In a short interview Thursday before he took the stage at Merrill Auditorium, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sat down with Portland Press Herald political reporter Scott Thistle to discuss a half-dozen topics. Here are the candidate’s responses:

Q: What do you even need the Republican Party for at this point?

A: I have a lot of grassroots support, look at the crowd you have outside as an example. You know we just got back from Florida, we had two events yesterday, we had one where we had 18,000 people, one where we had 15,000 – totally sold-out arenas. We do have great support but having the support of everybody would be a good thing if it happens. Now that’s not the way I got here as you know. I got here on a little bit of a different path, I came here really as outsider and I think people like the outsider. Still if we had the political support of some of the leaders, that would be I think positive.

Q: Is there anything at this point in the game that would make you drop out of the race, as we’ve heard great speculation?

A: That I haven’t heard. No, we fought very hard, I spent tremendous numbers of hours and days and months winning and you know against a total of 17 people and here I am. No, we are really happy to be where I am. I hear we are polling very well in Maine. I think we are going to do well in Maine, you know, we’ll see. We seem to have very good support. We have good support all over. Last night we had 18,000 in one arena and the other one was packed also with thousands, so there’s a lot of support.

Q: I don’t want you to take any offense, but you’re no spring chicken, right? How do you keep the intensity up, everybody is just like, ‘This guy how does he keep it going?'”


A: A lot of people ask me that question – it’s an amazing feat, but I know people that can do that and maybe I got lucky with my parents, I had great parents – perhaps I got lucky with my parents.

Hear Scott Thistle’s interview with Donald Trump:

Q: As a follow on to that, some people say, “This guy is going to be 70,” or are you 70?

A: Just turned 70.

Q: Some people will say this guy’s too old to be president, what do you tell them?

A: Well younger than Ronald Reagan, younger than some, basically I guess Hillary is about that same age, a number of them are about that age. That seems to be a good political age for the presidency if you look it’s all around that middle vicinity. I think Ronald Reagan was one of our great presidents and that was an older age, so that’s the way we have it.


Q: So this is your third trip to Maine … I would just like to ask you why Maine? We’ve got just four electoral college votes – is there a strategy there?

A: There is, there is a little bit of a strategy there. I’m up here, I’ve got friends up here, we can see our friends. I have a lot of respect for your governor. Paul is terrific, he’s doing a great job. We are going to give a speech. You know we see something that’s very interesting, we have a lot of support, we have a great Republican group up here, as you know and we have a lot of support. You saw the young people walking out and those are people knocking on doors. And they were just telling me they think we are going to win the whole state not just the one vote.

Q: So you think you could get all four?

A: I think we have a good chance of it, based on everything I’m hearing, based on some polling we’ve done internally, I think we have a good chance. But you know we are also here to see some people and one of those people is Paul, you know we have a lot of respect for Paul, your governor.

Q: Speaking of Governor LePage, do you foresee any space in your cabinet for him and if so what would you like him to do?

A: I’ll tell you what. I don’t know that he would want that but he is a very talented guy, he is also a great person, a tremendous person and if he were available I would certainly find something for Paul because he’s done a great job up here, he’s not only popular, he’s done an unbelievable job so I would certainly say that he would be a candidate.


Q: What was the best deal you ever made – the best deal?

A: Maybe the West Side Railroad Yards on the west side of Manhattan, that was one of the great deals that I made, one of the best real estate deals …we built almost 6,000 units on the west side of Manhattan, land, a very successful job.

Q: What would be the best deal you could negotiate as president of the United States?

A: Peace all over the world would be the best deal. And I think I would know how to do it better than anybody else, but peace all over the world.

Portland Press Herald State House reporter Scott Thistle has covered Maine politics for 10 years.

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