Carrie Rengers

Presidential hopeful Trump jokes that Phil Ruffin would be in charge of China policy

Presidential hopeful Donald Trump gave a shout out to his buddy Phil Ruffin in Las Vegas over the weekend.

Speaking at FreedomFest on Saturday, Trump said the Wichita native and Treasure Island owner is such a good negotiator that he’d put him in charge of his China policy.

“He was kidding,” Ruffin is quick to say.

“I’m not going to be any kind of negotiator in China. I’m stuck here at the Treasure Island. That’s what I do.”

Ruffin does admit, though, to being a good negotiator.

So what’s his strategy?

“First, you drop the atom bomb. Take a strong position that you know they’re not going to live with, then you back off from there. It’s really quite simple,” Ruffin says. “Once they think they don’t have a deal, then they get realistic on negotiation.”

He adds, “Let them talk first, you respond.”

Ruffin says Trump is a better negotiator than he is.

“He’s the best. He has a lot more experience.”

Ruffin doesn’t like to see what he says is the media’s portrayal of his friend as a racist.

“You know, Donald is really not anti-Hispanic. He has more Hispanic workers than you can imagine. … He’s very sympathetic to Hispanics. He just doesn’t want them coming over the border illegally.”

Ruffin advises paying attention to Trump when debate time comes around.

“Everybody on the planet wants to listen to that.”

He says Trump is personable and “not beholden to anybody.”

“Most of these politicians are going around with their hat in hand.”

He says that deals Trump has lost in the wake of racists claims are “peanuts.”

“That’s not anything as far as Donald’s concerned.”

Though he’d like to see Trump in the White House, Ruffin isn’t eager to go himself.

“I don’t like that atmosphere. That’s not me,” he says.

“I’m going to be right here in Las Vegas.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.