The following interview took place thanks to Pope Francis, who had asked me to fly to Havana to meet him and the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, and serve as a mediator as they begin merger negotiations.
As it turned out NY was having the mother of all snow storms and so I ran into Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as he too waited for the airport to reopen and fly to his next campaign stop. By sheer luck, we got seated next to each other at the VIP lounge, and after I explained I had done famous celebrities, he agreed to a quick on-the-spot interview.
Donald Trump at the VIP Airport Lounge in NY
FERNANDO: Mr. Trump, we´ll make this as fast as painless as possible. Remember I don´t usually pull punches, but tonight I´m a bit tired so I´ll take it easy on you.
DONALD: Thank you.
FERNANDO: The American people are fed up with politicians, most of them think you are a pompous ass, you wear a wig, and you are as offensive as they come, yet you seem to be getting 30 % of the Republican vote. How did you connect with them, was it the discontent, frustration with the system, and the way white folk feel isolated from Washington?
TRUMP: I felt it. I mean I felt it from within. I´m white. We have tremendous discontent in the country. We have tremendous problems in the country.
FERNANDO: So would you be willing to shut down the government in order to defund Planned Parenthood?
TRUMP: I won´t answer that, because I want to show unpredictability. But Planned Parenthood should absolutely be defunded. That´s going to get me votes.
FERNANDO: Do you like affirmative action?
TRUMP: I'm fine with it, we have it, it's there. But it's coming to a time when maybe we don't need it. Take you, are you Mexican?
FERNANDO: No sir, I´m Cuban.
TRUMP: I notice you blinked. Cubans are OK, they vote Republican. I have a great relationship with black folk too. My butler is black. But we got to stop Mexicans. Obama is a wimp, and Hillary is worse, she´ll invite Chapo Guzman to visit her at Camp David if she´s elected president. But I will build the Great Wall on the Mexican border and the Mexicans will pay for it.
TRUMP: Mexico sends in criminals and drug dealers, that´s got to end.
Trump´s wall will probably look like the Israeli wall,
which has been quite effective isolating Christian
and Muslim Palestinians from the Jewish population
FERNANDO: That´s good. I wouldn´t want you to take it out on Cubans. What about other spending cuts?
TRUMP: We're going to be cutting tremendous amounts of money and waste and fraud and abuse.
FERNANDO: So where would you cut? NASA?
TRUMP: I'm not cutting that, I loved the guitar playing astronaut. I may cut Department of Education. The EPA too, what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations.
FERNANDO: I don´t like the EPA too much myself, they stepped way out of line regulating CO2 emissions. But who's going to protect the environment?
TRUMP: We can leave a little bit of environment, but you can't destroy businesses.
FERNANDO: So you´ll get rid of the EPA. I heard you also would end NAFTA. The Wall Street Journal hates you because you are anti free trade.
TRUMP: OK, so here's the deal. The guys running the Wall Street Journal are dummies, Murdoch establishment robots. I don't want companies to move their plants. I want them to stay in Michigan. I don't want them to go to Mexico. I don't want them to go to China.
FERNANDO: Got it. What about George W. Bush and the Twin Towers? do you blame George W. Bush for 9/11?
TRUMP: Look, look, Jeb said “we were safe with my brother”. Bullshit. Well, the World Trade Center fell down. Now, am I trying to blame him? But the World Trade Center came down.
FERNANDO: Bush sure looked stupid ignoring the warnings, did nothing to hit back after Osama hit the USS Cole. But what would you have done?
TRUMP: Well, I am extremely, extremely tough on illegal immigration. I'm extremely tough on people coming into this country. I believe that if I were running things, I doubt those Saudis would have been here.
FERNANDO: Got it. So you would stop Mexicans and Saudis from coming in.
TRUMP: I think so.
TRUMP: I do think so. I´m not kidding.
FERNANDO: Sorry. I couldn´t help myself. It´s just that we got Republicans pushing for cheap Mexican labor, and Democrats pushing for prospective voters. I don´t think you can win that one. Which brings me to the question of gun control, which I think you would agree is important..
TRUMP: I think it's very important. Charlie Hebdo.
FERNANDO: Charlie Hebdo? What about it?
TRUMP: Well, I think the French have too much gun control. If the Charlie Hebdo employees had been armed, they would have shot it out with the Arabs.
FERNANDO: (LAUGHS) That´s true. Paris would be like Detroit, everybody´s armed to the teeth.
FERNANDO: During the campaign, you called Bernie Sanders a maniac.
TRUMP: And a communist.
FERNANDO: (LAUGHS) And a communist. I loved that one.
TRUMP: Yes. Me too. Commie bastard.
FERNANDO: Is that the way you would call people if you make it to the White House?
TRUMP: Sure, if they come out and attack me, I hit hard. I'm a counterpuncher. The country needs a leader that when the country gets hit, we're going to come out on top. When I´m in charge, I´ll hit really hard, where it hurts. Nuke Isis.
FERNANDO: OK. I don't want blood coming out your eyes….so what about Global Warming?
TRUMP: The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
FERNANDO: (LAUGHS) That´s good. I see you are really into it. So you don´t want to stop CO2 emissions?
TRUMP: Hell no. Global warming is the Democrat´s weak spot. And I've used it brilliantly...I've been doing this for a long time.
FERNANDO: (LAUGHS) It does lend itself to populist slogans.
TRUMP: I can crank it up when I have to. Global warming was very controversial when Al Gore was whining about Atlantic City getting covered in 20 feet of water. But it didn´t happen. The beach is there, the hotels are there. It´s a Chinese gimmick. And Obama buys into it. Fool.
FERNANDO: OK, so let´s change subject. If you are the Republican nominee and Hillary´s the Democratic nominee, how would you run the campaign?
TRUMP: I'd discuss her record.
FERNANDO: The emails? Would you hit her because she backed Bush when he invaded Iraq?
TRUMP: Everything. I never thought of hanging Iraq on her. Nice touch. Thanks for the idea.
FERNANDO: No problem, she deserves it. I see they´re clearing us to travel now, and I got to meet the Pope in Havana.
TRUMP: Good. I was getting tired of this. And tell the Pope I said to jump in a lake, he´s a commie.
FERNANDO: I know, but he´s the Pope, and pays me well for this gig.
TRUMP: That´s life I guess. A commie heading one of the largest business ventures in the history of mankind (sighs). Well, I got to go now (runs away).