WASHINGTON -- With gas prices rising above $3.50 a gallon in all but one state, Americans are getting hit hard at the pump. But billionaire and presidential aspirant Donald Trump thinks he has the solution: Simply tell OPEC to cut prices.
Trump blamed gas costs on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a conglomerate of developing nations responsible for 40 percent of global oil supplies. He said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that lowering the price of gas is as easy as telling OPEC's members to do so -- something he believes President Obama is incapable of.
When host Candy Crowley argued that the United States can't control OPEC, Trump disagreed, saying our country only needs "brain power."
"Candy, it's the messenger," said Trump. "You know, I can send two executives into a room. They can say the same thing. One guy comes home with the bacon and the other one doesn't. And I've seen it a thousand times. It's the messenger."
"We don't have the right messenger. Obama is not the right messenger," he continued. "We are not a respected nation anymore. The world is laughing at us. ... Let me tell you, it'll go down if you say it properly."
Trump also criticized Obama's handling of the conflict in Libya, saying the United States should just go in there and take the country's oil.
"Either I'd go in and take the oil or I don't go in at all," he said. "We can't be the policeman for the world."
He added that he would leave Libya "plenty" of oil so that "they can live very happily" as well.
Other Republican presidential aspirants have more directly blamed the Obama administration for rising gas prices. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, for example, has suggested the White House deliberately drives up prices.
"This administration's policies have been designed to drive up the cost of energy in the name of reducing pollution, in the name of making very expensive alternative fuels more economically competitive," said Barbour in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC last month.
On NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner cited tensions in the Middle East and North Africa along with the nuclear situation in Japan for impacting gas costs. He said that high gas prices have a "measurable impact on the economy" by slowing the recovery process "moderately."