'The Five' on Biden's foreign policy in Afghanistan

This is a rush transcript from “The Five” September 13, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated. 

DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS HOST: Hello, everyone, I’m Dana Perino along with Katie Pavlich, Jessica Tarlov, Jesse Watters, and Pete Hegseth. It’s five o’clock in New York City. This is THE FIVE. 

So, you are looking live at Capitol Hill. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the hot seat testifying before the House foreign affairs committee on the chaotic exit from Afghanistan which left Americans behind, about 100 of them. We’ll continue to monitor that for any breaking news. 

Meantime, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are getting their first chance to hold the administration’s feet to the fire over what went wrong. Here is what the secretary said in his opening statement. 


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It was time to end America’s longest war. There is no evidence that staying longer would have made the Afghan Security Forces or the Afghan government any more resilient or self- sustaining. If 20 years and hundreds of billions of dollars in support in equipment and training did not suffice, why would another year, another five, another ten? 

We expect the Taliban to ensure freedom of travel, to make good on its commitments on counterterrorism, to uphold the basic rights of the Afghan people. 


PERINO: And Republicans are pressing the secretary on whether the department blocked any Americans from leaving. 


REP. SCOTT PERRY (R-PA): Did the state at any point in the evacuation process black American citizens from leaving Afghanistan? 

BLINKEN: No, we did not. 

PERRY: Not. Your testimony before Congress is that state didn’t block any American citizens leaving Afghanistan? 

BLINKEN: To the contrary, my officers, men and women ran into the building from around the world to help Americans get out. 


PERRY: It’s a simple yes or no, I heard you do it with Mr. Connolly, you can do it with me. Yes or no? I just want to clarify. You didn’t block anybody? State didn’t get any Americans — 




BLINKEN: We’re there to help Americans get out. 

PERRY: All right. How — 


PERINO (on camera): All right. Pete, let me start with you. The accountability for this is what was going to be in question for quite a while, even though it was only 30, about 30 days since this all started going down in Afghanistan in terms of really down, it feels like even over the weekend that everything had changed in terms of the war on terror. Like do people feel safer? 

And we’re going to talk about the Democrats also being frustrated and worried, and Leon Panetta was just on with Neil Cavuto, we’ll just have that for you in just a little bit. He was very critical and said the president ought to admit his mistakes. 

PETE HEGSETH, FOX NEWS CO-HOST: He should. And a lot of us spent the weekend reflecting in where we are considering where we were 20 years ago, and you can’t deny the fact that we’re in a more dangerous and precarious situation.

And you can’t deny the fact that Tony Blinken spent the time testifying he effectively was trying to defend the indefensible. He is still — he is still doing that right now. There is no way to defend what he said, what the administration said they would do and square it with the actions of what occurred in Kabul, from what he can oversee to the abandoning the embassy which he said he would never ever do. 

To claiming that clip you played that they were not blocking Americans from leaving Afghanistan which those of us who were involved in that effort know that it’s categorically false. Every single — 


PERINO: Do you think that’s why he was trying to be so careful in the way he answered that? 

HEGSETH: He was, but he ultimately said it, no. No, we rush into the building. No, we were there to facilitate. No, you block people at every single turn and he could never answer the actual questions as far as the number of people. So, give or take, 100 Americans, green card holders, thousands of them. 

SIV, we are vetting them as we go to the process but we don’t actually know whether there’s a big difference between SIV applicants who have been vetted through a process and at-risk Afghans who were hoarded onto an airfield at the last minute with very little vetting. 

And what the information we are getting so far is that most of the people that made it through are not SIV holders so that process you can unravel and it’s all because what he said was true. I mean, he said in March the administration would bring a responsible end to the conflict that we would remove troops from harm’s way, which of course we didn’t know. We know those 13 names, and ensure that Afghanistan never became a haven for terrorists. And now the Taliban — many of the Taliban who are in charge at 9/11 are now in charge now.

PERINO: And they were exchanged for Bergdahl. 


PERINO: Four of the five of the — 


HEGSETH: The ex-Taliban terrorists are in Taliban leadership. And you know how Antony Blinken describes it? They have a very challenging track record. 

PERINO: The State Department never lets you down in terms of the way to speak. There was a lot of blaming by Democrats, they tried to blame President Trump. We have a little bit of sound, watch this. 


UNKNOWN: Where were the protests when the Trump administration negotiated a deal with the Taliban? 

UNKNOWN: How meticulous was the planning for the Trump administration declared May 1st withdrawal? 

BLINKEN: Thank you, Congressman. We inherited a deadline. We did not inherit a plan. 

UNKNOWN: So, no plan — no plan at all. 

UNKNOWN: Among those 5,000 people released with the consent and it negotiated agreement with the Trump administration, I guess our concern about terrorists is pretty selective. 


PERINO (on camera): Jesse, your thoughts? 

JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, that’s why they didn’t really lay a glove on Blinken because Democrats protect him and the Republicans don’t ask the right questions. The Republicans today needed to zero in on what Biden and his team were saying publicly and how that wasn’t really the truth if you compare it to the embassy cables, the intelligence briefings, the facts on the ground, the phone call between Joe and the Afghan president. That’s the nexus of the scandal. That’s the dereliction of duty. That’s where the lies lay, that’s where the cover-up was. 

But they don’t ask the right questions and that’s why we’re going to run Mr. Hegseth for Congress so we can get on the committee and ask the right questions. 

HEGSETH: Five minutes. 

WATTERS: We did find out that he has no clue how many Americans are still there and the Taliban is still blocking things and we found out basically that Putin booted Joe Biden from Central Asia so we don’t have any basing rights to give us that as he loves to say, over the horizon capability. 

It actually seems like the FBI interviewed Blinken about the Hunter Biden criminal probe. That slipped out during the hearing, so attaboy Republicans there. But the guy was so boring and that was the strategy. And you know Dana, I don’t like to make personal attacks on the show. 

PERINO: I know you don’t, you made a New Year’s resolution and you’ve really held to it. 

WATTERS: But he liked the elevator music of empty suits. Right? He is so boring that paint watches him dry. I tried because I couldn’t follow, putting the subtitles up on TV, the TV wouldn’t even do that. OK? It’s like when the dog whistles, humans can’t hear it. I swear to God the guy’s cadence it’s like a mortician combined with a podiatrist and a hostage negotiator, it just kind of washes over you. 

Even the members of Congress who I’ve never seen because they’re so boring, they can’t get booked on cable. They were more compelling than Antony Lincoln but that’s the strategy, boring to death while everybody else does. 

PERINO: If rookie can whistle, I want to see that. 

PAVLICH: Exactly. 

PERINO: One of the things that Antony Blinken said in his opening statement was that, he basically kept saying, if we had stayed longer, it wasn’t like the Afghan army was going to be able to sustain but that really wasn’t the question. 

PAVLICH: That wasn’t, they are trying to focus on the idea that Americans want us out of Afghanistan, that’s what a lot of people have campaigned on including President Trump and President Joe Biden. That’s not the point. And also, let’s not forget that President Biden, and we’ve said a number of times, in July said that there is no way that the Afghan army is going to get run over that the Taliban would take over the country and well, here we are. 

So, when he throws up his hands and says, we didn’t know this is going to happen, nobody knew. They did know and the president lied to the country about it. I want to focus on what he said too, when he said we inherited a deadline, we did not inherit a plan. They are trying to rewrite history here to focus on leaving Afghanistan. 

This administration pushed the deadline from May which was the Trump deadline, to September, to the fighting period when the Taliban — 


PERINO: To September 11. 

PAVLICH: To September 11. 

PERINO: Basically. 

PAVLICH: Right. To the fighting period where the Taliban was going to be stronger which is why they marched all over Afghanistan instead of, you know, being able to get out in May. They say that they were just executing President Trump’s plan in the last couple of weeks with the chaos but now he is saying that he wasn’t given a plan. So, which one is it? 

We also saw that him say in April that he wanted to withdraw responsibly, deliberately and safely. That didn’t happen. I was on the plane in February of 2020 when the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released the framework for this agreement with the Taliban which was also in agreement that the Taliban and Afghan government had to work together. 

There were conditions. We killed Taliban leaders if they were involved in any kind of violence. We went 18 months with zero U.S. casualties in Afghanistan. We just had 13 American service members killed, many of them wounded and Americans were left behind. 

And so this idea now that they were going to say, well, they didn’t have a plan, but if we had a plan it was Trump’s plan, and by the way, you know, this is none of our fault and we didn’t know that this was going to happen and we’re going to rewrite history on what the Trump administration implemented in terms of conditions and getting out of the country in a successful responsible way. It’s definitely a tactic because they’re trying to focus on the other polling topic. 


PERINO: To that point, there is a great interview that Trey Gowdy did on his podcast with Kash Patel. If you want any more information on that I encourage you to listen to that one. This is not the only hearing, Jessica. There’s another one tomorrow. And apparently, the Senate Democrats are saying they don’t want to focus on the last 30 days, they want to focus on the last 20 years. Yes. 

JESSICA TARLOV, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It will be a quick one, you know, just a few hours of chat. It read like most of these hearings usually where you only get five minutes to ask questions. Everyone wants to get in like a couple of pot shots at the person of the opposing party, get their cable news sound bites so Jesse Watters knows who they are, and then move on with their day. 

But I did notice. I mean it was pretty equal opportunity criticism. And Congresswoman Karen Bass went pretty hard at him about the humanitarian issues. Are there protections in place for women and girls? David Cicilline from Rhode Island, LGBTQI people, what is going on, these are at risk people in these communities who are being left behind from us. 

That was one of the central pledges of why Joe Biden and frankly every American president always said, which is that human rights matter. And we know from just what’s going on in the past few weeks that they obviously don’t to the Taliban. I think that Blinken did of totally find job and that people’s hearts and minds on this won’t be moved. They approve of the decision. They don’t like the withdrawal. It’s bipartisan. 

PERINO: Well, to that end, we are keeping an eye on the Secretary of State Antony Blinken he is testifying on Capitol Hill. And up next, as Jessica was just saying, President Biden is defending his chaotic Afghan withdrawal, but actually from former Obama officials who were blasting it. We’ll be right back. 


HEGSETH (on camera): Joe Biden defending his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan while former Obama officials are calling him out. And Biden is admitting well, he could have helped create a new terrorism safe haven. 


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Can Al Qaeda come back here? But guess what, it’s already back other places. What’s the strategy? Every place where Al Qaeda is, we’re going to invade and have troops stay there? Come on. Seventy percent of American people think it was time to get out of Afghanistan, spending all that money. But the flip of it is, they didn’t like the way we got out. 


BIDEN: But it’s hard to explain to anybody, how else could you get out? 


HEGSETH (on camera): An image of pure strength. Biden getting slammed by former Obama officials from making the terror threat in America worse. 


MICHAEL MORELL, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, CIA: The Taliban is harboring Zawahiri today. The Taliban is harboring Al Qaeda today. 

The Taliban winning the war in Afghanistan, and then the way our exit happened, has absolutely inspired Jihadists all over the world. Not only will Jihadists be inspired, but a lot of them are going to come to Afghanistan to be part of the celebration, to be part of Jihadists central. 

LEON PANETTA, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: The most important thing for this president to do is be willing to accept responsibility for the mistakes and to move on. And to basically do what is necessary now to protect our national security. 


HEGSETH (on camera): You know, Dana, you don’t often see this especially amongst Democrats, former Obama officials and CIA director coming out and saying, accept responsibility because you just made the problem worse. 

PERINO: And Leon Panetta repeated the point that he thinks that there was a mistake made or mistakes made but you don’t hear that from anyone in the Biden administration. 


HEGSETH: I don’t think I’ve heard it once. 


HEGSETH: Have you? 

PERINO: They’ve linked arms, it’s red rover, red rover, send them over. And I think you’re sending over Obama people it reminded me of something, though, Pete. Do you remember during the campaign when Robert Gates, former secretary of defense, when his book came out and he said Joe Biden has never been right even once on any foreign policy issue in the last 30 years? 

So that’s very — that’s very strong. And as I recall there wasn’t a lot of defense of the vice president at that time. People just didn’t, they didn’t pile on but they kept their powder dry, they didn’t say much. And I think this is part of that. 

I think Americans want to be on offense against Al Qaeda when President Biden says what are we going to do, invade every country that has Al Qaeda? No one is suggesting that. 

HEGSETH: The strawman. 

PERINO: The strawman arguments are really frustrating. What Americans do expect is to be on offense against Al Qaeda wherever they are. And that doesn’t mean invasion. And we can argue about Afghanistan and getting in, and the mission and all, but that again is just a false equivalence there. 

The other thing I would say, the last thing is, it took the botching of the Afghanistan hasty retreat to bring Americans together. You now have now bipartisan agreement that it was — that people wanted to get out of Afghanistan but that it was handled terribly on the way out and they are embarrassed by it, they’re humiliated, they want the Americans to get out, the green card holders and those vetted, special immigrant visas who helped us for them to be able to get out. 

And it doesn’t look like that’s happening anytime soon especially for those SIVs. And the last bipartisan point is that people do not feel more safe today than they did before 9/11. 

HEGSETH: That’s true. And Jesse, to what Dana just said maybe the Obama officials knew who Joe Biden was all along. And they knew you put him in a situation like this where you have to make dynamic decision, he’s going to dig his heels and ultimately and place blame, I don’t know anywhere else. 

WATTERS: When I see people like Morell and Panetta, I see Obama and I see Hillary. Notice Hillary and Barack have been dead silent since this thing broke out and they are kind of speaking for Hillary and Barack and that’s significant. Break down the statement with me, Pete. Would you do me the honor. 


WATTERS: Can Al Qaeda come back? Yes. But guess back, it’s already back in other places. Does that make you feel safe, Pete? 

PERINO: Great. 

HEGSETH: It didn’t make you feel great. 

WATTERS: How about this, what’s the strategy? Every place where Al Qaeda is, we are going to go invade and have troops staying there? Come on. 

HEGSETH: Come on. 

WATTERS: That’s the Biden doctrine. Strawman followed by a come on. That’s like Dana saying, Jesse, I don’t like my hair. Dana, you don’t like my hair? Well, I’m just going to shave it off. Come on. 

PERINO: Let’s do it. 

WATTERS: Let’s do it. No that makes no sense. And then he feels how else could you get out? Joe, turn on the tube, bro. Every pundit on television has been saying, you keep Bagram, you leave air support in while you pull out the allies and the civilians, may be coordinate with NATO and then get all the hardware out before the Chinese can steal it. Come on, man. 

HEGSETH: How could you get out, many any other way. 


HEGSETH: Any other conceivable way? Is this a Democratic view, Jessica? Is it — what is the foreign policy of Joe Biden? What would Democrats say their foreign policy is right now if the acknowledgment is well, Al Qaeda might just come back but Al Qaeda is all over the place? 

TARLOV: Well, I haven’t heard anyone but the president says that. That’s certainly not what Jen Psaki is saying. It’s not what Antony Blinken was saying today, that’s something that the president in a very casual exchange with a reporter, I will give you that. He felt very casual — 


HEGSETH: On 9/11? 

TARLOV: Yes. I mean, I don’t — I don’t think that anyone — if you look at Joe Biden’s schedule and the same when he put out on 9/11, I don’t think that there’s any way to think that he doesn’t care about it or understand what happened on that day. So, I really don’t want to go there. He was at ground zero in the morning, he went to Shanksville he released a great statement so let’s leave that. 

But as for the criticisms, what’s more interesting to me about it is that you say these are Obama officials. They are Obama-Biden officials. 


TARLOV: It’s an administration, right, like they got picked by Barack and Joe together to do this job? And obviously people have their preferences and they say, you know, I want this guy, you want this guy, or this gal, but those are people from your own team making that criticism which is why I think the Biden administration has been extra quiet about it because it’s not just Democrats saying it. It’s ones that you worked with for years. Right? 


TARLOV: And people who you’ve often worked with for decades if you’re in this kind of position certainly in terms of foreign relation since he was the chairman. 

HEGSETH: But that’s what makes a criticism, Katie, that much more stinging. Is that if they are trying to avoid it they can’t avoid reality, which is ultimately that Michael Morell saying we’ve inspired Jihadists. 

PAVLICH: Right. 

HEGSETH: Could Joe Biden actually to take on Al Qaeda and this administration if necessary? 

PAVLICH: Of course, he could. I mean, that’s why we have the U.S. military. We have the capability to do this, they are choosing not to, Joe Biden. And I would say it doesn’t matter if the secretary — if the press secretary is saying something or the secretary of state is saying something that’s different and that’s what we want to focus on. 

The president of the United States is in charge of the security of the country. It’s the commander in chief’s number one job is protecting Americans especially from foreign threats. And this idea that he saying well, Al Qaeda is everywhere, so throwing up my hands and it’s a very defeatist attitude. 

And he has this attitude from a position of weakness where we are relying on the Taliban to get people out. There are Americans left behind. His attitude should be we will fight them wherever they are and we have the capability to do that and they should mess around and find out. But instead he is saying, well, what do you want me to do? That’s your job. Your job is to do something. 

HEGSETH: Instead we’ve been taking effectively orders from the Taliban. 


HEGSETH: And you worry a little bit of our ability to strike, we don’t have human intelligence, we have signals intelligence which means you don’t have all the ingredients you would normally have which means you end up droning an aide worker with water bottles. 

PAVLICH: Yes, we’re getting the intelligence from the Taliban. 

HEGSETH: Instead of an ISIS suicide bomber. 

PAVLICH: right. 

HEGSETH: Exactly. All right. Ahead, the growing backlash to Biden’s vaccine mandates. What GOP governors plan to do about it, next. 


WATTERS (on camera): Republican governors are telling Joe Biden they are ready for a fight after President Biden rolled out a vaccine mandate that’s going to affect nearly 80 million American workers. Many Republican governors are now looking to take the president to court saying the mandates is government overreach. 


GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): The problem is that I’m trying to overcome resistance but the president’s actions in a mandate harden the resistance. 

GOV. PETE RICKETTS (R-NE): It should be a personal health care choice. This is not something that the government should mandate. 

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): He’s got no authority to do what he’s doing. We’re going to stand up for people’s jobs and we are going to stand up for people’s freedoms and their livelihoods. And when Biden is violating the Constitution we are going to be on the front line with a full-spectrum response.


WATTERS (on camera): And Dr. Anthony Fauci is back with even more restrictions for unvaxxed Americans. 


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If we get the overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated, we will get to herd immunity. If we do it in the next six months, it will happen in the next six months, if we do it in the next two months it will happen in the next two months. I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people that you should be vaccinated. 


WATTERS (on camera): Pete, take it back to the top. Do you think that if you mandate getting vaxxed at work, it’s going to make people dig in who aren’t vaxxed — 


WATTERS: — and say no, no, no? 

HEGSETH: Yes, I think it’s going to make them suddenly want to get a religious exemption, they found Jesus. I do think the more you force, the more you mandate, the more you push, the more people who have been trying to make rational choices in their own life, suddenly make more rash choices and say, no, no. How dare you? I mean, isn’t part of the American spirit? You don’t get to tell me what to do. 

WATTERS: Right. 

HEGSETH: I get to make my own personal health choices? And of course, what also what gets people is, who is exempted from this? Congress is exempt, members of Congress don’t have to — don’t have to apply. Of course, they don’t. They don’t. 

PERINO: Teachers. 

HEGSETH: And I also I think something else, teachers in many cases, something else that Tony Fauci said was revealing, he was asked about natural immunity and his answer was, honestly, you know, that’s a really good point. I don’t have a firm answer for you on that. How are you — 

He knows. 

HEGSETH: — Anthony Fauci, because he knows. 

PAVLICH: He knows. 

HEGSETH: Because he knows that if you actually add up natural immunity, we are getting closer and closer. That’s the first time I’ve heard him a long time use the word herd immunity. They just want the power. 

WATTERS: So, now there’s conversations about planes, Katie, but the Biden administration can’t get on the same page. Some people want vax mandates to fly and others say no, no, no, not so fast. It’s confusing me. 

PAVLICH: Well, we’ve been told for the past year that planes are some of the safest places you can be, right? We’ve been told they have all the technology to make sure that the air is safe. It’s double, triple filtered, whatever, and that it’s totally fine to fly. 

And so, now, they’re saying that it’s unsafe to fly. So, again, they’re limiting their credibility again. And the reason why people are so distrusting of this and why governors are — their legal teams are fighting back is because they’ve been lied to. President Biden said he wasn’t going to do this. Fauci said it shouldn’t happen. Pelosi said it shouldn’t happen. CDC director said it shouldn’t happen. And Psaki said it shouldn’t happen. 

And now, all of a sudden, they’re throwing it out there and saying that it’s happening and that companies are forced to do this, but oh, by the way, there’s all of these exceptions. And on the herd immunity, CDC sent out a tweet last week that caught my attention and they said that data from blood donations shows that Americans with COVID-19 antibodies increased from 20.5 to 83.3 percent after the rollout of the COVID vaccines. 

So, if you add natural immunity on top of that, we’re clearly at herd immunity. And the question is why are they now throwing the hammer down even harder and denying this reality of herd immunity? 

WATTERS: So, Katie is on the calculations we are now at herd immunity, America. I’m just listening to the signs. 

WATTERS: OK. And the boosters, are we getting the boosters now? Are we’re going to give more shots to the third world? Where do we stand on boosters? 

JESSICA TARLOV, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: It’s in limbo right now about the boosters. Senior citizens have become eligible, the ones who went first. Like, my mother just got her appointment for her booster shot in the next couple of weeks. I think that’s right. They are the most vulnerable people amongst us and we should want to protect them. 

There seems to be some confusion between the administration, the CDC, and the FDA. But I want to say that the entire premise of this being a vaccine mandate is actually a fallacy because you can just take a test. You don’t have to get vaccinated. That was what the Biden administration said. There’s also widespread support for a vaccine mandate upward to 50 percent. 

WATTERS: Not on the federal government. Well, they said they’ll fire you, right? 

TYRUS: I’m talking about for private business which is what — 

PETE HEGSETH, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: Not in the military. Not in the military. 

TARLOV: No. Well, you also — you served in the military. You had 17 inoculations, right, when you — 

HEGSETH: I’m goon on anthrax. 

TARLOV: But there are also private businesses that are thankful for this. Like, look what Delta did. They put in a 200 surcharge for everyone who wasn’t vaccinated and they saw a huge bump in numbers of people who went and got vaccinated. The vaccine mandates are effective or just get a test. 

WATTERS: Right. Or if you’re a member of Congress, you don’t have to take the vaccine, or an illegal immigrant also. So, Congress and illegals, Dana. 

DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: Well, that’s — I had Charles Cooke from National Review on the show — “AMERICA’S NEWSROOM” this morning talking about this really incoherent policy of the Biden administration that there’s all these European countries that have very high vaccination rates and Biden is blocking them, you cannot come to the United States from those countries. But then there’s another list that has like three percent vaccinated. They’re all allowed to come in, not to mention the Southern Border. That is an incoherent policy that should be fixed. 

President Biden verbally attacked the unvaccinated and that is what led to hardening of everyone’s positions including the people who support vaccines or expect their fellow Americans or their neighbors to get vaccines. 

So, he ran on I will crush the virus. It’s not working out the way that he wants and now it’s everybody else’s fault or it’s your neighbor’s fault. And he calls on people to divide rather than unite. And the last thing i would say about the media is ask yourself like, do you really want to solve the problem? And if you really think one of the problems is that people who support President Trump or Republicans are too hesitant to get the vaccine and you think that’s the problem. 

Last week, on “GUTFELD!” exclamation point, President Trump was asked by Greg about vaccines. And I’m paraphrasing here, but he basically said, I got the vaccine, I support vaccines, I think people should get the vaccine, comma, however, if you — I also believe in your individual liberty, period. 

So, the headlines out of that interview weren’t President Trump encourages people to get vaccinated. They chose the second part. They said, President Trump says — you know, people should be hesitant and have a right to be, or is even like more egregious than that. 

So, you have to ask yourself. If you’re the president or the media, do you really want to solve the problem or do you want the issue? 

WATTERS: And that’s why the fake news media, as Dana has always been saying, is the enemy of the American people. 

Up next, Gavin Newsom pulling out all the stops to stay in power in California. President Biden coming to his rescue later tonight. 


TARLOV: Voters decide tomorrow whether or not Governor Gavin Newsom will keep his job. The California leader not taking any chances. President Biden on the ground in the Golden State. He’ll be joining Newsom at a rally later tonight. Newsom telling Californians what’s at stake. 


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We’re debating democracy in this country because of Trump and Trumpism. We’re better than this moment. We’re better than the last four years. We’re better than Trump and Trumpism. Vote no on this recall. 


TARLOV: And Newsom’s biggest opponent in the recall, GOP candidate Larry Elder saying the governor’s allies won’t even defend him. 


LARRY ELDER (R-CA), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: they never say the following magical words, Gavin Newsom has done a good job for the people of California. They can’t defend his record on crime. They can’t defend his record on homelessness. They can’t defend the work — his record on the way he ignored science and shut down this state. 


TARLOV: OK, so, Pete, obviously the tides have shifted a bit here. It was a closer race and then democrats woke up and they were like oh, we want to keep a Democrat in power. And now it looks like Newsom should coast to a victory tomorrow. Do you see any big errors in the Elder campaign that led to the — you know, he said he would replace Dianne Feinstein with a Republican right away for instance or Donald Trump today has put out a statement saying that Republicans shouldn’t vote because it’s rigged? 

HEGSETH: I think the error Republicans are going to face is that the state is full of left-wing Democrats who are ultimately going to outnumber Republicans potentially when they come out and vote. The President pointing out that mail-in balloting is fraught with problems is not a controversial statement and a statement that a lot of Republicans rightly understand and endorse. 

The fact that we have now rolling elections where we can track who’s up who’s down before election day is fraught with problems. And I know there’s been polling that’s been different — in different directions. There’s a lot of Democrats in California. They seem to not care about his hypocrisy. They seem to not care about the crime and the homelessness, the wildfires, the school closures, all of that. And they seem to be just fine with teaming up with the media to proclaim a self-made black man to be the face of white supremacy. 

What’s happening in California is the face of the modern Democrat Party and how they want to win elections from the ballot box to the characterization of candidates. And good on Larry Elder for running. And maybe it’ll be closer than you thought but right now it doesn’t look great. 

TARLOV: Dana, you’ve been covering this closely. What do you think are the big important thread lines here? 

PERINO: Well, I think — watch for the Independent vote. They are the most enthusiastic about voting. And so, it’s an off year election. It’s a recall. And if you have independents that are most — are the most interested and the most enthusiastic, to me that’s not good for the incumbent. I do think that the recall process, it’s hard, it’s complicated, it’s weird. And you know the best recall is certainly in a general election. 

But the other thing is that it’s very rich for people to come out and say that Larry Elder would be terrible for communities of color. Literally no group in California is doing worse economically in it from an education standpoint than communities of color. 

The last thing i would say is watch for the Hispanic vote because just like with President Trump in the 2020 election doing better with Hispanics, I do think that there’s an opportunity here for Republicans. Even if they don’t come all the — you know, win tomorrow night, if they make additional progress that will be some signs that they should continue to push forward there. 

TARLOV: OK, Jesse, what about you? 

WATTERS: If you live in California and want to keep your lights on, vote Elder. If you don’t want your house to burn down from a fire because of a forest that Gavin mismanaged, vote Elder. If you don’t want to get shot by an ex-con who got released early on parole, vote Elder. If you don’t want to walk over a homeless man with needles sticking all over the place, vote Elder. 

Elder is not going to get rid of gay marriage or cannabis or hurt Black people. Elder is Black. They don’t want you to know that in California. They want you to think he’s a White supremacist. And that’s what the Newsom strategy is. He wants to make this a referendum on Trump instead of his own performance. And Larry nailed it. You can’t make it about Gavin’s performance because it’s been atrocious. 

TARLOV: Well, Larry Elder did say that he would have voted against the civil rights amendment which is an interesting take for anybody, let alone a Black man. 

PAVLICH: Well, Larry Elder, if people don’t know, has a very deep history and knowledge of all these issues and he is entitled to his opinion as a Black man in America. And he doesn’t have to be told by the liberal left what to think on all these issues. And he’s running on issues. He’s not running to promote President Trump. He’s running on issues like crime and all the things that he laid out in that interview. 

Throughout this process, the left in California and the media again have really revealed themselves. The Washington post today had a reporter at one of his events in California. And he called the assault by the white woman in a gorilla mask with the egg that she tried to throw at him a “egg throwing incident. 

So, it just shows you that, you know, you’re allowed to be a Republican as long as you fit into the perfect box that the left wants you to. And if you happen to be a Black Republican or a female Republican or conservative, then they will smear you and they will throw these things to the side that would be complete national news stories for weeks on end with every person in the party having to condemn it just wash it away as a little incident. 

And so, I’m proud of Larry Elder. I think there’s a lot of conservatives in California who are grateful that he stepped up to the plate to get — you know, to get on the ballot and they worked really hard to get him there. And you know what, maybe there’s a chance. 

TARLOV: So, you’re saying, there’s a chance. 

PAVLICH: I’m telling you there’s a chance. 

TARLOV: We can all agree on Dumb and Dumber being the best ever. OK, this crazy video that everyone is talking about, football fans saving a falling cat with an American flag. 


PAVLICH: Well, this is amazing video of fans at a college football game this weekend springing into action to save a cat. The poor feline was dangling from the side of a balcony about 50 feet in the air and let go. But quick thinking people used an American flag as a net to help save him. The couple that pulled it off, that awesome rescue, is explaining how they did it. 


CRAIG CROMER, FANS WHO HELPED SAVE FALLING CAT: Frequently, stuff falls from the upper deck and goes down below and sometimes it’s thrown sometimes it’s dropped. They started pointing up. At that time, my wife and I looked up and we could see the butt of an animal. We couldn’t tell what kind of animal it was. 


PAVLICH: All right, Pete, you are a cat guy. 

HEGSETH: I am. So, would you have used the flag to save this feline? 

HEGSETH: Unabashedly a cat guy. They are utterly superior to dogs in their knowledge and clearly in their survivability. 

PERINO: Yes, it’s true. 

HEGSETH: Would any of the dog owners here believe their dog owners could survive such a fall? 

PERINO: Probably not. 

PAVLICH: I need a larger flag. 

HEGSETH: You would need a larger flag, true, true. And fitting that the flag was used. I think it just — it’s amazing they traveled to the game with the flag and they had it there and it was ready to go. 

PAVLICH: Yes, so — 

HEGSETH: How did the cat get there? That’s the question that I keep asking. I don’t know — 

PERINO: And who did it leave with? 

HEGSETH: Because you can’t take your cat — I tried to — I brought my cat to “FOX AND FRIENDS” and I’ve never been so nervous in my life. Because I was convinced when he got out of the carrier, which was a cardboard box, he was going to run around this studio and I would never catch him ever again. 

WATTERS: That was the time you were the most nervous on “FOX AND FRIENDS?” 

HEGSETH: Most nervous ever on “FOX AND FRIENDS.” 

WATTERS: That time. 

HEGSETH: That time. 


PAVLICH: Dana, doesn’t this mean America is going to be OK? 

PERINO: This is what our Taliban and al-Qaeda enemies do not understand about America. So, in that college football stadium, in the fall, you had Americans from every race, creed, and color, and they were all — they were all one, compassionate and worried about the cat. They all cheered wildly when the cat was caught. It was caught in an American flag. And when the guy held up that cat like Simba in the Lion King, the crowd went wild and that’s what makes America great. It was perfect for the 20th anniversary of 9/11. 

PAVLICH: Jessica, that cat looked terrified when he was caught but he made it. He looked like he was going to land on his feet. 

TARLOV: The hanging on was the most impressive part of it. Like, I mean I wouldn’t have lasted like three seconds with this upper body strength up there. I was impressed by the entire event. 

PAVLICH: Jesse. 

WATTERS: That cat dropped faster than Joe Biden’s approval rating, Katie. I’m going to be on “GUFELD!” later tonight too. I disagree strongly with Pete Hegseth who I like but he’s totally dead wrong on this. How ungrateful is this cat? You saved the cat’s life and all the cat does when you pick it up and show it to the crowd is scratch you and hiss at you. A dog would lick you if you saved its life. 

HEGSETH: Because we serve cats. That’s the — that’s the relationship that you have with cats. 

WATTERS: I don’t like that power dynamics. 

TARLOV: And the cat was tortured. 

WATTERS: I like to own the pet. I don’t like the pet owning me. 

PAVLICH: You know, I got to say — I got to say, Jesse is right. I rescued a cat from a dumpster once and it indeed bit me and that was the end of my cat love. “ONE MORE THING” up next. 


PERINO: It’s time now for “ONE MORE THING.” Jesse.

WATTERS: Gutfeld is off. He took a sick day, something really lame. So, I’m filling in for him on “GUTFELD!” I’m taking over the whole set. We’re renaming it Watters!! Two T’s, two exclamation points. Who do we have tonight? We have Kat Timpf, Katie Pavlich, Curtis Sliwa — oh, he’s running for mayor — and Joe Machi, a really funny comedian. Tune in tonight 11:00 p.m. Eastern time. Don’t watch if you’re Greg. Greg, I don’t want you watching.

PERINO: I cannot wait for this. I have DVR as I always do. I want to take a moment to let everybody know about a special that is running on — that was actually released by the Fox News digital team. We go to foxnews.com. 

You can see part one of what’s called the Gathering Storm. It just came out. So, it’s about a 14 minute long video. It is excellent and it tells you about this 96 heroic effort by our people to try to get the Afghans out. I mean, well, our — you know, the Americans out. But also, it talks about what happened in terms of leaving Bagram in the middle of the night. 

This is only part one. I watched it last night. I thought it was fantastic. There are insights from a former CIA intelligence officer and a former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. They are very candid about it all and. I was just super impressed. So, that’s video.foxnews.com. It’s called the Gathering Storm. They did an excellent job. 

HEGSETH: Very cool. Future administrations can watch that to see exactly what not to do. 

PERINO: This is the after action report. 

HEGSETH: This is the after action report right there. This is a pretty cool story from a young lady. The U.S. open women’s final was Saturday with Leylah Fernandez taking on Emma Raducanu. 

PERINO: Very good. Five points. 

HEGSETH: OK. Although she’s Canadian, Leylah finished the match runner up and she had a great message on 9/11. Take a look. 


LEYLAH FERNANDEZ, TENNIS PLAYER: New York has suffered a lot the past — the past years when it did happen. And I just wanted to let them know that they’re so strong, they’re so resilient. Just having them here happy lively and just going back to the way they were and and having my back during these tough moments has made me stronger. 


HEGSETH: Athletes with perspective are very nice thing to see especially for young people. 

PERINO: She’s wonderful. 

HEGSETH: Again, 19 paying tribute to New Yorkers on the 20th anniversary. I’d like to hear a little bit more of that. 

PERINO: Super cool, right? And she’s Canadian. 

HEGSETH: Yes, she’s Canadian sometimes — 

PERINO: There you go. I love seeing the two — the two young ladies a play and I think you’ll see them a lot for the next probably 15 years. Jessica. 

TARLOV: Awesome. So, I mentioned a couple weeks ago that there was going to be this 9/11 charity comedy show that Pete Davidson whose father was a first responder fireman passed away on 9/11 and Jon Stewart were hosting. And it happened last night and I went. It was an incredible slew of comics. 

I saw Dave Chappelle in person for the first time. John Mullaney was there. Dave Attell was hilarious. Michael Che felt way funnier than we can update. It was great. But there were special guests like Steve Buscemi came out. He was actually a firefighter before. He made it in show business and went back to work with his ladder company from Long Island after 9/11, packed MSG floor, no phones, just you and tens of thousands of people all fully vaccinated laughing on what was such a tough weekend for so many of us. 

And it was an incredible commemoration of it. Tons of first responders in the audience and a lot of very funny jokes which we’re not supposed to repeat. It was supposed to be this private thing. But hopefully they air it at some point so you guys can see their sets. 

PERINO: That’s awesome. I love it. All right, Katie. 

PAVLICH: OK, so, I know that you’ve all seen Jurassic Park and the scientists end up growing dinosaurs in a lab and it ends up going very poorly. Well, what aboutgrowing or reconstructing woolly mammoths. Entrepreneur Ben Lamm has teamed up with renowned Harvard geneticist George Church to de-extinct the woolly mammoth. 

The project is called colossal and it aims to create a new woolly mammoth by genetically engineering endangered Asian elephants to withstand arctic temperatures. Their goal is to create a woolly mammoth calf in as little as six years. A lack of funding put it on ice, but it received 50 million in funding recently from investors. 

PERINO: Wait, why would we do this? 

PAVLICH: That’s what I’m saying. Like, could you please stop doing this. 

HEGSETH: What could go wrong? 

PAVLICH: It’s like the people who open up the sarcophagus of the Egyptians mummies, like just — there’s things that you just don’t need to do. 

PERINO: Just leave it alone. Just leave it alone. 

PAVLICH: Yes, we’re good. 

PERINO: Well, that was a great show, everyone. Don’t forget, exclamation point with Watters tonight. That’s it for us. “SPECIAL REPORT” is up next. Hey, Bret. 

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