In a wide-ranging interview this week, Donald Trump said the US economy is headed for disaster—unless, it seems, he takes the reins. He also compared himself to the Lone Ranger and predicted the American people will "be falling asleep" if he becomes president. Among the highlights of his Washington Post interview with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa:
- The economy is going into a "very massive recession," says Trump, despite popular economic forecasts to the contrary. "It's a terrible time right now" to invest in stocks, he adds. Will his words hurt financial markets? "I know the Wall Street people probably better than anybody knows them. I don’t need them."
- "I'm pessimistic," he says about the economy. "Unless changes are made. Changes could be made. I can fix it. I can fix it pretty quickly."
- Trump says he can wipe away $19 trillion in US debt without gouging the nation's $4 trillion annual budget. "I'm renegotiating all of our deals, the big trade deals that we’re doing so badly on," he explains. (Barry Bennett, a senior Trump advisor, also says Trump could sell off $16 trillion in government assets—although NBC News notes that the US government values its own assets at just $3.2 trillion.)
- "I bring rage out," Trump says of his combative style. "And after it’s all over, [my opponents] end up being my friends. And I see that happening here." But maybe not his GOP rivals: "I’m not sure they can ever go back to me. I was very rough on Jeb." He used phrases like "Jeb: Low energy. Little Marco," Trump recalls. "Names that were devastating."
- With his go-it-alone style, is he the Lone Ranger? "I am," he says. "Because I understand life. And I understand how life works. I’m the Lone Ranger."
- "And after I win, I will be so presidential that you won’t even recognize me. You’ll be falling asleep, you’ll be so bored."
In a rare moment, Trump admitted to "a mistake." (Read more Donald Trump 2016 stories.)