Fox News interview with Greta Van Susteren, September 12, 2013:
VAN SUSTEREN: Last night, there was an op-ed put in The New York Times by President Putin of Russia. Right before "On the Record" started, the news broke. So I'm curious what you think. Do you think President Obama knew this was coming, or was this an end run on the president?
TRUMP: I don't think he knew it was coming. I thought it was amazingly well crafted. I've read it a number of times. There are a lot of different ideas in there. And frankly, it was very good for Russia. Makes us feel like almost we're being talked down to. But certainly, a very well written letter or op-ed from the standpoint of Russia.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, Russia wants diplomacy, doesn't want military intervention. So what did President Putin gain by sort of slapping the president in the face a little bit, insulting the United States about exceptionalism and also saying that it was not Assad who had the chemical weapons but the rebels? So what does Putin get out of this? He makes everyone angry, not willing to talk.
TRUMP: Well, I think it makes Putin look extremely diplomatic. And you know, they talk all about his dogmatic ways and his toughness, but it actually makes him sound very reasoned and very reasoning. And frankly, I don't know that he wrote the letter. Certainly, there were his ideas. But the way it was crafted was very, very interesting. And it really is talking down to the president. There's no question about that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, Speaker Boehner said he was insulted by some of the remarks in that. I assume it was the part where it talked about exceptionalism, that he was insulted by that. What I thought was extraordinary is how President Putin wanted to speak directly to the American people and bypass the president in addition to sort of the slaps that he made.
TRUMP: Well, absolutely amazing that he did that. And certainly, it's getting play all over the world. And it really makes him look like a great leader, frankly. And when he criticizes the president for using the term "American exceptionalism," if you're in Russia, you don't want to hear that America is exceptional. And if you're in many other countries, whether it's Germany or other places, you don't want to hear about American exceptionalism because you think you're exceptional. So I can see that being very insulting to the world.
And that's basically what Putin was saying is that, you know, you use a term like "American exceptionalism," and frankly, the way our country is being treated right now by Russia and Syria and lots of other places and with all the mistakes we've made over the years, like Iraq and so many others, it's sort of a hard term to use.
But other nations and other countries don't want hear about American exceptionalism. They're insulted by it. And that's what Putin was saying.