December 11th, 2013
08:29 PM ET
9 years ago

Donald Trump on Obama's ‘selfie,’ unemployment and 2016 unknowns

(CNN) - Outspoken billionaire Donald Trump weighed in on public outrage over President Barack Obama's perceived faux pas on his trip to South Africa, as well as the possibility of a yet-to-be known political star in 2016, in an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan Wednesday.

The real estate titan also said the "real" rate of unemployment could be as much as double the 7 percent that's being reported with so many Americans giving up looking for a job.

Obama taking hits over ‘selfie’ and Castro handshake

Obama's short trip to South Africa to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela sparked unexpected controversy when the commander-in-chief shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro despite 50-plus years of adversarial U.S. and Cuban relations.

Trump said he didn't take the hand shake too seriously, though the President, "always seems to bow to foreign leaders."

"Now I don't see any reason to bow in this case, but he bows," he said, but "I don't make a big thing out of it. There's certainly nothing wrong with shaking hands."

The Obama selfie: Harmless or tasteless?

During the memorial service, a photographer snapped a picture of the President taking a "selfie" with Danish and British leaders.

The picture sent a buzz through the Internet, with many saying it was an inappropriate act at such a somber event.

First Lady Michelle Obama is also in the photograph, though she is clearly not taking part in the photo.

"His wife was not happy, or she seemed like she wasn't too happy," Trump said, referring to Mrs. Obama.

"And that was a tough picture, because it is a funeral. Now, you could also say it's a celebration of a great life. But it is, nevertheless, a funeral. And I guess he's taking a lot of heat on that."

'Real' unemployment and the minimum wage debate

November's job report showed slow but solid economic improvement - with unemployment falling to a 5-year low at 7%.

Obama says wage and income gap eroding American dream

Trump suggested the real unemployment rate is double what last month's jobs report released because it doesn't include Americans who have given up looking for work.

"The real unemployment is 13-15 maybe even 16 or 17 percent because so many people have given up looking for jobs," he said.

Democratic lawmakers in Washington are pushing for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which currently stands at $7.25 an hour. A proposal would boost it to about $10, and the White House has said Obama supports such a measure.

Trump said the debate surrounding whether to raise the minimum wage has "created a lot of problems."

"You don't want to do anything that's going to keep the incentive away for whether it's McDonald's expanding in this country. At the same time you have to let people live," Trump said, suggesting there was merit in the idea of having two minimum wages - one of high school-age kids and another for people who have families to raise.

2016 full of unknowns

Trump, who has been a vocal figure on the future of the Republican Party, said the presidential election in 2016 will be "close race" and could include a yet-to-be discovered politician, like then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

Cruz, Trump to meet up

"Nobody heard a number of years ago - six years ago - of Barack Obama. Nobody even knew who he was and Hillary (Clinton) was supposed to get it. All of a sudden he came along and he won," he said.

Trump flirted with a presidential run that never materialized in 2012 and continues to tease a possible candidacy.

Woman to lead GM

Earlier this week, General Motors announced Mary Barra would serve as the new chief executive officer - the first female to lead a major U.S. automaker.

Trump said Barra is "supposed to be outstanding," and, furthermore, the company itself is doing well.

"You've got to give them a lot of credit," he said. "I think it's wonderful that you have a woman as the head of General Motors."

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.

Filed under: Donald Trump • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. S. B. Stein

    If he wants the unemployment rate to come down, what is he doing about it? I mean he supposedly is really rich. What has he done to get more people employed or get other people to create jobs? I think he is just a complainer that doesn't want anyone that isn't with him to get good press.

    December 11, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Can't get much more boring than this. Passing on Piers Morgan's show tonight. which happens to be on right now.

    Meanwhile, was actually looking for the new story regarding the Senate Republicans "pay back" tactic because
    of the new filibuster rule.

    Apparently they plan to talk all night, all day, all night up thru Sunday night. In other words, Kindergarten is still in

    December 11, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    It is good to hear what the leader of the Birthers movement has to say. He is such a role model for baggers.

    December 11, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  4. simplyput

    If Trump shaved his head his credibility would go up by an unknown number of points.

    December 11, 2013 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  5. Jan

    Well, he's right about unemployment.

    December 12, 2013 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  6. Thomas

    Trump is like a breath of bad hair !

    December 12, 2013 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  7. Wendy

    So disappointed- you are a ratings sell-out. I have lost all respect for Piers Morgan...was a fan but tonite is the last straw. Kissing Trump's ass, really???? Buying into all the Right Wing cliches. Supported you & CNN with your incredible programming on Gun Control issues. Officially boycotted. Will not EVER let my TV stay on your channel again. So pathetic.

    December 12, 2013 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  8. norma jean

    Well....he's back..... I think it's been several weeks since Trump had his face and limited opinion out for all to see.....It gets lonely for him and he doesn't want to be forgotten.....sooooooo......he has to come up with something as long as a newsman is close enough to react!!!!! .........What a bunch of garbage he comes up with just so we know he's still out there......As if we really cared!!!!!!

    December 12, 2013 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  9. just me

    Cnn, why are you constantly giving platforms to idiots? This clown has no special insight or credibility. He's just a Sarah Palin with more money and less. Masculinity.

    December 12, 2013 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  10. truth hurts but reality bites

    The unemployment rate is a total farce and is manipulated endlessly by the Obama administration. It is far higher than reported because if it was accurately reported, Obama would not have been re-elected. What we have is the new norm for the USA, just like for socialist Europe, high unemployment as the government takes more and more, picks winners and losers and even takes over huge segments of the economy, such as healthcare and redistributes wealth from the makers to the takers in society. As they see in Europe, it is not a formula for greatness but for stagnation and decline.

    December 12, 2013 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  11. Marie MD

    This guy's thing on his head is on too tight.
    Why is he, like so many others undeserving souls, on the political ticket. Shouldn't he be in the entertainment or "those crazies" that only CNN see as viable sections?

    December 12, 2013 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  12. Tony in Maine

    An irrelevant 1%er spewing hate in order to get in the news. It must have been a week since the pundits rushed to cover his idiot.

    December 12, 2013 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  13. Gurgyl

    I bet these GOP supporting thugs of USA are way back in 2nd or 3rd century while this president is in 23rd century. USA, it is a karma to entertain these rethuglican garbage in modern era. Vote all these GOP thugs out.

    December 12, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |