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07/28/2015 11:39 am ET Updated Jul 28, 2015

In 1988, Oprah Asked Donald Trump If He'd Ever Run For President. Here's How He Replied.

Donald Trump wasn't always so sure he wanted to run for president.

Long before The Donald officially kicked off his polarizing 2016 run and became the Republican frontrunner, Oprah asked the business tycoon about his political aspirations on a 1988 episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."  Trump had originally appeared on the show to promote a new book and discuss his life as a businessman, but the conversation soon turned toward foreign policy and how Trump would take a tougher stance with America's allies.

"I'd make our allies pay their fair share. We're a debtor nation; something's going to happen over the next number of years in this country, because you can't keep going on losing $200 billion," he said on "The Oprah Show" back then. "We let Japan come in and dump everything right into our markets... They come over here, they sell their cars, their VCRs. They knock the hell out of our companies. And, hey, I have tremendous respect for the Japanese people. I mean, you can respect somebody that's beating the hell out of you, but they are beating the hell out of this country. Kuwait, they live like kings… and yet, they're not paying. We make it possible for them to sell their oil. Why aren't they paying us 25 percent of what they're making? It's a joke."

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The rant prompted Oprah to ask the question that people would ask for the next few decades.

"This sounds like political, presidential talk to me," she said. "I know people have talked to you about whether or not you want to run; would you ever?" 

"Probably not," Trump responded. "But I do get tired of seeing the country get ripped off… I just don't think I have the inclination to do it."

Of course, he couldn't help but hedge.

"If it got so bad, I would never want to rule it out totally, because I really am tired of seeing what's happening with this country," Trump said. "We're really making other people live like kings, and we're not."

He wasn't interested in running for president back then, but that didn't stop the mogul from predicting how he'd fare if he did enter the race.

"I think I'd win," Trump said. "I'll tell you what: I wouldn't go in to lose."

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