’ll help ’em.’”
Savage asked why former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are still in the race.
“I don’t understand Bush,” Trump said, “because he’s just a stone-cold guy that is not going to make it. He’s got no persona.”
But Trump said Kasich “has done a good job in Ohio.”
“He’s got a little lucky with the oil, with fracking, but I give him credit. Because, frankly, in New York, we should have started with fracking. We’d end up with no debt right now. But they fracked and Ohio is doing fine,” Trump said.
But I think Bush should not be on the stage, I agree with you,” Trump said, noting Bush has spent $120 million on his campaign.
Savage, describing Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as a “lightweight” who doesn’t belong in “the big boys club,” asked Trump, “Where did they get this guy from?”
Trump declined to judge Rubio, choosing to describe the moment early in the debate Saturday night when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie caught Rubio repeating a memorized script, which he said was evidence that the Florida senator relies on canned talking points and doesn’t have the executive skills and experience necessary to be president.
“I don’t know, but I was standing next to him during the debate,” Trump said, “and it was sort of a weird thing going on, and I watched it, and said, ‘Well, wait a minute, he said that a minute ago. And then he said it again and again.
“I don’t know what happened to him,” Trump said.
“He’s been very nice to me,” he said of Rubio. “I just don’t know what happened.”
Savage suggested that if Hillary Clinton drops out of the Democratic race – which is a strong possibility as she faces an FBI investigation into her handling of classified information – the Democrats would not allow self-identified democratic socialist Bernie Sanders to be nominated.
But Trump said it “will be hard to bring somebody up who, frankly, hasn’t done well in primary contests,” he said, referring to Vice President Joe Biden.
“Biden has done very, very poorly over the years in primaries. He’s run a number of times,” Trump noted.
“I think it’s going to be hard to take it away from Sanders if for some reason she doesn’t run.”
Trump marveled at the possibility of “running against a socialist-perhaps-communist.”
“This is what we’ve come to. It’s incredible,” he said, pointing out a new national poll shows Sanders, who has a substantial lead in New Hampshire, even with Clinton.
‘Don’t go soft’
Savage concluded by reminding Trump that every time he makes strong policy statements that many regard as too provocative, his poll numbers go up.
“Donald, please don’t go soft because the advisers are telling you to go soft. They’re 100 percent wrong,” Savage said.
“Going soft is wrong. The people need an alpha-male leader, and I think you’re the only one to win here,” he said.
“I’m glad you told me that,” Trump said. ‘That was very nice, and I’m glad you told me that.”