Donald Trump says he has great affection for Ben Carson, but he’s not so sure Carson has the right experience to be president.
The billionaire businessman and Republican presidential frontrunner explained why in an extensive interview with The Daily Caller that covered a wide array of subjects. The interview will be published in sections over the coming days.
A Monmouth University poll of Iowa released Monday showed Trump tied with Carson for first place — though Trump is quick to note that it was just one poll and that he leads the field, including Carson, in all the other recent polls.
But despite the rising threat of Carson in Iowa, Trump has not yet attacked the world-renowned neurosurgeon. Asked by TheDC whether being a doctor provides the necessary experience to be president, Trump said while Carson is “a wonderful guy,” he thinks it would be “very tough” for someone who spent his life as a surgeon to handle the job.
“I think it’s a very difficult situation that he’d be placed in,” Trump elaborated. “He’s really a friend of mine, I just think it’s a very difficult situation that he puts himself into, to have a doctor who wasn’t creating jobs and would have a nurse or maybe two nurses. It’s such a different world. I’ve created tens of thousands of jobs over the years.”
In the past Trump has questioned whether Ted Cruz is eligible to be president because the Texas senator was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. Cruz and Trump have since become something like BFFs on the campaign trail, refusing to criticize each other and even scheduled to appear together at an upcoming rally in Washington against the nuclear deal with Iran. Asked whether he still thinks Cruz might not be eligible to be president, Trump said, “based on everything I see, there’s no problem.”
“Because other people have brought it up, and it seems like the legal scholars have all been satisfied,” he went on. “It was never a big point for me, but I have watched other people question him, and the legal scholars have been satisfied.”
President Barack Obama has been criticized by many Republicans, including Trump, for his regular golf outings. But would Trump, who is an avid golfer and owns many golf courses throughout the world, regularly hit the links if he makes it to the Oval Office?
“The problem with the president, he’s played more than people on the PGA tour,” Trump quipped. “He plays a lot. He’s like a touring professional in terms of the amount of play.” (RELATED: Beck Was Obsessed With Proving That John Boehner Is An Alcoholic)
“Golf can be a great tool for making deals, but you can’t play with your friends, you have to play with people that you’re looking to — for instance, playing with [House Speaker] John Boehner and playing with [Senate leader Mitch] McConnell and playing with people that you need to make deals with,” Trump argued. “It can be an amazing tool for getting things done and for making deals.”
“With that being said, you want to play it the proper number of times,” he went on. “If the president would use golf as a tool more than he does, I think it would be very positive.”
Trump often cites how rich he is as a sign of his success and, in turn, a qualification to be President of the United States. By that standard, would someone richer than him, like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, be more qualified for the presidency?
“That’s different,” Trump replied. “Honestly, I don’t think I’d swap assets, to be honest with you. I’ve seen that stuff go up and down. I have very, very solid stuff. To me, I love real estate because you can feel it. A lot of people, they’ll make five hundred million dollars by doing some new computer game, but I don’t consider that — I consider that sort of different. I consider that paper.”
“I did it in real estate,” he explained, “and as real estate goes, this is about as high as you go.”
Check back to TheDC over the coming days for more of our exclusive interview with Donald Trump.