Hello and welcome to this NDTV global exclusive. We are at a Trump golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, just two hours outside of New York, to meet the man of the moment, Donald Trump, as many believe, is likely to run for President again. We'll wait and see. But he's battling, not just his political rivals, but a host of other challenges. And we'll get into all that with him. And with him, is Shalabh Shalli Kumar, who is the founder of the Republican Hindu Coalition. He has been a longtime supporter of President Trump and has said that he will deliver the Indian American - or as Shalabh Kumar says, the Hindu American vote - to him. And he's also been very instrumental in facilitating this interview. Thank you both so much for being with us, President Trump.
NDTV: To see both of you back together again, is this all an indication that you are now set on the road to 2024?
DONALD TRUMP: Everyone wants me to run, I'm leading in the polls, and every poll Republican polls and Democrat polls, and I'll make a decision in the very near future, I suspect. And I think that a lot of people are going to be very happy. But we've been friends for a long time. We've been friends from before the last campaign and 2016 and then 2020. And I've had a great relationship to India and to Prime Minister Modi. We were we've been friends. And I think he's a great guy and doing a terrific job. It's not an easy job he's got. So, but we've known each other a long time. Good man.
NDTV: That's an interesting thing. You said you're still making up your mind, but a lot of people will be happy with the decision.
DONALD TRUMP: I think so. A lot of people will be, and a couple of people will be unhappy.
NDTV: This is quite an interesting hint that we've got, Shalabh Kumar. Do you think it's now almost a done deal that President Trump is going to run again? And should he run again? Is he the obvious choice?
SHALABH KUMAR: Of course, he should run again. That's our view. And you know, it'll be great if he runs again. I mean, our community, they will just love to have Trump 47. So that, obviously, will be great.
NDTV: And, and out of the Republican slate, is no other... Is he the obvious choice?
SHALABH KUMAR: He is the Republican Party.
NDTV: Would you agree with that, President Trump? Are you the Republican Party?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, the poll numbers will have to agree because it's... we blow everybody away. And that's because we did a great job. We had a great four years. Then we had a terrible election, a terrible, terrible thing happened. It was a rigged election. And we'll now see what happens. But that was just a terrible thing happened to our country. Because our country... It's suffered so badly over the last two years. When you look at inflation, when you look at Afghanistan, when you look at all of the things that have happened that have been so bad, and we were doing so well before that. So, we'll make a decision very soon.
NDTV: Is anyone, like they say, Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida - is he a threat at all?
DONALD TRUMP: I mean, I was the one that was instrumental in winning him an election. I helped him win an election. I think he's a good person. But if you go by the polls, I'm leading by a lot.
NDTV: You're way ahead?
DONALD TRUMP: Like 40 points or more.
NDTV: But the thing is, President Trump, that we're having this interview at a very unusual time. As you get ready to build up your political momentum, you're also battling all these charges, you know, the raid on Mar-a-Lago, you've spoken about that quite a lot.
DONALD TRUMP: It was a terrible thing. And frankly, that's had a big impact on the population. But that was a terrible thing that they did. Raiding my home was a terrible thing. And I think it's, it's boomeranged and very negatively on them.
NDTV: Where were you when it happened? And how did you first come to hear about it?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I was in a different location. I wasn't in Florida, and I was called. And when I heard about it, I said 'that's strange'. And it was strange. And it was very strange to the public also, to the American people, because they were not happy with it. And if you look at the result of that, you can see that they were not happy. They're very angry about it.
NDTV: And you see this as... it's been seen by the Republicans as an act of vendetta. I mean, the government says, look, they're serious charges. But you say this is vendetta?
SHALABH KUMAR: There is very easy way to actually let the Hindu Americans and India know because there's a big parallel from 2002 to 2014, everybody wanted to put Narendra Modi in jail. He was being vilified. They wanted to put him in jail. Now he's the most popular man. The same thing is happening for six years. Half the time now. President has been, you know, witchhunt. First, the Russian collusion - nothing. Impeachment - nothing. I mean, this thing, the raid absolutely makes no sense.
NDTV: But President, when the FBI says we found secret documents, the Justice Department releases that photo, you know, file scattered on the floor of Mar-a-Lago with 'Top Secret'...
DONALD TRUMP: That they put there. It's a set up. It's weaponization. And it's inappropriate to do and it's a bad thing for our country. And this is like Russia, Russia, Russia, and the Mueller report and all of the hoaxes that we've had to go through and it's become standard American politics and it's a disgrace.
NDTV: You're saying that it's weaponization, to the extent that you've actually called Joe Biden, the enemy. He says Trump and the Trump movement is a threat to democracy, you say that Joe Biden is an enemy of the state. What made you say that?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I will tell you this. He's done very badly for our country. Our country has never been in a position like this. We're weak in many ways. And we're certainly... the economy is horrible, what has taken place on the economy. What's taken place with inflation, and almost everything we're doing right now. And we've lost our voice and our respect worldwide. You look at Russia, take a look at Russia invading Ukraine, that would have never happened. Watch what's going to happen with China. And Taiwan, you take a look at that. Because already those ships are lining up, and that could be next. None of these things would have happened. Inflation wouldn't have happened. We were energy independent. And now we're begging everybody for energy. We're begging we have blackouts all over our country. We've never had anything like that. So very bad things have happened to this country in two years. Things that are absolutely unthinkable.
NDTV: Okay. Which is why you say Joe Biden is an enemy of the state. But were you to run again, you think you could beat him? Because he's running again?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, in the polls, I'm leading by a lot. I would think I beat him easily. I think I beat him last time. I don't think... if you look at the numbers, you look at what happened. I beat him by a lot. Last time. I got many millions of more votes last time than I did the first time. You know, in 2016, we ran a great campaign. But I ran a better campaign in 2020.
NDTV: It was better than 2016?
DONALD TRUMP: I think we ran a much better campaign. I got 12 million more votes or close to 12 million more votes. I got more votes than any sitting president in history.
NDTV: Twelve million more votes than?
DONALD TRUMP: Than the previous time.
NDTV: But overall, President Trump, that's the question that keeps coming up that in a democracy, India is considered the world's largest democracy, you're the world's oldest and that's why we have this relationship. Democracies function on the principle that the losing side concedes defeat and the winning side takes over.
DONALD TRUMP: I agree with that. We didn't lose.
NDTV: But in this case, you haven't conceded. I mean, in a sense, you still haven't accepted the outcome of 2020. You still believe it's stolen?
DONALD TRUMP: Take look at what happened. Two weeks ago, it came out, the head of Facebook, Zuckerberg, said the FBI came to him and told him this Russian disinformation, don't say anything. And they went to the media. And they suppressed it. That's a major form. This is just ballot stuffing, what they're doing was so bad. And what they're doing is a disgrace to our country. And nobody did anything about it. And it made, they say, the pollsters say it made from a 10 to a 20-point difference.
NDTV: In the election outcome?
DONALD TRUMP: Oh, it was a tremendous... They suppressed all of that information, probably illegally. I assume it was illegally done. But it should have never been done.
NDTV: You think that this is a kind of a problematic area when you have an election outcome and then one side doesn't accept?
SHALABH KUMAR: No, absolutely not. You know, I mean, we all know there is a lot of fraud, voter fraud in United States. You know, all the Democrat-run cities, Democrat-run districts, we know that, their counties. This time because of the pandemic, it was much bigger. That's what essentially happened. Now if you know, first of all, let me also tell you, Hindu Americans and India in general, They don't give a hoot about this. I'm in the community. I go there travel there every day. They...
NDTV: But he feels strongly about it.
DONALD TRUMP: I feel strongly about a lot of things. You know what I feel strongly about? Our country, and our country is going to hell. That's what I feel strongly about. And when you look at what's happened to the US, when you look at what's happened in two years, the United States, we've never been in a position like this ever.
NDTV: But you know, some would say President Trump, that this idea of a of a kind of a stolen or illegal election can have consequences in terms of what happened on January 6. Some would say, as a consequence of that, that there was actual violence. Isn't that a problem?
DONALD TRUMP: Democrats have said that for a long time about different elections. They went out and they said the 2016 election was stolen. The same people that now complain were big complainers about 2016. They say I stole the election in 2016, which I didn't do but the same voices that you hear said, no, no, there's tremendous proof. There's tremendous evidence. And again, go back to just two weeks ago, when Zuckerberg said he was told Russian disinformation, don't say anything. Don't say anything until after the election.
NDTV: This is such a worry for you. How will you prevent it from happening again?
DONALD TRUMP: They are changing rules and changing regulations, one of the things that happened, one of the very big things is they did things during the election, which didn't get approved by legislatures, okay. The state legislatures did not approve it. And by law, you have to have it approved. So, a lot of changes are being made, it's going to be tougher. Plus, you had Covid, and you had millions and millions of ballots pouring in, and they have no idea what was happening. And bad things happened. And really, the bad thing that happened is what happened to our country, because our country is going to hell to. It's just sad.
NDTV: In the assumption that there's going to be a Trump 2.0, what's going to be your number one priority, especially when it comes for America first and then for India?
DONALD TRUMP: For America, energy independence. For India, India's doing just fine with your great Prime Minister Modi, my friend, For America, I can only speak for America, we're going to be energy independent, we're going to have a great economy, roaring economy again, which we don't have right now. Okay, we set every record on jobs. We've never had an economy, like the economy that I had. But we'll bring back energy independence, and we will do things that we haven't been able to do in the last two years.
SHALABH KUMAR: I'd like to say something on there. I always said, okay, I've stated this. President Trump is Reagan on steroids. If you look at the first three years of the economy, 7 million jobs added in three years, okay? 3.5% unemployment, $6,000 per household income increase. 401Ks double. There is nobody, you know, I'm a student of history, there's nobody in the 20th century who was a better President than President Trump. And if, in 2024, if President decide to run, it's gonna be a landslide.
DONALD TRUMP: And I think India has never had a better friend than me. I don't believe that. And that's one of the relationships that, you know, I've formed. But India has never had a better friend as President than me and with my relationship with...
NDTV: Even compared to previous Democrat, President Obama, and then Biden now?
DONALD TRUMP: I think my relationship, you'll have to ask Prime Minister Modi, but I don't think you've never had a better relationship than you had with President Trump.
NDTV: If you were in charge, you mentioned Russia-Ukraine, Biden's - according to you - mishandling of it, what would you have done?
DONALD TRUMP: Absolutely nothing because it was understood that you're not going into Ukraine, it was understood. We wouldn't have had to do anything. That was never going to happen. And by the way, for four years, it didn't happen. Okay. And now you see China with Taiwan, with ships sailing around it. Lots of ships. Lots of action going on. But with President Putin, he would have never gotten in if I was President. Never. Not even a chance.
NDTV: Why do you say that? What do you think would have made him think twice?
DONALD TRUMP: I know it and you know what, he didn't.
SHALABH KUMAR: Peace through strength.
DONALD TRUMP: He didn't go in.
NDTV: Because he was worried of what?
DONALD TRUMP: You know what, you'll have to figure that out. All I can say is he didn't go in, there was never even a thought of going in. And when I was in there, it formed and now you have what you have. Hundreds of thousands of people are dead. It could be millions, ultimately, could be a World War 3. I mean, frankly, the way that's going right now, that could end up being World War 3, But it would have never happened. You wouldn't have had anybody dead. It would have never happened. And it's a very sad thing. That's one of many things, but it would have never happened. The Afghanistan withdrawal the way that was done, was so incompetent, with the soldiers that are taken out first, the military is taken out first. That would have never have... We would have been out but we would have kept Bagram, by the way, because we should have kept Bagram.
NDTV: I was going to ask you that because, in response to that, the Democrats say that the troop drawdown had already started when you were still President.
DONALD TRUMP: No, no, I brought them down to a level. And then we will go into and they had to meet a lot of guidelines, which they weren't meeting. But the first thing that you would have done is you would have brought the people out, the Americans out, you would have certainly brought our equipment out. We left $85 billion worth of equipment behind. This would have never ever happened. We would have had, we would have been out, but we would have kept Bagram, you know, we gave up Bagram. Bagram is one hour away from the Chinese nuclear plant where they make nuclear weapons, right? We should have never given that up. We gave that up.
NDTV: What about the media buzz that Ivanka might be your running mate? Is there any substance?
DONALD TRUMP: Ivanka? My daughter? Never thought of that one. I've never even heard but that's an interesting idea.
NDTV: It's been in the media for a while.
DONALD TRUMP: That one I have not heard of, but she's a very capable person that I can tell you. But no, I have not heard that one.
NDTV: Would you consider it?
DONALD TRUMP: No, I wouldn't. Not my daughter.
NDTV: Truth Social, the website, the social media platform, what's your take on that? Because there's some sense or it didn't go as well as you may wanted.
DONALD TRUMP: It's doing phenomenally well. Okay. It's doing far better than I ever thought it could do. It gets the word out. I think better than Twitter for me better than Twitter. I think Twitter has got a lot of problems, and Truth. It's called Truth Social; Truth is getting the word out. And it's my only platform. It's a platform that I want. that I own and that I want. And the word is out. I guess we have over five or 6 million people right now. And it's growing very big and very rapidly. And people are watching it because I'm on and other platforms fail, and you'll see what's going on with Twitter. Twitter's getting killed.
NDTV: Do you miss being on Twitter at all?
DONALD TRUMP: No, because Truth is better. For me. Truth is better. I feel it has a better inject. Much better inject than any other thing that I've ever worked on.
NDTV: The last time when you were both together, you had a slogan for Indian Americans. I don't know if you if you remember that?
SHALABH KUMAR: Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar
NDTV: So, President Trump, thank you very much indeed for talking to us. We hope to see you in India one of these days.
DONALD TRUMP: We'll be there.
NDTV: And Shalabh Kumar, thank you very much indeed. Thank you.