Donald Trump is the co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, the company that owns the Miss USA pageant. In advance of the pageant, which will be broadcast from the Hippodrome Theatre on Monday night, The Donald dished on some of his favorite subjects, including show biz and beautiful women.
Will you be at the pageant?
I will be there. It will be very exciting. You know we had 18 cities who wanted it, and Baltimore got it, and so it's a great tribute to the mayor.
Did you watch pageants growing up?
I always liked watching beautiful women. Obviously, I'm not the only one - we had 16 million people watching last year. It's always something that's fascinated me.
Are pageants old-fashioned?
It's only old-fashioned when it doesn't get good ratings, and we got great ratings. Now Miss America doesn't get great ratings because their format doesn't work. ... It only becomes old-fashioned when the ratings aren't there.
Rumor has it that you're thinking of buying the Miss America pageant. Are you?
I think it's very unlikely. It's mired with problems. It's a not-for-profit pageant.
What led you to buy Miss USA?
It was something that I watched over the years, Miss USA and Miss Universe, and I thought it had great potential. I was right.
What's the difference between the appeal of Miss USA and The Apprentice?
The Apprentice is one of the hottest shows on television and, in terms of ratings, The Apprentice is through the roof. Miss USA also gets very high ratings.
Miss USA, I think, caters to a wider audience. The Apprentice caters to very, very success-oriented people, probably skews a little younger. Miss USA caters to a vast array of everybody.
Any more plans to adapt the Miss USA pageant to a reality format?
You never know what's going to work. Who would have known The Apprentice was going to work? It's something we're thinking about. You never know what's going to work until you check the ratings the next day.
I've already got the hottest reality show in television in The Apprentice, you know what I mean? That's really the focus.
What is a beautiful woman?
A woman is beautiful in many different ways, and there are different forms of beauty, but it always starts with inner beauty. Without inner beauty there can be no outer beauty.
Besides your wife and daughter, who is the most beautiful woman in America today?
I'd rather not say about today, because a lot of people will get upset with me, but Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, they are more beautiful than the so-called great beauties of these days, except for my wife, who is truly a great beauty.
Is Baltimore a beautiful city?
I've been there many times. It's been amazing to see what has happened to Baltimore over the years in terms of economic development. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I think it's a city that's made tremendous strides.
What are your plans while you're in town?
Not much. The primary thing I want to do is go back and meet all the contestants. That's work for me as the owner of the pageant. Can you believe they consider that work?
Do you have a favorite woman to win the pageant this year?
No, but I will say that the women are really very beautiful, from what I'm hearing. Not that I'm surprised. I hear it's a top list.
Would you let the reigning Miss USA, Shandi Finnessey, run one of your companies?
I'd have to give her a major IQ test first.