Donald Trump warned that the nuclear deal with Iran would lead to a "nuclear holocaust" but said, in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," it would be "very hard" to undo the deal.
"They are going to be such a wealthy, such a powerful nation. They are going to have nuclear weapons. They are going to take over parts of the world that you wouldn't believe. And I think it's going to lead to nuclear holocaust," Trump said of Iran.
But he went on to acknowledge that even as president he may have to abide by it.
"It's very hard to say, 'We're ripping it up,'" Trump said.
Had he negotiated the deal, Trump insisted he would have laid down some ground rules from the start: First, he wouldn't have allowed Iran to access any of the estimated $150 billion in funds locked up by sanctions that have been unfrozen by the deal; he would have demanded they return our prisoners before even sitting down at the negotiating table; and he would have "doubled up" the sanctions to gain leverage. He also took issue with the 24 day waiting period for nuclear inspectors, saying it amounts to much longer than that and in "24 days plus numerous weeks, you can do anything."
But admitting he's likely stuck with the deal, Trump said he would do with it one of the things he says he does best in the business world — "police the contract."
"I'm really good at looking at a contract and finding things within a contract that even if they're bad," he said, in an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd on his private plane.
"I would police that contract so tough that they don't have a chance. As bad as the contract is, I will be so tough on that contract."
They marked his clearest comments yet on how he would tackle the Iran deal as president, which he and other Republicans have denounced as, they say, catastrophic to U.S. security.
Trump said Secretary of State John Kerry and other negotiators of the deal are "incompetent," and said if he becomes president he'd bring in business magnates like himself to cut deals with other nations.
"We have the greatest businesspeople in the world. We don't use them. We use political hacks. We use ambassadors," he said."I want the Carl Icahns. I want the great businesspeople. And I know them all. I want them to negotiate for us."
Trump offered the broad outlines of a foreign policy doctrine that would largely reign in America's involvement in conflicts abroad while demanding compensation where the U.S. military does engage on a country's behalf.
He also criticized the European nations, and Germany by name, for not taking the reins on conflicts like the Russian invasion of Crimea, which he said was an issue that "affects Europe a lot more."
"Where are the countries of Europe leading?" he asked. "I don't mind helping them. I don't mind being right behind them. I'll be right behind them."
But against ISIS, Trump expressed a more bellicose stance, proposing another ground invasion of Iraq to take the oil fields from the terrorist groups, any proceeds from which he said he'd give to wounded soldiers and the families of soldiers killed in battle.
When told the Obama administration's current strategy for combating ISIS includes a similar plank, Trump insisted: "If they are trying to do it, they picked it up from me. Because I started saying it three weeks ago."
Asked who he sought for counsel on military issues, however, Trump offered few details.
"Well, I watch the shows," he said, a reference to the Sunday political talk shows. "You know, when you watch your show and all of the other shows and you have the generals."
When pressed for names, Trump said "probably there are two or three" advisers he turns to, naming former UN Ambassador John Bolton, Ret. Army Colonel and NBC military analyst Jack Jacobs, and calling the "new head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," Gen. Joseph Dunford, a "very impressive guy."