Man who hosted a fundraiser for Donald Trump in 2015 says he's never lost a friend over politics

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 9, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: Under fire again, protesters greeting President Trump once he arrived on Long Island -- actually in the Hamptons -- but that didn't stop Stephen Ross from holding his fund-raiser for the president today, despite calls to boycott his businesses, Equinox and SoulCycle.

The president was appreciative.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: He's a great guy. He is -- by the way, I think he's probably more inclined to be a liberal, if you want to know the truth.

But he likes me, he respects me. We're doing a fund-raiser there. We're doing another fund-raiser with another friend of mine. And I understand the fund-raiser was totally sold out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: All right, the political game on.

Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto, and this is "Your World."

We're going to talk to yet another fund-raiser supporting the president. Doesn't quite know what to make of the dust-up and the boycott threats, that in just a moment.

First, FOX Business's Blake Burman at the White House on where things stand right now on all of the above.

Hey, Blake.

BLAKE BURMAN, CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Neil.

It was two fund-raisers in the Hamptons today for President Trump, but one of them gaining extra attention. And the focus there, as you just went through was on Stephen Ross, known in Miami as the owner of the Miami Dolphins, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as the alum who has donated hundreds of millions of dollars.

He also heads the Related Group, which owns some of the newest and biggest buildings in some of America's largest cities. His portfolio also includes investments in the luxury workout chains Equinox and Soul Cycle.

Here's the issue. Some customers and anti-Trump activists are now calling for a boycott of those workout spots because he held this fund-raiser for the president.

Before for the event, though, Ross tried to back away from some of the president's policies by saying in a statement -- quote -- "I have known Donald for 40 years. And while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others. And I have never been bashful about expressing my opinions."

The RNC and the Trump campaign ahead of this were saying that Stephen Ross was simply exercising his First Amendment right. And when the president was asked about this morning as he left the White House, he said that he believes this is going to raise Ross' profile for the better.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He's a great guy. He is -- by the way, I think he's probably more inclined to be a liberal, if you want to know the truth.

But he likes me, he respects me. while. The controversy makes Steve Ross hotter. He'll figure that out in about a week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURMAN: Neil, the president also said that those fund-raisers are sold out. And he says it will bring in somewhere in the area of $11 million to $12 million -- Neil.

CAVUTO: Blake Burman, thank you, my friend. Have a good weekend.

BURMAN: You too.

CAVUTO: Well, Ernie Boch Jr. is a businessman and a fund-raiser from Massachusetts. He's also a Donald Trump supporter.

So, Ernie, very good to have you. Thanks for coming.

ERNIE BOCH JR., FOUNDER, BOCH ENTERPRISES: Thank you for having me, Neil.

CAVUTO: What do you make of the dustup over this?

BOCH: Well, it's like a rock fight out there.

It's -- nobody's listening to Patrick Henry. And you should be able to support who you want to support. This is America. I have never lost a friend over politics. I don't think I lose business over politics. It's getting rough out there.

CAVUTO: So if someone were to threaten your business because of the fact you like Donald Trump, what would you do?

BOCH: Well, I would probably -- I probably wouldn't acknowledge it, because that's usually the way to go.

But, with me, I take care of my family, I take care of my employees, I take care of my community. President Trump, I voted for him. Unless somebody else comes along that I feel is better qualified, I will probably vote for him again.

It's just rough out there. Twitter is a good example. Boy, it's again, like a rock fight every day.

CAVUTO: Now, you mentioned Twitter.

And, as you know, Twitter had taken down Mitch McConnell's account after it dared show video of people gathering outside his house the other night and actually threatening him. It was his site that was taken down as a result.

BOCH: Yes.

CAVUTO: They have only just now reactivated that. But what did you think of that?

BOCH: Yes, I don't think that's right.

AOC had a parody account that I thought was spectacular. Very funny. And Twitter took that down. There's a -- there's a double standard happening here. It's really, really confusing out there today.

CAVUTO: Do you ever run across something from a company or a head of a company or executives at the company that don't jibe with the product they make or that they like, or that you like the product so much, that it outweighs whatever they do politically?

BOCH: Right.

Well, for me, I don't -- it doesn't stop me. Like, the person -- an electrician, if he works on my house, I don't find out if he's a Republican or a Democrat. That's not how I do business. And that's not how I treat my friends.

I have a lot of friends on the other side. And we don't have a problem.

It's very difficult out there today.

CAVUTO: All right, but you got -- you obviously handle it pretty well.

But thank you, Ernie, very, very much.

By the way, what was the president's mood at your event? And how was he holding up, in light of these threats of boycotts and everything else?

BOCH: Well, my event -- my event was -- my event was a long time ago. It was August of '15.

It was very exciting. I mean, at the time, he wasn't President Trump. He was a world figure. And to have a world figure over your house, it's exciting.

CAVUTO: Yes, that's true.

All right, Ernie, thank you very, very much.

BOCH: Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: In the meantime, can we expect more shaming of Trump fund-raisers to escalate as we head to 2020? And could that potentially backfire on Democrats, especially if it doesn't go the other way?

Jenna Ellis is a member the Trump 2020 Advisory Board. Also with us, Democratic strategist Max Burns.

Max, do you think that this is the proper route to go? In other words, if you don't like the politics of the CEO, or his or her allegiances, you don't frequent their company?

MAX BURNS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, this is an American tradition.

I mean, in a country where the Supreme Court has said, for better or worse, that money is political speech, how we spend our money is for a lot of people the most significant political act they engage in day to day.

And what you see with these protests across the country is people saying, we love Equinox, we love spin class, but if it's supporting and enabling President Trump and his disastrous policies, we will go down the street to a competitor and go there.

CAVUTO: But I don't remember a lot of conservatives during the Obama administration boycotting companies, Hollywood companies and all that put out movies they didn't like or the slant they had that they didn't like.

I just don't remember anything like that. So should you live and let live? Or is this the rationale going forward? Just boycott the company because we don't like what the heads of that company are doing?

BURNS: Well, it's unfortunate, Neil, remember, because I certainly do, that President Trump boycotting and calling for boycotts in 2014 and 2015 of Nike, NBC, Macy's, Univision, the entire country of Mexico.

The president has had over 30 calls on Twitter and on TV to boycott companies he doesn't like.

So I think, if anything...

CAVUTO: No, but this was based on -- no, no, this was based on just a single U.S. president or support for a president. Do you think that that's a good strategy? You obviously do.

BURNS: And Antonin Scalia would agree. He said that if you are not able to stand for your political acts in public, that that saps the country of the civic courage that informs democracy.

CAVUTO: All right, fair enough. I just don't want it to go too far afield here.

Jenna Ellis, when you hear that sort of thing, do you agree with that, you have free rein; this is an American right; you don't like something, you can boycott, you can do all of that, and that Republicans themselves just exercised it in the Mitch McConnell situation, where Twitter took down his site because he simply showed a video of people threatening him?

So they were threatening a boycott. They were threatening not doing business and getting their social media message on alternatives. So what do you think?

JENNA ELLIS, TRUMP 2020 ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER: Yes, well, Neil, I certainly agree that Americans have the right to spend money in any way that they choose.

And if they choose to boycott a company for whatever reason, I mean, even if it's just that they simply don't like the product, of course, that's their right to exercise that however they want to.

However, I don't think that this is a good idea to not draw the distinction between looking at a company for what its policies are and actually what its product is.

So, for example, if you're going to boycott Planned Parenthood because you don't like the fact that they are -- their entire purpose is to have abortions, that's a very different reason than saying, we are going to try to suppress political speech through our financial actions.

And I certainly don't agree that this is a good strategy moving forward to say, hey, let's take down a company simply because of the private beliefs of investors or the people that work for that company.

I mean, there's a -- what if you did that for someone -- for some company that just because its employee happens to have a sign in their yard that says "Go Trump" and then suddenly the company is trying to -- going to try to suppress the individual's political speech, based on the fact that they work for the company.

I mean, where does this end? I think...

CAVUTO: Well, it can go too far.

But what I'm worried about on both and the left -- and, Max, I will try to get this from you here -- is we go too far.

ELLIS: Yes.

CAVUTO: Like, there are a lot of people who, for example -- and, Max, you can respond to this -- who might not like Ben and Jerry's politics, but I don't know about you, but it would -- it would take an act of God for them to pull away a pint of Chunky Monkey from me.

So, what I'm saying is, do we go too far with this?

BURNS: No.

No one is going in to Ross' office and saying, you have to close Equinox, you have to get rid of your stake. He's completely able to host his fund- raisers and max out to the president.

CAVUTO: Yes, but who is he hurting, though? Who are they hurting, then, Max?

In this case, it might be the people who work at Equinox or SoulCycle or any host of others who, because of that protest, and if it were to grow -- and you're right -- it's still too early. We don't know. They're the ones whose jobs are lost, not the billionaire investor.

BURNS: Yes, you just described a civic pressure campaign.

This is the same strategy Fox News is using in boycotting Twitter since April, is the exact same approach that regular people are using.

CAVUTO: Well, do you apply the same standard if, let's say, an anchor at a -- let's say, MSNBC vs. an anchor and FOX who is targeted for a boycott because of something he or she said on the show or a guest said on the show offended people, that those boycotts are all well and good?

BURNS: I do.

And I expect to see the same thing on the other side from conservatives.

CAVUTO: All right, Jenna, fair and balanced to you.

Do you think that's a sharp strategy? My view on this, right or left, you can go too far. You don't like it, you can always turn off the channel. In that case, you don't like it, you yourself cannot frequent that establishment if you're strong about it.

But, otherwise, to target economic harm because you don't like something, I just think is, right or left, going a step too far.

What do you think?

ELLIS: I do, too.

And I think that if you're targeting economic harm for the intention of suppressing political speech, that's much, much more dangerous than saying, just because I personally -- like, for Tucker Carlson, was personally doxed.

And that's a completely different situation. And when you have someone like Castro, who's saying, I'm going to now put the investors and the donors to President Trump out in the marketplace, and I'm going to put that out in the public for the intentional purpose of telling people, think twice before you support this political candidate, that is absolutely going a step too far. This isn't just about...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But there was a double standard there, right, Jenna, because you supported the move against Twitter.

ELLIS: Well, so it's not a double standard when you say that, because -- because of the doxing itself, that is something that is harmful.

That's not saying -- that's trying to suppress political speech. And so you're saying, I'm going to not support that action...

CAVUTO: All right.

ELLIS: ... but then saying -- saying that you can then go and intentionally target someone economically just to support their -- or, rather, to suppress their political speech, that's absolutely unconscionable in this country.

And I don't think that we should go down that direction at all.

CAVUTO: Fair enough, guys. Fair enough.

I just think we ought to just bring the rhetoric and the heat down just a little bit. All right, thank you both very, very much.

Meanwhile, the president started talking, the investors started walking. What got them doing either?

After this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're talking to China. We're not ready to make a deal, but we'll see what happens. But, you know, we've been hurt by China for 25, 30 years. Nobody has done anything about it. And we have no choice but to do what we're doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: All right, that initially had a lot of folks selling today on the belief that he had said later on in the same remarks there that, you know, the September talks might happen, they might not happen.

So a sell-off ensued. And we recouped a lot of losses by day's end, but it's been choppy, the Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500 all closing lower for the week, but it had been a lot worse at the beginning of the week.

We have got market watcher Erin Gibbs with us. We have also got FOX Business Network's Jackie DeAngelis, who had a front-row seat to all of this, at the New York Stock Exchange.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Jackie, I guess you could say, by week's end, cooler heads prevail. But it was a bumpy ride, wasn't it?

JACKIE DEANGELIS, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It was a bumpy ride, to say the least, choppy, as you put it. Volatile is a word that was used on the floor here today.

The Dow ended down 90 points. So it did rebound off the session lows, but still we were negative for the week. And this market wasn't for the faint of heart, Neil. It was difficult to navigate these waters, if you will.

And there were traders on the floor who said to me today, look, the president didn't say anything that we didn't already know. He said we don't have a deal or we're not close to a deal with China. We knew that. And that's why we saw this turbulence this week.

But like Jerome Powell, who's criticized sometimes for holding these press conferences and confusing people, the president was criticized on the floor at least today for making these comments and sort of just holding it in the face of investors and sort of reiterating the fact China is still a problem.

CAVUTO: Erin, I'm beginning to get a sneaky suspicion -- I could be wrong, probably am -- that we're not going to get a China deal anytime soon. We might not even get it, as I said think Goldman Sachs was forecasting, before the election. Then what?

ERIN GIBBS, GIBBS WEALTH MANAGEMENT: So then, in some ways, it would actually be easier, because we'd actually be able to understand, how much are these tariffs really going to cost companies? What's the real impact? How quickly can U.S. companies move their supply chains outside of China?

And really get down to business and figure out what's the new normal, if we're facing all these higher tariffs. But as long as we have these constant headlines, one day, it's really bad, it's not going to happen, the next day, maybe it will happen, investors' reaction -- reacting emotionally to all this different information and all these different theories or hopes, and then their hopes being dashed.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: So are you saying, Erin, that -- a lot of people said that every disappointment brings a silver lining here, and that the silver lining here is the Federal Reserve keeps cutting interest rates.

Are you in that camp? Or how do you feel?

GIBBS: No, I think that is why -- it's not just the trade war that's certainly hurting and creating these trade cuts. It's the overall global recession.

But, certainly, as long as we have these tariffs, that hurts the global economy, which means, yes, we are much more likely to get a rate cut and keep those equities propped up.

But you can continue to expect volatility as long as we have this wishy- washiness back and forth between whether we have trade talks or not.

CAVUTO: Jackie, one of the things you report on as well is the pace of earnings. We're almost through this second quarter cycle here.

And they're going to be flat to mildly positive, I guess, when all said and done, but they won't be contracting, which some had feared, but a slowdown from where we were. How are they factoring that in where you are?

DEANGELIS: Well, floor traders are actually pretty impressed with earnings. Overall, it's been a pretty good earnings season.

And that's really important, because that brings us back to the fundamentals of companies and how they're doing. No, it wasn't exactly gangbusters in terms of the percentages, but it wasn't bad either.

What people are worried about and where the China story comes back in is the next quarter, because we didn't hear a lot of commentary about China, companies being worried about it or seeing an issue act as a result of it.

But now, with this second round of tariffs that the president said he will impose on September 1, that could potentially be a problem. And that could start to hit these companies. And that's where some of the concern comes in, because, when the numbers don't look good, and the fundamentals start to weaken, then you really have a reason for selling.

CAVUTO: Erin, is it your sense that the market kind of meanders from here, or starts moving this aside, the trade concerns aside, maybe focuses on bigger issues, like this growing global slowdown?

GIBBS: It's certainly the -- it's been in the picture for a long time.

And what's been propping up equities, despite having lower earnings growth and lower profitability expectations and a global slowdown, is that we're getting these rate cuts, right? So that's balancing the two, is, well, you're not getting any -- any return in fixed income, so you might as well prop up the equities.

But, ultimately, I think we're going to have to face the fact that, if we're still looking at significantly lower profit growth -- and for third and fourth quarter, it's come down about 3 percent just in the past two weeks.

CAVUTO: Yes.

GIBBS: I mean, it's been a big revision down.

CAVUTO: OK.

GIBBS: So we're definitely looking at less attractive going forward.

CAVUTO: All right, more volatility, I think.

All right, thank you, ladies. Have a wonderful weekend.

GIBBS: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Meanwhile, the president, as you know, fund-raising in New York. He will soon be on his way back.

And Joe Biden is campaigning in Iowa. Each are making separate pitches. Who has the edge thus far?

After this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Joe Biden is not playing with a full deck. This is not somebody you can have as your president. But if he got the nomination, I'd be thrilled.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: All right, President Trump welcoming a chance on facing Joe Biden in 2020. A lot of people say he doth praise him too much there.

But the full deck could be a scene of -- preview of coming attractions.

RealClearPolitics' Susan Crabtree,

Susan, by all indications, that's the read you're getting from the White House, that, collectively, they think it's going to be Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee, and they're sort of revving up for that possibility.

But I'm wondering if that secretly concerns the president. He is the guy, after all, the former vice president, who's polling the best against him. That doesn't mean anything this early, but it is telling that he's saying, all right, I want Joe Biden.

What do you think?

SUSAN CRABTREE, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Well, I think he -- Joe Biden obviously polls really well with blue-collar voters.

We have this sort of septuagenarian knife fights being set up, these two old guys going to go at it and really go have a Twitter street brawl. It's something strange that we have in politics, that it's coming out to be, shaping up to be two 70-year-old white males going at it, when there's so much call, especially on the Democratic side, for diversity.

But that seems to be what it's shaping up to be. The Democrats are a little concerned about Joe Biden and his slipping poll numbers slightly after the Detroit debates. He didn't do as well, he survived, but he didn't do as well as expected.

Elizabeth Warren nipping at his heels a little bit after the debates, we saw that in this Pennsylvania poll. She's now only seven points, within range of him. He polled at 28 percent. And she's polling at 21 percent.

So we're seeing that, the last poll that came in, what, about 12 percent spread between the two of them. So we do see some momentum on Elizabeth Warren's side.

So Joe Biden has to be a little concerned about, but, right now, he is still the front-runner, and nobody's punctured that yet.

CAVUTO: Yes.

I follow the money very closely, and what they're raising both online and right after a debate. And obviously, after Elizabeth Warren's opening the way -- I think she was the first night -- she's been doing very, very well in raising of money.

And I often find that that closely parallels the type of support you get in the polls. But, having said that, Joe Biden is a big constant. It's not that many guys are pulling away from him. They're just not adding that much to him.

So all that could be wrong. But one of the standard lines you hear from both is that he's slipping up, he's making mistakes, he's not saying things the way they should be said. And it's reinforcing an image, hey, he's an older guy.

Now, he's, what, four years older than the president, who is 72. So you could make an argument these are both old white men running for the office.

But, having said that, though, it's reinforcing an image that Biden's lost his fast ball. Is that fair?

CRABTREE: Well, I think it's good political strategy for Trump to be trying to reinforce that.

We saw Biden's campaign hit back and say, well, Trump is not operating with -- his deck of cards has all jokers in it, which is kind of a funny line.

CAVUTO: Well, that's true. I forgot he used a card deck analogy. I forgot that.

CRABTREE: Yes, I mean, that's a funny line from him, but it didn't come from Joe Biden himself.

And we haven't seen him come out with those really sharp one-liners that we expected with him, that he's kind of the scrappy fighter. That was supposed to be his strength.

What he's really suffering from is a lack of momentum on his side and passion. The passion seems to be on the left. But that's not going to -- it seems like from the polling, is not going to get their party elected and oust Trump.

So we have a dichotomy here, a real problem on the Democratic side, because Joe Biden seems to be the front-runner, yet the passion to really get out the voters, to really compete with Donald Trump's ability to rally people, get people out to these stadiums, we just don't see that.

There's no hope and change momentum, like we saw with President Obama this time around.

CAVUTO: It's a good point. But I do remember a lot of people questioning outlandish things a candidate says, thinking it would bury them, and that candidate at the time was Donald Trump. So you never know. You never know.

Susan, thank you very much.

CRABTREE: That's for sure.

CAVUTO: All right.

Well, the president is signaling he is ready to act on tougher background checks over those two mass shootings. How will Congress respond? We might have gotten the first indication today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right, what is tougher than being a vegan presidential candidate, and you're at the Iowa Fair, where they have fried pork chops and so much more? What are you going to do?

We're going to report. You, if you're a vegan, might want to hide.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have tremendous support for really commonsense, sensible, important background checks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: All right, so there might be a crack in this whole debate here.

President Trump saying there is indeed strong support in Congress -- that would include the U.S. Senate -- for background checks. But will all the division that we're experiencing right now facilitate that process? Could anything get passed in this environment?

The former White House deputy chief of Staff, multiple bestselling author, Karl Rove on that.

Karl, I remember issues and tragedies before where the hope was the two sides could come together on mutually agreed strategies to do something, and they never do. What happens now?

KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I think it depends on the president.

If the president backs a background check bill, and he takes with him Senator McConnell, who would endeavor to make certain that that bill has enough support and it's written in such a way that it can get 60 votes in the Senate, then it can happen, because this would be a case of the president being like Nixon going to China.

CAVUTO: Right.

ROVE: He would give political cover to a large number of House and Senate members of his party who might otherwise be criticized back at home.

CAVUTO: If the NRA's official position is that we're not too keen on that because of where it could lead and what it could mean, it would take a brave Republican to say, sorry, right?

ROVE: It would, which is why the president's cover in this is so critical.

If the president decides to back a bill, and if Senator McConnell thinks that he can just shape it in such a way as to get 60 votes, then that's going to give -- if you have got a choice between the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, saying to Republican voters, I'm in favor of this, and the NRA saying, we're not in favor of this, the president's going to win that argument, particularly when you have the public polls.

In public polls, support for universal background checks -- and, granted, that's an amorphous title. That's not a bill. That's not the detail. That's a title. But if you look at the support for that concept, it is up there at 90 percent, and almost 90 percent among Republicans.

Now, like with a lot of things in legislation, the devil is in the details. But it does suggest that there would be a significant number of people who would back a solution, if it were backed by President Donald Trump.

CAVUTO: You know, in the middle of this, Karl, Bill Clinton was doing an interview in which he expressed regret that there was a 10-year time limit on the assault weapon ban that he signed in 1994. It lasted until 2004.

I haven't checked his numbers on this. So I will defer to you. But he was saying that, since 2004, these types of mass shootings increased exponentially. That might not have been so high had we still had that ban in effect.

What did you think of that?

ROVE: Well, I don't know if I agree with that, because, look, even President Clinton didn't suggest that the ban -- the possession of these weapons -- it was banning the sales of new ones.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: And Columbine still happened after that, so we should posit that.

ROVE: Right. That's right.

CAVUTO: But go ahead.

ROVE: So unless you're going to be like Australia, and say, we're going to confiscate people's weapons, that's hard to do, particularly given the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

It is a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. So unless you change that amendment, it's going to be hard to, in essence, confiscate somebody's semiautomatic weapon.

Remember, we said assault weapons, but, essentially, that was cosmetic. We have other -- plenty of other rifles, long rifles, that don't look as menacing as an AK-47 -- AK-47 or an AR-15, but are still the same concept.

That is to say, they have a magazine. And if you pull the trigger once, it shoots a bullet, and if you pull the trigger again, it shoots another bullet.

So they just didn't -- they didn't fall under the -- quote -- "assault weapons ban" because they didn't have the sort of military-style design that we see in the AK-47 and the AR-15.

CAVUTO: While I have you, your thoughts on Joe Biden and what the president had to say about him today? Some concern that Biden is slipping up, saying the wrong things at the wrong time, not egregious stuff, but enough to reinforce this perception, you know, you get old.

ROVE: Yes.

Well, look, we have two groups of voters here. We have Democratic primary voters, and we have the general election voters.

I'm not certain it matters very much in the -- in the primary. But that's going to be the key test, because people are going to be in the primary looking for reasons to advance their candidate at the expense of somebody else. And he's the front-runner, but a weak front-runner.

But I heard a very wise person recently on Fox News, maybe in the last 10 minutes or so, who suggested this issue might not be as salient and powerful in the general election. And I have to say, I have to admit, you did a heck of a job in answering that question, Neil.

I agree with you. I'm not certain how salient it's going to be in a general election.

CAVUTO: The fact that you're listening this closely inspires me to have you on again.

ROVE: Every single word, my friend. Every single word.

CAVUTO: There you go. There you go.

You know what I think, Karl? The closer I get to these ages, the less I'm going to be critical of them, right or left.

Always good having you, my friend. Be well.

ROVE: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Karl Rove, very good read on things, getting younger every day, if you have noticed.

All right, apparently, the FBI is ramping up social media surveillance, but can it go too far, and who is it targeting?

After this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: The Wall Street Journal is now reporting the FBI is proposing a more aggressive social media surveillance plan to detect possible threats on social media that would then later force user privacy and whether it's at risk.

Let's ask cybersecurity expert Leeza Garber on this.

Leeza, what will this allow the FBI to do? I understand the good intentions behind it. But then I start worrying about, what are you going to do with it?

LEEZA GARBER, ATTORNEY: Of course, you and everybody else, myself included.

And part of the problem is, this is not a new request for the FBI to make. It actually goes way back to 2012 in the sphere of not just Facebook and Twitter, but also MySpace.

The FBI has recognized the ability for people to congregate on social media, and really get together and bring across their identities to try to carry out different goals. And they have realized that, by scraping these social media platforms, they can figure out when events might happen, where they might happen and who might be involved.

But, right now, they're really amping up the efforts to try to what they're doing -- what they're calling early detection of these kind of emergency situations.

And, really, what that sounds like to most people...

CAVUTO: But what is it -- what are they detecting? What are they detecting? Something that is said online back and forth with strangers, what is said if someone's gaming and they're streaming?

Where is this going?

GARBER: They're trying to create these in-depth profiles based on what they're calling publicly available information.

Generally, Facebook and Twitter are calling it mass surveillance, which is not allowed on their platforms, even by federal agencies. And they have had these debates for years.

Facebook wants to create profiles on people that are up to suspicious activities. Now, who's going to define what suspicious activities are? Is it when they post a manifesto, but maybe not act on it?

CAVUTO: Yes.

GARBER: Is it participation in different groups? They're not necessarily going to see what messages are being sent back and forth.

But now we don't know what's going to happen. There's really this debate between individual privacy and communal security. And that's something that we have been seeing on social media for years.

CAVUTO: What I worry about is something that Judge Andrew Napolitano had echoed with me just yesterday, that, with the best of intentions, once you give a green light for the government, the FBI, to start policing you online, or at least police what will algorithmically get across as dangerous language online, all bets are off.

What do you think of that?

GARBER: Definitely.

It's a situation that could be extremely dangerous. And it worries privacy professionals and privacy advocates, but also people who are operating on social media that don't have malicious manifestos and things to publish online like that.

We're not saying that even government interference would essentially block this kind of activity, right, because even if it falls off of Facebook because it's too policed, it's going to go somewhere else, like 4chan or 8chan.

CAVUTO: Right.

GARBER: And these forums will always be available for people who want to try to communicate.

The other piece of it is, Facebook is trying to encrypt a lot of its messaging platforms, realizing that people may not want to speak in the town square of public Facebook posts, but rather go into private messages, which the government wouldn't necessarily have access to, and they would be encrypted.

And that brings up another point, which is, would they just create a key that would unlock all this encryption for the government to gain access to? We have already seen that debate with Apple. And it didn't go -- it didn't go in the government's favor.

CAVUTO: I always think it's a tough position, because I always get so annoyed when you get these angry missives that come out that were posted online, and sometimes there for a long time for all sorts of folks to see.

And we only learned about it after a horrible event. But, then again, you know, it's open season what's out there.

GARBER: Hindsight is always 20/20.

CAVUTO: Yes, you're right.

GARBER: But it's possible to pick everybody out. It just is impossible. And who's to say if the government is the best entity? Facebook professionals are certainly not.

But there has to be a happy medium.

CAVUTO: Yes. We're not quite there yet.

GARBER: No.

CAVUTO: Leeza Garber, always good seeing you. Thank you very much.

GARBER: Thank you.

CAVUTO: All right, 2020 Democratic candidates descending on the Iowa State Fair this weekend.

I have been to this fair a number of times. Outstanding food. If you're a vegan, not so much. So let's say you're a vegan running for president, and you still want to be polite and eat that stuff. How do you fake it?

After this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right, well, the 2020 Democrats, they're all pushing for support this weekend at the Iowa State Fair, kind of a must-be-there event.

Hillary Vaughn is in Des Moines right now.

And I always feel, Hillary, for the vegans among the candidates, because this is not what you would think would be vegan territory, you know?

HILLARY VAUGHN, CORRESPONDENT: It is not, Neil.

This is the number one pork-producing state in the country. And Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is a vegetarian. But I did scope out the scene for her. There are some vegetarian options here. Salad on a stick is one of them.

We have heard from a lot of candidates today, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, author Marianne Williamson, and, of course, Tulsi Gabbard, all hitting the soapbox, making their pitch to Iowa caucus-goers today.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang hit Senator Kamala Harris over rolling out a plan for universal basic income, saying he's offering Americans double what she is. And he also bragged that his donations that have been rolling in, especially in the past since the debate in Detroit, are better than Bernie's because they are cheaper. He has more donors that are donating less per person than Bernie Sanders.

Author Marianne Williamson has taken some heat for comments she made on vaccines and modern medicine. Today, she was asked to defend whether or not she believes in modern medicine. She says that she does, and she goes to the doctor herself.

We also heard from former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, who was asked why he did not stay behind in Texas to help deal and comfort some of the people in El Paso following the shooting there, like his fellow candidate Beto O'Rourke work decided to do.

And this was his response:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIAN CASTRO, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to go there to campaign or to try and use that.

And Congressman O'Rourke is from El Paso. So he's at home. He should be there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUGHN: Neil, there is a packed weekend of more candidates headed to the Iowa State Fair this weekend, including Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand, all jam- packed on Saturday.

On Sunday, Senator Bernie Sanders will hit the stage, along with Bill de Blasio. Closing out the fair, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. The South Bend mayor from Indiana will be speaking on Monday -- Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, busy all the way around.

Hillary, thank you very, very much.

By the way, the president's been busy raising money today, two big fund- raisers out in the Hamptons in New York.

The RNC chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, just tweeting out that the president raised $12 million, which she points out is $2 million more than expected, "thanks to the unhinged mob on the left" -- $12 million today, $2 million more than thought.

There we go.

More after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: I wonder how young people would feel about this, these growing calls to, in this case, boycott Equinox and SoulCycle, simply because the CEO was giving money and planning a fund-raiser, which went through today in the Hamptons?

You heard how successful those fund-raisers were. They raised more than $2 million over the $10 million that was expected. So, obviously, the people there didn't seem to care.

Do these young folks here?

Let's ask our Gen Hexed panel, "Your World" audio technician and author Dion Baia. We have got entrepreneur Michael Parrish DuDell, and, last, but not least, attorney Natalie Elisha Gold.

All right.

Elisha, let me get -- or, Natalie, let me get your take on this.

Boycotting a company because you don't like what the CEO is doing, politically, what do you think of that?

NATALIE ELISHA GOLD, ATTORNEY: I think it's absolutely outrageous.

I'm an Equinox member. I got the e-mail. And guess what? I don't care, because whether my priorities are on the right or the left, this man has done so much good. He's part of the giving pledge. He is giving more than 50 percent of everything he's made to charity.

And one thing he did, whether you like it politically or not, is going to make you boycott? I don't see it.

MICHAEL PARRISH DUDELL, ENTREPRENEUR: But here's the thing, though.

I like the fact that consumers can vote with their dollar. I think that's an important thing.

What's happening, though, is that I don't think people are thinking about this holistically. If they knew every company that was supported by every person -- great example, Marvel. The president of Marvel is a big Trump supporter. Do we see the boycott on Marvel's side?

I think it's something right now that feels really hot-button. People want to gather around it. But if you -- unless you look at every single thing that you purchase, there's just not going to be a lot of...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: So you're free not to give or participate or boycott, but you...

DUDELL: Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

DION BAIA, AUDIO TECHNICIAN: We're seeing this week for people today trying to boycott Marvel now.

And it's -- I feel like people do, do that with their dollar. I mean, there's bands and music that I don't -- that I have kind of gone away from because they're so preachy or whatever.

So I feel that people kind of do that already. But then, when you start calling publicly to boycott and -- it's just...

ELISHA GOLD: Yes.

CAVUTO: Is it more under this administration?

I try not to play politics with it. I don't remember the fuss with that. For example, I mentioned the Chick-fil-A example. A lot of people on the left didn't like the heavy religious overtones.

BAIA: Hobby Lobby.

CAVUTO: Yes, exactly. Being closed on Sunday.

DUDELL: Yes.

This administration certainly is a hot-button administration, but it's because they have done some really extreme things.

CAVUTO: But I don't remember conservatives then taking it out on Ben and Jerry's with their support for Bernie Sanders...

ELISHA GOLD: That's right.

CAVUTO: ... not eating their delicious ice cream. It doesn't matter.

(CROSSTALK)

BAIA: Or not going to Barbra Streisand.

(CROSSTALK)

ELISHA GOLD: I think, to the left, it's really gone extreme.

And I also think that social media has played a huge role.

DUDELL: That's a piece, yes. That's a real piece to consider, is that...

ELISHA GOLD: Yes.

BAIA: But it's also the popularity.

You jump -- if you have a celebrity you like or idolize is telling you stop doing this or boycott this, people...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: I just think it's a slippery economic lever there.

ELISHA GOLD: Yes.

DUDELL: Yes.

CAVUTO: There is a study out, too, guys -- I want to get your thoughts on it -- of rethinking the wisdom of having a college degree, and that it doesn't always pay off and that we ignore other options.

What do you think?

DUDELL: Yes, I think that's huge, and not only because it's not that the value of the education has decreased.

Education, important, critical for this country. The value problem is that it costs so much.

CAVUTO: Yes.

DUDELL: If you take out loans, the average person's going to have $33,000 in loans. That's going up and up. They think it's going to be $50,000.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: That's a small average.

DUDELL: That's a small average.

ELISHA GOLD: It's tiny.

(CROSSTALK)

DUDELL: And so it's a cost-benefit analysis on the education vs. the amount you take out.

BAIA: And then if you're getting a generic degree with nonspecific, and then you owe $100,000 coming out looking for a job in the work force, you don't have a centric skill, degree, a vocation, it's a lot harder.

(CROSSTALK)

ELISHA GOLD: English majors.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: ... push mechanics, electricians, plumbing.

ELISHA GOLD: We need those.

CAVUTO: We need those.

ELISHA GOLD: You know, Neil, as you know, I wrote the book "The Millennial's Guide to the Universe."

And I go around college campuses all the time. And I am there telling these kids, please do not take on as much loans as you are taking. Think about how you can exercise your ability to finish faster, because they're coming out.

BAIA: And it used to be years ago, you could just be a Yale or a Harvard man, and just come out with that, and people are like, oh, that's really good, we will hire you, where now that doesn't really mean anything.

CAVUTO: No.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: I just the example of a plumber that I use. I mean, he has people. People come.

ELISHA GOLD: It's a great business.

CAVUTO: So, he's doing OK.

There's another one out -- talk about studies -- that finds alcohol and nicotine are more likely to wreck your asleep than a late-night coffee.

DUDELL: Dion, you must be exhausted.

BAIA: Yes.

This is how I have survived in my 20s, drinking and...

CAVUTO: But was that such an alert? I didn't understand what...

BAIA: No, I just -- I think that people...

(CROSSTALK)

ELISHA GOLD: I could have told you guys. I'm two cappuccinos deep usually right before I go to sleep, before my pregnancy. And, believe me, I slept like a baby.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

DUDELL: I think there's a lot of evidence to say that these kinds of studies that warn consumers that they can't do something in fact do the opposite.

A lot of times, people double down because they say, don't tell me what to do.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: This one, I want to bounce off you very quickly. We don't have much time.

But Amazon is testing out a delivery bot, in other words, a robot that will deliver food to you.

What do you think?

BAIA: This reminds me of like that Tom Selleck '80s movie "Runaway," where all the robots are around.

CAVUTO: Oh, all right.

BAIA: And I can -- I know this is going to be the demise of me as being a -- watching an argument in 20 years with some robot that's blocking my driveway.

CAVUTO: Well, the robot might be eating your food.

DUDELL: The interesting thing to note is that, now that they're taking out the robots, they are having a human follow the robot, this ambassador.

And this is really important, because what they're measuring is consumer sentiment. If consumers think this is creepy, if it doesn't work -- there's a little robot walking down the street of New York City, it not going to be met...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Yes. Sure it's not Dion?

(CROSSTALK)

BAIA: Warning. Warning, Mr. Smith. Danger. Danger.

CAVUTO: Guys, thank you very, very much. Good read on all of this.

You can understand. They're young. They're restless.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Here's "The Five."

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