The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Donald Trump doesn’t sound all that optimistic about winning

As voters across the country were heading to the polls on Election Day, Donald Trump took to his most comfortable of media homes, “Fox & Friends,” to deliver his closing sermon to the choir.

The interview included the standards -- Trump complaining about Jay Z's vulgar lyrics, telling voters that if he loses, it will have been a waste of time, and even accusing pollsters of making up their results whole-cloth -- but it was also a somewhat sober acknowledgement of where the race stands on Election Day. And it was echoed a few hours later by deputy campaign manager David Bossie, who told MSNBC that the campaign needed to win Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Iowa, "and then we start looking at their map."

It was almost as if Trump knows how difficult the math is. Below, we annotate it.

To view an annotation, click on the highlighted yellow text. To make your own, be sure you have a Genius account.

STEVE DOOCY: Donald Trump is actually joining us on the phone right now. Mr. Trump, good morning to you.

TRUMP: Good morning.

DOOCY: I know it's taken you 17 months; it's been a long odyssey for you. As you cast your vote today, have you decided who you're going to vote on? Who you going to vote for?

TRUMP: Well I've really worked on this hard, but I have made that final decision, yes.



TRUMP: I've decided to vote for Trump.

BRIAN KILMEADE: Right. What is going through your mind right now? After everything you've accomplished, you've been through in your life. You've been front and center really for 40 years. Tell me about this day for Donald Trump.

TRUMP: Well, it's very exciting. It's — you know, I've spoken to you folks for a lot during our very successful primaries. Oftentimes, every single one I was speaking to you in the morning, and so I'm a little bit superstitious. So when you said, “Please call,” I said, “I'll call.” But I won many primaries speaking to you first thing in the morning. So I'm going to keep that string going.

But it's been an amazing process. You know, it's been around 17 or 18 months since I first really came up with it. Actually June 16, it's a long time.

DOOCY: Mm-hmm.

TRUMP: It's been a beautiful process. The people of this country are incredible. I've been all over the country, met the people at every level. I've met the people at every level and they are amazing. So that's, and that's really the thing, I think when people say, “What have you learned?” That's what I've learned. The people of this country are amazing.

KILMEADE: Right. Ivanka said last night to Sean Hannity, it's changed you. Do you agree? And if so, how would you build on that? In what way?

TRUMP: Well, I think it has changed me because I see, you know, so many hopes and so many dreams out there that didn't happen, that could have happened, with leadership, with proper leadership. And people are hurt so badly. You look at the veterans; they've been hurt so badly. They're great people. There are great people, and they've been hurt so badly. And they're being taken care of so badly.


TRUMP: People that want to see a doctor and they wait in line for nine days. And you know it's very sad, and at the same time our country has such tremendous potential, it's like you wouldn't believe it. So it's really something special.

I went, last night I ended up with my final speech, we started with it — well, you guys covered it. But started at 12:45 in the evening.


TRUMP: And we had probably 21,000 people. Can you imagine that?

EARHARDT: And you're out this early.

TRUMP: 21,000 people, and I'm up this early. Well I have no choice because I'm doing you folks, right?

EARHARDT: We appreciate that. Yeah we appreciate you always interviewing with us. We've always asked Hillary Clinton to do the same thing. Every time we ask you we ask her, and we appreciate you being with us in the morning.

DOOCY: She's extremely busy.

EARHARDT: So many of your voters are watching and watch Fox. Back in June of 2015, about a year and a half ago, that's when you made the announcement —

TRUMP: Right.

EARHARDT: Right over here about a block away. You walked down this escalator in Trump Tower with your wife. When you see that video, so much has changed. You've experienced a lot of ups and downs. What do you think about?

TRUMP: Well it just seems like a very long time ago. It was a very incredible day. I talked about trade, I talked about illegal immigration. I took a little heat from bringing up the illegal immigration, but in the end it was the right thing to do because it became a main focus of certainly the primaries and I think to a large extent what we just went through with Hillary Clinton.

And we have to do it. We have to have borders. We have to let people in, but we have to let them in through a legal process. We have to let them in legally, and that's what's going to happen. And I think we made a very important issue also. Because our country is being absolutely drained of its wealth by bad trade deals. And we're not going to have bad trade deals anymore. But we're going to lose $800 billion this year on trade.

DOOCY: Mm-hmm.

TRUMP: So you know, you almost say, well, you're talking about how important trade is. Well trade's important, but when you lose $800 billion, you're just sapping your wealth. So you know those two subjects were right at front and center —

DOOCY: Sure.

TRUMP: When I did that on June 16. And now, lo and behold, they're still right up there.

DOOCY: They are indeed.

TRUMP: Very important subjects.

DOOCY: You've —

TRUMP: Along with Obamacare.

DOOCY: — run on that, I was going to mention the Affordable Care Act —

TRUMP: Yeah we have to terminate —

DOOCY: Which you've been hammering.

TRUMP: We have to terminate it. We have to repeal it and replace it. It's horrible. It's driving people out of business.

DOOCY: Sure.

TRUMP: And I mean, people can't afford it. First of all, people can't afford it. Second of all it's no good; it doesn't work.

DOOCY: I've heard you say that out on the stump. All right, Mr. Trump, a little less than 12 hours from right now, the first polls are going to be closing. What states in particular are you going to watch for? And how they determine the balance of your night?

TRUMP: Well, I think we've been doing very well in a lot of states that you know I was hoping to do well in. I mean, we're doing very well in North Carolina. I think we're doing very, very well in Florida.

DOOCY: Those are the two most important early states, aren't they?

TRUMP: We're going to do very well in New Hampshire. Excuse me?

DOOCY: Those are the two most important early states, Florida and North Carolina.

TRUMP: Well, I think they're very important. I think we're doing well there. We're doing very well in New Hampshire. Ohio is incredible; they're just a great place. These are, I mean, these are the people are just amazing in this country. Ohio, we're doing incredibly in.

We're going to win Iowa. Iowa, likewise, just we've had such great experience there. And I think we're going to win Iowa and Ohio and New Hampshire. We're going to win a lot of states. I mean, who knows what happens ultimately.

DOOCY: Yeah.

TRUMP: But we're going to win. I think one that's going to be interesting is Michigan. Because it's not a state that's gone Republican for many decades. And I spent a lot of time there. And the people are incredible. Their car business has been ripped out; car production has been ripped out of that state and gone to Mexico and other places. I think we're going to do well in, I think we're really going to do well in Michigan.

And I will tell you we're getting very good reports out of Wisconsin. Wisconsin's incredible, and we're getting great reports. I noticed that you have some folks interviewing people —


TRUMP: And they just seem to say Trump, Trump, Trump.

DOOCY: Okay, while we —

TRUMP: I want to watch that again, I love it.

DOOCY: We had Heather in Wauwatosa —

TRUMP: That's right, Heather was there, and Abby was there. And everybody's saying Trump, and I say, good. In fact, I think I'm going to watch it a second time.

DOOCY: You know what, I think you're going to do really well in New England after — and this is from Brian's World of Sports — Bill Belichick and Tom Brady yesterday endorsed you.

TRUMP: Well, they were so great. They're friends of mine, and they're great people, they're great champions. But above being champions, they're incredible people. And I got a call from Tom yesterday, just as a friend of mine, and he said, “Hey, I'm voting for you, man, and I'm with you.” And I said, “Do you mind if I announce that?” He said, “Nope, you can announce it.” I said, “Great,” and I did it last night, of course in New Hampshire, where you know, they're so respected. They're respected all over the country.

And then I got a letter from Bill; it was such a beautiful letter. I said, “Do you mind if I read this letter tomorrow night in New Hampshire,” meaning last night. And he said, “Not at all, you go ahead and read it.” And the place went crazy. I mean they love these two people because just, you know, there's something about winning that's awfully nice. And our country doesn't win anymore and we're going to start winning again.

KILMEADE: You know I asked this to Governor Huckabee, what is it like on your plane as you're about to do events? Do you monitor other channels and see what your opponent's doing? And it's hard not to see while you're getting huge crowds on your own, there's Bon Jovi, there's the president, there's the first lady, there's the former president Bill Clinton, there's Lady Gaga — all coming out to fill up the square in Philadelphia. Does that get intimidating to you?

TRUMP: No, because she can't fill up, you know, the rooms. I mean, she was getting very poor crowds, and then all of the sudden, she got these people, and you know; in the case of Jay Z, the language he used was terrible. And you know she talks about me. The language was unbelievable that Jay Z and Beyoncé used.

And frankly, a lot of people left, and they left because of the language, and then they left when the performance was done, and there weren't too many people in the room. She would have been better off not having them. But she uses that. I could do that, too, but I'm filling up rooms just on the basis of what I'm saying.


TRUMP: I mean I’m not; I don't need anybody to fill up the room. Last night, we had 28,000 people at 1:30 or 1, practically. One in the morning, 28,000 people.

KILMEADE: It's amazing.

TRUMP: In Michigan. And we had; by the way, we had 22,000 people in New Hampshire at the big arena. It was incredible last night. And you know, I will say I have the best surrogates. I have my kids, I have my family.


TRUMP: You know Don, Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, all of them, they go around they make speeches.


TRUMP: They are better than the people you just said.

EARHARDT: Yeah even —

KILMEADE: If you run again, Barron's going to have to be on the clock —


TRUMP: Oh he'll be soon. He's coming along beautifully.

EARHARDT: Even Hillary Clinton said that your family was your best attribute. Anyway, closing argument, because this is your last day. So if you had your day in court, you know the jury before they go back to make a decision, both of the attorneys can make their closing argument. What is yours today?

TRUMP: Well, I have a lot of things to say. We have to build up our military; it's depleted. We have to take care of our vets. We have to make strong borders —

DOOCY: Right.

TRUMP: We have to make great trade deals. And we have to terminate Obamacare. Have to terminate it. We're going to come up with great health care at a fraction of the cost, much better and much less expensive. Save our Second Amendment and remember the Supreme Court.

KILMEADE: You've said many times, if I don't win, this is a total waste of time. Here we are Election Day; we don't know who's going to win. Is that still how you feel?

TRUMP: Well, you know, I've been given a lot of credit for having done this because I went through 17 great professionals and you know, very top people, and I've been given a lot of credit. And they said whether you win or lose it doesn't matter, this will (INAUDIBLE) because there's never been a movement like this. There's never — even your friend Bill O'Reilly said, it's the greatest political phenomenon in his lifetime. There's never been a movement.

So they said, no, no, even if you don't win. I said, “Let me tell you, if I don't win, I will consider it a tremendous waste of time, energy and money.” I'm going to be —


TRUMP: I will have spent over $100 million of my own campaign. Meaning I don't have to take tremendous, I don't have to take the money from all the fat cats that are going to tell you what to do. I think it's a big asset. It doesn't get talked about much.

KILMEADE: Yeah. So you feel that way?

TRUMP: I think it's a tremendous asset. But no I will consider it; I will not consider it great if I don't win.

DOOCY: A couple of weeks ago, you know it was revealed that part of Hillary Clinton's game plan was to try, you know, to talk up the polls and make it seem like the show's over, no way you can win. Then of course, the polls for the most part right now are too close to call. Ultimately, though, do you think the polls that we've seen over the last week or two, going back, are wrong because the pollsters are not factoring in how many Democrats are going to be voting for you?

You know all this early voting stuff, they say, well, this many Democrats requested ballots, this many Republicans. And also just the gigantic number of Republicans who have turned out to see you, the enthusiasm level. Do you think those things the pollsters are getting wrong?

TRUMP: I do think a lot of the polls are purposefully wrong. I think I can almost tell you by the people that do it. The media is very dishonest, extremely dishonest. And I think a lot of the polls are phony. I don't even think they interview people.

DOOCY: Right.

TRUMP: I think they just put out phony numbers. I do think this, after the debates, I think my numbers really started to go up well. And then I did a series over the last two weeks, only of you know, really important speeches I think. 20,000, 25,000 people, 31,000 people were showing up to these speeches.

You saw yesterday, you saw the kind of crowds we're getting. I said something's happening here. Something incredible is happening here. And tell you the enthusiasm and the love in those rooms, in those arenas, they're really arenas, I mean in New Hampshire last night, it was a tremendous arena, beautiful arena. And same thing, we had a big convention center last night in Michigan. But they're packed. I mean we have thousands of people.

DOOCY: Right.

TRUMP: We had last night in Michigan we had 10,000 people outside that couldn't get in.



TRUMP: 10,000 people. It's been amazing. So I said something's happening. Something's really going on.

EARHARDT: You know a lot of people love you because you're not the establishment. And you're not the mainstream media. Let's talk about what's happening over at CNN. First Donna Brazile who was a contributor there was giving debate questions to Hillary Clinton —

KILMEADE: Against Bernie Sanders.

EARHARDT: Exactly. Then the DNC was giving questions to Wolf Blitzer. CNN was asking them, “What questions do you want Wolf Blitzer to ask Donald Trump during an interview?” Now we found out this morning because of WikiLeaks, the husband of one of the vice presidents over at CNN, his name is Thomas Nides, the husband, was writing Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman Podesta, asking him or saying to him, “We have a good CNN poll that's coming, John.” John Podesta writes back, “I look forward to how that is spun.” What's your response?

TRUMP: Oh wow. Well, I think it's terrible. Like I talk about the polls. And I understand the business. And it's terrible what's going on. And I think more terrible than that is the fact that Hillary Clinton through Donna Brazile got the questions to, I mean think of it, got the questions to the debate. I mean three of them now. And probably more. Maybe mine too. Although I don't know, I didn't think she performed particularly well. But I will tell you this; she got a lot of questions to the debates.


TRUMP: And you know if you were in West Point and if you got the questions like that, they would throw you out of the school if you didn't report yourself.

DOOCY: Of course.

TRUMP: She didn't report it. She didn't give it to an ethics committee or anybody. She took the questions, she got the answers to the questions, she went on.

DOOCY: It's rigged!

TRUMP: I mean she would have been thrown out of West Point or Annapolis or the Air Force Academy. Here we have her running for president.

KILMEADE: And Mr. Trump, finally, I know they're pulling you and you've got to run, you gave us time. We're looking live now at Eric Trump —

EARHARDT: That's Eric and Lara.

KILMEADE: And Lara are probably, yeah about to vote for you right here in New York where they live. So that's got to be exciting.

DOOCY: Well, we think they're going to vote for Donald Trump.

EARHARDT: We assume they're voting for you.

KILMEADE: You're right, guys, thanks for correcting me. I don't want to be corrected and have to apologize tomorrow.

EARHARDT: You don't want to assume anything, Brian.

KILMEADE: But Donald, as you look at your son about to vote and your daughter-in-law about to vote, I'm just wondering if you had a chance to see, look back at anything that you've done or not done, and said, “I regret this”? Any regrets right now?

TRUMP: You know, Brian, there's always regrets if you could go back and change things, but you can't. So you just have to learn from, sure there are things that I would have done differently. But you know you just have to go forward.

DOOCY: Sure.

TRUMP: You do want to learn. But there's nothing you can do. I'm very proud of my children and I’m just looking at them right now as an example you show. But I'm very proud because Don and Eric and Ivanka and you know, to a lesser extent because she just got out of school, out of college, but Tiffany has also been so terrific.


TRUMP: I mean they worked so hard.


DOOCY: Everybody did.

TRUMP: They worked more often, as you know; they've done your show many times.

DOOCY: They have indeed.

TRUMP: They worked so hard.

DOOCY: Mr. Trump, we only have a few final seconds with you, we may not hear from you the balance of the day, what would you like to say to the people of America right now? Final message.

TRUMP: That we have a great, great country. We have tremendous potential. Definitely go out and vote.

DOOCY: Absolutely. All right, Donald Trump.

EARHARDT: Thank you Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Thank you all, thank you very much.

DOOCY: If you win tonight, will you call in tomorrow?

TRUMP: Thank you, it's been a long time. Thank you.