Interviewing Donald Trump, GOP front-runner, requires two things of a reporter: a tape recorder to catch each and every one of Trump’s rapid-fire responses, and a willingness to chat. Unlike most contenders, Trump doesn’t really sit for an interview, calmly answering question after question. Instead, he plunges into a roiling, tangential, and humor-spiked conversation from the moment his assistant, Rhona Graff, connects you with his line at Trump Tower.
Earlier this week, Trump had a 35-minute call with The Washington Post. Several of his observations and answers made it into Thursday's story on the long-simmering melodrama between him and the Bush family.
But due to space limitations, many of the mogul’s 33 jabs at the Bushes – which we numerated in the transcript and is about one put-down per minute – did not.
Here is the complete list.
1. Trump criticizes former Florida governor Jeb Bush for his comments on Iraq: “I’m not looking to get under his skin. I’m really not. Did you see where he said we have to have skin in the game? You saw that, right? Can you imagine? After spending $2 trillion — lives, warriors — we have to show them. I mean, who is 'them'? They’re a bunch of thieves over there. That’s who 'them' is.”
2. Trump on whether Jeb Bush has a clue: “I mean, this guy. I don’t think he has a clue. But what are you going to do? What are you going to do?”
3. Trump on Jeb Bush’s immigration views: “The ‘act of love’ was a stupid statement.”
4. Trump on Jeb Bush’s comments on women's health-care funding: “And the women’s health issues statement was not smart — saying we’re not going to fund them.”
5. Trump on Jeb Bush’s energy: “I would say this, I think he’s a nice person, but we need a high energy person with extreme intelligence, or it’s just not going to happen for this country. We can’t have low energy people.”
6. Trump on former president George H.W. Bush: “I really liked the father. Really like him as a person. But I hated his ‘read my lips, no more taxes,’ and then he raised taxes monstrously.”
7. Trump on former president George W. Bush: “Then the brother, I was very much opposed to the war in Iraq. The brother went in and destabilized the entire region. If his brother didn’t do that with Iraq, I don’t think you’d have a destabilized Middle East right now.”
8. Trump on George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq: “I couldn’t believe that he did it, that he went in.”
9. Trump on the George W. Bush legacy in Iraq: “Look, you know I’m totally into the military. I totally believe in the military. I’m more militaristic than anybody in the field, believe me. What happened there is that you had for years, for so many decades, these two nations that are equal in strength fighting each other. I’d always say they go 10 feet one way, 10 feet the other, then they rest, okay. It was like an automatic block. Then we decapitate one of the nations, Iraq, and the other, Iran, is taking over the whole Middle East.”
10. Trump on the Bush family’s popularity among Florida Republicans: “I know they’re not big fans of Bush. You saw the poll where I’m leading him in Florida. I’m leading him everywhere.”
11. Trump on Jeb Bush’s business experience: “He’s got none. Number one, he was at Lehman when it crashed. That’s a real bad thing. You don’t want to be at Lehman when it crashed.”
12. Trump on Jeb Bush’s former employment at Lehman Brothers: “That’s a Hillary Clinton kind of situation. This is huge. Let me ask you: Why would you pay a man $1.3 million a year for a no-show job at Lehman Brothers — which, when it failed, almost took the world with it?”
13. Trump on Jeb Bush’s ability to steer the economy: “Steer it? He can’t steer himself. Look at what he did with Lehman.”
14. Trump on Jeb Bush’s post-gubernatorial career: “Jeb was getting fees.”
15. Trump on Jeb Bush’s abilities: “I’ve made a lot of money by analyzing people because deals aren’t deals. Deals are people. Even if it’s a hard asset, it’s still about people because you have to know what you’re dealing with. I think Jeb is a nice person. But Jeb is not going to be a person who is going to make America great again.”
16. Trump (again) on George H.W. Bush: “I had a nice relationship with the father but I hated his line. I put a video out on it, 'read my lips.' Hated the 'read my lips' statement — one of the biggest tax increases we’ve ever had, not like a little bit of an increase. It was major. I never fully understood what he was doing when he did what he did. There was no reason for him to do that.”
17. Trump on George W. Bush’s intelligence: “He just didn’t seem smart. Does that make sense to you? He didn’t seem smart. I’d watch him in interviews and I’d look at people and ask, ‘Do you think he understands the question?’ I mean, he didn’t seem like he had it.”
18. Trump on the Bushes and Iraq: “You know, when they went into Iraq, Bush people sent a delegation to see me because I was very vocal about the war in Iraq. I should be given credit now because I had the vision. Jeb can’t even answer the question.”
19. Trump (again) on the Bushes and Iraq: “I thought [the invasion] was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. I give credit to the father because the father handled it right. He didn’t do the invasion. He did a walk-in.”
20. Trump on the Bush family dynamic: “The father had more vision than the son. He knew that if he had invaded, he’d have to get out some day and that we’d never get out. And that’s what’s happened because the son didn’t have the vision of the father.”
21. Trump on George W. Bush: “Bush the second — let’s call them Bush 1, 2, and 3 —Bush the second, he didn’t get. What happened was I was getting a lot of publicity and an article in one of the magazines, Esquire or one of the others, that I was very much opposed to the war in Iraq. Then there was a big article in Reuters and some other articles that I was opposed. They read them and actually sent people to see me to try to convince me that the war in Iraq was good.”
22. Trump never sought the Bushes’ friendship: “I’ve never tried to click. Other than having a fundraiser years ago, I’ve never tried to click. I think if I had wanted to, I could have…. It’s something I never cared about. I don’t care. If I devoted time to being friendly with them, don’t you think I’d be friendly with them?”
23. Trump on Jeb Bush’s super PAC flying a small plane with an anti-Trump message trailing behind it over his Alabama rally last week: “I thought it was sort of pathetic. It was sad. It followed this incredible 757. I thought it was sad.”
24. Trump on Jeb Bush’s New Hampshire campaign: “I heard Bush would do well in New Hampshire and the people in New Hampshire aren’t relating to him. You have to relate to the people. He was maybe going to do well in New Hampshire, supposedly, so that’s the reason I hit him harder. But he seems not to be doing well there.”
25. Trump (again) on Jeb Bush’s abilities: “He’s not up to snuff. No. He’s not up to snuff.”
26. Trump on Jeb Bush’s deal-making skills: “Jeb is never going to bring us to the promised land. He can’t. It’s not there. I’m a dealmaker. I’ve made the great deals. I know the people that have it, that don’t have it. I know the people that are overrated, underrated. I know people that you’ve never heard of that are phenomenal. That’s what my whole life is.”
27. Trump on Jeb Bush’s desire to run a “joyful” campaign: “Jeb is disappointed. He is disappointing. When you look at what he’s doing, how he goes about things. He doesn’t seem like he’s enjoying it. People say on ‘Morning Joe,’ all over TV, that Trump seems to be enjoying himself. They’re right. I am enjoying it. I enjoyed making that speech in Alabama or that speech in New Hampshire. I don’t have notes. I don’t have Teleprompters. That’s not like most of these guys. To stand up for an hour and 15 minutes, they’re reading it. It’s easier to do that but you lose all of the emotion. You won’t get people going. You also see things and think of things during the speech that you’d never do if you were reading.”
28. Trump on Jeb Bush’s chances of winning the general election: “My sole interest is my theme, making the country great again. Jeb’s not going to do it. Just can’t do it. Scott Walker is not going to do it. It’s interesting. Scott Walker was so nice, so nice. And then he had one quip and I said, thank you. Don’t forget, Scott Walker was at 22 when I was at 10 in Iowa.”
29. Trump on Jeb Bush’s recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border: “Now, Bush is going to the border. They said he’s going to the border because I went to the border. When people at the border see him, they’re not going to be scared. They will not be at all frightened. But he’s going because I went there.”
30. Trump on Jeb Bush’s use of the term “anchor babies” to describe the children of illegal immigrants: “Everything I do. On anchor babies, he puts out a memo that says do not ever say anchor babies. So I say anchor babies, got no criticism. He says anchor babies, he gets killed. Yet he put out that memo. Then he uses it, tries to justify it. I guess he forgot that he signed the memo.”
31. Trump on whether Jeb Bush is a policy wonk: “I don’t believe it. You know who would say that? Joe Scarborough. And I think even Joe is changing his mind on that. I don’t believe it. Maybe he’s a wonk. But that’s not what we need. We need a person who will straighten it out.”
32. Trump (again) on Jeb Bush and Lehman Brothers: “I bet you Florida lost a lot of money after Lehman went bad, thanks to Jeb Bush. It’s unbelievable.”
33. Trump (again) on Jeb Bush’s abilities: “This is about incredible competence, incredible energy levels. You need the smarts, you need the cunning. We’re being outsmarted at every corner by every nation that does business with us.”
Note: Trump’s accusations about Jeb Bush and Lehman Brothers involve Bush’s work in investment banking. After leaving the governor’s office in 2007, Bush was an adviser to Lehman Brothers and, later, Barclays, earning between $1.3 million and $2 million a year. Trump suggested it was a reward for ushering Florida state funds toward the firm, whose collapse in 2008 kicked off the Great Recession.
Tim Miller, a Bush spokesman, said Trump “is trafficking in false conspiracy theories” about Lehman.
"The only 'Hillary Clinton situation’ is Trump thinking she'd be a good negotiator with Iran and supporting her campaigns," Miller wrote in an e-mail. "Jeb traveled the globe working around the clock, he's a work horse and will actually get things done in Washington that help people rise up and achieve their dreams."
Responding to Trump’s broader criticisms, Miller highlighted the developer’s past ties to Democrats and liberal causes.
“While Trump was attending New York liberal cocktail parties and trashing conservatives and Republican presidents any chance he got, Jeb was the most conservative governor in the country, cutting taxes, reining in the size of government, and protecting life,” Miller said.