Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. South Korean president Moon Jae-in attributing the recent warming in relations between his country and that cartoon character dictator north of them in North Korea to President Trump. "Trump, I believe, did a lot," said the South Korean president, to bring North and South Korea together, such that they're discussing Kim Jong-un participating in some of the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea in just a month or so.
Jacobson: Yeah. They're gonna walk together, probably, more than likely, you know when they introduce all the countries. And they did this...gosh, was it eight years ago?...for the Olympics, when they walked together as one country.
Proft: I understand Kim Jong-un, like his old man, is quite the athlete. I understand that from him, and from fake Twitter DPRK.
Jacobson: Well, didn't he get like 11 holes-in-one the first time he ever played golf?
Proft: That was Kim Jong-il.
Jacobson: Oh, okay!
Proft: He was a hell of a golfer. I think Kim Jong-un's sport of choice is figure skating, but I'm not sure.
Jacobson: Well every time...I mean, the last time we had the Winter Olympics was four years ago? I watched the North Koreans in figure skating, because everybody...all eyes are on them, to see if they succeed, and if they fail are they gonna get killed when they return to their home country? So...
Proft: To see if they can extract themselves from the training table, because it's the first time they've seen FOOD in so long!
Jacobson: Well it's...I mean, it's a dictatorship over there, so I feel really bad for the athletes and I'm sure that once they get a taste of freedom and see how the other half of the peninsula's living, they're gonna want to defect and run away.
Proft: Well, it's just interesting too, in terms of like...substantive outcomes, despite the Tweeting and the Michael Wolff book and all the stuff, substantive outcomes. You have this Axis of Evil country, as so defined by George W. Bush, this enemy of America, this threat to global stability, and South Korean president giving a hat tip to President Trump over his approach to Kim Jong-un, which he thinks has helped to thaw the relations between North and South, and perhaps stop some of the provocative missile tests. So, just interesting to note. More on this and other topics, we're pleased to be joined by Steve Cortes, Fox News contributor, former Trump Hispanic Advisory Council President. Steve, thanks for joining us, appreciate it.
Cortes: Good morning, Dan and Amy! Thanks for having me.
Proft: So, what about the continued challenge that...well, those sympathetic to the Trump administration have of trying to separate what Trump is sometimes saying or Tweeting from what he's actually doing, what's actually being accomplished?
Cortes: Right. And no, I think those of us who message for Trump, we need to be loud and proud about the many achievements of the first year of the Trump presidency, and optimistic about the successes to come. By the way, one quick word on Kim Jong-un...I want to see HIM in some kind of a lycra suit, whether it's bobsled or something like that. Wouldn't that be great?
Proft: I'd like to see that, yeah. He'd be like a little John Candy.
Cortes: That's right...that's right. But back to Trump. I think when we look back at the year in the books and look ahead to the prospects of what's going to happen, it's nothing but a record of incredible success, particularly when it comes to the economy, and it's not just the stock market. I actually wrote an article published yesterday in Real Clear Politics, that I think the President...my advice to him is not to focus quite so much...a rising stock market is fantastic, but let's focus more on the REAL economy. Because the stock market did great under President Obama, the REAL economy did not. Particularly for middle income workers. (Proft: Right.) Almost all the benefits of slow growth over the past decade flow to the very highest sectors of the socio-economic strata in America, and that's changed dramatically, thankfully, (cut off) than Trump. As an example, unemployment for people...for workers without a high school diploma, their unemployment just hit a low not seen since the year 2000. So, Hispanic and Black unemployment, all-time lows. So this is a BROAD recovery, this is a real expansion for real America, for Main Street, not just for Wall Street. I love that Wall Street's doing great, but I want to see Main Street do great as well, and they are. So every chance I get, I'm on shows like yours, I'm on Fox News, you know, I'm singing from the rooftops about those types of accomplishments...about the fact that ISIS is all but eliminated, our Southern border is largely under control, President Trump nominated many, and got confirmed MANY, conservative justices. He set a record for a first-year President for circuit court confirmations to the Federal bench. Of course, it's of course soon to be seen in the court (?), and I hope many more to come. At least one more in his first term, and I hope a couple more in the second term. So I think he's reshaping our judiciary, which is BADLY needed, as we saw from that disastrous 9th Court...you know the 9th Circuit just continues to put out appalling rulings, and yet another one on DACA two days ago (Proft: Yeah, it's absurd!). To me, his REAL record is incredible, and I mean, sometimes you have to ignore the cacaphony of the clamoring critics of the media. Yeah, the ones who howl at every Tweet or every apparent misstatement instead of...let's focus on the substance of what he's doing.
Jacobson: Yeah, I mean, look at the Dow too. It's surged 7,250 points since the election...that's a 40% gain. I mean, how high do you think it's going to go?
Cortes: I think it can go higher, I do. But it's come a heck of a long way. So I don't love, as a market guy...you know, I do politics, I'm fairly new to politics, I've been doing Wall Street for 20 years. As a market guy, I don't love committing new capital here, because it's already had such an incredible run, and if there's one thing I know about markets, even though I'm incredibly bullish on the economy, markets are dynamic and they're volatile and at some point we're going to get a big pullback. I don't know what's going to cause it, it could be North Korea, it could be something different, I don't know. But I'll tell you this...if and when that pullback does occur, I do believe that's a pullback to buy, because I think the paradigm has truly shifted. The Obama stock rally, by the way, I think was in some ways artificial, it was built on artificially low interest rates that practically FORCED money into the stock market. This is very different now, this is REAL growth. But again, I'm not (?) over some stocks...I love that stocks are doing great, it's wonderful, it creates wealth for the country. But I'm WAY more focused on...that wealth, though, focused disproportionally only flows to people who are already very wealthy. I'm much more focused on the American worker, who hasn't done well, who's been struggling for a decade-plus in this country, and their lives are getting better, more prosperous, safer. They're getting bonuses, we've seen hundreds of companies offer bonuses...just today Walmart raised its minimum wage. That's the right way, by the way, to get companies to raise their minimum wage...isn't be executive edict from on high, it's by creating conditions where they feel confident that they CAN pay people more, and we see a lot of companies doing that, not just Walmart, but they're just the latest to announce it. Companies are giving bonuses, they're putting more into charity, they're putting more into employees pension plans, so these are tangible real benefits for the American worker. And I think it's magnificent and it's long overdue.
Proft: Part of the conversation about immigration reform is with the American worker in mind as well, at least that Trump's perspective on it as he's previously articulated, so how did you perceive that remarkable meeting he had the other day with Congressional leaders from both parties, where he seemed to be very warm to the idea of permanent status for the DACA recipients, so long as he gets...at least a wall, if not also an end to chain migration and the Diversity Visa Lottery? And also...and also, even going so far as to say "Even if there's things coming out of Congress that I don't love, I'm still gonna sign it, because I respect you guys in this room so much." I mean, really pushing to get a deal done.
Cortes: Right, and I think pushing the Congress, to say "Will you finally do your job, rather than just bloviating?", which is what Washington does...has done well for decades. And particularly on this issue, by the way. There's so much grandstanding, particularly on the Left, on immigration. They claim to care a lot about immigrants...I think they care a lot about immigrant VOTES. I think they want to give as much amnesty as possible because they believe those votes will automatically flow their way and they don't care about the American worker, who has to compete, far too often very unfairly, with illegal immigrant labor. But, having said that, I think the President here has a chance...and this is actually an issue where thankfully he actually comes to me for advice, and I've talked to him in person about this. As a Hispanic, as a southern immigrant, I LOVE legal immigration, but we have to do it better in this country, we have to get control of illegal immigration, which we're doing quickly. And regarding DACA and a deal, I think this is a chance where truly everybody can win. I think the DACA recipients, those young adults, are a different category of illegal immigrant, that didn't choose to come here, they didn't choose to break our laws, so in my mind they should be treated differently. We can show heart towards them, but then we can also show toughness, which is END this insane Visa Lottery System. It's terrible for our national and economic security. Restrict chain migration, the idea that one person comes and suddenly the entire village is here, it's just absurd. We need merit-based immigration, chain migration I believe should be restricted only to your spouse and your MINOR children, it can't mean you can bring your cousin and your parents and your grandparents, I mean that's just not sensible, because guess what? We might not WANT all of them.
(Cortes and Jacobson spend about 5 seconds talking over each other.)
Jacobson: So do you think there should be a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers?
Cortes: No, I mean...and by the way, I reject that term "Dreamers", I think the Left often hijacks the language and...Americans have dreams too. So, I don't want to call them "Dreamers". But, the DACA young adults...and they're also not KIDS, the Left always calls them kids (Jacobson: Yeah, they're older now.). Right. So these young adults, pathway to citizenship? I'm fine with that, but I believe they have to get in line. They have to go through the normal process. So, they're protected until then, they're not gonna be deported is my advice, but should they just snap their fingers and get citizenship? No! Not when you have literally millions of people all over the world going through an incredibly lengthy and often expensive process to try and become an American citizen. So people who came here illegally, even if it wasn't of their choosing, can they hop the line and effectively cheat that system? I don't think so, I don't think that's fair. But I do think it's reasonable to say, as long as you're keeping your nose clean, you're working, you're in school...one or the other or both...you're not a criminal, we will allow you to stay here even though you came under illegal circumstances, we will allow you to stay because it wasn't your choice, you came as a child, and you can become a citizen, but you've gotta get in line with everyone else.
Proft: He is Steve Cortes, Fox News contributor, former Trump Hispanic Advisory Council president, and you can check out his latest piece on the Trump administration at RealClearPolitics.com. Steve, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it.
Cortes: Thanks, thanks for having me, have a good day.