Below are the five major highlights of his remarks:
1. America first
We are going to take care of this country first before we worry about everybody else in the world…We are not the same country and the world is not the same world. Our country owes right now $19 trillion, going to $21 trillion very quickly because of the omnibus budget that was passed, which is incredible. We don’t have the luxury of doing what we used to do [abroad].
2. We must fix own mess before lecturing others
I don’t know that we have a right to lecture [other countries]. Just look about what’s happening with our country. How are we going to lecture when people are shooting our policemen in cold blood. How are we going to lecture when you see the riots and the horror going on in our own country. We have so many difficulties in our country right now that I don’t think we should be, and there may be a time when we can get much more aggressive on that subject, and it will be a wonderful thing to be more aggressive. We’re not in a position to be more aggressive. We have to fix our own mess.
3. Let’s fight ISIS, not Assad
Look, Assad hates ISIS; ISIS hates Assad. They are fighting each other. We are supposed to go and fight them both? How do you fight them both when they are fighting each other? And I think that ISIS is a threat that’s much more important for us right now than Assad. You understand what I’m saying?
4. If NATO members don’t pay up – we walk
Hillary Clinton said: “I will never leave Japan. I will never leave Japan. Will never leave any of our [allies]” Well now, once you say that, guess what happens? What happens? You can’t negotiate. In a deal, you always have to be prepared to walk. Hillary Clinton has said, “We will never, ever walk.” That’s a wonderful phrase, but unfortunately, if I were on Saudi Arabia’s side, Germany, Japan, South Korea and others, I would say, “Oh, they’re never leaving, so what do we have to pay them for?” Does that make sense to you, David?
5. Stop the drama with Russia
Oh, I would love to have a good relationship where Russia and the U.S., instead of fighting each other we got along. It would be wonderful if we had good relationships with Russia so that we don’t have to go through all of the drama.
Read the edited transcript of the full interview on the NYT website.