THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOR NOVEMBER 22, 2015 and it will be updated.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST: Let’s bring in Mr. Trump right now. He joins us on the phone. You just heard those poll results,Donald Trump. Also new poll out in New Hampshire showing you holding the lead. Is the nomination now yours to lose?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don’t know, I don’t think about it. I think about the date, all of a sudden February 1, that’s Iowa, and then we have New Hampshire. We’re doing great in both those places. We’re doing great all over the country; I think I’m leading every state. But we’re doing really well. I was happy to hear your numbers but I’m not surprised. And we’ll see what happens. I mean, people are tired, they’re sick and tired of incompetence. They’re sick and tired of stupid people leading them, the deals they make, whether it’s trade or whether it’s dealing with ISIS, everything is wrong. They don’t know what they’re doing.
I was after the oil. I said attack the oil. I’ve been telling you that, George, for two years, attack the oil. They didn’t do it. ISIS became wealthy with the oil. Now they’re starting to attack the oil. Nobody mentions it was me.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You did stir up a controversy with those comments over the database. Let’s try to clear that up. Are you unequivocally now ruling out a database on all Muslims?
TRUMP: No, not at all. I want a database for the refugees that -- if they come into the country. We have no idea who these people are. When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don’t know if they’re ISIS, we don’t know if it’s a Trojan horse. And I definitely want a database and other checks and balances. We want to go with watchlists. We want to go with databases.
And we have no choice. We have no idea who’s being sent in here. This could be the Trojan -- it’s probably not, but it could be the great Trojan horse of all time, where they come in. When I look at those migration -- and when I look at the migration and the lines and I see all strong, very powerful looking men, they’re men, and I see very few women, I see very few children, there’s something strange going on. And if you look at what’s happened in Europe, a lot of bad things are happening in Europe. Just ask the folks that live in Germany, George. A lot of bad things are happening. So --
STEPHANOPOULOS: But the statistics do show --
TRUMP: We want to be smart. We want to -- hey, George, we want to be vigilant. We have to be vigilant and we have to call -- is radical -- we have to just say it. It’s radical Islamicterrorism, and that’s what it is. And we have a president that won’t even issue the term. But when the Syrians come in, or wherever they are, because we’re not even sure that they’re coming in from Syria, if they’re going to come in, we have to be very, very vigilant and a database would be fine for them, and watchlist is fine. We have to watch and see what we’re doing.
They should not come in, by the way. They should not be allowed to come in.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Just -- just for the record, though, the statistics do show the majority of the refugees coming in are women and children.
You’ve also told Yahoo! News that we have to be doing things that were unthinkable a year ago. I want to get into what you had in mind. For example, do you think we should bring back enhanced interrogation like waterboarding?
TRUMP: Well, we have to be strong. You know, they don’t use waterboarding over there; they use chopping off people’s heads. They use drowning people. I don’t know if you’ve seen with the cages where they put people in cages and they drown them in the ocean and they lift out the cage. And we’re talking about waterboarding. We have to be tough --
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’d bring back waterboarding?
TRUMP: We have -- I would bring it back, yes. I would bring it back. I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they’d do to us, what they’re doing to us, what they did to James Foley when they chopped off his head. That’s a whole different level and I would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve also said we have to consider closing mosques. Jeb Bush called that a sign of weakness.
TRUMP: Well, Jeb Bush is a weak person and that’s been defined very strongly. I mean, Jeb is a weak person who is a, you know, I call him a low energy person. That’s what he is. I mean, call him anything you want, but Jeb is a person that will not solve a problem like this.
You have very, very tough people that you’re dealing with. They only understand strength. They don’t understand weakness. Somebody like Jeb, and others that are running against me -- and by the way Hillary is another one. I mean, Hillary is a person who doesn’t have the strength or the stamina, in my opinion, to be president. She doesn’t have strength or stamina. She’s not a strong enough person to be president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what would be your criteria --
TRUMP: We’re dealing with --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- for closing a mosque?
TRUMP: We’re dealing with very -- George, we’re dealing with very, very strong people. And you need strength and you need stamina.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I get that, but --
TRUMP: Hillary does not have that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- I want to get the details though. What would be your criteria for closing a mosque? And how does that square with the First Amendment? You’ve said your top priority would be to preserve and protect our religious liberties. Is that only for Christians? What are your criteria for closing a mosque?
TRUMP: Well, I don’t want to close mosques; I want to surveil mosques. I want mosques surveiled. We were doing it New York City for a while until the worst mayor that New York City has ever had got elected --
STEPHANOPOULOS: All mosques?
TRUMP: De Blasio, which was a fluke. And all I would do, certainly there are certain hot spots and everybody knows they’re hot spots. And let me tell you, the people that are involved in those mosques, they know who the bad ones are and they know who the good ones are, but they don’t talk. And we have to surveil the mosques, and we were doing it! We were doing it recently until De Blasio closed them up in New York City. We were doing it recently. We have to surveil the mosques.
And big material and good material, from what I understood from a very good source, was coming out of those mosques. We were learning a lot. And they were stopping problems and potential problems by learning what was happening.
Hey look, I don’t want to close up mosques but things have to happen where, if you’ve got -- you have got to use strong measures you’re going to see buildings coming down all over New York City and elsewhere.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve also talked about you want to keep the terror watchlist, but under current law individuals on the terror watchlist and the no-fly list have been allowed to buy guns and explosives. Are you OK with that?
TRUMP: We have to have a watchlist, and if that watchlist has somebody that’s -- you know, we have -- you know, we have the laws right now. We have the laws already on the books as far as Second Amendment for guns, and as you know I’m a big, big, really big proponent of the Second Amendment.
If in -- I’ll give you an example. If in Paris some of those people, those -- and if you had some of those people had guns, you wouldn't have had the horror show that you had with nobody...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But why should someone on the watch list...
TRUMP: -- out of hundreds of people (INAUDIBLE)...
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- be able to have a gun?
TRUMP: No, no. You -- if people are on a watch list or people are sick, you have already -- this is already covered in the legislation that we already have, George. It's already fully covered.