Donald Trump: “NBC Would Love Me To Not Be Doing This”

NBC “would love me to not be doing this. I gave up The Apprentice,” GOP presidential candidate told CNN’s Jake Tapper this morning.

Trump said he’s giving up “hundreds of millions” of dollars to run for president and that financing his campaign “is the cheapest part” of what it is costing him. “I’m giving up a primetime television show. I’m giving that up to do this.”

“NBC renewed The Apprentice because we had a great season,” he reminded Tapper.

When Trump announced his candidacy, NBC issued a cautious statement, saying,  “We will re-evaluate Trump’s role as host of Celebrity Apprentice should it become necessary, as we are committed to this franchise.” NBC has not yet shot a new season on that reality series, but could be compelled to give other POTUS hopefuls equal time should it air during Trump’s White House run.

Speaking of NBC not wanting Trump to run for office, Trump this morning further clarified a comment he made in his announcement speech that immigrants coming up from Mexico are bringing drugs and crime and “they’re rapists.”

This morning, he carefully told Tapper, “You have people coming from all over and they’re bad. You have people coming in – and I’m not saying just Mexicans – I’m talking about people that are from all over, that are killers and rapists,” adding, “It’s not Mexicans necessarily. They’re coming from all over.”

NBC scrambled last week to distance itself from Trump, with whom it co-owns the Miss USA/Miss Universe Pageants, over his “rapists” comment, after Univision canceled plans to broadcast the two pageants for the comment Univision called an insult to the people of Mexico.

Donald Trump’s opinions do not represent those of NBC, and we do not agree with his positions on a number of issues, including his recent comments on immigration,” the network said.

After a slew of interviews with bemused anchors in the hours and days following his announcement, Tapper’s interview this morning on CNN’s State of the Union program took a different tone.

“His poll numbers are no joke. They show him hot on Jeb Bush’s tail,” Tapper began.

“You know he takes me seriously,” Trump told Tapper of Bush, who has given mostly dismissive answers to reporters’ questions about Trump as  candidate.

Bush, Trump said, is “a wonderful person…I don’t know if I want him negotiating with ISIS. I think Trump would do a lot better. You think so too, but you’re not going to say it.”

The two men spent quite a spell talking about China. Tapper was wearing a Trump tie he bought for the occasion. “As you know, it’s made in China.”

“Beautiful tie,” Trump said proudly.

“It’s a lovely tie,” Tapper acknowledged, asking if it is hypocritical of Trump to talk about bringing manufacturing back to the United States while making his ties in China.

“Not at all” Trump said. ”They’ve cut their currency – I talk about my ties in speeches…They’ve manipulated their currency to such a point that it’s impossible for our country to compete.”

In other moments you won’t see with any other GOP candidates on Sunday Beltway shows:

• Tapper asked Trump about his plan to bomb the oil fields in Iraq. “I don’t think the government of Iraq would want us to bomb their oil fields.”

“Who cares?” Trump responded.

• Tapper asked Trump, who has said he believes in “traditional marriage,’ what he would say to gays and lesbians who note the real estate mogul has been married three times.

“They have a very good point… I have a great wife now,” Trump began, explaining he did not blame his first two wives for the failure of those marriages because he worked too hard.

“I’m not asking you to explain your divorces,” Tapper jumped in uncomfortably.

• Trump acknowledged he’d attended the wedding of Clinton’s daughter and gave money to Hill’s first White House run, explaining, “I’m a business” and that the Clintons had been good to them. He said he is no longer in contact with Clinton who, he noted, may not wind up becoming the Dem candidate.

“I’ve seen [Bernie Sanders’] crowds. Stranger things have happened,” said The Donald.

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