Breaking News Emails
Donald Trump says that his speech at the Republican National Convention Thursday night offered an optimistic message because "we're going to solve the problems."
The GOP nominee pushed back against critics who called Trump's vision of a crumbling America too pessimistic, telling NBC's Chuck Todd in an interview on Meet The Press that he intended to portray only a choice between himself and Hillary Clinton.
Asked about his statement that "I alone can fix it" — a sentiment blasted by critics as a flirtation with totalitarianism — Trump said his ability to solve America's problems is a binary contrast with the Democratic nominee.
"I am running against Hillary. It's not like I'm running against the rest of the world. I know people that are very, very capable that could do a very good job, but they could never get elected," he said.
Trump called critics of his address "haters," saying that the latest round of violence in the Middle East justifies the grim view of world affairs he presented in his speech.
"I think the only negativity, and, you know, the hate, I call them the haters, and that's fine. But the only negative reviews were, "A little dark." And the following day, they had another attack, and then today you see what happened in Afghanistan with many, many people killed," he said.
In the interview, Trump expanded on his plan to restrict immigration from areas with high levels of terrorism, insisting that his rhetoric is not a "roll back" of his initial proposal to ban all Muslim immigrants.
"I actually don't think it's a rollback. In fact, you could say it's an expansion. I'm looking now at territory. People were so upset when I used the word Muslim. Oh, you can't use the word Muslim. Remember this. And I'm okay with that because I'm talking territory instead of Muslim," he said.
"But just remember this," Trump added. "Our Constitution is great. But it doesn't necessarily give us the right to commit suicide, okay? Now, we have a religious, you know, everybody wants to be protected. And that's great. And that's the wonderful part of our Constitution. I view it differently."
The Republican nominee told host Chuck Todd that he stands by his embrace of the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union, saying that he does not worry about how his comments could impact the world economy. Calling the World Trade Organization a "disaster," he reiterated his frustration with member countries of NATO who "aren't paying what they are supposed to be paying," as well as his long-standing criticism of NAFTA.
Trump also dismissed the congressional run of former KKK leader David Duke, who said he was inspired by Trump to mount a bid.
Noting that he was criticized for not disavowing Duke's endorsement earlier, he said flatly, "Rebuked, done."
Watch Meet the Press for the full interview.