Trump full-throttle in Time interview: Jan. 6 was Pelosi’s fault; Deportation plans set

by WorldTribune Staff, April 30, 2024

[The following are excerpts from the interview between former President Donald Trump and TIME National Politics Reporter Eric Cortellessa that was published on Tuesday.]

Time Magazine: Let’s start with Day One: January 20, 2025. You have said that you will take a suite of aggressive actions on the border and on immigration—

Donald Trump: Yes.

Time: You have vowed to—

Trump: And on energy.

Time: Yes, yes. And we’ll come to that, certainly. You have vowed to launch the largest deportation operation in American history. Your advisors say that includes—

Trump: Because we have no choice. I don’t believe this is sustainable for a country, what’s happening to us, with probably 15 million and maybe as many as 20 million by the time Biden’s out. Twenty million people, many of them from jails, many of them from prisons, many of them from mental institutions. I mean, you see what’s going on in Venezuela and other countries. They’re becoming a lot safer.

Time: Well, let’s just talk—so you have said you’re gonna do this massive deportation operation. I want to know specifically how you plan to do that.

Trump: So if you look back into the 1950s, Dwight Eisenhower, he’s not known for that, you know, you don’t think of him that way. Because you see, Ike, but Dwight Eisenhower was very big on illegal immigration not coming into our country. And he did a massive deportation of people. He was doing it for a long time. He got very proficient at it. He was bringing them just to the other side of the border. And they would be back in the country within a matter of days. And then he started bringing them 3,000 miles away—

What’s your plan, sir?

Trump: We will be using local law enforcement. And we will absolutely start with the criminals that are coming in. And they’re coming in in numbers that we’ve never seen before. And we do have a new category of crime. It’s called migrant crime. It’s, ugh, you see it all the time. You see it in New York City where they’re having fistfights with police. And far worse than that. You see it all the time. And you’re seeing it in all of the cities, especially the Democratic-run cities, which is a lot of the big ones, but you’re seeing it in Chicago, you’re seeing it in New York and L.A. and getting worse than in other places.

Does that include using the U.S. military?

Trump: It would. When we talk military, generally speaking, I talk National Guard. I’ve used the National Guard in Minneapolis. And if I didn’t use it, I don’t think you’d have Minneapolis standing right now, because it was really bad. But I think in terms of the National Guard. But if I thought things were getting out of control, I would have no problem using the military, per se. We have to have safety in our country. We have to have law and order in our country. And whichever gets us there, but I think the National Guard will do the job. You know, had Nancy Pelosi used the National Guard. You know, I offered them whatever they wanted.

Time: What do you plan to do in the second term? Are you going to move right away on day one to direct federal funds to continue building the wall? Are you going to aim for legislation? How do you plan to do?

Trump: I think what we will do is we will complete—and when you say and when I say complete the wall, I built much more wall than I ever thought necessary. But as you build it, you find out that you need it. And we built it, and there were certain areas then you find out that are leaking and they leak. Like a politician leaks, they leak. And we would get that and we would build that and then you build something else. And it was just a system, we had a great system going. And we could have added another 200 miles of wall and good territory for it. Because it really does work, you know, walls work. Walls and wheels. I would say, you know, a lot of, see what you have here, your tape recorder, everything else is going to be obsolete in about six months. You’ll have something that’s much better. But the two things that are never obsolete are walls and wheels.

Time: Let’s shift to the economy, sir. You have floated a 10% tariff on all imports, and a more than 60% tariff on Chinese imports. Can I just ask you now: Is that your plan?

Trump: It may be more than that. It may be a derivative of that. A derivative of that. But it will be somebody—look when they come in and they steal our jobs, and they steal our wealth, they steal our country.

Time: When you say more than that, though: You mean maybe more than 10% on all imports?

Trump: More than 10%, yeah. I call it a ring around the country. We have a ring around the country. A reciprocal tax also, in addition to what we said. And if we do that, the numbers are staggering. I don’t believe it will have much of an effect because they’re making so much money off of us. I also don’t believe that the costs will go up that much. And a lot of people say, “Oh, that’s gonna be a tax on us.” I don’t believe that. I think it’s a tax on the country that’s doing it. And I know. Look, I took in billions of dollars from China. Nobody else ever did anything on China. I also let people know what the threat of China was. China was going along making $500 to $600 billion a year and nobody was ever even mentioning it until I came along. What’s happening in Detroit is very sad because electric cars with this EV mandate, which is ridiculous, because they don’t go far. They cost too much and they’re going to be made in China. They’re all going to be made in China.

Time: Sir, the economy was certainly humming during your first term. There’s no question about it. But, you know, Moody’s did say that your trade war with China cost the U.S. economy $316 billion and 300,000 jobs. [Editor’s note: The estimate of $316 billion was made by Bloomberg Economics, not Moody’s.]

Trump: Yeah. Moody’s doesn’t know what they’re talking about. We had the greatest economy in history. And Moody’s acknowledges that. So how did it cost us if we had such a good economy? Everybody admits it. If we didn’t do that, we would have no steel industry right now. They were dumping steel all over this country. And I put a 50% tariff on steel. It was gonna go higher. And the people that love me most are businesses, but in particular, the steel industry. They love me because I saved their industry. I’ve had owners of steel companies and executives of steel companies come up and start crying when they see me. They say, nobody, nobody helped us until you came along. China was dumping massive amounts of steel into our country. And we saved the steel industry.

Time: Do you think it’s time for him (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) to go?

Trump: Well, I had a bad experience with Bibi. And it had to do with Soleimani, because as you probably know by now, he dropped out just before the attack. And I said, “What’s that all about?” Because that was going to be a joint and all of a sudden, we were told that Israel was not doing it. And I was not happy about that. That was something I never forgot. And it showed me something. I would say that what happened on—the October 7 should have never happened.

It happened on his watch.

Trump: No, it happened on his watch. And I think it’s had a profound impact on him, despite everything. Because people said that shouldn’t have happened. They have the most sophisticated equipment. They had—everything was there to stop that. And a lot of people knew about it, you know, thousands and thousands of people knew about it, but Israel didn’t know about it, and I think he’s being blamed for that very strongly, being blamed. And now you have the hostage situation— And I will say this, Bibi Netanyahu rightfully has been criticized for what took place on October 7.

Time: Do you think an outcome of that war between Israel and Hamas should be a two state solution between Israelis and Palestinians?

Trump: Most people thought it was going to be a two-state solution. I’m not sure a two-state solution anymore is gonna work. Everybody was talking about two states, even when I was there. I was saying, “What do you like here? Do you like two states?” Now people are going back to—it depends where you are. Every day it changes now. If Israel’s making progress, they don’t want two states. They want everything. And if Israel’s not making progress, sometimes they talk about two-state solution. Two-state solution seemed to be the idea that people liked most, the policy or the idea that people liked above.

Time: You said you’re proud to be one of the first presidents in generations to have not gotten the United States into a war. You addressed this a little bit in the press conference. But if Iran and Israel got into a war, will you join in Israel’s side?

Trump: I have been very loyal to Israel, more loyal than any other president. I’ve done more for Israel than any other president. Yeah, I will protect Israel.

Time: You came out this week and said that abortion should be left to the states and you said you won’t sign a federal ban. So just to be clear: Will you veto any bill that imposes any federal restrictions on abortions?

Trump: You don’t need a federal ban. We just got out of the federal. You know, if you go back on Roe v. Wade, Roe v. Wade was all about—it wasn’t about abortion so much as bringing it back to the states. So the states would negotiate deals. Florida is going to be different from Georgia and Georgia is going to be different from other places. But that’s what’s happening now. It’s very interesting. But remember this, every legal scholar for 53 years has said that issue is a state issue from a legal standpoint. And it’s starting to work that way. And what’s happened is people started getting into the 15 weeks and the five weeks or the six weeks and they started getting into, you know, time periods. And they started all of a sudden deciding what abortion was going to be.

Time: People want to know whether you would veto a bill, if it came to your desk, that would impose any federal restrictions. This is really important to a lot of voters.

Trump: But you have to remember this: There will never be that chance because it won’t happen. You’re never going to have 60 votes. You’re not going to have it for many, many years, whether it be Democrat or Republican. Right now, it’s essentially 50-50. I think we have a chance to pick up a couple, but a couple means we’re at 51 or 52. We have a long way to go. So it’s not gonna happen, because you won’t have that. Okay. But with all of that being said, it’s all about the states, it’s about state rights. States’ rights. States are going to make their own determination.

Time: Okay. So if elected, going on to the Department of Justice. If elected, would you instruct your Attorney General to prosecute the state officials who are prosecuting you, like Alvin Bragg and Fani Willis?

Trump: Well, we’re gonna look at a lot of things like they’re looking. What they’ve done is a terrible thing. No, I don’t want to do that. I was not happy looking at Clinton. I was not happy. I think it’s a terrible thing. But unfortunately, what they’ve done is they’ve lifted up the lid and they’ve—what they’ve done to me is incredible. Over nothing.

Time: So just to be clear: You wouldn’t instruct your Attorney General to prosecute Alvin Bragg?

Trump: We are going to have great retribution through success. We’re going to make our country successful again. Our retribution is going to be through success of our country.

Time: Okay, so sir, you said that you would appoint a real special prosecutor to go after Biden and his family—

Trump: Well, it depends what happens with the Supreme Court. Look, a president should have immunity. That includes Biden. If they’ve ruled that they don’t have immunity, Biden, probably nothing to do with me, he would be prosecuted for 20 different acts, because he’s created such. You take a look at not only his criminal acts of taking a lot of money and being a Manchurian Candidate. Look at what happened in Afghanistan. Look at what happened throughout the world. Look at what happened with him allowing Russia to do that with Ukraine. That would have never happened with me, and it didn’t happen. And I knew Putin very well.

Time: President Trump, isn’t going after your political opponents what they do in a banana republic?

Trump: That’s what’s happening now. Yeah.

Time: Well okay—

Trump: No, no, no, no. Eric, that’s what’s happening now. I’ve got to be on Monday—in fact, we’re doing this today because Monday was a little bit tougher, because I have to be in a criminal court on Monday.

Time: That’s right.

Trump: Over a non-criminal case. It’s not even a criminal case. And it’s like I said, if you go to Andy McCarthy, or if you go to Jonathan Turley, two real experts, or if you go to all the legal scholars that wrote, they say, this isn’t even a criminal case. And I have a judge who’s more conflicted than any judge anyone’s ever seen. And he’s a mean guy who hates Trump. And you take a look at what’s going on there. You just asked me, you know, you’re talking about—you just asked me a question and they’re doing that to me!

Time: Well, sir, just to be clear—

Trump: Wait a minute, I haven’t had a chance to do it to them. I would be inclined not to do it. I don’t want to do it to them. But a lot of that’s going to have to do with the Supreme Court. Look, we are going in another two weeks to the Supreme Court. And they’re going to make a ruling on presidential immunity. If they said that a president doesn’t get immunity, then Biden, I am sure, will be prosecuted for all of his crimes, because he’s committed many crimes. If they say, on the other hand, that a president has immunity, and I happen to think a president has to have immunity, because otherwise it’s going to be just a ceremonial position. But Biden has done so many things so badly. And I’m not even talking the overt crime. I’m talking about the border, allowing all of the death and destruction at the border— Allowing all of this stuff. If a president doesn’t have immunity. So when you asked me that question, it depends on what the Supreme Court does.

Time: So just to come back to something you were saying a moment ago, I just want to say for the record, there’s no evidence that President Biden directed this prosecution against you. But even if we—

Trump: Oh sure there is. I always hate the way a reporter will make those statements. They know it’s so wrong. It’s just sort of to protect yourself. But no, no. His head of the Justice Department, one of the top few people, was put into the DOJ. Fani, Mr. Wade, Fani’s lover, spent hours in Washington with the DOJ working on my case. The DOJ worked with Leticia James on my case. The DOJ worked with deranged Jack Smith. He’s a deranged person on my case. No, no, this is all Biden— And by the way, let me go a step further. On my case with a woman that I never—that I have no idea who she is, until she made a phone call. “Do you know her?” And I said, “This is something that’s a figment of her imagination.”

Time: You’re talking about E. Jean Carroll?

Trump: Then I got sued. Until that, I had no idea who this woman was, I have no, I had nothing to do with this woman. That was done by a political lawyer in front of a highly, in my opinion, a totally inappropriate judge, who was conflicted for a lot of reasons, who wouldn’t allow us to put in evidence, he was so bad, he was so evil. But I’ve had three of those judges in New York now, three of them. That’s all I get. And it’s a very unfair situation. They’ve gone after me, it’s called election interference. But it’s even beyond election interference, what they’ve done, and they’ve never seen, and I sort of, it’s amazing when you say that Biden knew nothing. Biden knew everything. Just like, he knew nothing about Tucker’s business and his business.

Time: Let’s take a second to talk about January 6. You have called the men and women who have been prosecuted for their actions on January 6 “hostages” and “political prisoners.” More than 800 of these people have been sentenced through our judicial system, most of whom pleaded guilty. Some of them have been convicted by juries. You’ve said you will pardon them. Are you calling into question the conclusions of the justice system in more than 800 cases?

Trump: It’s a two-tier system. Because when I look at Portland, when I look at Minneapolis, where they took over police precincts and everything else, and went after federal buildings, when I look at other situations that were violent, and where people were killed, nothing happened to them. Nothing happened to them. I think it’s a two-tier system of justice. I think it’s a very, very sad thing. And whether you like it or not, nobody died other than Ashli.

Time: Will you consider pardoning every one of them?

Trump: I would consider that, yes.

You would?

Trump: Yes, absolutely.

Time: All right, so—

Trump: If somebody was evil and bad, I would look at that differently. But many of those people went in, many of those people were ushered in. You see it on tape, the police are ushering them in. They’re walking with the police.

Time: I want to ask you another question on this. There are some former allies and staff who don’t support you in this election and have cited your attempts to overturn the 2020 election. What would you say to voters who like your policies, but who believe that someone who attacked a cornerstone of democracy—the peaceful transfer of power—cannot be entrusted to preserve it?

Trump: Well, actually, I did the opposite of attack. I’m the one that tried to stop it. I offered 10,000 soldiers and Nancy Pelosi turned me down. So did the mayor of Washington, she turned me down in writing.

Time: What would you say to those voters, though?

Trump: That I offered. Number one, I made a speech that was peaceful and patriotic that nobody reports. Nobody talks about it: peacefully and patriotically. Nobody talks. You know, the committee never used those words. They refused to allow those words. Number two, I had like five tweets that were, go home, blah, blah. I got canceled because of those tweets. No, I got canceled because of those tweets. I didn’t get canceled because of bad things I said. I got canceled because of good things I said. Because when you read my tweets, and when you see the speech that I made, and when you see the statement that I made in the Oval Office in the Rose Garden, during this very dramatic and horrible period, I’m a very innocent man. Nancy Pelosi is responsible, because she refused to take the 10,000 soldiers or National Guardsmen that I offered. She refused to take them. The mayor of Washington refused to take them too. And they’re responsible, you know, for the Capital.

Time: So last follow-up: The Biden Administration created the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy, a permanent office in the executive branch tasked with preparing for epidemics that have not yet emerged. You disbanded a similar office in 2018 that Obama had created. Would you disband Biden’s office, too?

Trump: Well, he wants to spend a lot of money on something that you don’t know if it’s gonna be 100 years or 50 years or 25 years. And it’s just a way of giving out pork. And, yeah, I probably would, because I think we’ve learned a lot and we can mobilize, you know, we can mobilize. A lot of the things that you do and a lot of the equipment that you buy is obsolete when you get hit with something. And as far as medicines, you know, these medicines are very different depending on what strains, depending on what type of flu or virus it may be. You know, things change so much. So, yeah, I think I would. It doesn’t mean that we’re not watching out for it all the time. But it’s very hard to predict what’s coming because there are a lot of variations of these pandemics. I mean, the variations are incredible, if you look at it. But we did a great job with the therapeutics. And, again, these therapeutics were specific to this, not for something else. So, no, I think it’s just another—I think it sounds good politically, but I think it’s a very expensive solution to something that won’t work. You have to move quickly when you see it happening.

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