Sharyl: Thank you for agreeing to do an interview. We are at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The Biden administration has to re-institute the 'Remain in Mexico' program, which, by all accounts, when I've been down there on my reporting, seems to have made a big impact on the border traffic. Opponents say that policy is inhumane and that it's dangerous. Do you think starting up the program again will help the border crisis, help solve it, or perhaps make things worse?
Trump: It was a very powerful thing that we did, 'Remain in Mexico.' Number one, as you said, it stopped a lot of people from coming up. And number two, people could not come into our country unless they had essentially legal rights to come in, which is what we want. We want people, but they have to come in legally. It was dramatic. It was incredible how good it was. And by the judge's ruling and by what they did and the affirmation, and it was, indeed, an affirmation, I think it's probably the best thing that happened to Texas and to our country. And frankly, maybe to the Biden administration. We had the strongest border in history, and now we have the weakest border in history. So 'Remain in Mexico' is a very big thing.
Sharyl: We are seeing record levels of illegal border crossings right now. The Biden administration largely blames you, among other things, for dismantling programs to help illegal immigrants and also cutting the funding to help countries where they're coming from, which the Biden administration is reinstituting a lot of that funding. What do you say about that?
Trump: So I'll tell you about that. First of all, we created the safest border, the best border, for our country. And we had people come in, but they were strongly vetted. Now they're coming in from the Middle East. They're coming in from all over. And we did something on the border that nobody thought was possible. And as far as the money going to other countries, they're right. I cut it off because they were sending thousands and thousands and thousands of people up. And we were giving them $500 million a year. I said, you know what, "If you people don't stop, we're going to stop it." They didn't stop. We cut it off. As soon as I cut it off, they would do whatever I wanted to do. Now, Biden, they want to give billions of dollars to these same countries. And that's going to go to the traffickers. That's going to go to a lot of people that shouldn't be getting it. It is a disgrace. It's going to make the situation much worse.
Sharyl: On Afghanistan, by the way, do you still get intel briefings?
Trump: I get if I want. I get what I want. I hear what's going on. By the way, you don't need intel briefings. All you have to do is read the news or turn on the television. It's the most incompetently handled withdrawal in history. There's never been anything like this, where we gave them $85 billion worth of brand new, beautiful equipment. Most importantly, we lost 13, and many wounded, of our soldiers. And over 200 people were killed. But we lost these 13 incredible souls, these incredible warriors, and probably more to follow; some very, very badly wounded soldiers. It's the most incompetently handled thing. We had that in such good control they wouldn't have done a thing.
Sharyl: Considering what you're saying, do you think the Afghanistan war is over?
Trump: I don't know because you have people going all over the world and being dropped all over the world right now, and nobody knows who the hell they are, Sharyl. These aren't the interpreters that we took. These were people that rushed into the planes, and they were so interested in trying to make it sound like, "Oh, they're doing a good job." These people, many of these people, are going to be terrorists. Okay? They're going to be terrorists. They were very powerful. They were very energetic in getting onto the aircraft.
Sharyl: They say they're vetting them very carefully with biometrics and documents.
Trump: They're not doing that, and you can't because there is no documentation in that country. There's virtually no documentation. They didn't vet them. They didn't even try to vet them. They're trying to vet them now, but it's a little bit late. They're dropping them all over the world. And most of them will be coming to the United States. And in that group will be many terrorists, many, many terrorists. We've done their job. The hardest thing was getting out of the country, coming in for terrorists. We've brought terrorists into our country, and they coming very much so, I mean, they're going to be flown in, but they're also coming through our Southern border. It's a disgrace.
Sharyl: You have a lot of agreement among people on both sides of the aisle that seem to feel as though this withdrawal was done in backwards order. But President Biden has largely blamed you for the chaos in Afghanistan. He says that when he came into office, the Taliban was in its strongest position since 2001, and he said he was stuck with your negotiations and that you didn't have a good plan.
Trump: I was stronger than anybody, "Get out." But get out with honor and dignity, but get out. We have to get out. Should have never been, but get out. If you look back, I always said that "The Afghans, as soon as we announced we're leaving, they'll give up the fight." They were highly paid soldiers. They fought because they made a lot of money. They didn't fight for their country. They fought because they made a lot of money, and it's a disgrace. And as soon as we left, everything I said from years ago turned out to be true. We should have saved those 13 people plus 200 people, and we should have taken out all our equipment, everything. And I said, "I want every bolt. I want every screw. I want every nail. I want everything. I want those tanks." They're all over the place. And you maybe have to go back and get it. Now I'm saying, how can they take this equipment? And I guarantee that China and Russia already have our Apache helicopters, and they're, they're taking them apart to find out exactly how they're made. They're the best in the world by far. And they're taking them apart so they can make the exact same equipment. They're very good at that. It's a disgrace. It's very simple, I believe they were incompetent. They didn't do it on purpose. I just think they just ran. I think it's the most embarrassing event in the history of our country. We ran from guys with knives. Good fighters, but guys with knives, we ran. We had the F-35s and the F-18s, and they had knives, and it made our military look so bad, and it was decision making at the top and with some of our television generals.
Sharyl: On coronavirus. You've had coronavirus. You've also had the vaccines. Do you anticipate getting the booster if that becomes available and recommend?
Trump: I don't think so. I mean, I don't think so. I really feel I'm in pretty good shape with respect to that, but let's see what happens. If I feel it's good, if I feel it's necessary, I would get it. I'm very proud of what we did on the vaccines. I did the vaccines in a short period of time, less than nine months, and people were saying it was going to take five years and probably never, never going to happen. And I pushed the FDA at a level that they have never, never been pushed. And they probably don't like me much, but I don't care, bureaucrats. It took them so long to get anything done. I got it done in less than nine months and I saved millions and millions of people around the world.
Sharyl: At the time, you seemed to get sick very fast, and then you seemed to get well very fast. On your worst day, did you have moments where you thought I might not come out of this?
Trump: Well, I didn't want to allow that to happen because I felt I had an obligation to this country to come out okay. I think it would not have been great. I'm a cheerleader for our country, I love our country, and I don't want that to be happening to anybody, but I don't want it to be happening to its number one representative and to its President. I don't want that to be happening. I always felt pretty good. I know I've read stories that, "Oh, I was just about over, it was just..." Not so. I was pretty good. I didn't feel like I do now, I didn't feel perfect, but I felt there was something wrong. And very early, early on, I took therapeutics, and I got better very quickly. And I think I showed things to the country, but not only the vaccines, the therapeutics that we have are incredible. And for some reason, the Biden administration is not talking about therapeutics. They're not talking about Regeneron and other things that we have and that we've developed under the Trump administration.
Sharyl: Why do you think that is?
Trump: I don't know. I don't know.
Sharyl: Looking back at your four years, if you knew then what you know now, what are some of the things you might've done differently in terms of either policies or people you trusted that you feel you shouldn't have now?
Trump: Sure. I picked some people that turned out not to be good. That always happens. Picked some people that were fantastic. We rebuilt the military. Think of what we've done. They've got the biggest tax cuts in history, biggest regulation cuts in history, right to try medically, where people can use stuff that's not going to be approved for seven years, but if they're terminally ill. We did so many different things; rebuilt the military. Yeah, I picked some people that, in retrospect, I wouldn't have done, but that always happens. That always happens.
Sharyl: Before you got elected, I asked you if you got elected, would someone review your tweets or help you go over them, or would you be doing them yourself. And you said at the time you thought somebody would probably help you with that, maybe review them. How did that work out? Do you actually, were you when you were allowed on Twitter, typing these things in yourself?
Trump: Sometimes, and sometimes I'd dictate them out to somebody, and they'd put them in. But it was my thoughts. And there's a mixed bag. Some people think, "Oh, I wish he didn't tweet," and a lot of people think that without doing that, maybe I wouldn't have been elected. I think I would have been. But there are a lot of people thought it was actually bad for me. Now I have something; I do basically releases. Save America; it's called Save America. And they get picked up in the millions, and millions, and millions.
Sharyl (on-camera): We’ve been asking Joe Biden for an interview for over a year and will keep trying.