DICKERSON: At the debate, you talked about H-1B visas. You said: "It's something I, frankly, use, and I shouldn't be allowed to use it." When you have talked about the bankruptcy laws, you talk about how you took advantage of them. When you and I talked about your taxes, you say you try and pay as little as possible. If you are president, why would anybody follow the laws that you put in place if they knew you were taking advantage of those laws when you were in the private sector?What's Dickerson trying to say, that taxpayers should pay more than they owe? That businesspersons shouldn't understand the law, see what's to their advantage, and structure their transactions efficiently? Why wouldn't voters trust a businessperson who followed the law and figured out how to use it? Don't we want someone knowledgeable and competent? We're supposed to prefer someone who's so intimidated by law that he wastes money? Is Dickerson a fool or is he just trying to manipulate viewers into thinking ill of Trump?
Here's Trump's answer (with another weirdly obtuse question by Dickerson):
TRUMP: Because I know the game better than anybody, because I have been on the other side. I have built one of the greatest companies. I did a filing which shows one of the great companies, great assets, very little debt, tremendous cash flow, some of the greatest assets in the world. But let me just tell you, I use the bankruptcy laws just like other very successful people. I don't [want] to use their names, but I could name 10 people right now, the biggest people in all of business. We do it. It's the game we play. We use the laws of the land."But why wouldn't people keep playing?" There's nothing wrong with "playing." The key is to put the right rules and regulations in place and then to enforce them. If you don't like what people are doing when they are following the law, then something's wrong with the law, not with the people who are finding effective ways to compete.
DICKERSON: But why wouldn't people keep playing...
TRUMP: We use it. And that's the way we play the game. Wait a minute. As far as the visas are concerned, I'm not doing anything wrong. I think the -- those visas shouldn't be allowed. But they are allowed. They are part of the fabric of what you do. So, I'll use it. I mean, I'm a businessman. Now that I have turned politician -- I hate to say that, almost, about myself -- but now that I'm running for office, I know the game better than anybody. I'm the one that can fix all of this stuff. But when you start talking about -- I never went bankrupt. I never went bankrupt. You understand I never went bankrupt. But you take a look at the business leaders. Every once in a while -- I have 500 companies. I have so many different companies. And a very few, I will take advantage of -- frankly, by using the laws of the land, as every other major businessperson does.
I don't see Trump as fomenting disrespect for the law. It's more the opposite. The law matters. Get it right. People using the law to their selfish advantage may reveal what's wrong with the law, and Trump is offering his services, as an expert player, in seeing and fixing the flaws so that the game produces a result that is in the general interest of the American people. There may be reasons not to trust him (and there are surely reasons to mistrust those who've played the law game from positions in government), but his use of the law isn't a good reason.
"It's something I, frankly, use, and I shouldn't be allowed to use it." Perfect!