Trump: 'It's About Time That This Country Had Somebody Running It That Has an Idea About Money'

By Susan Jones | September 27, 2016 | 7:30am EDT
Republican Donald Trump makes a point during the presidential debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

( - "I am very underleveraged.  I have a great company. I have a tremendous income," Donald Trump said at the first presidential debate of 2016. "And the reason I say that is not in a braggadocios way. It's because it's about time that this country had somebody running it that has an idea about money.

When we have $20 trillion in debt, and our country's a mess, you know, it's one thing to have $20 trillion in debt and our roads are good and our bridges are good and everything's in great shape, our airports. Our airports are like from a third world country."

Trump compared the airports in New York and Los Angeles and Newark with "these incredible airports" in Dubai, Qatar and China: "We've become a Third World country," he said.

"So the worst of all things has happened. We owe $20 trillion, and we're a mess. We haven't even started. And we've spent $6 trillion in the Middle East, according to a report that I just saw. Whether it's 6 or 5, but it looks like it's 6, $6 trillion in the Middle East, we could have rebuilt our country twice.

"And it's really a shame. And it's politicians like Secretary Clinton that have caused this problem. Our country has tremendous problems. We're a debtor nation. We're a serious debtor nation. And we have a country that needs new roads, new tunnels, new bridges, new airports, new schools, new hospitals. And we don't have the money, because it's been squandered on so many of your ideas."

Clinton jabbed back: "And maybe because you haven't paid any federal income tax for a lot of years." The remark drew applause from her fans.

"It would be squandered, too, believe me," Trump responded.

Clinton slammed Trump for stiffing some of the people with whom he does business: "We have an architect in the audience who designed one of your clubhouses at one of your golf courses," Clinton said. "It's a beautiful facility. It immediately was put to use. And you wouldn't pay what the man needed to be paid, what he was charging you to do--"

"Maybe he didn't do a good job, and I was unsatisfied with his work...which our country should do, too," Trump responded.

Clinton continued her criticism of Trump, suggesting he should apologize to "the thousands of people that you have stiffed." She also noted that he's filed for bankruptcy six times, and she argued that what happens in the business world might be "really bad for government."

Trump responded: "Look, it's all words, it's all sound bites. I built an unbelievable company."

He said he took advantage of certain laws in the course of doing business: "Now, if you want to change the laws -- you've been there a long time, change the laws. But I take advantage of the laws of the nation because I'm running a company. My obligation right now is to do well for myself, my family, my employees, for my companies. And that's what I do.

"But what she doesn't say is that tens of thousands of people that are unbelievably happy and that love me. I'll give you an example. We're just opening up on Pennsylvania Avenue right next to the White House, so if I don't get there one way, I'm going to get to Pennsylvania Avenue another.

"But we're opening the Old Post Office. Under budget, ahead of schedule, saved tremendous money. I'm a year ahead of schedule. And that's what this country should be doing.

"We build roads and they cost two and three and four times what they're supposed to cost. We buy products for our military and they come in at costs that are so far above what they were supposed to be, because we don't have people that know what they're doing.

"When we look at the budget, the budget is bad to a large extent because we have people that have no idea as to what to do and how to buy. The Trump International is way under budget and way ahead of schedule. And we should be able to do that for our country," Trump said.

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