Entrepreneur, reality show star and erstwhile Republican candidate Donald Trump co-hosted a “tele-townhall” on the economy with Michele Bachmann Monday night. They both discussed Occupy Wall Street, but Mr. Trump stopped short of endorsing Ms. Bachmann’s white house bid.
Right off the bat, Ms. Bachmann made it clear Mr. Trump’s participation on the call didn’t constitute an official endorsement.
“He is not on the call this evening because he is endorsing my campaign for Presidency, he’s on the call this evening because he’s admired, he’s respected,” Ms. Bachmann said.
In his introductory remarks, Mr. Trump, said he had “a lot of respect for Michele Bachmann” after “a wonderful breakfast the other day.”
Their conversation turned to Occupy Wall Street after one of the callers, who were all supporters signed up via Ms. Bachmann’s website, asked Mr. Trump and Ms. Bachmann for their take on ”what appears to be Marxist groups down there on Wall Street.”
Ms. Bachmann expressed skepticism about the source of the protests.
“I think people are looking at this trying to figure out if this a George Soros protest going on down there. Are these legitimate grievances?” Ms. Bachmann asked.
Though she also acknowledged that many people are “rightly concerned” about the economy, Ms. Bachmann urged Americans to reserve their anger for the federal government rather than the banks.
“My opinion is, we see that the federal goverment really was backing a lot of this mess,” Ms. Bachmann said.
Ms. Bachmann said the federal government helped fuel the economic collapse by “forcing banks to lower their lending standards” in order to issue “politically correct loans.”
“The problem with Wall Street is that they never said, ‘No,’ because there was an implied guarantee that if anything happened the federal government would bail them out,” Ms. Bachmann said.
Mr. Trump expressed frustration with Occupy Wall Street.
“I watched tonight, a newscast. … Many of them are just having a good time at other people’s expense,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump also described being in New York during this weekend’s Occupy Wall Street Times Square march.
“It was not a pleasant site to see it. This is not like protests that you’ve been witnessing across the year in other countries,” Mr. Trump said noting that many Occupy Wall Street protesters are “very well-dressed.”
Mr. Trump then wondered “at what point” the protesters will be told, “it’s time to go home.”
“At some point, something’s going to have to be done to break it up, because you’re pitching tents in the city, you’re pitching tents in the street,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump kept his focus on the economy rather than politics only saying that he believed any of the Republican candidates would be a vast improvement on President Obama. He declined to comment when a caller asked if he’d consider joining a Bachmann/Trump ticket.
“I don’t think that’s what we’re here for tonight,” Mr. Trump said.
(Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father in law of Jared Kushner, the owner of Observer Media Group)