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MILLER: Donald Trump says ‘This country is going to hell in a handbasket’

- The Washington Times - Monday, June 10, 2013

Donald Trump is weighing a run for president in 2016 because of the damage President Obama has done to the nation from scandals and weak foreign policy. 

In an interview Monday, I asked the billionaire real estate developer if he was running for president in 2016. The New York Post reported that Mr. Trump has spent $1 million recently for research and polling for a potential run. 

“Don’t ask me that question, Emily,” he said, initially. I encouraged the host of “Celebrity Apprentice” to elaborate on his decision making. “Somebody has to run because this country is going to hell in a handbasket,” replied Mr. Trump.

He was particularly upset about the weekend meeting between Mr. Obama and the president of China, Xi Jinping, in California. 

“We treat him like he’s our friend, and he’s the exact opposite,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Jinping. “With all the things they are doing to us, it’s hard to believe we’re not fighting back. Not only China but virtually every country is taking advantage of the United States. It’s very sad to see what’s happening.”

Mr. Trump does not believe that the media is giving enough attention to the scandals in this White House. “Obama is slowly but surely getting away from these issues -- like Benghazi, like AP. They seem to be disappearing. And frankly the IRS does not seem to be as big of a topic as it was a week ago.”

Mr. Obama has denied any knowledge that the IRS was targeting conservative groups. Mr. Trump, however, said the administration owes the public answers on why the former head of the IRS was at the White House many more times than any other top official. “Certainly when someone goes to the White House 161 times, that is a problem for [the Obama administration].”

The businessman has mixed feelings about the leak of top-secret information about a National Security Agency (NSA) program to spy on Americans’ phone and internet records. “The government is essentially eavesdropping on everybody, and that is a bad thing. They don’t need all that information,” said Mr. Trump. “But what [Edward Snowden] did is despicable. What he did by releasing all that information is very bad. And now just happily living in Hong Kong.”

Mr. Trump said that having a White House buried in scandals is bad for the country.  “It’s a shame that Obama has to deal with all these scandals because we need a leader, and this makes it tougher for him to lead.” 

I tried one more time to get an answer on his presidential ambitions. “We’ll be talking to you at the right time,” Mr. Trump answered congenially.