In an exclusive interview on the Eternal Word Television Network, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appealed to Catholic voters and other voters of faith, saying that his rival Hillary Clinton will be hostile to them.
The interview, conducted by Raymond Arroyo, host of EWTN’s The World Over, aired Oct. 27, in the final days of a contentious election cycle.
During the discussion, Trump said that Clinton is ultimately responsible for recently leaked emails from one of her leading staff members calling for a “revolution” in the Catholic Church. He pledged his commitment to religious freedom and said that Clinton’s remarks towards people of faith have been “terrible,” to the point that if he were Catholic, he would stop talking to other Catholics who voted for her.
Trump also mentioned an experience in his life that he says led to a major pro-life conversion, and touched on his prayer life and favorite saints.
He addressed accusations of sexual assault against him, saying that they are not true, and reiterating his stance that his controversial recorded comments regarding women were “locker-room talk.”
The interview also talked about health care, refugees, and cleared up uncertainty on whether Trump uses the expression “bigly” or “big league.”
The full text of the interview with Raymond Arroyo is below:
Great! Mr. Trump, thanks for the time.
I want to start with your mother, Mary Trump, who we hear very little about; but, you said she had a flair for the dramatic. What do you see in yourself that you saw in her?
Maybe that … she was a … she was a terrific woman — beautiful woman. She was born in Scotland, came here at 19 years of age; met my father; they got married. They were married for 63 years or something, and they had a great marriage. It was very beautiful, but she was a very, very smart woman. And she was a very religious woman, actually.
Tell me — we’re talking about women. There’s been a lot of confusion, controversy out on the trail. When I travel the country, people say, “I’d like to vote for Donald Trump, but I don’t think I can look my wife and my daughter in the eye if I did so.” They’re reacting to those Billy Bush comments and the reaction to some of these people who are accusing you across the country. What do you say to them?
Well, that never happened — those were artificial. They were made up, just like at the rallies, where they made up, you know, they brought the protesters in. They paid them. They were thugs, and they, you know, they paid them, I guess, $1,500 or something and an iPhone. That was artificial, and, actually, criminal, what they did. And nobody understood it at the time, and it was put in there by the Clinton campaign. This stuff was all made up. And so, I protested it. And, actually, witnesses have come forward, and much of it’s already been debunked, but it was all made up.
What do you say to those who still have lingering concerns? Have you changed since those comments were made … a decade ago?
Well, it was locker-room talk; it was locker-room talk. The microphones, I mean, to be honest, should, you know, should never have been on, but that was locker-room talk. And it’s just one of those things. I have it. I’ve said it. I’ve made my apologies, but again, just one of those things.
I want to read something Newt Gingrich recently said about you. He said, “He is a transformational figure, but one that reacts very intensely, almost uncontrollably, to anything that attacks his own sense of integrity.” Do you regret some of the reactions you’ve made over this election season and perhaps the way you phrase those reactions?
Well, you know, I started with 17 people, and it was a very, very nasty primary, and they were nasty to me. You know, people think I was nasty, but they were nasty to me, and I ended up winning, you know; one in 17 — and it was actually 18, if you want to be exact. And then, I have the final now with Hillary Clinton, and I hear we’re doing very well in the polls, and we’re doing very well in Florida, which is up now. The reaction has been amazing. So we’ll have to see what happens. But, no, look — you can’t go back. You have to look forward. This was a nasty campaign, and, you know, people don’t mention, but they were nasty to me. I think, in many cases, they were nastier to me than I was to them.
And, as a president, you wouldn’t react that way?
No, I don’t think so. It depends; you react a different way for different people. These were 17 people coming at me from every angle, and, you know, I hit them hard. Most of them are now endorsing me. Some of them dishonored the pledge: They signed a pledge, and they dishonored the pledge, and they’ll have to live with that. But most of them have endorsed me.
I want to get into some issues.
You weren’t always pro-life, but you now are determinedly and decidedly pro-life.
Yes, I am pro-life.
You said you are going to appoint judges who are pro-life.
You’re very concerned about the late-term abortions. What was the moment that changed your thinking, your heart, on this?
Well, there are a number of moments, but one was a couple that I know very, very well — and you had a strong pro-life [person] and you had a strong pro-choice [person], and they argued over [the pregnancy]. … The mother was pregnant. They argued over the child. One, I won’t get into specifics.
But one wanted to abort. And the other said, “We can’t do that. We’re not going to do that.” Anyway, they had the baby. It was a long time ago. And the baby is such a magnificent person, who I know, a magnificent person. And the person that was actually pro-choice is now pro-life because of it, and it had a big effect on me. But I’ve seen other examples similar to that; but I’ve seen other examples, so …
So, it was a personal change for you?
It is a personal change. And, you know, Ronald Reagan made that personal change, too. Many people have made the personal change. I mean, some make the personal change the other way, also.
But I made the personal change, and I’m very happy with it.
Tell me about religious liberty. I know this is becoming a growing concern for you, particularly for so many faith-based voters and people who are in nonprofits …
Whether it’s the Little Sisters of the Poor or, you know, these private businesses who are religiously motivated, they feel this Obamacare mandate, which demands contraceptive and abortifacient services, as part of insurance …
… is intrusive.
What would you do as president?
Well, let me tell you: Religious Liberty itself, taken in the biggest picture, is in tremendous trouble. Okay? I mean, religious liberty in this country is in tremendous trouble.
You mean expression of religion?
I’m talking expression, and I’m talking anything else you want to talk about. People that are faith-based are not having, you know, they’re just not having, they’re not being accepted. It’s almost like they’re not being accepted in our country anymore. Obama has been a disaster, in terms of religious liberty. And, one of the things I’m very proud of: I was with pastors, ministers, priests, rabbis, on numerous occasions, large numbers; and at the first meeting, I could see I had tremendous support like, beyond. … And I said, “When are you going to endorse me?” And they said, “We can’t do that.” And I said, “Why can’t you do that?” They said, “We’re not allowed to do that. If we did that, we’d lose our tax-exempt status.”
And I said, “Why is that?” And they told me about the Johnson Amendment, 1954. And I thought about it for a month. And we had a meeting again — 56 different pastors, ministers, etc., and I said, “We’re going to get rid of the Johnson Amendment because our pastors and ministers should have the right to go out and speak their minds.” These are the people we respect, and they’re actually precluded from speaking their mind. If they speak their mind, their whole tax-exempt status can be taken away.
Pulled out from under them, yeah.
So we’re getting rid … and I think it’s one of the most important things that I’ll be doing for the evangelicals and for religion. So, I think it’s very, very important. So, we’re going to get rid of the Johnson Amendment.
And what about Obamacare? The administration admitted these premiums are going to go up 25% on average, could be 50% in some markets.
Given that and this religious objection to the Obamacare mandate, what are you going to do as president?
Obamacare is killing our country. It’s killing our jobs. It’s a disaster. I’ve been saying it for a long time. I’ve been talking about it for a long time, before it was even approved.
What do you replace it with?
Whether it’s health care savings accounts — by the way, there are many things, but health care savings accounts are phenomenal. You have to break up the lines between the states so that we have competition. Once you create competition, those numbers will go so low, but you have to repeal and replace Obamacare. It’s a disaster. And the number of 25%: Washington came out?
Say, I’m sorry to say your numbers [have] gone up 25%. It’s wrong. It’s going up 50%, 60%, 70%, and next year it’s going to go up again. It’s going to get worse. And Hillary Clinton wants to keep Obamacare going. And people are going to be paying hundreds; I mean, when you really look at it, they’ll be paying 150%. It doesn’t work. It’s no good on its face. It doesn’t work. Never would have worked, should have never been approved. It was approved by a lie. I mean, let’s face it.
You mentioned Hillary Clinton. She is saying [about] your unwillingness to accept the election results, which happened at the last debate — she says, “This poses a direct threat to our democracy.” Does it?
Well, you know, who had said the same thing, and I won the last debate; according to everybody, I won it easily. But, you know, who really said it pretty well was Obama: When he was running in his first election, they asked him the same question. And he talked about rigged elections and rigged everything else. Our system is rigged.
What do you mean when you say that, specifically?
Whether it’s through the media …
Not the electoral process?
Well, you know, Obama said it was. I mean, he said the electoral process is rigged. I mean, all you have to do is go back and look what he ran, when he first ran.
But are you worried about the counting of votes?
Well, if you look at research, certainly there’s some of that going on. We can be babies and say it doesn’t happen; but certainly, if you look at Philadelphia, if you look at Chicago, if you look at St. Louis, if you look at Obama’s statements from eight years ago: Take a look at his statements, what he said about it. I saw it last night. It was, like, incredible; he was far more outgoing, as far as that’s concerned, than I am; but, overall, what I’m really concerned about is the system is rigged — whether it’s the media rigging the system, there are so many things wrong. Look: Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be allowed to run. She lied. What she did with her emails, where she deleted 33,000 emails, she shouldn’t even be allowed to run for the presidency. She gets a subpoena from the United States Congress, and she deletes her emails. Now, James Cartwright, Gen. James Cartwright, may go to jail for five years because he lied to the FBI. She lied to the FBI probably hundreds of times, and she’s allowed to do it, but a four-star general is going to go to jail? She shouldn’t even be allowed to run for the office of president.
You mentioned emails. These WikiLeak revelations have offended a lot of evangelicals and Catholics.
Now, these were members of Hillary Clinton’s staff, John Podesta, her communications director, and they said things like this. They suggested that they needed to plant seeds of rebellion in the Catholic Church to somehow change the teaching to accommodate their political agenda.
They said it was a backward, Middle Aged dictatorship. Now, that’s her staff.
Is she guilty of that? Should she apologize?
It’s her. It’s her. She should apologize. I think she has to do more than apologize. You know, that’s her thinking. That’s her staff. Frankly, if any Catholic votes for Hillary Clinton, you know, I would say, if I were a Catholic, I wouldn’t be talking to them anymore. She’s been terrible in what she said and her thoughts towards Catholics and to evangelicals. She was mocking evangelicals, also. So, you’d say, why would an evangelical or a Catholic — and almost, you could say, anybody of faith, but in particular, because they were mentioned, evangelicals and Catholics — why would they vote for Hillary Clinton? And how could they vote for Hillary Clinton? But that’s her speaking, believe me.
Well, if it’s her staff. Do you think it reveals a mindset in the administration?
Well, it’s her staff, but I think it’s her.
Is that what you’re suggesting … or in her campaign, rather?
Yeah, sure; I mean, this is the top person in her campaign. I think it reveals her, yes.
I want to talk personally about you. When you pray, what do you pray for?
I, I don’t want to talk to you about that. I mean, I pray. It’s very personal to me. I’m a person of belief, but I certainly, you know, I pray for my family. I pray for our country, but I don’t want to talk to you about that. I think that’s very personal.
Okay, between you and God.
It is between me and God, yes.
You are Presbyterian, so I don’t want to drag you into other realms. Do you have a favorite saint?
Well, I think that if you look, Mother Teresa, who’s probably our newest, is great, and John Paul … Pope John Paul, I thought, was terrific.
Because he had something special. He had a special something. There was a warmth. There was a toughness, but there was a warmth that was incredible. So, I certainly think, Pope John Paul.
No candidate since the advent of polling has come back this late in a race from a five-point national deficit. How do you turn it around in these last days?
Well, No. 1, I don’t believe there’s a five-point deficit.
It was done by CNN. And it was, you know, heavily skewed toward Democrats. I don’t believe there’s a five-point deficit; and if you look at the polling booths in Florida right now, if you look at where they’re voting, the voting booths, I think you’re going to see record crowds. That’s what you’re seeing. It’s only two days, but that’s what you’re seeing. And, I think, we’re going to do really well.
Hmm. You have said this is a movement. You’re the leader of a movement, whether you win or lose. What are the issues that this party, the GOP, will have to contend with as part of that movement?
There are many issues. The biggest issue right now is the judges, Supreme Court judges, but Obamacare is a massive issue. The Republicans have to get rid of it. They’ve been unsuccessful in doing it. I will get rid of it. And I’ll replace it with something much better and much less expensive for the people. Jobs have to stop leaving our country. Our military has to be rebuilt, and we need, you know, it’s been very depleted. The military has to be rebuilt. We have to take care of our vets. We have to protect our Second Amendment, which is under siege. And we have to have strong borders. Right now, people are pouring into our country. Drugs are pouring into our country. We have to stop the people and the drugs.
Now, Hillary Clinton says we need [to let] more of these Syrian refugees in: “These people are suffering abroad. They need to come home. And we have … we need … they need to come here. And we as a country should be open to them.” You would say what?
I would say: She’s crazy. I would say that it’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. We have no idea. We’re not vetting them properly. We have no idea — are they ISIS? Are they not ISIS? Where are they coming from? Who they are? We’re taking them in by the tens of thousands right now, and Hillary Clinton wants to upgrade that by 550%. I would say to you it’s crazy to be doing this, and I will stop it immediately. We will not have radical Islamic terrorists coming into our country, and some of them will be radical Islamic terrorists.
Okay, my final question: It is perhaps the most portentous. We’ve been seeing on social media, we’ve been seeing it in The New York Times, in USA Today — are you saying “bigly” or “big league”? And my guess is within. So there’s money riding on this.
“Bigly” or “big league?”
Now, let me ask you: Are you talking about for me?
When you’re speaking on the podium, and you say, “This is … ?”
I, I use, “big league.”
I was right!
Good. Okay, good.
“Big league,” you’ve settled it.
Okay. Thank you.