Over the weekend, Donald Trump appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” where he was challenged by host George Stephanopoulos to respond to charges from rival Ted Cruz and others that he would not be a conservative president. You can watch the exchange and read the transcript below (starts at 2:36):
STEPHANOPOULOS: He’s also circulating that clip of you on Tim Russert in 1999, where you said, “I lived in New York City, in Manhattan, all my life, OK? So, you know my views are a little bit different than if I lived in Iowa.” So those were your words.
TRUMP: Yes, a long time ago. And, just so you understand, he’s taking money from people that are very much into the whole gay marriage situation and he’s taking money from them and he’s, you know, raising funds from them. Then he got caught the other day on a tape when he was raising funds at a law office, talking about things that are priorities and not priorities. This was not a priority.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’re saying he’s a hypocrite?
TRUMP: Oh, he’s a total hypocrite.
How about his fundraising and how about when he does his personal financial disclosure form and he doesn’t put on that he’s borrowing money from Goldman Sachs and then today it comes out that he’s also borrowing money from Citibank and he doesn’t list it. You know why? He wants to look like Robin Hood, that he is the one protecting the people from the banks. Well, he’s actually borrowing money and personally guaranteeing it and not disclosing it, which is illegal.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But how about you? Those were your words. You were talking about, in that interview, issues like gay marriage, talking about how you were strongly pro-choice. And as your comparison of New York values and Iowa views. And it’s led a lot of conservatives to think boy, maybe he’s going to switch again. He’s not going to be (INAUDIBLE)…
TRUMP: See, it doesn’t matter what they think. It doesn’t matter. They understand me. They understand trade. I don’t consider myself to be anything, you know, when they ask labels. We’re talking about labels. I consider myself to be, right now, somebody that…
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’re not a conservative?
TRUMP: No, I’m conservative, but when it comes to different elements of what I believe in, that’s what people really understand. I’m going to solve our trade problem. I’m going to solve our military problem. I’m going to get rid of ISIS. I’m going to create borders. I’m going to do the things that this is what they want.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But they are — they’re afraid you’re going to abandon conservative issues if you get the nomination.
TRUMP: I don’t think too many people are afraid of that, OK, because if you look at the polls, I’m leading Ted Cruz by a lot. He even lied about that. You know, he got up and said, well, the polls — well, the polls are showing that I’m the one that’s on the up swing. He’s the one on the down swing, a big down swing. But when you look at what he said and when you look at the way he said it and the scorn toward New York, I thought it was a disgrace, in light of the World Trade Center, in light of all the people that died. And think about the firemen — the firemen that went up those buildings and they were killed instantaneously. And they probably pretty much knew those buildings were coming down and they’re going up to save lives. And, by the way, speaking of Iowa, which I love, and I’m leading in the polls right now in Iowa, by the way, but I love — we had firemen from Iowa which was so beautiful, and other places, many other places, coming to the World Trade Center to help. You had people from Iowa, and in particular, the fire department, coming all the way from Iowa to help with the World Trade Center. And here’s Ted Cruz putting down that and the great, you know, the great…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, he didn’t put that down.
TRUMP: — people of New York. No, he’s putting down the great people of New York. Hey, you’ve been there. Who could have done — very few people could have done what New Yorkers did under that unbelievable circumstance.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about some of the issues. Judges. What kind of judges will you appoint? Will they be conservative? What does that mean to you and how will you ensure it?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, we have a lot of judges that have to be appointed because we have a lot of openings in terms of judges. And I’m very happy about that, to be honest, because I think, you know, appointing judges is a very important and a very, frankly, a very, very important element of what we’re doing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But Ted Cruz says he’s going to appoint rock rib conservatives with a paper trail. What are you going to do?
TRUMP: Well, I’m going to appoint conservative judges. I’m going to appoint people that have great reputations, that are great with the legal profession…
TRUMP: Well, I can say like any — you know a judge who is a totally underrated and not spoken is Justice Thomas. I mean, if you look at — if you look at some of the judges that we have like on the Supreme Court, Justice Roberts turned out to be a nightmare for conservatives. I mean…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But how are you going to…
TRUMP: Wait, let me first say. Ted Cruz, was the one that really wanted Justice Roberts to go on the Supreme Court. You know that, right? Have you heard that? Let me just say, he was pushing him hard. Justice Roberts gave us Obamacare. Obamacare would have been terminated twice if it weren’t for Justice Roberts. First time, 100 percent, second time 90 percent it would have died of its own weight. But Justice Roberts could have killed Obamacare, and should have, based on everything. Should have killed it twice. Ted Cruz is the one that was promoting him. Ted Cruz and also Jeb Bush. But Justice Roberts was the man that gave us — and remember it — he gave us Obamacare almost as much as Obama himself.
Thomas Valentine is a researcher for the American Principles Project and a junior at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.