What Donald Trump is doing on the campaign trail

MANCHESTER, NH - NOVEMBER 7: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at SNHU Arena in Manchester, NH on Monday November 07, 2016. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Donald Trump sat for an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. It was a doozy. Using Genius, I annotated it. You can, too! Sign up for Genius and annotate alongside me! To see an annotation, click or tap the highlighted part of the transcript.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about the Democratic Convention. So you won the rating war in the last night. Hillary Clinton's speech—

DONALD TRUMP: By millions, George, by millions.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Couple million, it's true.

TRUMP: Three.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hillary Clinton's speech, 22 direct mentions of your name, 78 references — very tough. Including this one hit on your temperament: "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons." She quoted Jackie Kennedy, sug— suggesting you're, "a little man moved by fear and pride."

TRUMP: She's a very dishonest person. I have one of the great temperaments. I have a winning temperament. She has a bad temperament. She's weak. We need a strong temperament. And that's all it is. I have a strong temperament—

STEPHANOPOULOS: But there are p—

TRUMP: I know how to win.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Polls do show some concern about this, that— whether you can be trusted with the nuclear codes.

TRUMP: Well, I think that's probably because Hillary, that's all they talk about is temperament. I think I have a great temperament. I beat 16 very talented people in— and I've never done this before. You don't do that with a bad temperament. I'm leading her in the polls, as you probably have noticed. And I think I have a great temperament.
I have a temperament where I know how to win. She doesn't know how to win. Honestly, she lies a lot. And she really— she should tell — the truth. I honestly believe, if she told the truth -- 'cause she made some reference to my campaigning, I've had a beautiful— I've had a flawless campaign. You'll be writing books about this campaign. And yet, she's criticizing my campaign. Now, her campaign, she couldn't beat Bernie, okay?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, she did beat him.

TRUMP: Well, barely. And there's questions even about that, but barely. And if you look at what's going on in terms of unity, the Bernie people are angry. They're angry. He was angry. What was amazing to me is when she was talkin' about Bernie last night — the camera was on him. And he was angry. It almost looks like he has buyer's remorse, like he shouldn't've made the deal.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about Russia. You made a lotta headlines with Russia this week. What exactly is your relationship with Vladimir Putin?

TRUMP: I have no relationship with Putin. I have no relationship with Putin.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But if you have no relationship with Putin, then why did you say, in 2013, "I do have a relationship," in 2014, "I spoke--"

TRUMP: Because he has said nice things about me over the years. I remember years ago, he said something, many years ago, he said something very nice about me. I said something good about him when Larry King was on. This was a long time ago. And I said, "He is a tough cookie," or something to that effect. He said something nice about me. This has been going on. We did 60 Minutes together, by the way, not together together, meaning he was probably shot in Moscow—

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, he was in Moscow.

TRUMP: --and I was shot in New York.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You were in New York. But that's the thing.

TRUMP: No, just so you understand, he said very nice things about me. But I have no relationship with him. I don't— I've never met him—

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet, you said, for three years, '13, '14, and '15, that you did have a relationship with him—

TRUMP: I had— no, I— look. What— what do you call a relationship? I mean, he treats me—

STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm asking you.

TRUMP: — with great respect. I have no relationship with Putin. I don't think I've ever met him. I never met him. I don't think I've ever met him.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You would know it if you did, wouldn't you—

TRUMP: I think so. Yeah, I think so. So I've— I don't think I've ever met him. I mean, if he's in the same room or something, but I don't think so.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Never spoken to him on the phone—

TRUMP: I've been in Moscow. I didn't meet him in Moscow. Where?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Never spoken to him on the phone?

TRUMP: I have never spoken to him on the phone, no. I've spe — I've spoken — when we had the Miss Universe contest a number of years ago, we had Miss Universe in Moscow, in the Moscow area. He was invited. He wanted to come. He wasn't able to come. That would've been a time when I would've met him.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But — I — I just wanna clear this up. Because you did say, on three different occasions, you had a relationship with him. Now you say there's none.

TRUMP: Well, I don't know what it means by having a relationship. I mean, he was saying very good things about me. But I don't have a relationship with him. I didn't meet him. I haven't spent time with him. I didn't have dinner with him. I didn't — go hiking with him. I don't know — I— I wouldn't know him from Adam except I see his picture, and I would know what he looks like.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Vice President Biden told me this week that Vladimir Putin wants to beat Hillary. And Madeleine Albright said that your victory would be a gift to Putin. And what they're pointing to is things like— your statements about conditioning our commitments to NATO allies, softening the GOP platform on Ukraine, even considering softening sanctions and recognizing Russian annexation of Crimea. They fear that that's gonna hurt America and advance Russia's interests.

TRUMP: They only fear one thing, losing the election. If our country got along with Russia, that would be a great thing. When Putin goes out and tells everybody, and you talk about relationship, but he says, "Donald Trump is gonna win. And Donald Trump is a genius." And then I have people saying, "You should disavow." I said, "I'm gonna disavow that?" But when Putin says good things, and when we have a possibility of having a good relationship with Russia—

STEPHANOPOULOS: But if we have a good relationship —

TRUMP:  — I think that's good.

STEPHANOPOULOS: — by bowing to his annexation of Crimea—

TRUMP: We're not gonna be bowing to any—

STEPHANOPOULOS: — is that a good thing—

TRUMP: Hey, George. You know me pretty well. I don't bow, okay? I don't bow. But if we can have a good relationship with Russia, and if Russia would help us get rid of ISIS, frankly, as far as I'm concerned, you're talkin' about tremendous amounts of money and lives and everything else. That would be a positive thing, not a negative—

STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if that means conditioning our commitments to NATO, as you said?

TRUMP: No, because you're not gonna do that. NATO is gonna be just fine. But NATO countries, we have 28 countries, many of them are taking advantage of us. 'Cause they're not paying. So we're protecting these countries. And they're not paying.
And when people leave that last part in, everybody agrees with me. I'm all in favor of NATO. I said, "NATO's obsolete." I was asked a question by one of your competitors. And I said, "NATO's obsolete. Because it's not taking care of terror."
You understand that. And it turned out I was right. A lotta people gave me credit for that. Then three months ago, on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, they said, "NATO to develop a terror division." And somebody who's supposed to be very extraordinary is put in charge of it. That was all because of me. So I was right about that. I was also right about the fact that NATO— we're t— being taken advantage of by NATO countries, totally advantage of, George—

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, why did you soften the GOP platform on Ukraine?

TRUMP: I wasn't involved in that. Honestly, I was not involved—

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your people were.

TRUMP: Yeah. I was not involved in that. I'd like to— I'd have to take a look at it. But I was not involved in it—

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you know what they did?

TRUMP: They softened it, I heard. But I was not involved.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, they took away the— part of the platform calling for provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine to defend themselves. Why is that a good idea?

TRUMP: It's— look, you know, I have my own ideas. He's not going into Ukraine, okay, just so you understand. He's not gonna go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want—

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, he's already there, isn't he?

TRUMP: Okay— well, he's there in a certain way. But I'm not there. You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama with all the strength that you're talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this. In the meantime, he's going away. He take— takes Crimea. He's sort of, I mean—

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you said you might recognize that.

TRUMP: I'm gonna take a look at it. But you know, the people of Crimea, from what I've heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that, also. Now, that was under— just so you understand, that was done under Obama's administration.
And as far as the Ukraine is concerned, it's a mess. And that's under the Obama's administration with his strong ties to NATO. So with all of these strong ties to NATO, Ukraine is a mess. Crimea has been taken. Don't blame Donald Trump for that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've said you —

TRUMP: And we'll do better. And yet, we'll have a better relationship with Russia. And having a good relationship — maybe. And having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've said you have no investments in Russia. But do you owe any money to Russian individuals and institutions?



TRUMP: The — the primary thing I did with Russia, I bought a house in Palm Beach at a bankruptcy. It was a bankrupt, you know, person. I bought it from the banks. I bought it for about $40 million. I sold it for $100 million to a Russian. That was probably five years ago. And that was primarily it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You partnered with Russians —

TRUMP: Now, will I sell —

STEPHANOPOULOS: --on the SoHo Grand —

TRUMP: Will I sell— many years ago. I don't think they're Russian. I think there were other people. But there were various partners. Will I sell condos to Russians on occasion? Probably. I mean, I do that. I have a lot of condos. I do that. But I have no relationship to Russia whatsoever.


TRUMP: No debts. I have very little debt to anybody. I don't need debt. You know, it's very interesting. I'm so liquid, I don't need debt. (MUSIC) And if I need debt, if I want debt, I can get it from banks in New York City very easily.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know where I'm gonna take this next. Americans can be assured on that, if they saw your tax returns.

TRUMP: My tax returns are very simple. They're under a minor audit, routine audit, as they have been for many years. Every year, I get audited. Now, I don't know if you get audited. But I have friends—

STEPHANOPOULOS: I've been audited.

TRUMP: — that are very wealthy that have never been audited. I say, "Do you get audited?" I get audited every year. I'm under a routine audit, like, routine. And I have been for years, every year.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But there are several years—

TRUMP: If it's finished—

STEPHANOPOULOS: --that are no longer under audit—

TRUMP: George, it's very simple. Yeah, but they're all linked. It's called the link. It's very simple. If my audit's finished, that's great. Now, I have to tell you, I watched Mitt Romney four years ago. He waited 'til September to give 'em, just before the election.

They made him look so bad. It was so unfair. I actually think he didn't lose because of the 47 percent. I think he lost because of a couple of really minor items in a tax return, where he did nothing wrong. So it— it is unfair. But I will say, when I'm finished with the audit, I'll do it.


TRUMP: And if that's before the election—

STEPHANOPOULOS: — released his, even though his were under audit.

TRUMP: Don't use Richard Nixon as necessarily the guide, okay? I mean, you know, it's an interesting person to use. But don't use it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mike Bloomberg, very tough on you at the Democratic Convention, called you a con man, reckless, even seemed to c—

TRUMP: He — he doesn’t know me well. Michael Bloomberg, when he had a problem in Ferry Point, which is a massive job where his administration was a mess, they couldn't get it built, they called me. I took it over. I got it done in a year. Michael Bloomberg wouldn't — couldn't get elected dogcatcher in New York—

STEPHANOPOULOS: In the past, you said he was a great mayor.

TRUMP: Sure, he was good. But his last term was terrible. He did a terrible thing his last term. And frankly, a lotta people didn't like him. He spent a fortune to get elected. He shouldn't have gone to third term. The snow removal was a disaster. He had a lot of problems.
Michael Bloomberg had a big problem with Ferry Point in the Bronx. They called me. I made a deal. I took it over. I got it built. I got it open. It's open today. It's very successful. And I think— personally, I think he made a deal with Hillary, where she— he gets a job.
Because he'd like to — 'cause Michael Bloomberg's wanted to run for president for probably as long as you've known him. And guess what. He never had the guts to do it. And now I see this guy up on stage saying negative things. He knows nothing about me. He's never been to my office. I don't know him well.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You played golf together.

TRUMP: Maybe once. And I —

STEPHANOPOULOS: Here's what he hit you on in the speech.

TRUMP: — and I hit the ball — and I hit the ball a lot longer, a lot better.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He hit you for hypocrisy in the speech for selling products made overseas, gaming the visa system to hire foreign workers at low wages. And just this week, BuzzFeed reported that Mar-a-Lago is putting out application for 78 more visas for foreign workers, even though the—

TRUMP: Should I tell you about it? Mar-a-Lago's a very successful club in Palm Beach, Florida, the Mar-a-Lago Club. And during the season, it's very, very hard to get employees.

STEPHANOPOULOS: the local employment agencies say they have more than 1,000 people in their database—

TRUMP: We interview. And we have a lot of people. We come — with a lotta people. But it's very, very hard to get people in Palm Beach during the Palm Beach season. It's called the Palm Beach Social Season. And what we do is we some— sometimes have to bring people in.
As far as product, our country doesn't make product anymore. You have other countries devalue their currencies. They make it impossible. You look at suits and ties and shirts. You look at — steel. You look at so many different things. It's one of the things—

STEPHANOPOULOS: But our country does make those products—

TRUMP: George, George, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: — but you don't.

TRUMP: They make 'em in very small — 3 percent of our product is made in apparel. And much of the material comes from overseas. It's very — if you wanna get a television today— I buy thousands of television sets. If I wanna get a television, I would love to buy American-made televisions, like they used to have, where they had GE and Sylvania and all of the different — today, it's Samsung. It's LG. It's Sony.
We don't make televisions anymore.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're out there saying, "Other American companies must come and create jobs here." But you're not willing to do it yourself—

TRUMP: George, you're not — this is nothing new, what you're saying. I talk about this during my speech. When I do ties, I bid 'em out. And I go all over the place. You have companies over in different countries, where they devalue their currency. And they make it impossible for American companies to compete.
The hat, Make American Great Again, I fought like crazy to find a company in this country that could make the hats. And I found one. And they're American made. But it's v— 'cause I knew the first thing people would do is, "Where is the hat made? Okay, Make America Great." But it is very, very hard for our companies to compete. Because other company— other countries — and it's really the countries. Other countries take advantage of us.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Here are the numbers on the hiring of foreign workers. Since 2010, 300 U.S. applicants down it — or in — in Mar-a-Lago, 17 hired, more than 500 visa applications.

TRUMP: Well, you know what? I don't hire the people. But if you look at all of the other places in Palm Beach, they're all doing exactly the same thing — Because you can't get people, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you think a voter thinks when they hear you say, "I can't find American workers. I can't find American workers— "

TRUMP: I think the voter understands it. Because they understand that I s— you— you know, you're not reinventing the wheel here with these questions. These questions get asked all the time. I've been asked about Mar-a-Lago. I have many places where I don't have to do that because you have a normal season.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about debates. You're gonna accept the recommendations of the Debate Commission, three debates, one VP debate?

TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you what I don't like. It's against two NFL games. I got a letter from the NFL saying, "This is ridiculous. Why are the debates against— " 'cause the NFL doesn't wanna go against the debates. 'Cause the debates are gonna be pretty massive, from what I understand, okay? And I don't think we should be against the NFL. I don't know how the dates were picked. I don't know why those particular dates —

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you don't like the dates that are out there.

TRUMP: Well, I don't like dates against — you know, Hillary Clinton wants to be against the NFL. She doesn't, maybe like she did with Bernie s— Bernie Sanders, where they were on Saturday nights when nobody's home. But they're against the NFL.
I saw the dates. Two — I think two of the three are against the NFL. So I'm not thrilled with that. But I like three debates. I think that's fine. I think it's enough. If somebody said, "one debate," I'd rather have three. I think they'll be very interesting.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't know if you saw this speech. But — there was a man named Khizr Khan speaking at the Democratic Convention last night. His son, Captain Humayun Khan, was killed serving in Iraq. And he had some — very tough questions for you. He said you wouldn't've even let his son in America. He—

TRUMP: He doesn't know. He doesn't know that. I saw him. He was — you know, very emotional and probably looked like — a nice guy to me. His wife — if you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably — maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me. But plenty of people have written that. She — she was extremely quiet. And it looked like she had nothing to say. A lot of people have said that. And personally — I watched him. I wish him the best of luck, George—

STEPHANOPOULOS: What would you say to that father?

TRUMP: Well, I'd say, we've had a lotta problems with radical Islamic terrorism. That's what I'd say. We have a lotta problems, where you look at San Bernardino. You look at Orlando. You look at the World Trade Center. You look at so many different things. You look at what happened to the priest over the weekend in Paris, where his throat was cut, 85-year-old, beloved Catholic priest. You look at what happened in Nice, France, a couple of weeks ago. I'd say, you gotta take a look at that. Because something's going on. And it's not good.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He said you have sacrificed nothing and no one.

TRUMP: Well, that sounds— who wrote that? Did — Hillary's — script writers write it? Because everybody that went out there, we also had John Allen who failed with ISIS. I mean, he was a general — Allen, General Allen. He went out. And he was ranting and raving. And then I read a report. He was in there for a number of months. And he failed with ISIS. And he's tellin' me — you know—

STEPHANOPOULOS: You saw Hillary say last night, you don't know more than the generals.

TRUMP: Well, I'll tell you, the generals aren't doing so well right now. Now, I have a feeling it may be Obama's fault. But — if you look at ISIS — General McArthur and General Patton, they're spinning in their graves. The generals certainly aren't doing very well right now. And — General Allen, after I saw he was on ranting and raving about me, who he never met— I checked up. Guess what. They weren't so happy with him. He didn't beat ISIS. He didn't beat ISIS. He didn't do even well with ISIS.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How would you answer that father? What sacrifice have you made for your country?

TRUMP: I think I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I've created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs— built great structures. I've done — I've had — I've had tremendous success. I think I've done a lot —

STEPHANOPOULOS: Those are sacrifices?

TRUMP: Oh, sure. I think they're sacrifices. I think, when I can employ thousands and thousands of people, take care of their education, take care of so many things, even in military. I mean, I was very responsible, along with a group of people, for getting the Vietnam Memorial built in downtown Manhattan, which to this day, people thank me for.
I raised, and I have raised, millions of dollars for the vets. I'm helping the vets a lot. I think my popularity with the vets is through the roof, far greater than hers. She's done nothing. All she's done is tell everybody that the vets are in good shape. They're fine. And they're not fine. People are waiting on line for seven days to see a doctor. She thinks it's fine.

STEPHANOPOULOS: 100 days left. What's the number-one thing you have to do?

TRUMP: I think that I just wanna continue to campaign the way I'm doing. I'm leaving here. I'm going to a speech. It's packed with thousands of people. They're making, in many cases, less money now, George, than they made 18 years ago. And they're working two jobs. They're working harder. They're older. And it's unfair. Our country is a mess. And that's why, when she makes this speech, she doesn't talk about radical Islam. She doesn't talk about all of the problems that we have in this country and even throughout the world. Many of the problems, she caused. I mean, she created ISIS with her stupidity and her, really, lack of knowledge, with her bad judgment. You know, Bernie Sanders said something about Hillary Clinton that was very interesting. He said she had bad judgment. Great words, bad judgment. You know what? She has bad judgment. She has no — she has no instinct.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Final question. Are you worried at all that the Democratic Convention is gonna bounce her ahead of you in the polls—

TRUMP: I don't know. I mean, look, I had a very big bounce. In fact, I think you even said it was one of the biggest bounces in 20 years. It's been a long time since somebody had a bounce like that.
Look, I think the Republican convention was great, or I wouldn't have had the bounce that I had. As you said, I had 3 million people more than she had on the final night. She had a Thursday, I had a Thursday. She had a speech, I had a speech. I had 3 million people more than she did. And they had a lotta people. There were a lotta people. I think I had 30 million. They had 27 million. I think we're gonna do very well in this election.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Trump, thanks for your time.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

The Fix’s Chris Cillizza breaks down both the Republican and Democratic conventions, and explains what’s coming next in the presidential election. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)