Donald Trump — and his family! — participated in a town hall hosted by Anderson Cooper on CNN Tuesday night. It was — as always with Trump(s) — totally watchable. Using Genius, I annotated the full transcript below. You can join me! Just sign up for Genius and get annotating! To see an annotation, click or tap the highlighted part of the transcript.
COOPER: … SiriusXM satellite radio channel 116 and the Westwood One Radio Network, welcome to all of you. We are here with Donald Trump, his wife, Melania, daughters Ivanka and Tiffany, and sons, Eric and Donald, Jr., will be joining us shortly. In the audience tonight, Republicans all from New York. They came up with the questions they’ll ask tonight. We reviewed them just to make sure they don’t overlap. I’m going to ask the candidate a few questions myself, as well. But as always, this is really a chance for voters to hear at length from the candidates and for the first time from the people closest to them.
Before we bring out the family, I want to start with Donald Trump. Thanks very much for being with us.
D. TRUMP: Thank you.
COOPER: Big day for you, got very good news. You were certified today the winner of the Missouri primary. It means you picked up another 12 delegates. Great polling numbers for you. The NY1-Baruch College poll, 60 percent in New York, way ahead of all the other candidates, and even the Quinnipiac poll I think had you around 55 percent.
D. TRUMP: Great.
COOPER: Again, way ahead. So you’ve got some good news.
D. TRUMP: Thank you.
COOPER: You have been very critical, though, of what happened in Colorado. And I want to read out some of the things you have said. You said the nominating system in Colorado is, quote, “rigged, disgusting, and dirty.” You called it a corrupt deal full of crooked shenanigans. Ted Cruz is saying you’re just being a whiner. I mean, the bottom line is, the rules are the rules. Didn’t you just get outplayed on the ground?
D. TRUMP: No, I don’t think so. Look, first of all, you and I watched Ted Cruz, and I watched him very strongly say, well, he’s been winning, but, you know, I’ve won 22 states, and he’s won 10, and we’re really way up in votes, you know, in terms of the voters, which to me is very important, but it’s never talked. I’m millions of votes ahead of him, and as you know, I’m hundreds of delegates ahead of him, but the Colorado thing was very, very unfair. And I thought Louisiana was very unfair. I won Louisiana. I won it easily.
COOPER: You won the popular vote.
D. TRUMP: I won the popular vote.
COOPER: And he got the delegates.
D. TRUMP: And because of all his shenanigans that goes on and this is…
COOPER: But you call them shenanigans. Those are the rules.
D. TRUMP: I do. I do.
COOPER: Didn’t you know those rules?
D. TRUMP: You know why the rules — I know the rules very well, but I know that it’s stacked against me by the establishment. I fully understand it. We had people out there, and they weren’t heard. And then, in fact, today, when it was announced — the numbers were announced, they put out something on Twitter saying, oh, we stopped Trump, essentially, we stopped Trump, we stopped — that was put out by the party in Colorado. The point is, it was stacked against us. Now…
COOPER: But you…
D. TRUMP: We’ve won our share.
COOPER: … even more aggressively — you could have had a better organization on the ground. A lot of the folks who were…
D. TRUMP: I don’t know if it would have mattered, because it was totally set in stone, and that’s the way it was. And you saw Republicans that wanted to go and wanted to be Trump delegates and they’re burning their card on the Internet. There were some people that were fantastic.
COOPER: But Ted Cruz put a lot of time, he had a lot of organization, going out, reaching out to people who wanted to be delegates to run in the process. I mean, it was a whole electoral process to get delegates.
D. TRUMP: But, Anderson, we had delegates there, we had a lot of delegates, and they were not heard, because the Republican Party out there was 100 percent probably controlled by the RNC, which maybe doesn’t like this happening because I’m a self-funder, I’m putting up my own money. They don’t like when I put up my own money because it means they don’t have any control of me, because I’m working for the people.
I’m doing for the people. And, you know, when you talk about winning, I’ve won most of it, and I’m not complaining. And, frankly, there were couple that I won that he’s complaining about. But I won — you know, I’ve been winning far more than anybody else.
COOPER: You talk about the RNC, Reince Priebus, head of the RNC, tweeted yesterday, he said, quote, “The rules were set last year. Nothing mysterious. Nothing new. The rules have not changed. The rules are the same. Nothing different.
D. TRUMP: Anderson, they changed the rules a number of months ago. The people in…
COOPER: About eight months ago.
D. TRUMP: Well, it’s not very long ago.
COOPER: But you had a lot of time to prepare a better organization.
D. TRUMP: You know why they changed the rules? Because they saw how I was doing, and they didn’t like it. Same thing in Florida. Now, I won Florida in a landslide, right? But they changed the rules so that the winner gets all, because they thought Jeb Bush was going to win. He’s the former governor, or Marco Rubio was going to win.
And then all of a sudden, the first poll came out, and Trump was leading by a lot and they said, what are we going to do? What are we going to do? Because that was done so that I wouldn’t get any delegates. Then I won in a landslide, and I got all the delegates. So sometimes it works to my advantage. But Colorado is unfortunate, because they disenfranchised the voters. They disenfranchised all of these voters in Colorado.
COOPER: You’re saying you don’t think the RNC wants you to get the nomination?
D. TRUMP: No, I don’t think so. I really don’t. I mean, I’ve been dealing with them…
COOPER: You think they’re actively working against you on the ground?
D. TRUMP: I don’t know. I mean, I don’t see it. It’s not like it’s — I have 15 miles of proof. But certainly they should want to have a vote of the people of Colorado. The people of Colorado — I would have won. I’ve won so many of the votes. I mean, the voting has been phenomenal. That’s why I’ve won so many more states than Ted Cruz and Kasich.
COOPER: Does it say, though, something about — OK. You disagree with the process as it was in Colorado, but you had months to prepare. Does it say something — and your critics say it says something about your leadership ability, if you — for somebody who touts himself as somebody who’s an organizational genius, who’s created this amazing business organization, that you couldn’t create an organization on the ground that can beat Ted Cruz’s organization?
D. TRUMP: OK, number one, I started with a million dollar loan. I built a $10 billion company. It’s a phenomenal company. Let me just tell you…
COOPER: Yeah, but is a business organization the same as a political organization?
D. TRUMP: Well, a lot of similarities. In this case, I’ve won most of it. I mean, you know, you can say about, what about organization? Well, how come I’m leading by hundreds of delegates? How come I’m leading by millions of votes? Remember this: I was supposed to lose South Carolina. I was supposed to lose to Bush New Hampshire. I was supposed to lose the entire South. I won virtually everything in the South. I look at your board, I mean, it’s all my color, whatever that color is. I guess it’s sort of a semi-purple. Not the nicest color, but that’s OK. I (inaudible)
But I won the entire South. I won Florida. I could say they have a bad organization, because Cruz was supposed to win Alabama, Arkansas. He was supposed to win Kentucky. He lost all of them. He lost Florida. The point is, I mean, if you talk about that, I can say, well, if my organization’s not so good, how come I’ve won many more states than him and millions of votes more?
COOPER: I just want to read you what Cory Gardner, who’s a Republican senator from Colorado, said, because he’s really annoyed at what you’ve been saying. He said essentially you’re…
D. TRUMP: Well, he’s a member of the establishment.
COOPER: … that you’re insulting these delegates who ran who are just regular people.
D. TRUMP: No, I’m insulting the system. The system is not a good system.
COOPER: He says, “How on Earth are you going to defeat ISIS if you can’t figure out the Colorado GOP convention?”
D. TRUMP: Oh, we can figure it out. But it’s stacked against us. I mean, you can have people that are totally against you. How come my people went there, delegates, great delegates, they’re all over the Internet now burning up their Republican card. How come my people went…
COOPER: So how was it stacked against you?
D. TRUMP: Because the Republican Party in Colorado wanted Cruz, or maybe they wanted somebody other than Trump. I don’t think anybody really wants Cruz. Why would they want him? There’s no reason to want him.
But the Republican Party wanted somebody other than Trump. And you know, the funny thing, I am the only one that’s going to beat Hillary Clinton, assuming she runs, assuming she gets out of her problem, which she probably will, because that’s a system that’s bad, too.
I’ll give you another example. I’m no fan of Bernie Sanders, OK. I’m no fan at all. To me, he’s — you know, forget it. But every time I turn on, he’s winning, he’s winning. Every week after week, he wins, he wins, he wins, he wins. And then I watch you and I watch all of the pundits, they say, but he can’t win. You know why? It’s stacked against him. It really is. It’s stacked against him. In his case, it’s super-delegates. In my case, it’s the obvious. But it’s stacked against him.
COOPER: You’ve said in the past that if you weren’t being treated fairly, you’d consider a third party run. Is that something that’s still on the table?
D. TRUMP: Well, it’s certainly something I don’t want to do. Look, I’m winning by a lot. I — you know, based on the numbers you just gave me from New York, I’m leading by more than 40 points.
COOPER: You have a good chance of picking up nearly all the delegates.
D. TRUMP: Yeah, and everybody else flew town. You know, Cruz left town. He talked about New York values, like you and I and everybody else, we know about New York values, when we saw what happened with the World Trade Center and how incredible New York was. So I think he left town. I don’t think he’s going to come back.
But I’m winning New York. I think I’ll do great in New Jersey. I’ll do great in Pennsylvania. I’ll do great in Connecticut. Rhode Island is great. Maryland. I mean, you know, I’ve got a lot of states where they know me. The nice thing is the states that know me are the ones that I really do well in, like Florida. They know me in Florida. And I won in a landslide.
COOPER: One of the knocks on you — and I know you disagree with it, is that you haven’t given a lot of specifics to some of your policies. Your campaign has been saying, I think it was last week they started saying you were going to start putting out some very specific policy pronouncements.
D. TRUMP: But I have on tax, on tax. I have on many things.
COOPER: You’re going to be making more policy speeches in particular.
D. TRUMP: I’m going to start doing that, yes.
COOPER: When is that going to start?
D. TRUMP: I did. I did one at AIPAC about concerning Israel, and it was met with raves. You even said it was good. But I did one on — I’m going to be doing probably 10 over the next two months. A lot more.
COOPER: You know when the next one is going to be and what the topic is going to be?
D. TRUMP: I would say over the next week.
COOPER: Do you know what the topic will be?
D. TRUMP: We’re looking at different topics. We’re looking at unity as an example. One topic I want to discuss — it might not be policy — but I want to talk about unity in the Republican Party, because I think it’s very important.
But we’re going to be talking about the military. We’re going to be talks about NATO.
COOPER: Do you really think you’re going to bring…
D. TRUMP: You know, when I talked about NATO last week, Wolf Blitzer asked me the question. What about NATO? Now, I’ve been building buildings all my life and doing deals all my life. But I know about NATO. And I said it’s obsolete and we’re spending too much and everyone is ripping us off. You have 28 countries; they’re ripping us off. And it’s obsolete, because we’re looking at Soviet Union that doesn’t even exist. Russia’s plenty strong. But it doesn’t cover terror. And if it does cover terror, the wrong countries are in, because…
COOPER: And you still say it’s obsolete?
D. TRUMP: Of course it’s obsolete. It was done 68 years ago, and it hasn’t changed.
COOPER: You’ve given…
D. TRUMP: And, by the way, experts on NATO, they now look and they say, you know, Trump is right.
COOPER: You gave an interview…
D. TRUMP: These are people that study it.
COOPER: You gave an interview to USA Today. You talked about, you know, you’re looking at possible vice presidential picks. You’re obviously not going to give out any names, but you did say you would like — you name Marco Rubio, you name John Kasich. You even named Scott Walker.
D. TRUMP: No, I said they’re people I like.
D. TRUMP: Here’s the problem. I’ve beaten them very, very harshly. I mean, you know, Walker was supposed to win. And, you know, right after I started on him, he went back to Wisconsin, OK?
COOPER: And he endorsed Senator Cruz.
D. TRUMP: And doesn’t — of course he did. I didn’t even ask him for an endorsement. How could I ask him for an endorsement? Because I was the one that got him out. Jeb Bush, the same thing. Marco, the same thing. I mean, I think they’re nice people, but I can’t imagine they like me too much.
COOPER: But when you say you like them — so when you say you like them, were you saying you like them as potential vice presidents or…
D. TRUMP: I like them as people. I like them as people. Now, could they be involved in some form in the government? Yeah, absolutely I think they could. I don’t necessarily think for a vice president.
COOPER: It’s interesting, because they are all sort of, you know, you could argue establishment-type candidates. Is that — whoever you would pick for a vice president, we’ve talked about this before, is that what you would look for, somebody who — with political experience on the ground in Washington, essentially a Washington player who can help you with Congress?
D. TRUMP: Yes. Yes.
COOPER: Without a doubt?
D. TRUMP: I’m a business guy. We’re going to make great deals on trade. We’re going to do — it’s right in my wheelhouse. It’s so easy for me. We’re going have a really strong military. We’re going to rebuild our military. We’re going to take care of health care. I’m going to do so well with so many different things. But I do want — you don’t need two like me. I want to have somebody that can deal with Congress, that gets along with Congress. That’s a Washington person.
COOPER: Can you name one?
D. TRUMP: I do. I don’t want to do that now. I think it’s inappropriate. I just think it’s the wrong time. I do have people in mind. I have a lot of people that — look, I’ve been dealing in politics all my life. I know most of these politicians. I have great respect.
Senator Sessions, Jeff Sessions, he endorsed me. He was supposed to endorse Cruz. Everybody thought — you know, Cruz, I think it’s his all-time, like, most respected senator. And Cruz would talk about him all the time, “Senator Sessions.” Senator Sessions just endorsed me. And, you know, I have a lot of respect for a lot of the politicians, but I would certainly want that to be a political position.
COOPER: We’re going to take a break. When we come back, questions from the audience for Mr. Trump, his wife, Melania, daughters, Ivanka and Tiffany, and his sons, Donald, Jr., and Eric. That and more on this second of three “AC360” Republican family town halls. We’ll be right back.
COOPER: And we are back with Donald Trump. And joining us, his wife, Melania, sons, Donald, Jr. His daughter, Kai, just jumped on the stage, as well. She’s 8 years old. Eric is with us. Daughters Tiffany and Ivanka. Welcome. It’s great to have the whole family together like this. Thanks so much.
Ivanka, I got to start off with you. Congratulations on your baby. How’s everything going?
I. TRUMP: Thank you. Everything is going incredibly well. So Theodore is 2 weeks old as of Sunday.
COOPER: Are you sleeping through the night? Is he sleeping through the night?
I. TRUMP: No, not even close. Not even close, but it’s a blessing. So we’re very happy.
COOPER: Yeah, well, congratulations. That’s the most important thing. I was curious, when your dad, your husband — I mean, how did the conversation come up? Did he — was there a family meeting, like on the Brady Bunch? Or, I mean, how did — did he call each of you individually and say, “You know, I’m going to do this, this time”? And what did you think?
I. TRUMP: Well, I think it’s such a personal decision that ultimately it was one he had to arrive to on his own. And, obviously, as we’ve all seen over the last several months, it’s a vicious industry, politics, much more so than real estate or anything we’ve ever experienced. So — but we were just incredibly excited for him.
I mean, we know what he’s capable of. We’ve stood by his side for the last decade, in my case, a little bit longer in Don’s case, and watched him do these deals at The Trump Organization. And we know what he could bring to the country, so we’re just happy to support him.
COOPER: He’s flirted with it before. Did you think, OK, this time it’s actually going to happen?
D. TRUMP, JR.: I think this time we knew it. I mean, you sensed the frustration in 2008. You sensed the frustration even more so in 2012. But I think we were young. I mean, he has a company. He actually employs tens of thousands of people whose livelihoods and whose families’ well-being depend on the success of that company.
So in 2008, I was 29. I’m the oldest. You know, he wasn’t just going to say, OK, congratulations, here’s a billion dollar company, and leave it with us, and, you know, hope that those people who have been so loyal to him for so many years are going to be OK. I mean, now we’ve been in the company much longer, we have these decades of experience, that he can walk away and know that those people who’ve been so good to him for all that time, you know, are still going to be taken care of and he can do what he wants to do for the country.
COOPER: Melania, for you, were you nervous for him? Were you instantly like, yeah, let’s do this?
M. TRUMP: Well, I was not nervous for him, but he was thinking about it, and I gave him my support, and I said to him, you know, you cannot just talk, you need to go and run, and people will take it serious. And if you run, you will win, and I see how people react to him before he announced it.
COOPER: Tiffany, Eric, when you saw him coming down the escalator with Melania, I mean, did you know — did you have any idea that it would go on this long, that it would become what it has?
E. TRUMP: It’s an amazing success story, if you look at it, right? I mean, he’s been in politics nine months, and he’s winning the Republican Party for president of the United States. I mean, it’s really an incredible story.
But, you know, to your specific question, I actually remember when you said, you know, listen, kids, I’m going to do this, I’m going to hop into the race, I want to self-fund, I want to do it for the country. I mean, this is about the country. This country has given me everything. You know, I’m going to give back.
And it was actually a really powerful moment. I’ll never forget that, that the moment in the office together, you know, the four of us, and it was a special moment for us.
COOPER: Tiffany, for you, what did you think?
TIFFANY TRUMP: Whenever my father puts his heart and soul into something, he goes full force. When he finally decided to, you know, run for president, I think all of us knew, you know what? Here we go.
He really just worked so hard. We knew it would be a success, and I had no doubt in my mind he would get as far as he has.
COOPER: Ivanka, Eric, it’s no surprise, I got to ask you, there was a news just this week that both of you were not registered to vote in the primary. What happened?
IVANKA TRUMP: Well, I’m an independent, and I’ve always voted based on the candidate as opposed to based on the party, and it was actually a very interesting experience. So, we’re not a family of politicians. We haven’t been in politics very long.
New York has one of the most onerous rules in terms of registration and it required us to register a long time ago, almost close to a year ago. And, we didn’t do that.
We found out about it sort of after the fact. But, it was actually why I started making a series of videos to educate people in each of the individual states because every state is different.
Most states you can register as late as the day of the actual…
COOPER: When did you realize you weren’t going to be able to vote in the…
IVANKA TRUMP: … About a week late.
COOPER: Is that right?
IVANKA TRUMP: Yes, so.
COOPER: Eric, how about for you?
ERIC TRUMP: It was the same thing. I fell into that same boat. It was our first, kind of, foray into politics. We didn’t realize how the whole system worked. It was amazing. We actually made it a very big part of the campaign. There’s no one that’s been more visible on the campaign than the two of us.
We made it a very big part to get that message out.
Get it out, register, go out, vote. Here’s how you do it.
We gave them all the tools, and everything, to actually go out and figure out that process. It actually was a great educational process for us, and one that probably, you know, helped the campaign a lot.
DONALD TRUMP JR: And, you’re seeing the turnout, by the way. You’re seeing so many people, you know? Who are registering all the time. You see the people who are flipping sides to be able to vote for my father. I mean, that’s pretty amazing…
COOPER: Do you consider yourself a Republican?
DONALD TRUMP JR: Yeah. I’ve been always.
ERIC TRUMP: Very much so.
TIFFANY TRUMP: I’m registered in Pennsylvania as a Republican.
COOPER: And, Ivanka, you’re still an independent?
IVANKA TRUMP: I’m an independent.
COOPER: What was your reaction when you found out that they weren’t going to be able to vote for you in the primary?
TRUMP: Well, I knew that Ivanka was independent, and I was fine with it, and I understand why she is, you know? It’s hard to be thrilled with what’s going on in politics, OK? Either party. If you look at what’s going on, and she was an independent. She’s going to switch over to be a Republican, I guess, at some point. Perhaps she wants to see what’s going on.
I have a feeling she’ll be voting in November for me. I have a really strong feeling…
IVANKA TRUMP: That’s no question.
COOPER: That’s no question?
TRUMP: And, Eric is actually switching over (INAUDIBLE)…
IVANKA TRUMP: … There I can vote as an independent…
COOPER: I wanted you to meet some of the voters here. This is Nicole’s Heart. She is a technical designer from here in Manhattan. She says she’s leaning toward supporting you, Mr. Trump, but she’s got a question for Melania.
QUESTION: Hey, Melania.
MELANIA TRUMP: Hello.
QUESTION: Do you feel that you and Mr. Trump raised Barron differently than he did is older children?
MELANIA TRUMP: Well, it’s a different time, and a different generation, and especially now the time is different. He’s not home much. He’s working hard. He’s on the road all the time. And, I’m at home being a parent. And, to be a very happy when we have him home because we miss him.
Yes, it’s a little bit different, but it’s kind of still the same, you know? He loves to work, he loves the country, and we see that he will do something and (ph) amazing if people elect him to be a president.
COOPER: Mr. Trump, do you think you’re a different dad to your youngest, to Barron, than you were to your older kids?
TRUMP: Well, I think I appreciate it more, you know? It’s very interesting, with my — all of the children, I’ve always been, I think, a very good father. It was always very important to me. My children have done a good job, and they better keep doing a good job.
But, they come to me, friends of mine, very successful people, and their children have problems with drugs, and problems with alcohol, and problems with a lot of things, and they say could you speak to my son, could you speak to my daughter?
I’m always very honored to do that.
I have so many friends that have asked me to do it.
I think now, as I’ve gotten older, I think, maybe, I appreciate the fact more, whereas before I was charging forward — still charging forward, but perhaps we appreciate life a little bit more.
COOPER: This is Peggy Padovano (ph), she works in real estate. She says her dad actually worked for your father, Fred. She says she’s voting for you next Tuesday, and she’s got a question for Eric.
QUESTION: Hi, Eric, how are you?
ERIC TRUMP: Hi, Peggy, how are you?
QUESTION: My question is, rather it’s a statement. When I was younger, I formed a very special bond with my dad through football. We used to spend countless hours together watching games and I wanted to know, do you have a special bond with your dad? Just the two of you?
ERIC TRUMP: Well, I have many special bonds with my father. We love work, right? It’s something that really brings us together. We love building. The two of us just love machinery, we love building, we love concrete, we love jobs.
We’ll sit on the phone at 6:00 o’clock in the morning, and we’ll talk about our favorite jobs.
I think that brings a lot of fun to us and a lot of the relationship.
We also love golf, you know? We go out, we play golf together, and it’s just something that we really enjoy, so.
Listen, there’s a lot of things. He’s got a great sense of humor. He’s been the greatest father in the world. He’s an amazing deal maker. You know, he’s just always had so much love for us, and his whole family.
He’s an amazing guy, one of my best friends in the entire world. My best friend in the entire world. He’s an amazing man. But there’s really a lot that bring it together.
QUESTION: Thank you so much.
COOPER: Peggy was saying that she worked for your dad. What was your relationship like with your dad?
DONALD TRUMP: It was great. It really became much better when I hit about 20, when I graduated from the Wharton School of Finance, and I started working. But, I worked with him during summers, but it was a great relationship.
COOPER: Did you always know you were going to go into this business?
DONALD TRUMP: No, I wanted to be a baseball player, I wanted to make movies. I had a lot of different ambitions as I was growing up, but ultimately I decided I’d work for my father over the summers.
I was in Cincinnati, Ohio. I worked there. Different places. I loved doing it, but ultimately when I got out of school, I said this is the right thing to do. We were in Brooklyn, we had an office in Brooklyn, and we had buildings in Brooklyn and Queens, and I always wanted to go into Manhattan. I used to look across the river and see those big buildings and it was something that always intrigued me.
I had a great relationship with my father. Probably even better when I worked with him.
COOPER: This is Lillian Ortiz over here. She’s an attorney from Suffolk County, New York. She says she’s planning on voting for you but she’s got a question for Tiffany. Lilian?
QUESTION: Tiffany, good evening to you all.
TIFFANY TRUMP: Good evening.
QUESTION: What do you most admire about your dad?
TIFFANY TRUMP: I think I’ve grown up seeing him such a mentor. His hard work ethic is truly inspiring. Whenever I’m, you know, at school studying these long hours, I see him on TV without any sleep and making these speeches, and just makes me want to continue to work harder and prove myself, and you know, keep on pushing to my limit.
QUESTION: Thank you.
COOPER: Tiffany, your mom revealed just recently that you had your first job interview. I don’t know that you wanted her to reveal that. How did it go?
TIFFANY TRUMP: I think pretty well, you know?
COOPER: I think everyone’s nervous, graduating college, you know? Finding your first job. I think I can understand and resonate with a lot of other college graduates at this time. You know, this is the first time you’re out in the world on your own.
So, luckily I have a supportive family, Jared, Ivanka’s husband. Ivanka, and my father and my mother have been so supportive. We’ll see what happens.
COOPER: What’s it been like for you watching this process, watching your dad out in the political arena?
TIFFANY TRUMP: It’s been amazing, I think. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, truly, and to be able to be a daughter of someone that’s running for the president election is just — no one really has that opportunity. It’s an education in and of itself.
COOPER: Yes. I want you to me Arlene Tang. She’s over here. She’s a physician. She says she’s undecided. She’s got a question for you, Mr. Trump. Arlene?
QUESTION: Good evening, Mr. Trump. I was wondering, do you talk to your wife and children the same way that you speak at the GOP debates?
DONALD TRUMP: The same way?
UNKNOWN FEMALE: Occasionally. (ph)
DONALD TRUMP: I think I’m much nicer to them. I will say, you know, you talk about the debates, I never knew about debating. My whole life has been sort of a debate, but the politicians, they debate every night. I didn’t know how that was really going to work out.
And, the debates, I love the debates. I really had fun with them. I think I’ve done well with them. I guess I’ve been on the center stage every single debate. And, I’ve really enjoyed it, but I will tell you, I speak to my wife and children much, much differently.
But, it has been an interesting process. They’re always saying, be nicer on the debates. I say, they’re coming at me from all these different angles, how can I be nice?
Melania, in particular, would say, be nicer in the debates.
I said, I can’t do that. I have to win first.
But, we’ll be nice.
COOPER: What do you say to them? Because I think I saw Mr. Trump, you saying on the campaign trail, both Melania and also Ivanka, were telling you to be more presidential. How would you like him to be different?
MELANIA TRUMP: Just to use nice language.
COOPER: Better language.
MELANIA TRUMP: Better language.
COOPER: I know you –
MELANIA TRUMP: Not all the time.
COOPER: You were upset when –
MELANIA TRUMP: Sometimes I agree with it.
COOPER: Somebody yelled out something at one of his rallies –
MELANIA TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE)
COOPER: You were upset with that.
MELANIA TRUMP: Yes, and I was thinking just don’t repeat it, because (INAUDIBLE) press, or when they talk, it’s about the word. Inappropriate (ph) word. And that was correct? So –
COOPER: Ivanka, what have you said to him about being presidential?
IVANKA TRUMP: Well, I think one of the interesting thing about this process is it’s very easy to have an opinion on things. But when you’re not in the arena, it’s – you know, it’s a different ball game. So, I’ve definitely said things of that kind to him. But I also then watch these debate and – it’s a hard thing to observe because I see them. It’s like a cage match. You know, they’re jumping on him. They’re hitting him from the left, hitting him from the right. Everyone’s attacking him because he’s been the frontrunner for so long.
It’s – it’s – he’s the man to take down.
So while I do sometimes tell him to withhold some of that sort of fire, I also understand it, and I think it’s instinct, and I think it also speaks to his passion. And I think that’s ultimately what we need. I mean, you have to have tremendous stamina to get through this process. You have to have a fire and a passion. I don’t think you can be particularly laid-back and make it through this whole experience from what I’ve observed, especially when you’re competing against many very qualified people who are quite upset by the fact that you’ve logged past them.
COOPER: You’ve still talked about kind of changing your tone from time to time, maybe even soon. Do you think that’s actually going to happen? Because a lot of people are saying, look, you’ve been talking about that for a while.
D. TRUMP: Sure.
COOPER: Maybe he’s not actually capable of changing.
D. TRUMP: Oh, I’m very capable of doing it. It’s easy to do it. I mean, it’s easier to do it than the way I behave right now. But you have to.
COOPER: So why not?
D. TRUMP: Because I have two more people I have to take out.
And when I take them out, I will be so presidential you won’t believe it. And then, of course, I’ll start on Hillary, and then I’ll be a little bit less presidential. But assuming I win, I will be very, very — the country will be very proud of me and we will make America great again. You know, my whole thing is “make America great again.”
COOPER: I haven’t heard that.
D. TRUMP: It’s so important to me. I know. But it’s — it’s just so important to me, because we have such potential, and we’re not using our potential. And we’re being scoffed at and laughed at by the world, whether it’s trade, whether it’s paying for other countries’ military and not being properly reimbursed. It’s so sad what’s happening to our country.
And that’s why we have $19 trillion in debt. It’s going up to $21 trillion in debt very quickly because of the horrible budget deal that was just made. So I’ll be very presidential at the right time.
COOPER: This is Alan Hedrick. He’s a real estate agent who says he’s leaning towards supporting you. He’s got a question for Ivanka. Alan?
QUESTION: Hi, Ivanka. You and Chelsea Clinton are personal friends. Has the campaign put a strain on your friendship? And with both you and Chelsea working on your prospective parents’ campaigns, is there a common ground where you guys can kind of find an issue to agree on? And do you think you will still be friends with her after this election cycle?
I. TRUMP: Well, look, we’re children and we love our parents, so that’s the great equalizer and that’s the great common ground. So I’m incredibly proud of my father. I’m amazed and truly in awe of what he’s accomplished and what he’s accomplished throughout the course of his life up until this point. But, you know, the last 10 months have really been a whole different level. So I think that she would probably say the same about her mother, so she’s probably very proud of her mother, and we certainly would share that, I would think.
COOPER: This is Mitchell Bernstein. He’s an IT director from Brookhaven, New York. He says he’s leaning towards supporting you. He’s got a question for all of the women on the stage. Mitchell?
QUESTION: Yes. You’re probably aware that the media has gone after your father on several occasions regarding women in general. And I was wondering what — how you felt about how the media has treated him, how he’s presented himself, and what you can do in general to improve the relationship and to provide information about how your relationship with your father is in regards to women in general.
I. TRUMP: Well, I think the facts speak for themselves. I have witnessed these incredible female role models that he’s employed in the highest executive positions at The Trump Organization my entire life in an industry that has been dominated by men, is still dominated by men, but certainly was when he was starting out in his career and he was employing some of these women and raising them through the ranks.
So, you know, for me, I think the way he raised me, the way he raised Tiffany, it’s a testament to the fact that he believes in inspiring women, empowering women. He always taught me that there wasn’t anything that I couldn’t do if I set my mind to it, if I had deep passion, if I really unearthed what it is that I wanted to do with my life and then worked very hard to achieve it. And I don’t think that’s the message a father would relay to a daughter who he didn’t believe had the potential to accomplish exactly what her brothers could.
So, you know, for me, it’s his actions speak louder than the words of many politicians who talk about gender equality, but it’s not evidenced in their daily employment practices. So I think both at The Trump Organization and also in a more personal capacity, the type of father he was to a daughter, two daughters, I think evidences how he feels about our gender in general.
T. TRUMP: I think my father, since I’ve been a little girl, has always just inspired me and had so much faith in me to just be the best person I can be, the best woman I can be. And, you know, every time I speak to him on the phone, whether it be at school or when I’m with him in his office, or, you know, in Palm Beach, it’s just — he wants us to do the best and he has the utmost faith that we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to just as well as men, if not better. And we’re such strong hard workers. I mean, Ivanka, of course, Melania, I just truly feel that my father is the best father, the best husband that he could be, truly.
COOPER: Melania, do you…
M. TRUMP: He treats everyone equally. So if you’re a woman and he attacks, they attack him, he will attack back, no matter who you are. We’re all human, and he treats them equal as men. So I think that’s very important. He doesn’t make a difference. And he encourages everybody, if you’re a man or a woman.
COOPER: Thank you for your question. We’re going to take one more short break. Back with the Trump family right after this.
COOPER: Back now with more questions for Donald Trump, his wife, sons, and daughters. Thanks very much for doing this. One of the questions I asked Governor Kasich and his wife yesterday about his daughters, I want to ask you, Melania, which is, do you monitor your son’s social media? It’s obviously a question that a lot of parents are concerned about, given, you know, all the things that go on. So do you watch your son’s social media presence?
M. TRUMP: He has an iPhone. He’s not on social media yet. He’s 10 years old. I think it’s too early to be on social media. He’s talking about Instagram.
M. TRUMP: And so I will go into it when I will think it’s a right age.
COOPER: It’s a hard decision to make.
M. TRUMP: An appropriate — it’s a very hard decision to make. And I grew up without social media. And it was in one way better, because I see a lot of bullying is going on. And we need to protect our children. We need to watch over them.
COOPER: Yeah, it seems like bullying just used to be in schools, but now because it’s social media, it’s 24 hours a day, it reaches into the home, as well.
M. TRUMP: And you don’t know. You need to really check on your children and to talk to them and really have conversation with them. But it’s very important to be a close parent and kind of on top of them, but still let them be who they are.
COOPER: I got to ask you guys, do you monitor your dad’s social media?
(UNKNOWN): Impossible task. I have no idea what you’re talking about, Anderson.
COOPER: I mean, are there some days you wake up and you look at Twitter and you think, really?
E. TRUMP: It kind of makes him the person he is, honestly. It’s so great to not see the sound bites, the traditional politician sound bites that you read too often. I mean, he’s so authentic. He writes the tweets himself. He doesn’t have a team of hundreds and hundreds of people behind him. And I think that’s actually what makes him the great candidate that he is.
D. TRUMP: And more importantly the retweets.
D. TRUMP, JR.: It’s actually they’re not vetted.
D. TRUMP: The retweets get me in trouble. It’s not the tweets.
COOPER: The retweets get you in trouble.
D. TRUMP: The tweets are fine. The retweets sometimes get a little bit shaky.
D. TRUMP, JR.: And they’re not scrubbed through like a database. I mean, that’s the problem I see so much with politics is — you know, they’re running focus groups on how do we word this so that we tell everyone what they want to hear? But then when it comes time to actually deliver, they do whatever the special interests are telling them to do. I mean, his is really genuine. I think, you know, it’s that fight, it’s that spirit that the American people see that is lacking in today’s politician, where they just go with the wind and see.
COOPER: You know, you don’t have to retweet people. You can just let it stand.
D. TRUMP: You know, it’s interesting. I started off a number of years ago, and I now see that, over the weekend, I picked up, like, almost 100,000 people, and I have 7.5 million, 7.6 million people there, I have almost 7.5 million people on Facebook. I have 1.5 million on Instagram. You know, I have millions. And it’s really an asset.
I really enjoy doing it, but it’s really an asset. You see what’s going on. And there is some genius there. I mean, you will get — you will read some of the stuff, there is genius there. You have to find the right genius. But it is a powerful thing. I mean…
COOPER: As president, though…
D. TRUMP: No, I wouldn’t be doing it.
COOPER: You wouldn’t?
D. TRUMP: Or I would do it very little. It’s different. But right now, if I’m fighting one of my opponents, I can tweet out things, or my feelings. And I had it in CNN. I mean, there was one instance where I was at a town hall and somebody got up and made a pretty negative statement about the president. You probably remember, very negative. They never found out who this guy was. I don’t know, was he a setup or what? I think you know what I’m talking about.
COOPER: Yeah. I know what you’re talking about.
D. TRUMP: And he made a pretty negative statement about the president, and they said I didn’t defend him. And it was a big deal. It was going on. And I remember, I tweeted one line, and then another line, and I put it out, and it broke into CNN, they broke into this major broadcast, Donald Trump breaking news. It was like, I’m sitting there, I just did this, and it totally solved the problem. I mean, it was good.
So it doesn’t all work badly, but it is a modern method of communication. And, you know, when I have 16 million or 17 million people when you add it up, it gives me a big advantage over people…
COOPER: Do you write all your own tweets?
D. TRUMP: I would say yes.
COOPER: And when somebody retweets from your account, you’ve retweeted?
D. TRUMP: I would say yes, other than if we release some information. I have some people, Dan, and some other people that will do it. But…
COOPER: Do you actually sit there and type or do you say something and somebody else types it?
D. TRUMP: During the day, I’m in the office, I just shout it out to one of the young ladies who are tremendous. I have tremendous office staff. And Meredith and some of the people that work for me. And I’ll just shout it out, and they’ll do it. But during the evenings, after 7 o’clock or so, I will always do it by myself.
COOPER: Melania, do you ever want to say to him, “Put the mobile device down”?
M. TRUMP: (Inaudible)
COOPER: That, like, it’s 2:00 a.m., and you’re still tweeting.
M. TRUMP: Anderson, if he would only listen. I did many times. And I just say, OK, do whatever you want. He’s an adult. He knows the consequences. And…
COOPER: Let’s meet more voters. This is Andrew Mesuraca. He’s a small-business owner who says he’s leaning toward voting for you, Mr. Trump. He’s got a question for Donald, Jr. Andrew?
QUESTION: Hi. You definitely got my vote.
D. TRUMP: Oh, good. That was good. That’s good. Thank you.
QUESTION: I admire how you guys, you know, being in the public eye remain more grounded and became so successful. I compliment you, your father on that, and your mom, obviously. And my question is, when your parents were getting divorced, how did your father help you get through that?
D. TRUMP, JR.: Well, listen, I don’t think it was an easy time. It was obviously a difficult time to go through for any young kid. I was 12 years old, so you’re at that stage in life where you think you’re a man but you’re not quite. So, you know, it was certainly a difficult thing.
But I think throughout our lives, he’s always been there. It’s usually been on his terms. It wasn’t a typical “let’s go play catch in the backyard” sort of father/son relationship. But we always went to job sites with him. We’d be in his office playing with trucks as a 6-year-old while he’s negotiating deals with presidents of major companies.
And so he always made himself available. I remember calling from school, and from boarding school, and from getting home from school when we were younger, and he’d pick up the phone and say, hey, Jack Welch is in the office. Say hi, Don. And I’m sitting there — he would always take us.
So he was always so available. And I think because we were always present, and because we always were, you know, though on his terms, at job sites, it really instilled a work ethic and a value for the business that we’re in that it just — it’s what we grew up in. It’s what we understood. So when it came time to start running the business and go in there, it was a very natural progression.
So I always joke that, you know, I’ve been working with the company for 38 years, because he set that up, and it was that work ethic and that foundation that he implanted that allows us to probably do what it is that we do today. So, you know, it’s really all him.
COOPER: And, Eric, I saw an interview you gave — I can’t remember if it was a print interview or not — where you said the divorce actually brought you closer to your siblings.
E. TRUMP: Yeah, I think that’s right. I mean, Don is my best friend, Ivanka is my best friend. We’re inseparable with Tiffany. I mean, we have an amazing relationship. This isn’t contrived. I mean, we work together every day. We have offices right next to each other. We also vacation together. You know, Kai — I mean, she comes — she spends a weekend at my house. I mean, we watched “Frozen” together, right, Kai?
(UNKNOWN): She insisted on sitting on my lap because she got the shy gene, obviously.
E. TRUMP: You know, we really — we have a great time as a family. And, you know, I’d say the one thing that my father and mother did a great job at was actually protecting us from the media, really protecting us from the media during those times, and we grew up. And as we started getting a little bit of that iron shield, we became more visible. And now you see us by his side every single day, and it’s something that we love doing because we truly love the man to death. I mean, we really love our father and our whole family.
COOPER: I want to you to meet Scherie Murray. She’s a mother from Queens who says she’s currently undecided. She’s got a question for Melania. Scherie?
QUESTION: Thank you. Mr. Trump, you have a beautiful family. I’m a mom, as well, my daughter, Shyla (ph), and I have two sons, Abel and Jace (ph). I wanted to know, what do you love the most about being a mom, Melania? And also, are you guys interested in having more kids?
M. TRUMP: Well, it’s amazing every day. Our son is 10 years old, and everything is different. Every day, it’s, you know, something special. And it’s unconditional love, and I enjoy every day. I love being a mom, a very special time. And I’m at home and raising him, teaching him values and morals, and preparing him for adult life, because sooner or later, he will have wings to fly. And I will be always there for him, but he will be very independent and ready to go.
COOPER: Any more kids?
D. TRUMP: And we’re not really thinking about more kids.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Trump.
COOPER: Ivanka, my mom has been pressuring me to actually have kids. What’s being a mom meant to you? What has it — how has it changed you?
I. TRUMP: I think it’s changed me in almost every capacity. I think it’s made me a better person, a better wife. I think I’m much more empathetic. Once you start thinking about a bigger picture outside of yourself, which — it’s easy to be very self-centered when you’re young and you’re single, and obviously it started when I got married and I became a “we.” And then having kids brings it to a whole different level. Putting them first and they become very much the center of your universe.
COOPER: That seems exhausting. I don’t know.
I. TRUMP: It is — and it’s exhausting.
(UNKNOWN): It is.
I. TRUMP: But it’s really — it’s the most amazing type of challenge that you really can’t prepare yourself for but is so unbelievably rewarding. So I feel so fortunate. I have three children now under the age of four-and-a-half.
I. TRUMP: And it’s exhausting, but it’s the perfect kind of chaos.
COOPER: I want you to meet Joseph Cohen. He’s a student at Columbia University. He says he’s undecided. He’s got a question for Ivanka. Joseph?
QUESTION: First, I wanted to congratulate you on the birth of your son.
I. TRUMP: Thank you.
QUESTION: I was wondering how your father reacted to your decision to convert to Judaism? What led you to that decision? And how did he react?
I. TRUMP: Well, it’s such a personal decision. I tend not to talk about it in a public forum. But my father was very supportive. He knows me. He knows and he trusts my judgment. When I make decisions, I make them in a well-reasoned way. I don’t rush into things.
So I appreciate the support he gave me, because obviously these decisions are not taken lightly. And it would have been much more hard if I had had headwinds, but he believes in me. He loves my husband. They’re incredibly close, which I think was obviously helpful. And he has been very supportive of me in that decision, as in many others that I’ve taken throughout the years.
COOPER: Thanks for your question. This is Brittany Haller. She’s a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She said she’s undecided. She’s got a question, basically, for all of the kids.
QUESTION: Hi. So how intimidating was it to introduce your significant others initially to your father?
D. TRUMP, JR.: Well, I don’t think that any of us necessarily got the shy gene. There’s not a lot of shy in our family. So I think we’re all pretty self-confident. So I think it made it relatively easy, but it was probably a unique experience for all of us.
But, you know, he’s been just incredible now, as — you know, always has been as a father, but even as a grandfather, because I have five kids of my own. And, you know, my wife is a stay-at-home mom, takes care of all five of them. And her job is a lot tougher than mine. It’s harder — you know, we have a pretty tough job, but it’s amazing. And he’s just so incredibly supportive of that, as well.
And just seeing him as a grandfather is, I mean, I wish something that people could see because it’s just — it is amazing. And it’s a side of him you wouldn’t see. It’s not something we talk about all that often. But it’s just incredible.
And, you know, watching him with Kai on the golf course or any other situation, it’s just pretty amazing. So there may have been some intimidation initially but he trusts us pretty well.
I. TRUMP: I remember spying on the lunch that my husband and my father had in Trump Tower.
COOPER: How did you spy on them?
I. TRUMP: I was hiding around columns. Jared called. He came over. They went downstairs. There were having a beautiful lunch. There were tremendous amounts of hand gestures, I didn’t know if this was good or bad.
But so I was — you know, obviously when you love somebody so much, you hope that the people in your lives that you love love one another, so.
COOPER: Do you remember that?
I. TRUMP: High stakes.
D. TRUMP: I do remember that, very happy with Jared. He has been fantastic. All of them, you know, Eric did so well and Don did so well. And Tiffany is working on it.
And, Ivanka, we’re so happy with the new members of the family, really. They’ve been fantastic.
COOPER: It has got to be intimidating, though, I mean, bringing or introducing somebody, or even considering that.
T. TRUMP: My father trusts us and our opinions. And Melania spent multiple dinners with my boyfriend now. And I think in the end, you know, we’re independent people. And all he can do is just support us, and be a loving father, and really hope that we’re taken care of as well.
D. TRUMP JR.: And if it’s not good, the older brothers will get involved.
COOPER: Is that right? OK.
I. TRUMP: High school was rough for me in that regard.
D. TRUMP JR.: There may have been a couple instances.
COOPER: Is that right?
D. TRUMP JR.: One or two.
I. TRUMP: They’re very protective.
COOPER: This is Joseph Kovac. He’s from Staten Island. He says he’s undecided, he’s leaning toward you, Mr. Trump. He has got a question for Donald Jr. Joseph?
QUESTION: Well, first of all, Mr. Trump, I respect you tremendously as a businessman but more importantly as a father. And you’ve swayed me tonight, first of all.
D. TRUMP: Oh great, good, thank you.
QUESTION: Yes, definitely.
My question for you, Don, is, what have you learned as the greatest experience as a businessman from your father? And do you think sometimes tone is important and you get more with honey than vinegar so to speak?
D. TRUMP JR.: Well, I think without question. I mean, and, you know, what’s interesting throughout this process everyone talks about that and tone, but there also comes a time where you actually have to put the hammer down, right?
There comes a time where being nice and trying to do all this stuff, when people are laughing at your face, you have to actually fight back. And that’s what’s so important about what he does. And he’s not just going to go every time there’s a little change in the winds, he’s going to flip. That’s not what he does.
He’s going to fight for the American people. So tone is important. And I’ve seen him do that for the 38 years I’ve been working in the company, I’ve seen him do deals from all over world, different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different everything, different personalities.
And he’s able to do that better than anyone. I mean, no one can be more endearing, more, you know, just — he wins everyone over with that, when the time is right.
But we’re at a stage in our country where I think we all believe that we really need some change, we need politicians who actually have real world experience, people who actually are going to work for the people.
You know, the biggest joke I see is all the politicians talking about how they’re great public servants. They’re serving themselves. He doesn’t need this at this stage in his life. He has done everything he needed to do.
But he wants to give back to the country that has been so great to him, to the people who have been so loyal to him. It has given him so many opportunities, whether it be family, whether it be business.
And, you know, he wants to go through this brutal process to be able to give back. I mean, he is truly — you know, it’s incredibly selfless. And it’s amazing to see. And I think it’s resonating with the people.
COOPER: Is there a business lesson in particular that sticks out?
D. TRUMP JR.: Well, you know, honestly, there’s so much. I mean, he is not the guy that sits you down on his knee and says, this is how you do business. You learn by watching. You learn the hard way oftentimes.
He’ll let you make the mistake, and you’ll pay for it. And he’ll follow up on that.
D. TRUMP JR.: He’ll give you the autonomy also. He’ll let you run with it even if he disagrees with you. You had better be right though because if you’re not, you’ll hear about it forever.
COOPER: This is Pax Hart. He’s a software engineer who says he’s leaning toward voting for you next Tuesday. His question is for Mr. Trump. Pax?
QUESTION: Hi. I just want to congratulate all of you for the success that you’ve had. And I’m definitely voting for you, Mr. Trump.
D. TRUMP: Thank you very much, appreciate it.
QUESTION: We know you lost your older brother from alcoholism at age 43, I lost an older sister from alcoholism at age 37. And I know what a — you know, it’s a life-changing event and you really have to take stock in your life.
D. TRUMP: right.
QUESTION: My question is, how did you — we’ve seen so many — you know, the children of so many wealthy people who have — you know, they’ve ended up being a mess. How did you instill with your kids — how did you protect them, how did you instill a sense of personal responsibility with them? And what advice would you give for parents whose children may be struggling with addiction?
D. TRUMP: Well, it’s such an important question and a great question. I had a brother who was a fantastic guy. I talked about this to Anderson once because you had some difficulty…
COOPER: Yes, my brother killed himself.
D. TRUMP: Right, very similar nature. And my brother was this phenomenally handsome guy, great guy, just great in every way, the best personality, everything. But he started drinking and it became a real problem for him.
And he used to tell me — he was quite a bit older, he used to tell me, don’t ever drink, and he would say, don’t smoke. And in those days it wasn’t the drug thing, it was really the alcohol thing much more so. Today you have to add the word drug.
And he would really — you know, he knew he had a problem and he was one of my truly great teachers. My father and my brother. I say that all the time. My brother because of this and other things. But he would say, don’t ever drink, don’t ever drink.
And I’ve never had a drink, I mean, I’ve never had a glass of alcohol and yet I own the largest winery in the East Coast, it’s a crazy thing, but that’s OK.
But my brother was just so instrumental in probably shaping my life because I just don’t know what the outcome would have been. And when my children were growing up, even when they didn’t even know what drinking was, I’d say, no alcohol, no cigarettes, and no drugs.
And I’d always say it. I used to add cigarettes because, you know, I have friends that just can’t take it. But I’d say, no alcohol, no drugs, no cigarettes.
And, you know, I think it had an impact. And I have so many friends where their children have this problem. And it’s a tough world to start off with, but when you have that as an a additional problem, the drugs or the alcohol, it’s awfully tough to really do it.
So I just tell the parents, if you can, keep your children away from the drugs and the alcohol. And it’s going to make their life so much easier. And, you know, you don’t have that longing. I don’t have any longing because I never drank. So I don’t have a longing for drinking or for drugs or any of that stuff.
And I have other problems and we won’t talk about them, OK, but the drugs and the alcohol, so important that your children just stay away from it.
COOPER: Was that something you remember distinctly growing up?
I. TRUMP: Absolutely. Every day of our life. Every morning. Don’t drink, don’t do drugs.
COOPER: Every morning?
D. TRUMP JR.: Every morning before school, without fail.
I. TRUMP: I mean, it was — as young children it often was accompanied by one of us eye-rolling. But, you know, I think in retrospect as parents we see how much that was an important message.
D. TRUMP: She used to say, daddy, don’t say that anymore, don’t say that. But I just felt it was important because I’ve seen so many brilliant young children of wonderful parents destroyed because they drank or they took drugs.
COOPER: I want you to meet Diane Morgan. She’s a teacher here in Manhattan who says she’s supporting Governor Kasich. She has got a question for you, Mr. Trump.
QUESTION: Hello, Mr. Trump. Good evening. Thank you for answering my question.
I’m a mom of three, here in New York, Ethan, Jane, and Laura. And I’m wondering, what do you consider the two or three most important financial principles to teach your children or that you’ve taught your children?
D. TRUMP: Well, I’ve always said, and I make speeches on this, and they pay me a lot of money, and I give it to charities, and I’m so happy about it, and I love doing it, but I always say you have to love what you do. So important.
You can never, ever give up. I’ve seen so many people where they have talent and they have — they’re very smart. And I see it even in schools where I went to school, some of the people that weren’t really as smart as other people are much more successful now because they were just more driven and they never, ever quit or gave up, and keep the momentum going.
But you have to love what you do. You know, if you’re in a great business, real estate business has been a great business, but if my children like some other business that wasn’t maybe as good a business but they just loved it, I would absolutely tell them to pursue that because you’ll never be happy. You have to love what you do.
COOPER: I want to ask just in closing to each of the kids, and I hate to call you kids, but it makes me feel younger.
D. TRUMP JR.: I’m glad to help.
COOPER: Just what’s — is there something you have learned about your dad in the course of this campaign that you didn’t know or that you — I don’t know, yes, that you didn’t know?
D. TRUMP JR.: I think it’s an amazing question because we’ve seen so much. But, I mean, just, the perseverance. I mean, we always knew it was there, that has always been there.
But I mean, you know, going into something as a freshman politician and being the star of the Super Bowl right now, it’s pretty incredible. And I think it’s not so much I learned anything new, it just reinforced what I already knew about him as just being just the hardest-working guy I’ve ever seen.
I mean, it’s just the drive, the work ethic that we’ve seen our whole lives has just been reinforced at this stage in his life. After every that he has done, to keep doing this and want to do this for the country, it’s really amazing, it’s really special.
E. TRUMP: I would say passion. It’s amazing. He came into this race with so much passion. I mean, he put everything into it. Kids, take on the company, go run the company, do what you guys have done so well, I’m going to go do this. I’m going to go do this for the country.
And he puts so much passion into it. And his whole career, I’ve seen him do that, whether it be building the greatest buildings in New York, building the best golf portfolio in the world, building one of great hotel portfolios in the world, you know, “The Apprentice,” now running for president.
And he really has just an unbelievable ability to turn things into gold. And it’s really largely due to the passion, you just spoke about it. But it’s a passion that makes him so successful at what he does.
T. TRUMP: I mean, he never gives up. He works harder and harder.
And through this process, I’ve learned that he’s able to balance everything that he’s doing on the campaign trail with his business and also taking care of us and being such an amazing father. And I think having, you know, those two qualities and us receiving so much love from him, even when he’s so busy, is just — it’s an amazing quality to have.
I. TRUMP: I think one of the things I’ve always been most inspired by in observing my father is the way that he really inspires others, the way — at our company, at The Trump Organization, he will set a very aggressive, a very bold vision, and then really help people find it, help people both unearth their own potential, and also work together to achieving the vision that he’s charted for the company.
And I think watching him on this platform also set an unbelievably bold vision, also really spearheads the conversation, and really, whether you agree with the platform or disagree with his policies on certain issues, the reality is, he is guiding the conversation on both sides of the aisle. He’s really setting the agenda and he’s really charting the course of what’s been discussed for the past 10 months. And that’s what leadership is. So it’s been unbelievable for me to see the way he’s inspired the tens of thousands of employees at The Trump Organization, really transcend that, and now he’s doing that across this country, and it’s really remarkable.
COOPER: Melania, is there something you’ve learned about him that you maybe didn’t know?
M. TRUMP: Well, I knew, you know, his drive, and I’m with him almost every day, and it’s like I go through the good, bad, and the ugly stuff. And, you know, we’re going through it, and he’s strong, he’s passionate, he’s smart, he’s tough, and he’s handling fantastic, and — because he’s passionate about the country.
COOPER: Mr. Trump, is there something you didn’t know about yourself that you’ve learned in the race?
D. TRUMP: Well, I think something was reinforced tonight. You know, I’ve known the most successful people in the world, many of them are very unhappy people, many of them you know, but many are very unhappy people. And I’ve always said the most important thing is having a great family. The family is more important.
And, you know, to me the most successful people have always been — the people that seem to be the happiest are people with a great family. And, you know, you can see I have a wonderful family, and it’s been very important to me. I think it’s been a real stabilizing factor. I don’t think I would have had the kind of success I’ve had without my family.
COOPER: Is business life tougher or political life?
D. TRUMP: Well, I think that political life is more dishonest. I mean, I find the people in politics to be far more dishonest than pretty dishonest businesspeople, you want to know the truth. I deal with some pretty tough customers. I think the businesspeople are tougher. I think the businesspeople that — I mean, I know them all. We’ll use some of these tough people to renegotiate our trade deals, folks. Believe me. I know the good ones, and I know the bad ones, and I know the overrated ones, and I know the ones that are the best of all that nobody ever heard of. But we will use the best. We don’t use the best right now. But I will say this. I think that businesspeople are tougher, but I think the politicians are more deceptive.
COOPER: Final question. Do you really believe you’re going to get to 1,237? Or in your heart do you believe this is going to end up being an open convention?
D. TRUMP: I think I’ll get to 1,237. I think we’re — you know, we’re going to do very well in New York. And as I said before, some of the states around that we’re going to be in next. I think we should do really well in California. I think we’ll get to the 1,237.
Look, this has been an amazing process. And, you know, again, I said at the beginning, but I’ll say it again, I’m spending my own money. And I understand politicians; I understand what motivates them. The thing that motivates them are special interests and their lobbyists. And they won’t do the right thing. The people that are really getting them are the people that give them money.
And by my not taking money from all of these special interests, I’m going to be able to do the right thing for the people. They do so many bad deals and people think, oh, why are they so stupid? They’re not stupid. They’re doing it because they’re told to do it by the people that give them money.
That’s why, whether it’s Ted Cruz or others, I mean, I will tell you, they’re not going to do the right thing for the country. And it just is the way politics works. And nobody knows the system better than I do.
COOPER: And you know, though, how politics works. At the convention, if you don’t make it in the first round of voting, a lot of those delegates who have to vote for you in the first round, they’re free to go elsewhere.
D. TRUMP: Well, I’m not an establishment…
COOPER: Are you ready for that?
D. TRUMP: Sure, I’m ready for it. Look, my life would be a lot easier. I have some wonderful things. My life would be a lot easier. I just want to do something. The country — as my children have said, the country has been great to me and I want to give back. And, you know, if people want me to do that, I think I’ll do a fantastic job for them and we’ll bring the country back. And we’ll save Social Security and we’ll save Medicare. All this — I mean, our country is in such trouble. People don’t realize what trouble. We’re sitting on a bubble. Our country is in tremendous trouble. So I think I’d do a really good job.
COOPER: I want to thank Donald Trump and his entire family. Thank you all. Melanie, thank you very m