Donald Trump's "Morning Joe" meltdown: The epic immigration debate that riled Mika, Halperin and The Donald

MUST-SEE: Voices get raised and frustration follows as the debate turns to Mexico, crime and immigration

By Salon Staff

Published July 15, 2015 8:38PM (EDT)

Donald Trump's appearance on "Morning Joe" turned testy this morning, as the Republican presidential front-runner in many polls clashed with Mika Brzezinski over immigration, Mexico and crime.

The transcript of the key section is below.

And so is an embed of the entire phone interview, which opens with Trump complaining that the American negotiators of the Iran nuclear agreement evidently did not read his book "The Art of the Deal."

Transcript courtesy MSNBC's "Morning Joe":

MIKA BRZEZINSKI:  What do you -- what do you regret about anything that you've said or done or how you've handled a situation?  What are you learning?  Because this is the first time you've actually been on the campaign.  It's been talked about for years, you've done a lot of things in your career, but this is something you've never done.  There must be something that you think,  "I've got to change my -- my ways here, I've got to make a change in strategy." What regrets do you have along the way?

DONALD TRUMP:  Mika, I've been very truthful.  I -- I tell you one thing I have learned is how dishonest, really dishonest, the media -- some of it.  Some is fantastic and some I have great respect for, but some of the political media, I'm used to dealing with the financial media and I get along with them very well, some of the political media really is very dishonest.  They don't want to print the truth, they don't want to say what you said, they don't want to say what you mean.  They know what you said, they know what you mean, and they put it in totally different words.  It's like you didn't say it and it's incredible to me.

So, I'm very much more careful when I'm dealing with certain people and, frankly, certain people you don't want to deal with.  I mean, I've had meetings with some of the various reporters that absolutely have taken what I've said and turned it to a point where they know it's dishonest and they actually smile about it...

BRZEZINSKI:  So we know -- I know what you're talking about...

TRUMP:  ... I just don't know, but I think it's important for people to know and I find that the public doesn't trust the media.  It's almost as bad as not trusting Congress, frankly.

BRZEZINSKI:  OK, I totally understand what you're tapping into there, but let's just go there, since you're going there, because I don't think it was just the media that misunderstood your words, if that's how you put it.  I think some people really understood what you were saying to be Mexican immigrants are rapist and murders.

So let me ask you the question...

TRUMP:  No, I didn't say that, because you didn't...

BRZEZINSKI:  ... so let me ask you the question.

TRUMP:  You didn't -- Mika, Mika, don't fall into the other category.

BRZEZINSKI:  I'm not falling into it Donald, I'm asking you...

TRUMP:  You didn't -- you didn't read my words...

BRZEZINSKI:  I didn't...

TRUMP:  ... it says Mexico is sending, the government of Mexico -- it says Mexico is sending, it doesn't say what you said.

BRZEZINSKI:  I'm asking if you can help me out here and answer the question.  Do you believe that Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers?

TRUMP:  Illegal immigrants are causing tremendous problems coming in.  I want legal immigrants, illegal immigrants are causing tremendous problems, Mika.  There's crime, it's a crime wave, it's a disaster.

Do I believe many people -- I mean, look, as far as I'm concerned, I hire, I have hundreds and hundreds of Mexicans working for me.  I love Mexican people, I love their spirit.  The problem we're having with Mexico is that their government officials and negotiators are far smarter than ours, like from a different planet, and they are negotiating deals, trade deals, the border, everything else.  We are getting the short end of the stick in every single instance and we are having a big problem. Mexico is sending a lot of their people over that they don't want, and that includes people that should be in Mexican prisons, and you know it and I know it and nobody wants to talk about it.

MARK HALPERIN:  Mr. Trump, the -- the last point you made is the one that set this off.  I'd just like you to be as specific as can you in saying how do you know the Mexican government is sending people over?  What's your evidence of that?

TRUMP:  Because I heard from five different sources...

HALPERIN:  What are the five sources?

TRUMP:  ... and if you speak to the border guards, who I've spoke to many of, if you speak to border guards, and these guys are terrific,  they're almost crying, they've almost got tears in their eyes when they explain that they're not allowed to do their job...

HALPERIN:  What are your -- what are your -- what are your five sources?

TRUMP:  ... and Mark, what happens is this.

HALPERIN:   I'm sorry, you said five sources.  What are your five sources, and I'm sorry to interrupt, but what are your five sources that say the Mexican government purposely sends their criminals to the United States?

TRUMP:  I'll reveal my sources when you reveal your sources, Mark.  I have a lot of information on it and so do -- so does everyone else, and you probably do, too, and for some reason they don't want to put out this information.  Mexico -- if you remember, many years ago when Fidel Castro opened its prisons and sent the people over and everybody knew it, we never sent them back, we -- we took these -- all of these prisoners.  Mexico, in a far more sophisticated way, is doing something very similar.  They're sending tremendously -- you look at the man that killed Kate.  You look at Jamiel -- Jamiel Shaw, you look at so many thousands of instances where illegals are coming in and it's a crime wave.  And frankly, Mexico doesn't care from the standpoint that they don't want to house these people for a long period of time in their prisons.  They say, "Let the United States take care of them.  Let the United States put them in their jails.  Why should we pay for it?"  And believe me, it's happening and it's happening big league (ph) and this country doesn't know.

And just like -- and in my opinion, what Mexico is more upset with, with me, Trump, is the fact that I'm revealing how bad the trade deals are.  I think they're more concerned with that than they are with what I'm saying on the border, because Florida's going in.  Everybody is going into Mexico and we're taking jobs, we're sucking jobs right out of our country.  Florida is building a $2.5 billion automobile factory in Mexico.  They're going to make cars and parts and trucks and send them back into the United States.  How does that help us?  I revealed that, I've told it, I've had the biggest audiences, you know that, the biggest standing ovations, you've been there.  And I will tell you, I'm revealing about the horrible trade deals that we're making, not only with Mexico, with China and every other place that we do business with.  And Mexico is more concerned about that than what I'm even saying at the border.  They're outsmarting our politicians.

Salon Staff

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