Donald Trump has promised to disclose the details of his finances if he decides to run for president, but not necessarily his tax returns. In our interview yesterday, he laid out a new condition for their release.
“Maybe I’m going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate…I’d love to give my tax returns. I may tie my tax returns into Obama’s birth certificate,” Trump said.
We covered a lot of ground in our 35 minute sit-down – gas prices, his response to the Club for Growth, whether his businesses buy in America and why he no longer supports universal health care and a women’s right to choose – and Trump stood his ground on the “birther” controversy.
Stephanopoulos: You say it’s all about the messenger. A lot of Republicans think you’re a flawed messenger for the party. Karl Rove, again over the weekend, saying you’re a joke candidate, if you continue to raise questions about President Obama’s citizenship.
Trump: There’s a real question about the birth certificate. There’s a real question about the-- his own-- his own citizenship.
Stephanopoulos: There-- there is-- there is no question.
Trump: But-- but let me just say--
Stephanopoulos: He’s got a certificate of live birth that is recognized by the State Department.
Trump: George, George.
Trump: George, I know exactly what you’re getting at.
Stephanopoulos: The facts.
Trump: But for some reason-- no, they’re not the facts. He doesn’t have a birth certificate or he hasn’t provided. He’s given a certificate of live birth. It’s a much different instrument.
Stephanopoulos: A certificate of live birth meets the standard in the State Department--
Trump: Not the same.
Stephanopoulos: --for any one citizenship.
Stephanopoulos: There were contemporaneous reports in--
Trump: George, they have co-opted you. ...
Stephanopoulos: You said that you sent investigators to Hawaii and you said quote, "They cannot believe what they’re finding."
Trump: We’re going to see what happens, George.
Stephanopoulos: What have they found?
Trump: We’re going to see what-- that’s none of your business right now. We’re going to see what happens.
Trump told me the birther controversy is not his "main issue" and said he "hopes" Obama has his birth certificate. But this issue is one reason Trump may be sky-rocketing to the top of national polls and is now interviewing candidates for campaign manager, such as Ralph Reed, formerly of the Christian Coalition.
“I’m looking at the poll numbers. I see what’s happening with this country. This country is in such trouble,” he told me.
So what are the odds he’ll run?
“Well, I don’t want to say odds. I don’t want to put myself in that position I don’t want to put you in that position. But I will tell you, I love this country. I hate what’s happening to it and you may very well be surprised,” he told me.