CNBC's John Harwood sat down with Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., who is running for president in 2020. They talked about President Donald Trump's business skills and how Delaney would do things differently.
Harwood: What have you learned in the six years that you've been in the Congress that makes you think that, individually, as a person you're ready to be president, and professionally have the capacity to galvanize the kind of support you need to become president?
Delaney: I think I have the perfect background to have the privilege to be the president of the United States. Growing up in a blue-collar family, I've lived the American dream, which is so central to who we are as a nation. I was an entrepreneur, started these businesses from scratch.
My dad didn't give me any money to start them. They didn't have any. I think it's incredibly important that we have a president who understands how the private economy really works and knows how to position the country to be successful.
Harwood: Do you think we have a president now who understands how the private economy works?
Delaney: No, I don't. I don't think President Trump is a business leader. I think he was a business promoter. I know what I did as a business leader. I created jobs, I paid all my bills, I innovated, I hired the best and the brightest. I made sure that every relationship I had was as good as possible and that people wanted to do business with me again.
I've served six years in the House of Representatives, so I know how the government works. We shouldn't be electing people to lead our country who have never done public service. That's an issue with this president. I don't think he had any idea what he was getting into.
Harwood: Do you think that, as a brand matter, Trump's presidency among Democrats has discredited the idea of a business guy?
Delaney: No, because I think the things that he has done that has so offended Democrats have nothing to do with the fact that he was in business. I don't think he's really bringing a business person's headset to the job.
Harwood: To state it more bluntly, you think the whole idea that Trump was a successful business executive is baloney?
Delaney: I think he was a very successful business promoter, and he was very good at licensing his name. That was his skill in business and I give him credit for that. I don't think that's a set of business skills that is really needed to be the chief executive of the country.
The kind of business skills that are needed to be the chief executive of the country is to have some vision about where things are going and to position our country to be as competitive and successful in that future as possible.