'Your World' on working with the Taliban

This is a rush transcript of "Your World with Neil Cavuto" on September 3, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  FOX on top of the aftermath of two storms, on Afghanistan and how far we will go, and on Ida and how far the losses will go. 

First on Ida. Momentarily, we will be speaking with Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana to see the continuing damage in that state, as the president tours not too far away.

First to Jeff Paul in New Orleans on what he is likely to see -- Jeff. 

JEFF PAUL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Yes, Neil, Biden landed a little while ago here at the New Orleans Airport, and was greeted by both senators for the state, as well as the mayor of New Orleans and the governor, John Bel Edwards. 

And he's out and about right now as we speak seeing some of the hardest-hit spots throughout Louisiana that were hit by Hurricane Ida a little less than a week ago. One of the places he's going to be going to is LaPlace, Louisiana.

And this was an area that was hit by not only the strong gusts from Hurricane Ida, but also the floodwaters. Some of these houses were partially submerged. People had to ride out the storm on the roof or in their attics, hoping that a boat would come by eventually when the storm settled down to rescue them. 

And people there have lost everything in certain situations. And they're having to now wait in line for essentials like food and water, relying on the kindness of others. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JORDY BLOODSWORTH, LOUISIANA CAJUN NAVY:  In the mornings, we have had about a three-mile line waiting for us. Starting at about 630 people are lining up, and we're not open until about 8:00, 8:30. So the line is getting long, and it's hot. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL:  Now, President Biden will also get a chance to see the damage that is very vast throughout the state from the sky. He is going to be hopping in a helicopter at some point to get an aerial tour of places like Grand Isle. 

This is a city or town here in Louisiana along the Gulf Coast that basically took a direct hit from Hurricane Ida. We're told from authorities there that there is not a single house that is standing right now that anyone can live in. 

That neighborhood just opened up today, we're told. Folks are starting to come back and assess the damage. But it is going to take quite some time for those people to get back on their feet. Neil, the only really good news I can report to you now, the sun is out, but power is starting to be restored.

Here in the French Quarter, we're starting to see people walk around. We even saw a few people holding drinks. And we're told bars are starting to get things back up and running, so a sign that slowly, but surely, not only New Orleans, but Louisiana as a whole, getting back on their feet -- Neil. 

CAVUTO:  Jeff Paul, thank you very much for that.

To Senator Bill Cassidy.

The Louisiana Republican kind enough to join us on the phone right now. 

Senator, how are things looking there? 

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): Hey, Neil.

We are in LaPlace waiting to join the president for his walk around the neighborhood. And there's homes in which there is power lines -- the power line has fallen on top of the home, and, of course, damaging the home, but clearly indicating there's no power. And so this was one of the places hardest hit. 

So, on the other hand, as your reporter said, there's other places that weathered it. The levees held. In New Orleans, J.P. Jefferson Parish, a couple other places, the land is dry. There's actually some good storyline in here.

CAVUTO:  Few predicted the damage that the storm would inflict. 

But it does seem that levees in -- particularly in the New Orleans area held up, that a lot of the expense of that folks in your state and federally sponsored went to after Katrina made this a much -- a much less tragic type of storm than it could have been, at least in Louisiana. 

CASSIDY: Absolutely. 

Now, of course, if you're in areas like Houma and Thibodaux, you are hammered. But where we put in systems and built resilience, the resilience worked. And now we need to start building resilience not just for levees and flooding, but also for the power system. 

I spoke to the president when he landed. We spoke about the infrastructure bill. If we bury the power lines, they don't blow down in storms. And so, that way, when the storm passes over, levees work, no flooding, power is intact, life goes on. Ultimately, it's cheaper to do it that way. 

It costs more not to do it that way. 

CAVUTO:  You know, Senator, you took heat from former President Trump and others when you joined 18 of your Republican colleagues to vote in a bipartisan manner for that infrastructure package. 

I'm talking the smaller one, the roughly $1.2 to $1.3 trillion one. You have not signed on as yet to the $3.5 trillion human infrastructure package. But storms like these and the damage we have seen going all the way up to the Northeast seem to confirm your view that we need to do this. 

CASSIDY: Absolutely.

One, to be clear, I have already voted against the $3.5 trillion. But we got to kind of move beyond politics. We can't care about who gets credit. 

We got to take care of the American people. 

When George W. Bush made a commitment to build those levees, 16 years later, we benefit. We need to make the commitment now to harden the grid to bury those lines as one example of how we can do so, which not only protects Louisiana in a hurricane, it protects Texas in the Northeast in a ice storm, it protects the far West from forest fires from sparks coming off of a power line in the middle of a dry, hot forest. 

That's the way to build resiliency. Let's move beyond politics. And let's actually get something done for the American people. 

CAVUTO:  You know, yesterday, when the Northeast was -- experienced all of this, and the tragic deaths that ensued, I believe 50 at late count, Senator, Chuck Schumer had said this is the reason why we need to be on top and deal with climate change. This is the reality. 

What did you make of that? What do you make of it?

CASSIDY:  Well, first, the infrastructure bill actually funds projects that were passed under the last Congress, the Republican-led Senate Congress, which President Trump signed into law, things that would lower carbon intensity in our economy, again, authorized last Congress, signed into law by Trump, funded with this bill. 

So, theoretically, if you voted for that bill, you're for this bill. And we actually begin to lower the carbon intensity of our -- at the same time preserving a modern economy with all the chemicals and fossil fuels that we need. 

So, Schumer and I may agree, because he's supported the bill. So do I. I think it's a good bill for many reasons, resiliency, but also for funding those projects that a Republican Senate passed last year. 

CAVUTO:  Senator, you made quick reference to the fact you're not a fan of the $3.5 trillion spending measure, in fact, voted against that. That's got a long way to go. 

But your colleague Joe Manchin has talked about the price tag on a $3.5 trillion, that it has to go a lot lower than that. Is it your sense that this will be cut down to size, but that it will still pass, or that it's kind of limping along?

CASSIDY:  I hope it fails.

This is the economic equivalent of our withdrawal from Afghanistan. We have got inflation year over year higher than it's been in decades. And we're about to add $3.5 trillion? Not for hard infrastructure like our bill, which would take a few years to build, but with a multidecade payoff.

No, let's just infuse a lot of cash into an overheated economy now, again, once more, an economic Afghanistan withdrawal. I think we -- I think -- I'm hoping the bill completely stops. 

CAVUTO:  Senator Cassidy, I know you're very busy today and going to be with the president today. So, we appreciate the time you took to call us.

Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana coming back. 

Speaking of Louisiana, it's affected everybody, including, if you're lucky, restaurants, and if you find them open. 

My next guest is the co-CEO of Raising Cane's, very popular largely chicken restaurant, but a ton of them in Louisiana, I think about 80, if not more, half of them closed because of the storm. I don't know where things stand now. 

But I bet Al (sic) Kumaran would, the co-CEO.

Al (sic), very good to have you.

How do things look with your stores now?

A.J. KUMARAN, CO-CEO, RAISING CANE'S CHICKEN FINGERS:  Hey, Neil. 

Devastating, really, to be honest. We have about 50 restaurants that got impacted by the storm, like Senator Cassidy talked about. Houma, Thibodaux, these areas are really heavy hit. And, in fact, there are about five restaurants that we don't even know how bad the impact is, because we haven't be able to access them. 

About a third of our crew members, we are not able to reach out to them. 

Power lines are down. Communication systems are down. Pretty devastating. 

Really bad stuff. 

CAVUTO:  A.J. -- and I apologize for the false reference there -- what is -

- you have been through this a number of times. You know the area you're in. 

You were prepared for it. It seemed like a lot of the residents were prepared for it. Not everyone evacuated maybe when they could have or should have. But things do appear to be coming back, and there's hope more aid coming into the city and the state. 

What do you want to hear from the president? 

KUMARAN:  You know, honestly, you talk about preparation. 

We have been through Katrina, Gustav, et cetera. So we were prepared. We were getting our supplies ready in Houston, Dallas, Kansas City, these areas. So we're building our own little mini-cities in terms of gasoline, electricity, supply chain, all of that ourselves to try to get that going. 

I believe that's what the community needs. And the community needs support. 

They need power lines up. I mean, about 900,000 people still don't have power. Communication lines are down, supply, chain, food.

Neil, we're focused on opening at least one restaurant in every community. 

In fact, in Bayou area, we were one of the first restaurants to open, apart from Waffle House. This morning, we opened our Houma restaurant. Lines are long. People just want some semblance of normalcy, a hot meal. 

And it's molten hot out there. I really feel bad for them. It's devastating stuff. 

CAVUTO:  A.J., hang in there. It was very nice of you to join us right now.

Very popular restaurants across the Louisiana area and beyond, better than

80 of them, again. About half of them are shut down now because of the storm, although that number appears to be getting cut as we see what's happening. 

We have a lot more coming up, including under the effect that this has all had had on the Northeast. People forget about that. In terms of the number of deaths Northeast alone, 50. This is the view right now in Philadelphia. 

One of the things we're also following up on is a comment that the New Jersey governor, Phil Murphy, made that 25 are dead in that state. Six are missing, and that this compares very much to Sandy in 2012, very close indeed -- after this 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

CAVUTO:  All right, the president might be in Louisiana, but the far bigger hit in terms of tragic hit is certainly in the Northeast and five states where at least 50 people are dead, and most of them drowning in their homes or their cars.

Laura Ingle has the latest from Mamaroneck, New York -- Laura. 

LAURA INGLE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Neil.

Well, it has been a long day of digging through the mud and the mess. And, as you can see here, this is work that is not going to end anytime soon. It looks like this block after block where we are.

And for the people who own and operate stores here, many who saw at least five feet of water come rushing into their businesses, what can you say? 

They are devastated. We have seen utility companies, cleanup crews, insurance adjusters and the Red Cross going up and down this block. 

Westchester County was one of the hardest-hit areas in the states. 

Floodwaters rose to 14 feet in some places. New York Governor Kathy Hochul, along with New York state Senator Chuck Schumer, came to assess the damage today.

Governor Hochul announcing she has secured an emergency disaster declaration for 14 affected counties in New York, with up to $5 billion in immediate federal funding, which some say cannot come soon enough. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

INGLE:  I just heard a woman talk to you and say directly to you, "We need food."

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): Yes. We need people to donate to the food banks, the Red Cross and all the other agencies. They need clothes. This isn't some other country. This is the United States of America. This is the state of New York. People need help. And I'm calling out everyone to do what you can in your local communities, bring money, bring food, bring resources. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

INGLE:  And we want to give you a live look at the situation in Philadelphia on the Vine Street Expressway, which is still flooded today, almost two days after Ida hammered the East Coast. 

And, as you mentioned, the death toll is still rising. We're getting close to the number 50 of people who lost their lives. There are still six people unaccounted for in the state of New Jersey at last check. And, as you can see here, a lot of people who have really lost their businesses said they were struggling before this happened. Now they don't know if they're going to be able to recover at all -- Neil. 

CAVUTO:  Laura, thank you for that.

Laura Ingle in New York. 

We should also now tell you that, whatever you make of this storm, it has provided catalysts to get that infrastructure package through. I'm talking about the bipartisan one that has Republican backing. You heard from Senator Bill Cassidy a few moments ago. 

Let's get the latest on that with Chad Pergram on Capitol Hill -- Chad. 

CHAD PERGRAM, FOX NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT:  Good afternoon, Neil. 

Democrats are using the storm to justify their push for the infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion bill. It's loaded with environmental provisions. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  This bill is going to end years of gridlock, make us more resilient to the kinds of devastating impacts from extreme weather we're seeing in so many parts of the country. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERGRAM: Bipartisan members of the Louisiana delegation already asked President Biden for an extra spending bill to cover the hurricane damage. 

Louisiana Democrat Troy Carter was driving to meet with the president to make the pitch for hurricane relief, and perhaps tie hurricane aid to the other bills. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

REP. TROY CARTER (D-LA): You get caught up in the semantics of calling it hard or soft infrastructure. It's people. It's making Louisiana and Americans' lives better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERGRAM: Conservatives want to help with disaster raid, but they may not like other things hooked to the big bills, like, say, the debt ceiling. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS KAHN, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY:  It puts members in a bind. If they vote no, then they will be criticized for having opposed urgent funding for hurricanes. But if they vote yes, they will be criticized for voting for an increase in the debt ceiling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERGRAM:  Democrat Joe Manchin wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. 

He wants more information the $3.5 trillion bill before he supports it. 

But that is Manchin's calling card, suggesting he may oppose something, then negotiating a concession and perhaps voting yes in the end -- Neil. 

CAVUTO:  Chad, thank you.

Chad Pergram. 

Let's go to Sarah Westwood of The Washington Examiner on these dynamics that are changing, maybe because of Mother Nature, that will change maybe the political temperature in Washington, and getting at least the first infrastructure package done. 

What do you think, Sarah? 

SARAH WESTWOOD, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER:  Well, I think, certainly, if you're talking about which bill would better address the kind of damage that we're seeing in Louisiana and some of the Northeastern states that were hit hard by Ida, the bipartisan infrastructure bill does that a lot more effectively. 

It has tens of billions of dollars for climate-related provisions, billions of dollars going to cities and states to update their infrastructure specifically to be more resilient against these types of storms.

The $3.5 trillion infrastructure package is primarily social programs, things that really have nothing to do with what we're seeing, and yet you do see the left using the Hurricane Ida damage the forest fires out West to argue that climate change is urgent enough to require the passage of the

$3.5 trillion bill. 

What is sort of ironic, though, is that the same progressives that are putting pressure on lawmakers to pass this bill on the basis of climate change are also trying to pressure lawmakers to withhold their vote on the bipartisan bill that would actually do something to solve the problems that we're seeing on the TV right now, if they don't get a bill that's really unrelated. 

And so I think, obviously, this is just another pretext that's being used for the $3.5 trillion bill, and President Biden losing a lot of the political capital right now because of Afghanistan and other reasons that he might have used to sell the $3.5 trillion bill. And then with Manchin obviously coming out with his opposition, the chances for that getting passed at the levels that are set are getting lower and lower. 

CAVUTO:  Yes, and there's very little of that is climate change-related only in there anyway, despite the big numbers we're talking about. 

But, that aside, I'm wondering now, as we wait to see the president tour Louisiana, this is a big change from the story he has been having to deal with for the better part of a few weeks now, the collapse in Afghanistan. 

But how he handles this could go a long way to -- among nervous Democrats see if he's stabilized things, period. So how important is this visit and his handling of these storms? 

WESTWOOD:  Well, I think it's really important for President Biden to sort of project the kind of competency that put him in the White House, right? 

That was his calling card, that he was going to be the steady hand on the wheel, the adult in the room, what have you, someone who was going to be able to manage crises, specifically the pandemic, but really all of them in general, more competently than President Trump.

What the Afghanistan withdrawal really did that could be lasting is pierce that perception. Now President Biden is not coming off as a very competent president, someone who has a handle on things. 

And this is sort of something that happened to President Bush as well. When he mishandled Katrina so badly, then everything he did was sort of viewed through the lens of incompetency and failure. 

That's the risk that Biden has right now, that, because of the Afghanistan withdrawal changing people's perceptions of him as someone who can handle his business, for lack of a better word, that could start to bleed into other issues. If he's not able to get this $3.5 trillion bill over the finish line, if he's not able to oversee an effective response to Hurricane Ida, then that could lower his approval ratings even further. 

They were starting to tank before Afghanistan for reasons not all related to Afghanistan, his handling of the pandemic, the honeymoon period sort of being over for him seven months into his presidency. But, certainly, they could fall further if more things start to add to this perception that he's not really doing a good job of governing. 

CAVUTO:  We will watch closely. 

Sarah Westwood of The Washington Examiner, thank you very, very much. 

One of those issues that could be a pivot away from what's going on in Afghanistan is the latest jobs figure, but that's a pivot he might not welcome. It came in a lot less than expected. About a third the number of new jobs expected in this economy developed. And the president was quick to say that the Delta variant was behind that and unvaccinated people. 

It doesn't fly with my next guest -- after this. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

CAVUTO:  The presidential motorcade is on the move, and so is the commander in chief. He's in LaPlace, Louisiana, right now, checking out the damage. 

And there is a lot of damage to check out, at that. 

We will have more after this. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO:  Well, here's the good news. The economy turned out a lot of jobs in the latest month, about 235,000 of them. Here's the bad news. Most everyone was thinking a number at least three times higher than that, and it didn't deliver.

And hospitality and leisure hiring that was going on crawled to like nothing in the latest period. Some are fearing that this could be a signal of things to come. Now, the president was blaming the Delta variant and all these unvaccinated people that have sort of stunted hiring in the country and all the rest. 

My next guest isn't buying that entirely, Larry Glazer, Mayflower Advisors.

There is a bump going on here. The president seemed to indicate it's a temporary bump because of the variant, because of people not being vaccinated and putting a chill on the recovery from the pandemic. You're not buying it. 

LARRY GLAZER, MAYFLOWER ADVISORS:  What a disappointment, Neil.

This is not the jobs report you want going into the holiday that celebrates labor in this country? Why? Of course, the Delta very is an issue. But, more importantly, it's the extended jobless benefits. That is crushing small businesses in this country. That's creating the problem. 

And this is spilling over, Neil. We see -- if you look beneath the hood of this data, you see leisure and hospitality, the areas most directly impacted, getting hurt the worst, effectively no job creation, when this economy was supposed to be off to the races. 

And, Neil, look, it's spilling over into consumer sentiment. That's the real concern here, that it goes beyond just data from Washington and it gets into the real economy. And at no point was there a demand issue, right? We talked to businesses, we talked to consumers. Try buying a car. 

Try buying a truck. People want this stuff. They want to go out.

The problem for Vinny's Pizza in America right now is he can't get workers, right? He can't afford the cost of pizza. He can't afford the cost of everything. It's going up so fast. And that's what's crushing families in this country. 

And I think that's what gets lost in Washington, in the ivory tower. More spending doesn't solve these problems for working families. It doesn't bring gas prices down. It doesn't bring food prices down. It doesn't bring rent down. And it certainly doesn't create more jobs, like we saw today. 

And I think that's the message that Washington needs to get from Main Street. Main Street knows it. Washington's just learning when they saw the data today what they're doing and what they're selling isn't working on Main Street. 

CAVUTO:  Well, I don't necessarily know if it's related to what Washington is something.

But I will say with you, I mean, it doesn't jibe with other company plans, the Amazons, the Walmarts, even Fidelity... 

GLAZER:  Yes. 

CAVUTO:  ... who plan to hire tens of thousands of people.

GLAZER: Absolutely.

CAVUTO:  We already know that layoffs are at a 24-year low. So the backdrop seems good. 

GLAZER:  That's right. 

CAVUTO:  And let's say all these benefits, which I think come to an end for most everybody on Monday, then that could be the change, right? Or do you buy that? 

GLAZER:  Sure. No, I think that you make a really good point. 

And, again, there's never been a demand issue. Fidelity hiring 9,000 people on the high end of the economy, high-paying jobs, they can't find people to fill those jobs, right? But on the low end, Walmart also trying to hire people, the number of job openings at a record. 

So, small business, large business, they're doing their part. They're trying to create this economy. It's getting people into that work force. 

And those costs are rising at such a rapid clip. We don't know what the wild card is, how that's going to affect the economy over the next few months.

These should be the best of times for workers. And middle-class families are getting hurt by a lot of these policies right now. So, again, we will see as these extended unemployment benefits run off, assuming that Washington doesn't have a massive spending bill that creates even more inflation, because, at the end of the day, the problem for working families in America is that their costs are rising faster than their wages.

Their wages are going up. But their costs are going through the roof. And anybody who doesn't think there's real inflation in there has got their head in the sand. It's a real problem. It's a real problem. It's a regressive tax. Taxes have gone up on working families in this country because their costs are going up. 

And anyone who goes to the grocery store, the gas station or pays rent knows what's happening right now. And that's a real -- that's the real problem. 

CAVUTO:  All right, there is a disconnect between the two. 

And, Larry, I'm glad you said has their head in the sand and left it at that. 

Larry Glazer, thank you very, very much. Good seeing you.

All right, we are still monitoring the president in Louisiana right now. 

When he goes through that complete tour, we will, of course, take you there. 

Also, taking on a development that was pretty intriguing and some items we heard not only out of the State Department and the secretary of state, but the Pentagon, about working with the Taliban, or trying to. Really?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO:  You keep hearing this concept of leverage that we have with the Taliban and that they better be on best behavior if they want to get frozen funds unfrozen and all the rest. 

And even our U.S. military, up to the president himself, seemed to be hinting that there is room for talk and cooperation. And maybe the Taliban desperately needs that right now, because it needs the funds.

To Jacqui Heinrich at the White House on this back-and-forth and whether we should or will be talking to the Taliban -- Jacqui. 

JACQUI HEINRICH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Hey there, Neil. 

Well, we just heard some new sound on that from the State Department and the Pentagon this afternoon. Meantime, at the White House, there's some new polling posing a challenge for the president. The poll from The Washington Post and ABC shows a majority of Americans believe that the president bears some blame for the ISIS suicide attack that killed 13 U.S. service members and up to 170 Afghan nationals. 

And Democrats, members of the president's own party, are among the people who are now calling for investigations. And also, despite hearing from the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, just about an hour ago, we still have not been told whether any more Americans have made it out of the country. 

They didn't outright say none have made it out. They have said we're in touch with people, but they certainly haven't given us an update that anyone has made it out. 

We also don't have numbers on how many green card holders and Afghan refugees who want to get out of the country remain. In the meantime, we are hearing more and more reports of the Taliban going and killing Afghans who helped the United States, going back on their promise of amnesty. 

It's causing fresh questions about whether the Taliban can be trusted to keep their other promise, the promise of safe passage. The White House says this is one of the reasons that the U.S. is not rushing to recognize the Taliban. But the Pentagon says there might be the need for collaboration going forward. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY:  Nobody's trying to ink some sort of military cooperation agreement with the Taliban. But the -- they wouldn't rule out that there might be occasions when there might need to be some informational component there with the Taliban going forward. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEINRICH:  Senate Republicans want answers on why a majority of Afghan SIVs who helped the U.S. were not evacuated. They also want a breakdown of who has made it into the country. 

Yesterday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said 77 percent of the evacuees were at-risk Afghans. But Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas says some people who got out were denied entry to the U.S. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY:  If and when we obtain derogatory information, we know how to address that. Those muscles are very well-exercised. In fact, we have. And we deny access to individuals whose derogatory information is not resolved and we do not feel confident in the safety and security of the American people. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEINRICH: Meantime, Kabul's airport remains inoperable. But the State Department and the White House are both saying charter flights there seeking to extract Americans from Afghanistan and bring them to U.S. 

military bases, they're pretty risky, and they cause a lot of problems. 

One big challenge is, they don't have any way of confirming who is on that flight, who's organizing that flight. And they point out that there's still a very real ISIS threat against American aviation targets, including U.S. 

military bases. So, unclear at this point how exactly they're going to work with those charter companies to get people out by air. 

Waiting for answers on that, Neil. 

CAVUTO:  Yes, a lot of answers we're waiting for. 

Thank you, Jacqui, very much.

Jacqui Heinrich at the White House.

Kirk Lippold with me right now, the former USS Cole commander.

And, Commander, I caught that little stunning update from Mayorkas about a couple of individuals, a few individuals -- he didn't specify -- who are not now going to be allowed into this country. I don't know where they go. 

But when they talk about derogatory issues that come up, that can't be good. What do you make?

KIRK LIPPOLD, FORMER COMMANDER, USS COLE:  Neil, it's absolutely stunning that we are dealing with an administration that has an open Southern border, and we let people across without checking, without vetting, without doing anything, and yet the Afghans that they allowed out of out of Afghanistan that got on our flights that should have been checked. 

This is just another symptom of how poorly the Biden administration, and specifically this president, along with the senior military leadership of our nation, put together such a haphazard policy and evacuation process, that it was essentially a rout, much less a surrender, much less a negotiated surrender.

And we're now paying the consequences in that, what do you mean you have derogatory information? The reality of it is, we should have known who's on every single one of those flights, and they should have been Americans, SIV holders and their families in order to get those people out. 

And we forfeited that opportunity. 

CAVUTO:  We do know as well that a majority of those who wanted to get out still have not gotten out.

Now, that we don't know in all cases whether they're all on the up-and-up. 

But we know enough that we're probably going to use as leverage the money that we have frozen against the Taliban to get them out. Is that realistic to you? 

LIPPOLD:  It isn't, Neil.

If you look at it, for 20 years now, the Taliban has been able to sustain their existence. They get money from a variety of sources. They do it through extortion and kidnapping. They get money from Pakistan, from Russia, from Iran. They have been able to get the arms necessary to conduct this complete overrun of Afghanistan itself before they actually got to Kabul and we gave it up to them. 

When you look at the drug trade that most of them are involved in, if we wanted to start hitting the Taliban, first thing we do, spray the poppy fields and take out the drug trade from them. In addition to that, we have to start looking at these other nations who, in fact, have now become state sponsors of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. 

The fact that you have Admiral Kirby wanting to negotiate with them for information and things like that just shows the level of unethical compromises that the senior military leadership is now making in order to further the intelligence community's objectives to try and make sure that we can go after ISIS-K and others. 

I mean, this is a debacle that we have never seen. It is a strategic failure. And we're absolutely right to demand that we have hearings and investigations into this that hopefully will not be politically tainted, but instead look at the national security interests of our country and our fellow Americans. 

CAVUTO:  Commander Lippold, thank you very much, sir. 

We are following separately what's going on with the storm in this country, and particularly the fallout in the Northeast and in New Jersey, where it's a mess. And some are likening it to Sandy, and maybe even worse -- after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

CAVUTO:  The president is promising Louisiana it's going to get all the federal help it needs. The governors of New York and New Jersey are hoping for the same, because they say things are pretty bad for them as well. 

New Jersey is a good case in point here, because, normally, tornadoes don't happen there. But they have. And flooding of this proportion doesn't happen ever. But it is.

Bryan Llenas and Manville with more -- Bryan. 

BRYAN LLENAS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Neil, good afternoon. 

This is what's left of the Saffron banquet hall. It's really incredible here in Manville, New Jersey, just 30 miles south of New York City. 

Floodwaters came inundated here from the Millstone River. And then, at about 2:00 a.m., a huge explosion, residents say. It appears maybe a natural gas leak mixed with a spark of an electrical fire. 

And, well, the smoke is still simmering here. This was a business owned by Jayesh, a man who opened in 2018, dealing with COVID and now this. And he's at a total loss of what to do next. It's the type of damage we have seen throughout Manville here in New Jersey.

Three other homes caught on fire here as well. And if you look at these videos, there were many rescues. In fact, the first responders here in Manville went out to about 500 homes and rescued 1,000 people. The police chief says here, that, frankly, they -- well, listen to what the police chief said about the record-shattering 28-foot rising river here in Raritan that caused flooding that reached up to eight feet in this community. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS HERBST, MANVILLE, NEW JERSEY, POLICE CHIEF:  It's not every year, but I have been here 30 years. And I think this is, like I said, my eighth or 10th flood, somewhere around there. And this is the most catastrophic by far. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LLENAS:  And it's not just here.

The Delaware River here in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as the Passaic River, is something people are continuing to look an eye at, specifically the Passaic River, which isn't expected to crest here in New Jersey until tomorrow morning.

There's a concern that there will be even more flooding then. This is satellite imagery of before and after the flooding, just remarkable, in New Jersey. At least 25 people are dead and at least six people are missing after the floodwaters inundated communities along those rivers. 

In fact, we're talking about a situation here where the majority of the victims who died were submerged in their vehicles, swept away because of the waters. It all happened so fast here. 

In fact, in Connecticut, we now know a veteran state trooper, captain -- police Sergeant Brian Mohl died when his car was swept away at 3:00 a.m. 

Wednesday morning. He was out there trying to help people in this storm, and tragically lost his life.

The -- frankly, it's shocking. We keep talking about this. It is still shocking, the level of damage, as well as the loss of life that we have seen from what is the remnants of what was a Category 4 hurricane up here in the Northeast -- Neil.

CAVUTO:  Bryan Llenas, thank you very much.

In tragedies like this that, people don't only turn to the government for help. They sometimes go higher, much higher, like to God.

I want you to meet the reverend who is proving the point and filling his church -- after this. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO:  All right, the president is now speaking in LaPlace, Louisiana.

Let's listen I.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS) 

BIDEN:  St. John's Parish.

And we just walked this neighborhood. I'm going to finish walking it up that way as well. But the fact is that we -- there's a lot of -- we just -- to see just exactly what's happened on the ground, see what's going on in people's homes. 

A lot of people here, for example, because they don't have cell connections, are unaware of what available help there is right now to get them. 

The FEMA director and I were just talking to them. We're going to make sure we have someone coming through here going door to door, letting people know what's available to them right now, because they can't connect online. 

And with the governor and mayors and members of Congress, community leaders, all the folks that are here, we have been working together to deliver millions of meals and liters of water. 

And I know -- I know you're all are frustrated about how long it takes to restore power. It's dangerous work; 25,000 line men from around the country have come here to Louisiana to help. Crews from 32 different states are helping. And two of them lost their lives in the process of trying to get power back up. 

And we're going, we're working 24/7 with the energy companies, who we met with the heads up today. And we're deploying even more federal resources, including hundreds of generators. And there's more to come to restore power as fast as we possibly can, faster than anything that happened during Katrina. 

And we're also working on the cell phone -- with the cell phone companies, so you can call your loved ones, call for help, regardless of where you are, to make sure the people you know and you love you haven't been able to talk to lately, be able to know whether they're OK.

We're moving quickly to keep gas flowing to the pumps, including I have gone into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That's what's been set aside, the crude oil, providing flexibility for -- and providing flexibility for how many hours truckers are able to drive and transport gas and fuel, because there's a law in America you can't drive, for safety reasons, beyond so many hours a day.

But we need more movement of this fuel. And we're expanding the supply of gasoline that can be sold in the state of Louisiana. And there's much to be done. We're working around the clock with the governor and with elected officials here until we can meet every need you all have. 

In fact, reports suggest that some insurance companies may deny coverage for living assistance unless the homeowner was under a mandatory evacuation order. And so you have paid your insurance premiums, you're supposed to get payments for additional living expenses in case of an emergency. 

Well, but the insurance companies are saying, no, no, no, we won't pay you what we owe. 

Well, we're putting as much pressure as we can. We know all the parishes that issued strong voluntary evacuation orders first, and many didn't have enough time to make that order mandatory, as the storm moved so fast. 

And even with voluntary evacuations ordered, folks felt safest leaving their homes in many cases. No one fled this killer storm because they were looking for a vacation or a road trip. 

So, folks, they left their home because they left -- they felt they had to flee the risk of death. There's nothing voluntary about that. 

And so I'm calling on private insurance companies, don't hide behind the fine print and a technicality. Pay what you owe your customers. Cover temporary housing costs in natural disasters and help those in need. That's what we should all be doing now. And that's what we are doing. 

So far, we have provided, with the governor's help as well, $100 million in critical assistance directly to people in Louisiana by putting $500 in their bank accounts once they have contacted us. That's what we're going to come back and let all you people know exactly how to do that. That'll happen. 

And, secondly, at the governor's request, FEMA's helping with, fancy phrase, transitional sheltering assistance. It just means a place for you to be able to safely sleep at night and be secure by covering your hotel bill you racked up because you couldn't stay at home during a hurricane or because your home is not livable now.

We're making sure this kind of relief is equitable. For those hardest hit, the resources they need have to get to them. And so, no matter who you are, if you live in an affected area, please visit disasterassistance.gov once you're able to use your cell phone. Or call 1-800-621-FEMA, FEMA. That's 1- 800-621-3362. 

Now, folks, Hurricane Ida's another reminder that we need to be prepared for the next hurricane. And superstorms are going to come, and they're going to come more frequently and more ferociously. I have been working closely with the governor and our colleagues in Congress from both parties on my Build Back Better plan that will modernize our roads, our bridges, our water systems, sewers and drainage systems, and power grids, and transmission lines to make sure they're more resilient. 

I walked through the backyards here. So many telephone lines are down. So many telephone poles are down. So many of the way in which we transmit energy is lost, because of old wooden telephone polls. We know for a fact, if they're underground, they're secure. It costs more money. 

We got to not just build back to what it was, put the same old poles up. We got to build back better. We got to build back more resiliently. And we got to make sure we do the same thing across the board. 

Think about how that $760 million West Shore project here in Southern Louisiana will build miles of new levees, pumping stations and drainage structures to provide protection for 60,000 folks in the area. It will change their lives in future storms. 

I told the governor that he has my full support -- I mean it sincerely -- he has my full support to get this project done. 

And, folks, I know you're hurting. I know you're hurting. I know the folks in Lake Charles who I visited earlier this year are still hurting from Hurricane Laura. 

I want you to know we're going to be here for you. And with regard to Lake Charles, I have put in a request in the new -- in the budget to provide for help for recovery for Lake Charles as a consequence of Laura and Delta, two storms that they still haven't been -- gotten the needs that they -- met that they have. 

This isn't about being a Democrat or a Republican. We're Americans and we will get through this together. We have just got to remember, we not only have to build back. We have to build back better than it was before, better than it was before, so, when another superstorm comes, it's not the damage done. 

So, thank you all very much. I'm going to see the rest of the folks in the neighborhood here. 

But every time I'd walk out of my grandpop's house out up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, he'd yell: "Joey, keep the faith."

And my grandmother would yell: "No, Joey, spread it."

Let's spread the faith, OK? Let's get this done together. Thank you. Thank you. 

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN:  All right. Want to walk up here?

CAVUTO:  The president using this hurricane and the fallout to justify that

$3.5 trillion human infrastructure package that he says would go and focus on a lot of these issues. 

The reality is, climate change and some of these other issues are a small part of that package, in fact, almost infinitesimal. And that is what is concerning, forget Republicans, some Democrats, who say that it really doesn't have its priorities right. 

Now, it's still in the early stages. They're trying to play with the numbers. But to say that that second measure would address what happened here in Louisiana and some of the damage we have seen elsewhere is simply incorrect. 

The president is addressing this now, promises more federal aid behind that

-- what is already available, and is looking at the Northeast as well. It's a mess. 

Here's "The Five."

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