Former President Donald Trump is sending some pointed messages to friends and foes alike: No, Nikki Haley is not on his vice presidential list because there isn’t one right now. Yes, if he returns to the White House European countries had better get ready to pay more for the Ukraine war. And both federal agencies and nonprofits that espouse antisemitic views and threaten Jews should prepare to lose federal funding or even their tax-exempt status.
In a wide-ranging interview with Just the News, the 45th president surveyed the sort of policies he’ll pursue if voters return him to office next November as the nation’s 47th president. He made clear securing the U.S. southern border is a top priority as is cutting off the sources of income from oil sales and reclaiming the unfrozen funds that he says has revived Iran’s terrorism activities across the globe on Joe Biden’s watch. Those activities include recent rocket and drone attacks from proxy groups targeting U.S. troops. The United States said Tuesday that it had shot down 12 attack drones and five missiles launched by the Iran-backed Houthis.
“Iran was allowed to get rich because Joe Biden allowed them to,” Trump told the “Just the News, No Noise” television show on Real America’s Voice. “So he could say whatever he wants. But he’s the reason for this. He’s an incompetent president. He’s a compromised president, totally compromised. But he allowed them to get rich.”
“But worse than being rich, because of the money, because of what they have, they will have within a short period of time nuclear weapons,” Trump added. “And that is never something that can be allowed to happen.”
Trump made clear he plans to return U.S.-Iran policy to a strict regimen of sanctions to choke off any funding for Tehran to use on weapons or terrorism support.
“Iran was broke. They didn’t have any money to get around. I put sanctions on. I put everything on, and told countries, China, many countries, India, France, ‘don’t buy oil … you buy any oil, we’re not going to do business with you. And we’re going to put tariffs on all the products that do get through, We’re not going to do business,’” Trump said, contrasting his policies with Biden’s.
“They didn’t have money for Hezbollah. And this would have never happened, it also wouldn’t have happened because they knew the consequences would have been much different than what you see right now,” he added.
In the aftermath of controversial congressional testimony from Ivy League university bosses who refused to say they would punish antisemitic behavior by students, Trump also said he would use the power of the purse if re-elected to punish government agencies and nonprofits whose actions or words threaten Jews.
“I would use that power and I use it very strongly and very powerfully,” he said when asked about potentially taking away federal funding or tax exemptions from entities that engaged in antisemitic behavior.
Turning his attention to the primary race with the Iowa caucuses less than three weeks away, Trump directly disputed media speculation he might consider challenger Nikki Haley, his former U.N. ambassador, for vice president. He said he has no short list at all right now because he focused on winning the primaries.
“No, I’m not considering anybody at this point,” the former president said. “Look, I want to win. And one thing I will say, and I’ve watched this for a long time, the vice president has virtually no impact. You can go back all throughout history, whoever the choice of vice president says virtually no impact as to who is going to get a nomination to get elected.”
Trump said he believes he had a good rapport with Haley but felt she was a bit disloyal when she decided to run against him.
“Nikki, I know very well. And I actually got along with very well, and she wasn’t going to run. She said I was a great president and she would not run as long as I ran. And then one day she decided to run. So you know, I thought that was somewhat disloyal,” he said. “… So I was a little bit surprised at that. But that’s a politician.”
Turning to Europe, Trump promised to use the same strategy that prompted NATO countries to pony up more money for the alliance in his first term to get Ukraine’s neighbors to pay more toward the war with Russia if he gets a second term.
“Why aren’t these countries going dollar for dollar with us? Obviously, it’s got to be more important. They’re right there. We’re not. We have an ocean separating us. Why is it that they’re in for a tiny fraction of what we are in terms of payments with regard to Ukraine?” he asked.
“So we’re in for perhaps $200 billion,” he added. “It could be more. Nobody really even knows the number. And they’re in for a tiny fraction of that. Very unfair, I say they have to equalize it. If they don’t equalize, the United States cannot keep doing it as the United States is $36 trillion in debt.”
Trump also focused on a security crisis closer to home, as a large caravan this week approaches a southern U.S. border that has already been overrun by millions of illegal immigrants during Biden’s first three years in office.
“These people are either evil that are running our country or there’s something wrong with them,” he said of the Biden administration and its border managers.
“There is no understanding why millions and millions of people are allowed to freely walk into our country,” he added. “And the crime is the crime that they’re causing. And the problems that they cause, you know, that nobody’s telling you about: their stays in hotels. Taking over hotels, top hotels, being paid for by the United States while our vets are sleeping on streets.”