This is a rush transcript from “The Five,” August 24, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS HOST: Hello everybody. I’m Jesse Watters along with Dagen McDowell, Jessica Tarlov, Dana Perino and Greg Gutfeld. It’s 5:00 in New York City and this is THE FIVE.
President Biden set to speak at any moment now. The commander-in-chief letting the Taliban dictate the terms of U.S. foreign policy and caving to the terror group’s red line. They just today warned U.S. forces there would be no extensions.
President Biden will be sticking by as August 31st deadline for full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, flying in the face of our allies who want us to stay longer until all friendly forces are safely out of the country. And a group of GOP lawmakers ripping into President Biden over that decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE MCCAUL (R-TX): It will be a stain on this presidency, and particularly after the decision made today and what we heard today, he will have blood on his hands. Our allies no longer trust us and our enemies no longer fear us.
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-AL): Everything about this situation that we’re in now is Joe Biden’s fault. It’s reckless for our country and it’s a disaster that’s taking place. It’s his responsibility.
REP. JAKE ELLZEY (R-TX): This is not politics. Nobody wants to be standing up in front of you talking about this. This is a failure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATTERS: And talk about gas lighting the entire country. The White House says Americans are not being stranded in Kabul, but take a listen to this firsthand account.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: We are stranded at home. We can’t get to the airport. When we try to get to the airport we either get beaten up or we are afraid for our lives. I don’t know, you know, how things are going to go. But I really need — I really need our president to really, really consider this serious. We are in danger. We are in danger, Mr. President. Please help us.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WATTERS: Just heart breaking to listen to that. So, the president coming out any minute now. Dana Perino, after listening to that poor woman, just makes you almost cry.
DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS HOST: It’s just one of many, many, many, possibly thousands that are going through the same thing. So the president’s planning to speak any moment now. I thought it was curious that all day long this speech has moved.
PERINO: It was going to be at 2:00 then it was 3:30 and then it was — and then the White House press secretary briefed at 3:30 and then he’s going to give the speech. I assume that means he’s not going to be taking questions and that he will let it sit with her.
Just one other thing is, as he gives this speech, one, there’s the actual situation on the ground. There is the anger from our veterans who feel completely let down and they are trying — they’re — I talked to one who said he was going between rage and grief all day long.
PERINO: And then you have the politics of it which we have plenty of time to talk about it, but I would imagine one of the reasons it’s late and here he comes is he’s now at 41 percent.
WATTERS: All right. Let’s listen to the president of the United States here from the White House.
(BEGIN LIVE VIDEO)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERUCA: Before I update you on the meeting that I had with the leaders of the G7 earlier today, I want to say a word about the progress we’re making on the Build Back Better agenda here at home.
Just got off the telephone with the leaders in the House. Today, the House of Representatives have taken significant steps toward making historic investment that’s going to transform America, cut taxes for the working families and position the American economy for long-term, long-term growth.
When I became president, it was clear that we had to confront an immediate economic crisis, most significant recession we’ve had since the depression, or at least since Johnson. But we — but we weren’t going to — but that wasn’t going to be enough. We also had to make some long-term investments in Americans and America itself.
The first thing we did was to write and pass the American Rescue Plan, and it is working. Our economy has added four million jobs in my first six months in office. Economic growth is up to the fastest it’s been, the fastest rate in 40 years. And unemployment is coming down.
Right now, our economy growth is leading the world’s advanced economies. But to win the future, we need to take the next step. Today, the House of Representatives did just that. Today’s vote in the House allowed them to consider my Build Back Better agenda.
A broad framework to make housing more affordable, bring down the cost of prescription drugs by giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prices for drugs, make elder care more affordable, provide two years of free universal, high quality pre-K and two years of free community college.
Provide clean energy tax credits. Continue to give the middle class families the well-deserved tax cut for day care and healthcare that they deserve allowing a lot of women to get back to work primarily. And provide significant monthly tax cuts for working families with children through the Child Care Tax Credit.
These investments are going to lower out-of-pocket expenses for families and not just give them a little more breathing room. In addition, we’re going to make long overdue much-needed investments in basic hard infrastructure of this nation. This scenario where we have broad bipartisan agreement to invest in our antiquated roads, highways, bridges, transit, drinking water systems, broadband, clean energy, environmental cleanup, and making infrastructure more resilient to climate — to the climate crisis and so much more.
And this is all paid for. Instead of giving every break in the world to corporations and CEO’s — by the way, 55 of our largest companies in America pay zero dollars in federal taxes on more than $40 billion in profit last year. We can ask corporations and the very wealthy just to pay their fair share. They can still be very wealthy. They can still make a lot of money.
Just begin to pay their fair share so we can invest in making our country stronger and more competitive. Create jobs and lift wages and lift up the standard of living for everyone. The bottom line is in my view, we’re a step closer to truly investing in the American people, positioning our economy for long term growth, and building an America that out-competes the rest of the world.
My goal is to build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not just the top down. And that’s what we’re on our way of doing. Look, I want to thank Speaker Pelosi who was masterful in her leadership on this and Leader Hoyer and Whip Clyburn and Chairman DeFazio, the entire house leadership team for the hard work, dedication, and determination to bring people together so we can make a difference in people’s lives.
I also want to thank every Democrat in the House who worked so hard over the past few weeks to reach an agreement and who supported the process for House consideration of the Jobs and Infrastructure Plan, the Build Back Better effort.
There were differences, strong points of view. They’re always welcome. What is important is that we came together to advance our agenda. I think everyone who did that — I think everyone, everyone who did it, was there.
Look, I also want to thank everyone who voted to support the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, you know, advancing — it’s an act to restore and expand voting protections, to prevent voter suppression, and to secure the most sacred of American rights. The right to vote freely, the right to vote fairly and the right to have your vote counted.
The House has acted. The Senate also has to join them to send this important bill to my desk. And the Senate has to move forward on the People’s Act, a critical legislation to protect our democracy and the right to vote. We need both of those election bills.
But let me now turn top Afghanistan. I met this morning with my counterparts in the G7, as well as heads of the United Nations, NATO and the European Union. I expressed my thanks for the solidarity we have seen as we’ve stood up an unprecedented global effort.
I updated our partners on the significant progress we made in the past 10 days. As of this afternoon, we’ve helped evacuate 70,700 people just since August the 14th — 75,900 people since the end of July. Just in the past 12 hours, another 19 U.S. military flights, 18 C-17s and one C-130 carrying approximately 6,400 evacuees and 31 coalition flights carrying 5,600 people have left Kabul. Just in the last 12 hours.
A total of 50 more flights, 12,000 more people, since I updated you this morning. These numbers are a testament to the efforts of our brave service women and men, to our diplomats on the ground in Kabul, and to our allies still standing with us.
And we had a productive discussion. There was strong agreement among the leaders both about the evacuation mission underway as well as the need to coordinate our approach to the Afghan — to the Afghanistan as we move forward.
First, on evacuation, we agreed that we will continue to close — our close cooperation to get people out as efficiently and safely as possible. We are currently on a pace to finish by August the 31st. The sooner we can finish, the better. Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops.
But, the completion by August 31st depends upon the Taliban continuing to cooperate and allow access to the airport for those who are transporting out and no disruptions to our operation. In addition, I’ve asked the Pentagon and the State Department for contingency plan to adjust the timetable should that become necessary.
I’m determined to ensure that we complete our mission, this mission. I’m also mindful of the increasing risks that I’ve been — I’ve been briefed on and the need to factor those risks in. They’re real and significant challenges that we also have to take into consideration.
The longer we stay starting with the acute and growing risk of an attack by a terrorist group known as ISIS-K, an ISIS affiliated in Afghanistan, which is the sworn enemy of the Taliban as well. Every day we’re the ground is another day we know that ISIS-K is seeking to target the airport and attack both U.S. and allied forces and innocent civilians.
Additionally, thus far, the Taliban had been taking steps to work with us so we can get our people out. But it’s a tenuous situation. We’re already had some gun fighting breakout. We run a serious risk of it breaking down as time goes on.
Second, the G7 leaders and the leaders of the E.U., NATO and the U.N., all agreed that we will stand united in our approach to the Taliban. We agreed the legitimacy of any future government depends on the approach it now takes to uphold international obligations, including to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a base for terrorism.
And we agree that none of us are going to take the Taliban’s word for it. We’ll judge them by their actions. And we’ll stay in close coordination on any steps that we take moving forward in response to the Taliban’s behavior.
At the same time, we renewed our humanitarian commitment to the Afghan people and supported a proposal by the Secretary General Guterres of the United Nations-led international response with unfettered humanitarian access in Afghanistan.
Third, we talked about our mutual obligation to support refugees and evacuees currently fleeing Afghanistan. The United States will be a leader in these efforts and we’ll look to the international community and to our partners to do the same. We’re already seeing our allies’ commitment.
They’re bringing their — they’re bringing to their countries the Afghans who served alongside their forces as translators or in their embassies, just as we’re bringing to the United States those Afghans who worked alongside our forces and diplomats. We’re continuing that effort.
We’re conducting thorough security screening in the intermediate stops they’re making for anyone who is not a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Anyone arriving in the United States will have undergone a background check. And, and we must all work together to resettle thousands of Afghans who ultimately qualify for refugee status.
The United States will do our part, and we are already working closely with refugee organizations to rebuild a system that was purposely destroyed by my predecessor.
Finally, we agreed to stay vigilant against terrorist threats that have metastasized around the world. We went to Afghanistan with our allies in 2001 for clear reasons. One, to get the people who attacked us on 9/11 and to get Osama bin Laden, and to make sure Afghanistan was not used again as a base from which to attack the United States or our allies.
We achieved that objective. We delivered justice to bin Laden more than a decade ago. But the current environment looks very different than it did in 2001 and we have to meet the challenges we face today. We run effective counter-terrorism operations around the world where we know terrorism is more of a threat than it is today in Afghanistan without any permanent military presence on the ground.
And we can and will do the same thing in Afghanistan with our over the horizon counter-terrorism capability. Cooperation with our closest partners on our enduring counter-terrorism mission will continue to be an essential piece of our strategy.
In short we all, all of us agreed today that we’re going to stand shoulder to shoulder with our closest partners to meet the current challenges we face in Afghanistan just as we have for the past 20 years. We’re acting in consultation and cooperation with our closest friends and fellow democracies.
And I want to again thank all of our allies and partners around the world who have rallied in support of our shared mission. We ended the conversation today by a clear statement on all of our parts. We are going to stay united, locked at the hip in terms of what we have to do. We’ll get that done.
And tomorrow, I’ve asked Secretary Blinken to give you an update and a detailed report on exactly how many Americans are still in Afghanistan, how many we got out and what our projection is. So thank you again. God bless you and may God protect our diplomats and all those in harm’s way. Thank you.
UNKNOWN: Mr. President, can you guarantee every Americans will be out —
(END LIVE VIDEO)
WATTERS: Again, the president of the United States not taking questions after addressing the country first, in a bizarre turn of events, about Build Back Better and then voting rights legislation, acting like the Afghan crisis is just one of many of your typical things the White House deals with on an average week.
Finally getting into the G7 conversations he had, said everything was going great with this evacuation and then did a big number dump about how many flights have gone out and how the allies are working closely together. That just does not square with pretty much every single bit of reporting which we’ve seen and says ISIS could be running us out of the airport and the deadline, 31st, is going to stick as long as the Taliban lets us do this, that, and the other thing. Dana, this was a meaningless address to the American people. How would you frame it?
PERINO: Well, one, I screamed a little when he started with Build Back Better. I get it, the Democrats passed in the House with their razor thin margin, $3.5 trillion in spending that will saddle you with debt for the rest of your lives.
But other than that, you cannot try to say that your domestic agenda is more important than the international crisis that you are supposed to be handling. So again, it’s like every time he has spoken this week, and I have a great deal of respect for this office of the presidency and the president himself.
When he speaks and he’s reading the teleprompter, it’s like, are you internalizing these words. Are you understanding? Because the other thing that’s really been very frustrating since last Friday, we pointed it out again and again, he says these things or the press secretary has said things that then you are looking at the people you’re talking to on the ground, like I am here, he’s not on the ground but he’s trying to help people there. It’s like they’re not getting any help.
You are actually hearing things that are completely the opposite of what they’re saying. And when he talks about 707,000 have been taken out, a lot of that was done by our allies. And so for the allies having been so frustrated with the way that this was handled, and then Boris Johnson having to call for a G7 meeting, and then for him to say, yes, we’re all in the same page, everything’s fine.
But also note this, and I’ll let you guys talk. He said — he already has terms for recognizing the Taliban’s legitimacy. If you listen to what he said there, that we’re not going to take their word for it but here are these things that they would need to do. And, you know, I don’t also know about this ISIS threat.
There are reports and we can ask Jennifer Griffin when we have a chance, that talking about the ISIS threat which believe me, I don’t want ISIS anywhere, but is that basically a way for us to get out of the airport sooner than we actually need to before we can get all of our people out — 4,000 Americans have been taken out. And the president said we’ll tell you tomorrow how many there are. I don’t think they necessarily know and I understand why they might not know. But to me that was subpar to say the least.
WATTERS: He seems very focused on the danger of staying a few days longer, but not focused on the danger that Americans face, Greg, who are stranded behind enemy lines. And he just hasn’t met the moment.
GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS HOST: He’s like a fading talent that just had to play all the greatest hits, right? So, he went up on stage just now, started with the free stuff, look at all these free things, then he did the climate crisis, of course. Then he did corporate taxes, right? What did he say? Pay your fair share. And then he did the voter suppression. All of these things are there just because they’re kind of like the way that they can say, look, I’m still president, this thing is just something else.
GUTFELD: But it also plays out. It makes it look like he’s trying to avoid the elephant in the room. But when I look at him, I don’t — when I look at him, I don’t blame him — I can’t — it’s unfair to just blame him. We had 20 years. How did that happen? How did we have 20 years of this?
Because we need to explain that. We need to investigate that as well as this because they’re all linked together in this kind of this weird amorphous ambivalence toward Americans in general who paid for this with blood and treasure, right?
We had grifters and bureaucrats who basically took advantage of our wealth and our own kind of distraction with modern novelty to let this happen. I also want to just bring up what really, you know, chaps my hide, and I hate using that kind of language, Dana.
But I’m going through this complex process of getting a handgun in New York City. I could have just joined the Taliban because it is easier to get guns from America being in the Taliban than being a citizen of New York who’s come under threats and all I want to do is get a permit for a gun and I say that we just hand over rockets, rifles, handguns, to the Taliban, the new- improved Taliban, like ISIS-K — sounds leak a cereal.
WATTERS: ISIS-K. And then, Dagen, potentially, if you have to send commandos into the countryside after the deadline to rescue stranded Americans, you’re going to have to fend off the Taliban, as Greg mentioned, that’s armed to the teeth with our gear. It makes it that much harder.
DAGEN MCDOWELL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It’s disgusting and that’s a word I can say on television. People I’ve talked to are worried about our troops who are at the airport, that they’re sitting ducks now. Just a few things. Jen Psaki spoke before Biden, that way she doesn’t have to do cleanup for all the lies and the fallacies.
PERINO: Well, also, didn’t — they didn’t have to take questions.
MCDOWELL: Right. But what happened last Friday, remember, he lied here, there, and everywhere about our allies are with us, Al Qaeda’s gone from Afghanistan and Americans can get to the airport. So at least this delays the cleanup process until tomorrow.
He actually lied right out of the gate about the economy. He was talking about how bad the economy was when he took office. No, it wasn’t. It was — the recession ended in April of last year. He can’t even get basic facts correct. But he has told so — he seems to be allergic to the truth, to strength, to competence and reality.
And I don’t think we’ll ever get a number of Americans who are still in Afghanistan, because that way, they can lie and say that all Americans are out, this is the date, it’s the date certain, we’re pulling our troops, yay, let’s celebrate. And it’s a political win for me. That’s the depths of disgusting that this administration is palming right now.
WATTERS: Jessica, I want to ask you about what Dana said. The president is not emotionally connecting with the country. He’s not emotionally connected to this situation in Afghanistan. He goes up there and he reads words, poll-tested phrases that you know he didn’t write himself. And then he scrambles away without taking any questions.
We need to hear the president off script. We need to see what his heart is feeling and you’re not getting that at a teleprompter address like that. He looks cold, he looks heartless, and then he runs away.
JESSICA TARLOV, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I appreciate that you were listening to me yesterday since I said what I want to see most of all is the empathizer-in-chief, the guy who won this election at the time when it’s very hard to beat a sitting president, historically, in the depths of a COVID massacre because he was connecting with people and he was saying I understand, I feel your pain in all of these different ways.
And so I agree with you. I think emotional Joe Biden is the best Joe Biden. This is, if you’re looking back on his career, this decision on foreign policy basis is not a surprise, right. He’s on record over the course of decades having very similar reactions to kind of these forever war scenarios.
There were a couple of things that stood out to me that I want more information on. This timetable adjustments, the potential for that, because we heard August 31st was a hard line, but he said it’s open to adjustments. What could that mean? I mean how many days is that, how many more troops is that? We’ve already started to withdraw.
Second thing, the unified front which Dana spoke to at the beginning. We know that isn’t the case. Boris Johnson has been quite outspoken and Tony Blair is not in office anymore, kind of ripped him a proverbial new one, right.
PERINO: That’s right.
TARLOV: Angela Merkel as well. And this is something that we all got into together. Like for better or worse, and they have been responsible for a lot of the evacuations. I do want to address, though, the Republicans who spoke this morning like Congressman McCaul, et cetera. And that are saying this is all Joe Biden’s fault and this is about to what Greg was talking about.
This did begin as Donald Trump’s plan. And it was supposed to be May 1st versus August 31st. And I’m not here to say like, you know, orange man bad and Joe Biden good, but this is not all Joe Biden. This is, you know, four presidents have been involved in this and he did on the first day when we started to pull out say I’m not going to push this onto a fifth president, and that is important and we got 21,600 people out in the last 24 hours.
It will be the largest airlift in U.S. history when that’s done. Allies are helping, but those things do matter. There are things that are going right amidst all the chaos.
WATTERS: Right. I think bragging about the amazing airlift is totally detached from how this country feels about the situation. Let’s bring in Jennifer Griffin now. What’s your reaction to what we just heard from President Biden?
GRIFFIN: Well, I’m trying to sort through my reaction but I think what the first thing I would say is that what continues to be amazing to me is that every time the president speaks, he sets a deadline that then the military has to scramble to adjust to meet.
He doesn’t seem to understand what it takes to either evacuate people, the buildup, the time needed, the amount of people that he has promised that he was going to get out. He makes statements like all U.S. citizens will be evacuated from Afghanistan.
Right now, the U.S. government doesn’t even know how many Americans are in Afghanistan. When I hear the president talking about these so-called over the horizon capabilities, there are no over the horizon capabilities. Those are empty words. We do not have any basis in the region where you can place drones, where you have intelligence officers.
We now know — have no partners on the ground in Afghanistan other than the Taliban. And how’s that going to work in terms of over the horizon capabilities? The ISIS threat is real. Every day that U.S. troops are on the ground at the Kabul airport, they are a target, they are sitting ducks. They know that.
It is extraordinary that they have gotten 21,000 people out in the last 24 hours, up to 70,000, but the people they haven’t gotten out are the people they promised to get out, Americans, as well as those who were translators who are cowering in their homes who we’re getting videos from of their family members being killed as the Taliban close in on them.
And the callousness with which these statements from the White House when the president reads those statements and starts with a domestic agenda and then says, oh, by the way, here’s what’s happening in Afghanistan today. It is so detached from reality.
But the reality is the American troops who are on the ground at the airport, who are having to turn back people at the airport, who are having to lift babies and women over the walls, who are breaking rules, at times, to get people in who are in need because the rules being sent from Washington to of who can come through the airport and the Taliban blocking, and now we have to ask mother may I to the Taliban if we can get American citizens through their check points.
It’s so appalling. And it didn’t have to be this way. This is — President Biden took this decision to go to zero. He announced a date, September 11th, of all days, as a withdraw date. The military pulls out, they have to go back within 11 days. Then they are expected to move 100,000 people out of Afghanistan in a matter of a week.
It’s only been a week since the Taliban took over and already we reported earlier today, the military’s having to pack up because, once again, the president has given an arbitrary deadline, August 31st. Why August 31st? And the Taliban now has, you know, when they hear the president talk about a deadline, then of course they’re going to make him hold to that.
It’s so baffling. And the people who are suffering are the Afghans who are being left behind, the women and the children who — the women and children who won’t be able to go to school, and those poor American troops who are doing the best they can right now, being given an impossible task.
I can’t even imagine the trauma that they will — they are experiencing right now and that they will be suffering from when they get home. And then there are the veterans back home who feel so awful who are getting WhatsApp messages and e-mails from their translators who sacrificed their lives for more than a decade, many of whom, thousands of whom, we have not gotten out. We did not keep our promise and it is a national shame.
WATTERS: Well said, Jennifer. And we have a question from Greg Gutfeld, so please stick around.
GUTFELD: Yes. About like this mass weapons transfer, I’m trying to figure out if this stuff is actually accurate because it’s so unbelievable. I mean, was this on purposes? Was this accidental? Was this part of a deal that we weren’t aware of that we leave, we were going to leave all of this great equipment? Or is the equipment not workable? Has it been disabled? Like there’s all these — I can’t — I guess I can’t believe the story.
GRIFFIN: So, Greg, I think you have to separate it into two parts. First of all, when the U.S. military pulled out and left Bagram Air Base and left a fully armed Afghan National Army of, you know, up to 300,000 troops, they had to leave them with weapons. They had — we had spent $85 billion over the years. There were bound to be stockpiles of weapons. You couldn’t take all your weapons with you and then expect the Afghan National Army to fight the Taliban. They didn’t expect the Afghan National Army to fold so quickly.
My understanding is that some of the more advanced equipment, some of the helicopters and the Apaches and whatever they pulled — that that was part of the retrograde when they left Bagram. Now, that’s not to say that some was left behind because, again, the expectation was that the Afghan national army would stand and would continue to fight off the Taliban, even if it were just for a few months.
So, they were kind of caught between what do you do otherwise. If you really knew the Taliban were going to take over and 11 days, you would have blown up all the weapons depots. But the problem is they wanted to give the Afghan National Army a chance. The real problem was when President Ghani fled, that army fell apart.
WATTERS: All right, we have another question here from Dana.
PERINO: Hey, Jen. I’m curious about what you hear internally, if you can speak to it, at the Pentagon, if there’s frustration about being given a mission that they are not being given the resources in order to complete. And what also — you know, when a president speaks, it’s to all these different audiences, the American public, our allies are adversaries, but also very specifically, in a situation like this to our troops. And I just wonder what you’re hearing in terms of reaction on that end.
GRIFFIN: Well, it’s interesting. I didn’t actually hear President Biden speaking to our troops.
GRIFFIN: There’s always that catchphrase at the end, God bless our troops, but I didn’t hear him addressing our troops. I didn’t hear him addressing veterans. I didn’t hear any sort of empathy whatsoever.
The military, as you know, they salute smartly. When they’re given an order, they get as much done as they possibly can, as quickly as they can. It’s — I spoke to some former senior leaders here at the Pentagon who have served in Afghanistan, and I spoke to one last night who had — would have been in this position and had to — would have had to oversee this withdrawal if he were still in command.
And I asked, what is it — is there anything the military is doing wrong from his point of view that he would have done differently? And you can quibble about few minor things. There’s been the debate about whether you should have pulled out of Bagram first. And the way — the way it was explained to me is we had a choice.
And this goes back to the debating of the plan when the military was given the order, basically, to begin planning to withdraw back in April. And that was, do you stay at Bagram? You’re going to need a big force protection to do that. Is — are you going to be able to get all those civilians and SIV’s and Americans up to Bagram? There are no — there’s not as much infrastructure around there. Or do you hope that the Afghan government’s going to hold and you know that within the next year or two, you might have to withdraw citizens from Kabul International Airport? They opted for that. You know, there are pros and cons to both.
But I think the — I think — I just — I see they are working under a very difficult, almost impossible timeline, particularly knowing that there is an ISIS threat. Now, remember, what isn’t explained all the time is that ISIS hates the Taliban as much — and the Taliban hates ISIS as much as they hate us. So, ISIS would love to embarrass the Taliban right now. They would love to fire on the airport so that the Americans had to pull out under fire.
There are a lot of different factors there. It is an extremely dangerous environment in which they are doing this. They knew that going into it, but the blithe manner in which the President seems to have given the orders to withdraw, it just — it boggles the mind that this was all known. And this was all brief to the President.
I know there were heated discussions in the Situation Room about the humanitarian catastrophe that would follow going to zero in Afghanistan. But once the President took that decision, the military had to do the best they could to ensure that there were no troop casualties, and now to get as many people out as I can. But unfortunately, time is running out.
WATTERS: Jen, please stay with us. I want to play some sound and then go to you Dagen from General Keane who is on our air earlier. Please roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. JACK KEANE (RET), FOX NEWS SENIOR STRATEGIC ANALYST: The troops are there to accept risk to get American citizens and Afghan partners out. They are fully aware of that mission. I think we have leaders here who are absolutely risk-averse. They fear a casualty. They feel somebody getting hurt seriously. They’re wringing their hands over this. There’s a lack of spine I think being shown here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATTERS: This is by this calculation as I see it. He is afraid to go past that deadline because anything goes after that point, you going to have a live firefight at the airport. We have guys surrounded. Who knows what could happen. You could have massive casualties, civilian casualties. He’d have to then send in more men into the airport. And that’s a total mess.
He would rather leave when the Taliban tells him to on the 31st just so he doesn’t have to risk that situation happening. But by doing that he strands thousands of our people beyond the wire.
MCDOWELL: Americans, our Afghan allies, and our friends. Jennifer to that point, the frustration I’ve heard from so many veterans, special ops talking to them, even talking to a man who was — flew a helicopter into the Ia Drang Valley First Cavalry Air Mobile. They’re screaming about let us go in and do what we do. This is what we’re trained for. We don’t leave people behind. That’s the frustration. And President Biden doesn’t get that.
GRIFFIN: Well, the problem Dagen is after 20 years of war, there are so many people left behind. So what are you going to do, willy-nilly send every veteran, you know, 1.2 million or 1.6 million who’ve served since 9/11 back in to get their translators? You have to have some sort of organized effort.
The Pentagon tried to organize that effort. But there have been various roadblocks having to work with the State Department, having to make sure that biometrics were done and that you knew who you were bringing out. There are constraints. I think back to the point that Jack Keane — General Jack Keane made. It is clear that this President and any president before him does not want another Mogadishu. They do not want to Blackhawk down. They do not want American troops getting surrounded by a crowd and getting dragged through the streets of Kabul.
It is understandable. That is — that is — it is the U.S. military’s goal to get out without having any U.S. casualties, and to not have to leave under fire with, you know, any further embarrassment than what we’ve seen so far. So, given those constraints, there is a reason that U.S. troops, for the most part, are staying behind the wire at the airport and heroically have gotten 70,000 people out in a matter of weeks.
But that being said, the heartache being felt by the veterans and those who worked with translators who are sending them these calls for help, it’s more than any of us can bear. But you can also understand when you’re the president commander-in-chief, you don’t want to just send your forces out willy-nilly in the streets of Kabul with such a hostile force now in charge of the government.
PERINO: Jen, to that point, very good one, about the veterans. And I talked to a guy, Special Forces, former — formerly Special Forces there. He’s been working around the clock during the fundraising trying to get the interpreters here. He said that the pleadings that he is getting from them, he said, it is almost breaking me.
And I wanted to just play this sound and have you react. This is Congressman Michael Waltz of Florida. He was speaking earlier today on the House — at the House steps about this very issue. And I think back to what you said about the president not addressing them. And it seems very disconnected, but take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHAEL WALTZ, (R-FL): When future American soldiers have to go back in to deal with the problem and deal with the incompetence of this administration, how many are going to die now because they’re going to have to fight their way through our own equipment, our own damn equipment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERINO: So, Jen, I just want to maybe get your take on that because there are several members of Congress on both sides of the aisle that have served and the anger is palpable. You had Jason Crow from Denver, a Democrat saying similar things.
GRIFFIN: I mean, there is bipartisan outrage certainly from anybody who ever served in Afghanistan. We’ve heard that. You heard the emotion from Congressman Waltz. This is not a partisan issue. And what is particularly egregious is that this exact same thing happened in 2011 in Iraq. Vice President Joe Biden oversaw that withdrawal and three years later, the U.S. military had to go into fight ISIS.
It is very hard to imagine how — what’s going to happen when the Taliban begin allowing bases to be set up inside Afghanistan. I mean, once again, these over the horizon capabilities, that require some intelligence. That enquires — requires basing. We don’t have that in that region. That is — so that is a, you know, that is a myth. And it’s just — we haven’t talked enough about Pakistan and how very dangerous nuclear Pakistan is next door and you now have the Taliban on the doorstep and with an allied partner in nuclear Pakistan.
The amount of proliferation of — and also, let’s talk about how terrorists around the world are watching this and how is this different from the 1989 withdrawal of the Soviets that inspired al-Qaeda that then led to 9/11. I just don’t understand why we don’t understand that that, of course, everybody would love to see not another American soldier be sent or Marine sent to Afghanistan. Nobody wants to stay there a minute longer.
However, there was a way to keep a lid on things with a very small footprint. We should have changed the narrative long ago, and I felt the media for this. This was not a forever war. This was not America’s longest war. This was an intelligence outpost, a strategic asset that we needed several thousand American troops to guard in order to safeguard our homeland.
WATTERS: Jennifer, thanks so much. We really appreciate all those words. And I think the country understands exactly what you’re saying. More on THE FIVE coming up.
GUTFELD: Welcome back. President Biden speaking more today on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. And of course, he took the time to blame his predecessor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States will do our part. And we are already working closely with refugee organizations to rebuild a system that was purposely destroyed by my predecessor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUTFELD: Scintillating. A former Navy SEAL posting this blunt message for Biden on taking ownership and on what the president should be telling Americans about Afghanistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOCKO WILLINK, RETIRED NAVY SEAL: I made some critical errors. Namely, I underestimated the strength of the Taliban. Americans and our allies are all stranded. And that is my fault. But they will not be stranded for long. We will conduct rapid strike rescue missions until we have recovered and evacuated all our citizens, allies, and friends. Any person that interferes with these operations will be killed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUTFELD: You know, in the break, Jesse, you were saying that you think you could take him. No, I don’t know about that.
WATTERS: I’ve said a lot of things in the break, Greg, never that. That was inspiring though.
GUTFELD: I mean, do you honestly believe that a president would ever say something like that?
GUTFELD: Because politicians don’t admit anything.
WATTERS: Politicians could never give their political opponents that kind of ammo and admit that they were wrong.
WATTERS: And Joe Biden has been in D.C. his whole life. So, he is playing the long game. He sees this thing is listen, November is around the corner, then it’s going to be winter, people are going to be thinking about COVID. I’m going to steal myself, I’m not going to get emotional. I’m going to go out there and I’m going to read the teleprompter. And I’m almost going to psychologically convinced myself that it’s not as bad as it seems.
And he thinks he can get through this. I don’t think he can get through this. There’s a huge disconnect right now between the people and the president. And he’s lost it. He’s lost control of events. And everybody can see that now. You set a deadline at the 31st. And then he says, oh, you know, we might have to move the deadline.
So, he sends the CIA director to Kabul to meet with the Taliban to negotiate extending the deadline. Taliban says screw off. We’re not going to extend the deadline. If you extend the deadline, we’ll start firing rounds. And by the way, from now on, we’re not going to let any more Afghans reach the airport. Joe Biden says, OK, we’re going to keep to the deadline. He’s boxed himself in.
WATTERS: There are no good options now. And that’s his calculation. He’s trying to avoid a Mogadishu. We just heard Jennifer artfully explained that. But that’s not the point. Even Adam Schiff left the briefing and said, there’s no way we can get everybody out by the deadline. There’s thousands that are still going to be trapped.
And Politico reports said Americans are routinely denied access to the airport by the Taliban. So, it’s a catastrophe.
GUTFELD: Yes. So, Jessica, this is truly a cluster rhymes with truck. However, however, I want to steel man, Joe Biden to you, and you tell me if there’s an answer to this. Everyone seems to have the right answer to this problem except for the administration. Even the average cab driver goes, he got this backwards. Like you don’t have the troops leave first. You don’t abandon the most important airbase. Everybody knows this.
So, did they already entertain these options and decide, this is the steel man part of it, that this would be the least-worst option, that it could actually be — it could actually be worse than this, and they just figured rip the band aid off and get everybody out and that’ll — I’m just trying to figure out why they chose this path.
JESSICA TARLOV, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: I hope that’s what happened. And we have seen a number of people from the Obama administration even carries over to the Biden administration who have said that they’re really unhappy with what’s going on. You have veterans on both sides of the aisle. I mean, if you watch like Seth Moulton, for instance, did an interview where he’s apoplectic about what’s going on in the work that he the people he commanded put in to end up in this place.
Now, I’m, obviously haven’t been in any of these rooms. But maybe this is the least bad option. You know, someone said that. But we do know that that wasn’t what the Intelligence Community said, that wasn’t what people in the military were saying. So, there has to be some inner circle that is operating kind of separated from the next layer of the circle and that is concerning.
And there’s something, to Jesse’s point, about what’s going to go on and elections are always the thing that matters here. I think a lot of presidents and a lot of administrations make calculations about foreign policy things where they say this will blow, it’s not here, right? And the way that you can judge whether that’s true is if your cab driver knows about it, if the person who is checking you out our grocery store — normal people.
And everybody knows about what’s going on right here. And they’re asking questions and they’re wondering, did it have to be this way? They’re not wondering should we leave, they’re wondering, did it have to be this way.
TARLOV: And that’s the kind of thing that can stick to you over time.
GUTFELD: It’s though, Dagen, he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory even in — I mean, it wouldn’t be — we could have left and redefined the mission which is, you know, which is what Jennifer was talking about, which is what makes total sense.
MCDOWELL: Just like the border.
MCDOWELL: Biden broke something that was fixed.
MCDOWELL: I started talking about this on day one. We went from America first to America last to America over. This is a president who leads with shame, not strength. He has talked over and over about the system — you know systemically racist, ugly poisons of the racism in the United States. And we turn around and what do we do? We kowtow and genuflect and bow down to country after country that hates us.
We rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. Why? Did that benefit Americans? No, but we’re ashamed of all the fossil fuels that we use. We try — you know, tried to reopen negotiations about the Iran Nuclear Deal at the same time that you’re taking a hammer to our energy independence here. You — and then we’ve had — we’ve sat back and allowed countries like China to vomit the woke left-wing pablum of the media and these liberals back in our face.
Tony Blinken met with — in Alaska in March with a Chinese official, and they were — he was lecturing America about our sins. And then Tony Blinken, the Secretary of State, then approaches the U.N. about having the Human Rights Council lecture us on systemic racism. That’s what we are.
They are ashamed of America rather than being proud, rather than in Jocko Willink’s word, May God bless America and may God have mercy on the souls of our enemy because we will not. Joe Biden is on the run because he’s ashamed.
GUTFELD: You know, I wonder, Dana, did General Milley’s, you know, take on white rage, is that going to help him deal with the Taliban?
PERINO: It is not?
GUTFELD: I don’t think so.
PERINO: I can answer — I can answer that one. General Keane said something on air about a week ago. He said that his entire career, President Biden has been relentlessly stubborn. And so, that’s one of the reasons why he would never say what Jocko was suggesting. But there is one precedent of something that it was a very hard thing to do and to bring to the American people and is extremely unpopular, and eventually, it worked. And that was when President Bush did the surge.
I mean, that would — talking about it unpopular to say, like, oh, actually, we’ve had problems, we’ve made mistakes, and we need to send more troops in. And not — even the cabinet was like, oh, no, well, no, we’re not. And it took several months, but weeks, to a couple of months for President Bush and General Petraeus to convince the National Security Council that this was the right thing to do. Eventually, it ends up that it was the right thing to do. So, there is a way to do this.
And the other thing is, I do think Americans understand risk. And they can handle risk. They can handle the truth. So, if there were to be something like what Jocko suggests which is we’re going in there, and we’re going to get our people. If you say, there might be some casualties, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen. I just want to be — I want to prepare you for what could happen. Americans can accept that.
But I think what they can’t accept is this. And I think you see it in the numbers. The USA Today poll that came out today, Suffolk poll, has the President at 41 percent approval total. Only 32 percent of independents approve of the job he’s doing. That number has dropped like by 30 points.
GUTFELD: Yes, it’s crazy.
PERINO: And it’s just the past few months. And I think that — it’s only Tuesday. I imagine he’ll be in the 30s by the weekend.
GUTFELD: There you go. I’m glad they buried that laptop story. Our final thoughts next.
WATTERS: It’s time for some final thoughts. Greg Gutfeld.
GUTFELD: One of the stories we didn’t get to was talking about this obsession over the word stranded. And I think that this is always something that’s interesting about the left, how they prefer to dominate and control language more than actually solving a problem. And I think that was something that needs to be — people need to see and be reminded.
WATTERS: Meanwhile, every single news outlet calls what’s happening there stranded.
PERINO: I think, though that one of the reasons they did that is because they didn’t want the headline that said Biden says Americans, you’re on your own right.
PERINO: And Biden strands Americans in Afghanistan. Like, even though that practical effect might be true —
PERINO: They don’t want to be the ones to say it.
WATTERS: Final thoughts.
TARLOV: It was actually along that note. In the exchange with Jen Psaki and Peter Doocy today, she said, if you know someone who’s on the ground who needs my help, get me her number and —
WATTERS: Much better answer than denying that they’re stranded.
TARLOV: Oh, I thought you meant me. I think that’s the first time you’ve ever —
WATTERS: I’m agreeing with you, Jessica.
TARLOV: It feels so weird. I don’t know what’s happening.
WATTERS: You know what, I’m never going to do it again. It’s too confusing.
TARLOV: Just — we’re almost done. Anyway, I hope everyone can get home. And I hope that is true that you can give people phone number, telegram handle, whatever it is, then they can get out.
MCDOWELL: America first was never a miracle alone. It was acting in America’s best interest first and foremost. And that is exactly what Joe Biden has not done. He has potentially abandoned Americans in Afghanistan, our allies, and our friends.
GUTFELD: America first became America worst.
WATTERS: Right. And before I go, I want to say happy birthday, 87th birthday to Bob Kenny (PH) who was down in Fort Benning. I’m sure he has a drink in his hand. He knows exactly what’s going on here in Afghanistan. Happy birthday, pop.
PERINO: Happy birthday.
TARLOV: Happy Birthday.
WATTERS: That’s it for us. “SPECIAL REPORT” is up next with Bret.
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