JPMorgan Chase CEO on why he's optimistic about Trump's presidency

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says he’s optimistic about the Trump presidency.

“He’s putting professionals in the field -- if you want to win the game, put Tom Brady in the field,” Dimon said Thursday on “CBS This Morning.”  

Dimon, who was at one point considered for the treasury secretary position and serves on President-elect Donald Trump’s strategic and policy forum, said Mr. Trump was selecting “experienced, successful, smart, patriotic” people for his administration.

One of those “professionals” among Mr. Trump’s Cabinet picks is Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary nominee and a former Goldman Sachs partner, who Dimon said will make a “formidable” team with Mr. Trump.

“I think he’s quite qualified, he’s very smart, he wants to do the right thing,” Dimon said, after revealing that he himself had never been offered the job.

As for Rex Tillerson, who was grilled Wednesday in a confirmation hearing for secretary of state, Dimon also voiced his support, calling the former ExxonMobil CEO a “class act.”

“He’s smart and he’s patriotic. I listen to the press about -- that he had dealings in Russia -- well, almost every big company is dealing with Russia. That doesn’t mean he’s not a patriot. I wouldn’t question his patriotism. The other thing people talk about, that they’re successful. Think of the counterfactual. Do you want to have unsuccessful people in these jobs? … Successful, experienced, respected by everybody in deals around the world. I think that’s a pretty good trait.”

In his first press conference since winning the race, Mr. Trump reminded people about a promise he had made.

“I said that I will be the greatest jobs producer that God ever created. And I mean that,” Mr. Trump said.

Dimon said he hopes Mr. Trump is right.  

“For any president, it is important that we have a healthy, vibrant economy,” Dimon said. “It’s important for jobs, it’s important for businesses, important for middle-class wages, important for low-scale wages, and I’m hoping a lot of the policies they’re talking about – because they’re talking about trade tax reforms, we desperately need. And that’s probably the most important thing.” 

The president-elect also said there would be a “very large border tax” for companies that choose to take U.S. jobs abroad. But Dimon wasn’t worried.

“I’m looking past the one-liners and thinking about what’s important for America. So a lot of us do business all around the world. Part of America’s competitiveness is because we have Microsoft, because we have Boeing, because we have JPMorgan Chase, and we have to educate the world on the importance of that,” Dimon said. “But there are downsides. So in this election, I guess around the world, you’ve seen people recognizing there are downsides to trade. There are people who have been hurt.”

To address that, Dimon said the country needs to do a better job with trade adjustment assistance, where the government helps workers who lost their jobs due to foreign trade.

“I think we have to do all of these various things to make sure it works for everybody in America,” Dimon said.

Dimon is heading to Davos, Switzerland, for the next week’s World Economic Forum, where Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in attendance for the first time to promote globalization. With Donald Trump emphasizing an “America First” trade stance and the European Union grappling with a looming Brexi, some have suggested China is now the leader of economic globalization. But Dimon begged to differ.

“[China] is so far behind the United States, it’s not even funny. I say that respectfully,” Dimon said. “They have 500 million people living in poverty. Not enough food, water, energy. They don’t have our wide, deep capital markets, they don’t have our education system, they don’t have our rule of law, they don’t have most of what we have, our innovation capabilities.”

However, he said he understands that “China wants to rise up among the world and take its rightful place.”

“But my personal opinion, it’s very important that America maintain its superior economic position which, by the way, is the root, the foundation of a superior military position. They go hand in hand,” Dimon said. “America has been so important for the growth of the world, the consistency of the world, the economic freedom of the world, the spray of democracy that we shouldn’t lose that.” 

JPMorgan Chase is also awarding 10 states a total of $20 million in grants to provide students who graduate from high school with “the skills they need to compete for high-skill, well-paying jobs.”

“There is economic and moral imperative in this country that we get jobs for kids. And we have too many kids, particularly in inner city schools who don’t graduate or if they do graduate, they’re not qualified for a job. So this is all the things they need, from social skills to specific skills to get kids jobs,” Dimon said. 

They would be preparing for “middle class jobs,” Dimon added, which will pay between $40,000 to $60,000 a year.