Donald Trump, in a 1988 interview about U.S. politics and policy, offered a blistering critique of politicians and American's standing in the world that is not unlike his current argument, which has propelled him to the top of the Republican primary race.
In the 1988 interview on Eleventh Hour with Robert Lipsyte:
* Trump said the U.S. was being ripped off by the world's wealthiest countries
* Trump said he wanted to tax Japan, Saudi Arabia, and West Germany as payment for the U.S.'s protection
* Trump said he wanted to tax foreign goods and American consumers would have to pay a premium for them.
* Trump said the federal government would have to subsidize affordable housing in order to incentivize developers to build.
"The United States is systemically being ripped off by many of the wealthiest countries of the world," Trump said.
"I want to tax Saudi Arabia for the job we do keeping them alive," added Trump. "They wouldn't be here for 20 minutes if we ever said 'you're on your own baby.'"
Today, Trump rails against politicians allowing foreign countries like China to undermine American business, calling them "stupid." In the 1988 interview, politicians, Trump said, were allowing Japan to rip off the U.S.:
"The world should be based more on common sense," Trump said . "When I ask a question, for example, why are we defending Japan for nothing? Why aren't they paying for it? Everyone says, 'Is that true? Do we really do that?' Nobody even knows about it. And then they think about it, and that's the end of it."
He continued, "And by the way, including politicians, top politicians. I ask the, 'Washington,' I say, 'Why are we defending Japan for nothing?' They say, 'boy I'll tell you what I'm angry about it.' They're angry for one day and then they go on to something else. It amazes me. There's no stick-to-itiveness, there's no aggressiveness, there's no advocacy. And that's really the word. Everything's a compromise today. We don't want to anger Japan, they're our friends, they're our partners, don't tax them, don't this."
"They're laughing at us," Trump added. "They think that the United States is made up of a bunch of fools. They're laughing at us. Now they don't laugh at our face because then we get insulted and we do something about it."
Trump also laid out his plan to tax foreign goods, saying American consumers would have to pay a premium if they wanted to purchase foreign products.
"It's so simple, you have no idea. You will tax Japan, you will tax West Germany, you will tax their products," he said. "People are still going to buy their products, and frankly, you're going to tell people. You're going to tell the American people, 'hey look, they make a wonderful product, but you're going to have to pay a premium, you're going to absolutely have to pay a premium if you want to buy a Mercedes-Benz.'
Trump, when asked why he doesn't build more affordable housing, argued that the government needed to subsidize such efforts so such projects were profitable for developers.
"The government has to provide the financing for this because no individual can do it," Trump said. "Now people don't like to say it. They like to say, 'oh, as an individual you can build.' The fact is that numbers are so horrendous. The losses are so huge, that no individual can do anything meaningful in that way without government help."
He continued, "Now when the government comes in and finances it, Trump will build thousands and thousands of units. How is the government going to finance it though when Japan is just ripping us dry, when West Germany and all of these other countries are ripping us dry, and we're losing hundred of billions of dollars. We have to strengthen up the federal government and the programs have to filter back into the cities."
Trump, however, said he did not want to be the one to solve the country's problems.
"I would much prefer if somebody else do it, I just don't know if somebody else is there," he said.
"I think I'd do a fantastic job but I really would prefer not doing it."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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