Thursday Jun 23, 2022

‘Your World’ on if Ukraine, Russia can make peace deal

'Your World' on if Ukraine, Russia can make peace deal


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This is a rush transcript from “Your World,” March 28, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to make it clear. I wasn’t then, nor am I now articulating a policy change. I was expressing the moral outrage that I feel. And I make no apologies for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: All right, President Biden on clarifying that his words came from the heart, even though some of his top administration officials are saying that they were not intended to say that Vladimir Putin should be overthrown.

Welcome, everybody. I’m Neil Cavuto, and this is “Your World.”

And what in the world to make of the commander in chief still in some deal controversy over what he intended when he said that the guy has got to go. Does this guy have to go? Or is the message so clear, given the sanction environment and the punishment environment, with so many countries and individuals saying that they should remain in effect, no matter how the Ukraine war ends, as long as Vladimir Putin is in charge of Russia?

It does seem to be consistent. Is it?

Let’s go right now to David Spunt at the White House with the fallout after explaining the fallout — David.

DAVID SPUNT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Neil.

Yes, the fallout after explaining the fallout, nine words that prompted international leaders, as well as White House staffers to play a little bit of cleanup for President Biden on those comments. Here is the president just two days ago on Saturday. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SPUNT: OK, the White House just a few hours after that clarified that the president did not mean that he was advocating for any type of regime change in Moscow. That would go against the official policy of the United States.

But here is the president about 45 minutes ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: If he cannot remain in power does not mean regime change, what does it mean, in your opinion?

BIDEN: It means that I would hope — I just was expressing my outrage. He shouldn’t remain in power, just like bad people shouldn’t continue to do bad things.

But it doesn’t mean we have a fundamental policy to do anything to take Putin down in any way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SPUNT: You know, Neil, French President Emmanuel Macron, who condemns Putin, but is in touch with a Russian leader, says President Biden’s call to remove Putin from power just was not helpful.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): I think we should be factual and, first of all, do everything so that the situation doesn’t get out of control. I wouldn’t use those terms because I continue to speak to President Putin, because what do we want to do collectively?

We want to stop the war that Russia launched in Ukraine without waging war and without escalation of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SPUNT: And, Neil, back here in the United States, of course, politicians on Capitol Hill, they have a lot to say about this. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JAMES RISCH (R-ID): Whoever wrote that speech did a good job for him. But, my gosh, I wish they would keep him on script.

I think most people who don’t deal in the lane of foreign relations don’t realize that those nine words that he uttered were — would cause the kind of eruption that they did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SPUNT: Neil, Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman called the speech a powerful speech. He praised it, along with several other Republicans and Democrats, but Senator Portman went on to say that specific part, which we now know was off the cuff and was unscripted, he likened that to falling into the hands of Russian propagandists — Neil.

CAVUTO: David Spunt at the White House, thank you, David, very, very much.

Reaction to this, well, walking back, however you want to call it — the president said he is not walking back anything — from Leon Panetta, the former defense secretary, the former CIA director, former White House chief of staff.

Director, always good having you.

Did the president adequately explain his position?

LEON PANETTA, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, look, I think all of us share moral outrage about Putin and the brutality that he shown towards the Ukrainian people. That’s understandable.

But this is a moment in time when we just have to be unified between the United States and our allies, show strong unity, and not raise anything that might confuse that relationship.

And so I think — I think, in the end, it’s a comment that probably should not have been used. And I hope, it’s important that the president exercise as much discipline as possible to make sure that whatever he says is in line with the unity that he’s put together between the United States and our allies.

CAVUTO: Isn’t he also saying, though, what other leaders are saying, Secretary, that no matter how this war ends, and hopefully soon, and hopefully without much more bloodshed, sanctions and punishments should remain in effect as long as Vladimir Putin is running Russia?

Aren’t they both on the same page?

PANETTA: Well, I think, right now, the principal focus would be on the ability to see whether or not we could negotiate some kind of cease-fire and settlement to this conflict in the Ukraine.

I’m glad that the Ukrainians and the Russians are going to be meeting with delegations in Turkey. I think that’s a positive sign. I think that President Zelenskyy has indicated that he’s willing to accept some kind of neutrality in Ukraine. And that could be very helpful to trying to resolve some of these issues that are there.

I think the most important thing is to focus on whether or not there are areas that can be resolved that can get us a cease-fire and that can end this war that’s going on in Ukraine.

CAVUTO: We don’t know if we’re going to get that tomorrow when talks resume in Turkey, to your point, Secretary.

But, as a former defense secretary, would you pause if, working for another president, he or she wanted to engage Vladimir Putin, long after all of this, assuming he is still in charge of Russia? Or would you recommend, no, I think we wait it out, he’s just an evil guy, he is a monster, and we don’t want to be at the same table with him ever?

PANETTA: No, look, I think, no matter — no matter how this is negotiated, no matter how it ultimately is resolved, Putin is going to be weakened as a leader,and so is Russia.

And I think…

CAVUTO: But he would still be a leader, right, Leon? He would still be a leader.

So, do you have to talk to the guy? Do you ignore the guy? What do you do?

PANETTA: Well, I think the bottom line is that the Russians will determine who their leader is going to be. And it’s up to the Russian…

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But what if they decide they’re fine with him being the leader still, no matter how Ukraine turns out?

PANETTA: I think the Russians are going to face a very difficult position, because I think Putin is, without question, seriously weakened as a result of this terrible strategic decision that he made to invade Ukraine. It was a mistake.

And I think, ultimately, he’s going to pay the price for that.

CAVUTO: Do you think that the president’s comments, Secretary, will speed up this effort to overthrow him in Russia or take away his powers or even kill him?

PANETTA: No, I think that the Russians and the Russian people will ultimately make that decision.

I think that, considering that Putin is virtually a dictator in Russia, and that the Russians have kind of tolerated his leadership for a long time, it’s going to — it’s going to take a real effort within Russia to be able to ultimately see if he’s going to be replaced.

I think it’s a — I don’t think it’s a fait accompli that somehow Putin is automatically going to get kicked out of office by the Russian people.

CAVUTO: Do you think that we are better off with Putin gone, regardless, down the road?

There is another expression, as you’re well aware. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. He could be replaced by someone who is much more dangerous. What do you think?

PANETTA: Well, that’s always the case when you go after a bad leader.

It was the case when we were going after bin Laden, that, even though we would be successful, they would always try to get somebody to replace him. I understand that.

But the fact is, if you can get rid of one bad leader, I think it — the chances are pretty good that the next leader, you might very well have a better relationship with, in terms of trying to work out the issues that we have with Russia.

Look, we’re living in the 21st century. This is a global world. I hope that, ultimately, in a global world, we can find a way to have a relationship with Russia that involves peace and prosperity.

CAVUTO: Very quickly, Secretary, as well, these peace negotiations pick up tomorrow, as you know.

And one of the things that we’re told the Russians are keen on is keeping the land they have already locked down or quasi-locked down in the eastern part of the country, parts of the south, and that that might be a negotiating chit.

By that, I mean they would want to keep that to secure an agreement and walk away. Do you think Ukraine would accept that?

PANETTA: I doubt it.

I think President Zelenskyy is not particularly interested in rewarding the Russians for the invasion that they made on Ukraine and allowing them to have territory that they conquered by military force.

But, having said that, I think that there are a combination of issues, one being the neutrality that President Zelenskyy said he would support. I think that’s an important point that certainly meets the concern of Russia about NATO, future NATO relationship.

Number two, with regards to these areas that are under Russian control right now, I think the people there ought to have a right to a referendum to decide whether they want to go with Russia or with Ukraine. I think that could be a potential way to try to resolve those issues.

Number three, it’s very clear that the Russians have to remove their troops from Ukraine in order to be able to arrive at any kind of meaningful cease- fire. So, there are a lot of key elements here that I think could be worked out, assuming that both sides want to try to resolve this terrible war we’re in.

CAVUTO: So, very quickly, then, given the president — President Biden’s comments about Leon — about Vladimir Putin — I’m sorry — and that he wasn’t really dialing them back, do you think that has emboldened Vladimir Putin to do pretty much whatever the hell he wants, because he figures he has nothing to lose?

PANETTA: You know, my experience with Putin is, he’s a bully, but he’s also not stupid.

And I think he’s somebody who’s been well-criticized by the world community, particularly after what he did in Ukraine. But I suspect that his primary worry right now is whether or not he’s going to be able to wrap up this terrible war in Ukraine with at least some, some declaration that it represented accomplishment of some of the missions he was after.

That’s going to be what Putin is going to have to focus on in order to be able to get the hell out of there.

CAVUTO: Leon Panetta, thank you very much. Very good catching up with you.

PANETTA: Good to be with you.

CAVUTO: All right, another development today was a collapse in oil prices. I say collapse, $10 or so. It’s still very, very pricey, but the catalyst for this had nothing to do with Ukraine war, everything to do with a spike in COVID cases right now in China that has virtually shut down Shanghai.

It’s now in a lockdown for some 25 million people, Shanghai Disney shut down. And the fear is, since that’s a very, very frenetic market for business in general, that demand will subside, and it could lead China to slip into maybe a slowdown or worse. And that was weighing on prices and the notion maybe that the brunt of that we feared could be stopped by a global recession.

Whether it’s justified or not, it did affect prices today.

But, in Ukraine, the focus right now is just living each day.

And the latest in Lviv with our Alex Hogan on that — Alex.

ALEX HOGAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Neil.

There are sirens here in Lviv tonight, intense shelling under way in Kyiv, and now calls for mass evacuations from Mariupol.

We will break down the latest of war-torn Ukraine and what is taking place on the ground coming up after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: You know, up until about 48 hours ago, there was a time in Ukraine, Lviv, on the western side of the country, you didn’t have to worry about airstrikes or missile strike.

That all changed Saturday, of course. And now those peace talks that resumed tomorrow in Turkey are getting an extra close eye.

Alex Hogan with more from Lviv — Alex.

HOGAN: Hi, Neil.

So we have heard sirens just about an hour ago here in Lviv. Meanwhile, there is intense shelling taking place outside of the capital of Kyiv. And over in Mariupol, the mayor is now saying that most of the city has been taken over and is calling for an immediate evacuation of all of the residents who live there.

Again, changing dynamics hour by hour, as we continue to cover the conflict here. And people had previously been told to evacuate if they could, but the mayor in Mariupol said that 160,000 people remained trapped in the city.

Meanwhile, outside of Kyiv, the mayor of Irpin says that Ukrainian troops managed to liberate the town from Russian soldiers. Still, he says that Russian attacks are far from over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OLEKSANDR MARKUSHYN, MAYOR OF IRPIN, UKRAINE: It’s not possible to return to Irpin yet. It’s not safe yet. We’re consolidating at our new positions. We will next move to liberate Bucha, Gostomel, Vorzel,

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOGAN: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last night told defenders of Mariupol that they could retreat, an offer that they declined, saying that they would not leave behind the dead and the wounded.

Well, this is new footage of what the scene looks like in Mariupol. Again tonight, the mayor is calling on people there to flee; 6.5 million people are displaced within Ukraine; 3.8 million people have fled the country altogether.

Russian and Ukrainian delegates are arriving in Istanbul for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine which will take place tomorrow and Wednesday. Zelenskyy says that Ukraine could declare neutrality.

At the same time, these kinds of conversations so far had had no effect in changing the ongoing situation and no effect in stopping some of the attacks, like the attacks that we saw here just a couple miles from the city center on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the U.N. is making its best effort to send in as much military aid as possible. It was able to send in a massive amount of food and medical supplies to Kharkiv today. Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine, and people there over the weekend had been huddled, sleeping in train stations.

But getting some of that international aid at this point is still not possible in many of the cities like Mariupol that need it most — Neil.

CAVUTO: Alex Hogan in Lviv.

Thank you, Alex, very, very much.

To Dan Hoffman right now, the former CIA station chief in Moscow, FOX News contributor.

Dan, I had Leon Panetta with me a few minutes ago. You might have heard some of that. And he thinks that Vladimir Putin’s future is really based on what the Russian people think of him, that the outcome of the war is one thing, but his support is undeniable up to now, and that might hold for a while. But, again, his fate is really in the hands of the Russian people.

Do you agree with that?

DAN HOFFMAN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I do.

I would — I guess I would fine-tune those comments just a little bit and say that Vladimir Putin’s fate is in the hands of those who could remove him. And so the moment that Russian military stop taking Vladimir Putin’s orders to rain down hell on innocent Ukrainian civilians, the moment that his intelligence services stop doing the work that they’re — that he’s — that Putin is asking them to do in Ukraine to find and fix those Ukrainian targets and then target them lethally, then things are going to get different and change for Vladimir Putin.

I don’t think at this point that the mass of the Russian population is going to remove Vladimir Putin. Putin has mounted a massive Soviet-style repression, with control of the media, efforts to control protests and things in the major cities. But, again, his key leadership, that’s another story.

And that’s why I think it’s important for the United States with — President Biden could have refined his statement a little bit from his excellent speech yesterday to say that, look, it’s up to the Russian military. We don’t — to decide that they’re no longer going to take Vladimir Putin’s unlawful, unethical, immoral orders. And if they do that, then there’s a chance for us to have a relationship with Russia.

But, until that point, then we won’t.

CAVUTO: The president addressed this in remarks with our own Peter Doocy today and stood by those comments, by and large. I want you to react to the president explaining himself on this, Dan. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Are you worried that other leaders in the world are going to start to doubt that America is back if some of these big things that you say on the world stage keep getting walked back?

BIDEN: What is getting walked back?

DOOCY: It made it sound like — just in the last couple days, it sounded like you told U.S. troops they were going to Ukraine. It sounded like you said it was possible to us would use a chemical weapon. And it sounded like you were calling for regime change in Russia.

And we know…

BIDEN: None of the three occurred.

DOOCY: None of the three occurred?

BIDEN: None of the three.

DOOCY: Mr. President…

BIDEN: You interpret the language that way. I was talking to the troops. We were talking about helping train the troops in — that are — the Ukrainian troops that are in Poland. That’s the context.

I sat there with those guys for a couple hours. That’s what we talked about.

DOOCY: So, when you said, “You’re going to see when you’re there,” you were not intending to…

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: I was referring to with — be with and talking with the Ukrainian troops that were in Poland.

DOOCY: And when you said a chemical weapon used by Russia would trigger a response and kind?

BIDEN: It will trigger a significant response.

DOOCY: What does that mean?

BIDEN: I’m not going to tell you. Why would I tell you? You got to be silly.

DOOCY: The world wants to know.

BIDEN: The world wants to know a lot of things. I’m not telling them what the response would be. Then Russia knows the response.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: Dan, what did you think of that, all of that?

HOFFMAN: Yes.

You know, if there’s one thing I learned at the CIA, especially serving three years in a war zone side by side with the U.S. military, it’s that message discipline matters for leaders, whether it’s a brigade commander or the president of United States, being extremely clear in the delivery of the message, not — to your targeted audience.

And in this case, President Biden was speaking to the troops in Poland and to the United States, to our population, writ large. He was also speaking to Russian citizens, to the extent to which they could — they could hear his speech, and Russian senior figures, who I’m sure did listen to the speech.

And I just don’t think that President Biden was clear enough and specific enough, as he could have been in those three cases that Peter Doocy outlined.

CAVUTO: Dan Hoffman.

Thank you, Dan, very, very much.

Well, this past weekend, at a rally, Donald Trump let the Georgia governor, Brian Kemp, have it. Today, the Georgia governor responded with me — next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has just condemned Will Smith’s slap at presenter Chris Rock at the Oscars. It is investigating what to do now.

We’re on it — right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right, Georgia’s governor now has become the third in the country to remove the state tax on gasoline. He says it’ll last for as long as it takes, presumably until May, until things calm down a little bit.

But he’s open to further cuts down the road, the Georgia governor explaining that position with me earlier today on FOX Business.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): We have just got an incredible amended budget this year that allowed us to do a lot of one-time things to help people — inflation that we’re seeing in Washington.

We certainly can’t fix all the problems up there. But putting a little bit of money back in the pockets of hardworking Georgians and small business owners, we’re doing all that we can with the tools that we got.

The two-month moratorium on gas and fuel — or fuel and gas is certainly going to hell. We’re also returning over a billion dollars of excess funds that we had, $250 for every person, over $500 if you’re falling as a family, so really trying to help people offset inflation.

CAVUTO: David Perdue is Donald Trump’s man in this race. He prefers him to you over the whole election kerfuffle back in 2020.

And this past Saturday night, the president reminded people why he’s not too keen on you. I want you to react to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a big primary coming out right here in your state. We’re going to throw out a very, very sad situation that took place, your RINO governor, Brian Kemp.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: You know, you have heard this a lot, Governor.

You stuck to your guns. You examined the 2020 election. You were convinced that it was fair, it was tight, but it was fair. Donald Trump lost. Hell hath no fury like an angry president ever since.

But his magic so far is not working in this gubernatorial race. He wants you to lose, but you’re leading. That could change, I know. And you remind me often about that. But what do you think of how Georgians are digesting all this?

KEMP: Well, look, Neil, I tell people all the time I can’t control what other people are doing.

I can control what my record has been over the last three years. It’s been exactly what I told people I would do three and four years ago, when I was campaigning to be their governor. I have implemented the things that I tell people our duty to make Georgia number one in the country for business and have opportunity, no matter what your neighborhood, and stand up to woke corporations and do the right thing when no one’s watching.

And that’s exactly what I have been doing here in the state of Georgia. So I’m running on my record. The ultimate endorsement is on May 24, when Georgians go to the polls. And I’m reminding of my — reminding them of my conservative record and reminding them that I have done what I said I would do

I followed the law and I followed the Constitution. And my ultimate goal is preventing Stacey Abrams for being our governor or our next president. And I’m the one that has the record to prevent that. And we need people in the fight to help us do that. And that’s what we’re seeing in the state right now in the Republican primary.

CAVUTO: But it seems to have split the Republican Party, Governor, to the point that former Senator Perdue, who was a close friend of yours, is now blaming you for voter fraud, when a lot of people, his close associates, say he knows better, but he’s trying to appeal to Donald Trump.

Now, his people say that is not the case. But do you think that is the case, and that, if Donald Trump succeeds in saying that — let’s say you win the race or win the nomination, that Republicans could once again lose Georgia?

KEMP: Well, look, Neil, everybody in the media thinks the party’s divided here and the state is divided. I don’t see that.

I’m traveling every day. We’re getting great feedback. I was in Columbia County, the Augusta, Georgia, area today — I mean, Saturday, had great feedback there. We went the five or six counties just a few days ago. We’re getting great feedback there, because people know what my record is. I have given the largest…

CAVUTO: No, no, no, you’re quite right, Governor. The feedback on you and the rise in the polls is real and legitimate. You’re quite right to point that out.

But I just wonder if you fear that, should you win the nomination and in the battle with Stacey Abrams this week, assuming she’s the Democratic nominee, that Donald Trump will do his best to make sure you don’t win, and thereby allow a Democrat to take over the governor’s mansion?

KEMP: No, I don’t fear that at all.

I mean, look, I have been through tough Republican primaries before. There’s no crying in politics. My family and I are out there grinding away every day, reminding people about my record, reminding me that we’re in the fight for the soul of our state.

And we can not allow Stacey Abrams to be our governor.

CAVUTO: Would you want his support, though, Governor? If it comes down to that, would you want Donald Trump’s support? Would you want it?

KEMP: And I’m the person that can — I’m the person that can beat — well, Neil, with all due respect, I’m the person that can beat Stacey Abrams.

All the polling shows that.

CAVUTO: OK.

KEMP: I have the record to do that.

She is the great unifier in this race. Republicans are rallying to me now because they realize I am indeed the person to win the race, not the guy that was scared to debate Jon Ossoff and lost to him in the U.S. Senate race.

CAVUTO: And you’re convinced that, because of Donald Trump and his involvement in the whole Georgia trust — do you trust the voting process, that those two Senate seats were lost because of that?

KEMP: No, that’s what you said, Neil.

I’m not focused on the past. I’m focused on the future. I followed the law and I follow the Constitution. I was secretary of state for nine years in Georgia. The Constitution gives the authority to administer elections to the secretary of state, not the governor.

So I’m focused on what I could do and what I could control. That’s what I have done. That’s what I will continue to be doing as your governor. I’m not going to sit there and — David Perdue is trying to blame everybody but himself for his loss. And that’s not something that I can control.

I’m focused on today and what we’re going to do tomorrow and the day after that to win this primary, and then unite everyone to stop Stacey Abrams from being our governor, because, if she is, Neil, we’re going to see the exact same policies that we have in Washington, D.C., in the state of Georgia.

And, as a parent to three daughters, I don’t want to see that happen.

CAVUTO: So, finally, Governor — and I’m sorry if I’m misrepresented your view. It certainly wasn’t intentional.

That had the President Trump not intervene to the degree he had in the Georgia race and questioning the accuracy of — and the reliability and the propriety of Georgia voting, do you think you would have won at least one of those seats, and the Senate would be under Republican control right now?

KEMP: Well, listen, Neil, the fact is, an incumbent U.S. senator got thrown into a run-off, when they never should have been there in the first place.

And if that had not happened, the run-off wouldn’t even have mattered, because the balance of the Senate wouldn’t be there. But that’s not something that I can control. My name wasn’t on the ballot in 2020.

CAVUTO: Right.

KEMP: My opponent’s was. And you can ask him those kinds of questions.

I’m focused on keeping this economy great. We have had a record year economically last year. We’re only halfway through this fiscal year. We’re about to break what we did last year this year. That’s what I’m focused on.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAVUTO: All right, Governor Brian Kemp on those developments. He’s up 10 points in the polls over former Senator David Perdue.

By the way, we did place calls to Senator Perdue’s office, as well as Stacey Abrams’ office. We have not heard back.

In the meantime, the latest on this president’s plan with a budget that calls for higher taxes on the super wealthy, but I mean the super, super wealthy.

And I’m not talking Hillary Vaughn. I’m talking Hillary Vaughn on that story.

Hillary, what’s the latest?

HILLARY VAUGHN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Neil.

Well, President Biden says it’s billionaires who will be footing the bill for his budget that he claims will bring down the debt, not by spending less, but taxing way more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: Just pay your fair share, pay a little bit. A firefighter and a teacher pay more than double, double the tax rate that a billionaire pays. That’s not right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUGHN: It’s called a billionaire tax, but it hits millionaires too.

Biden wants to put a 20 percent minimum tax rate on people with more than $100 million of estimated wealth or more. Doing so, the White House says, would bring down the debt by about $360 billion over the next decade.

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says it’s what’s in Biden’s budget that is out of touch with what American families need. McConnell says, even though some polls show that voters want Biden to pivot, he didn’t.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The bloated liberal nonsense comes paired with the biggest tax hike in American history, a $2.5-plus trillion dollar bomb of tax hikes dropped on top of an economy that Democrats’ policies have already hurt badly, literally, literally the largest tax hike in history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUGHN: Biden wants the rich to pay their fair share, but new data shows millions of Americans did not pay anything at all in federal income tax.

The Tax Policy Center says the stimulus checks paid out during the pandemic turned into millions of households not owing anything in federal income tax because the checks were fully refundable; 57 percent of households did not pay any federal income tax in 2021.

That’s over 100 million households. But, Neil, even though a lot of these people did not pay federal income tax, that doesn’t mean that they didn’t pay any state or local taxes — Neil.

CAVUTO: Good distinction.

Hillary Vaughn, thank you very, very much.

Meantime, and the winner is for possibly briefest Oscar winner, hmm. Could it be? After this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: Oh, wow. Wow.

Will Smith just smacked the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROCK: Jada, I love you.

“G.I. Jane 2,” can’t wait to see it, all right?

(LAUGHTER)

ROCK: It’s — that was a nice one. OK.

I’m out here — uh-oh.

(LAUGHTER)

ROCK: Oh, wow. Wow.

Will Smith just smacked the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of me.

(LAUGHTER)

WILL SMITH, ACTOR: Keep my wife’s name out your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) mouth!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: Now, we figured you might have seen that maybe once, possibly twice today, but it’s become, obviously, the most downloaded item certainly in YouTube in quite some time.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that hands out the Oscars now, has condemned Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock. And now is reviewing the incident, possible punishment.

The read right now from our own Mike Gunzelman. We call him Gunz, the Internet radio host sensation, Abby Hornacek here as well, the FOX Nation host, extremely popular figures, both.

So, Abby, they’re contemplating — that is, the Academy — punishment. What if they go so far as to take his Oscar away? What do you think?

ABBY HORNACEK, “PARK’D” HOST: Well, I think they might, Neil.

I’m just — I’m confused why they’re just now exploring the consequences. Imagine if this was the NBA and LeBron James was on the court, and he was being heckled by a fan. And he went into the stands and slapped the fan across the side of the face. You think the league would be like, oh, no, LeBron, you can stay? And, oh, wait, actually, we’re going to also give you the MVP Award.

That’s essentially what happened, right? He would be ejected in two seconds. So I think the Academy is right in exploring consequences. I do think they should have acted sooner. Will Smith should not have been sitting in that seat after that incident. He should have been removed right away.

Should Chris Rock had made that joke? No, especially if he knew about Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia. You just don’t cross that line, go after someone’s medical condition.

CAVUTO: Yes.

HORNACEK: But that does not give Will Smith the right to go up and act in violence.

CAVUTO: And, apparently, this bad blood goes back a few years, back to 2016. I won’t belabor the point.

But, Gunz, I do want to play back what Will Smith had to say upon accepting his Oscar. He apologized to a lot of folks, because this was a few minutes after this incident, but one. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to my all my fellow nominees. Thank you.

I hope the Academy invites me back. Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: What do you think, Gunz?

MIKE GUNZELMAN, FOX NEWS HEADLINES ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Well, yes, I mean, clearly, he did not apologize to Chris Rock.

I think here’s the thing with Will Smith. We clearly saw somebody who snapped. I mean, like, I’m sure he was probably later on a little bit embarrassed to realize what he just did. But, in that moment, he clearly snapped.

Here’s the thing. We shouldn’t — number one, you shouldn’t be physically attacking anybody, OK? Let’s leave that — let’s not have that happen. Number two, if you’re going to slap somebody, don’t let it be a comedian who’s Chris Rock, whose whole entire brand and persona is to make fun of people and take jabs at them.

And, three, don’t do it during the Oscars and the biggest telecast for anybody in Hollywood. I truly think that, if Will Smith perhaps instead of actually slapping, maybe if they just — the camera went to him and he just stared or glared at him or even said, “Not funny,” that would have made an even bigger point than right now, because, right now, Will Smith is — he’s the punch line now.

He is — for lack of better words or a phrase, but he is literally now going to be the butt of all jokes. And for Chris Rock, the secondary ticket sales — he’s on tour right now. He’s on a comedy tour right now. Those things have skyrocketed. Ticket prices in the last 24 hours have skyrocketed for Chris Rock, because everyone wants to see what they’re — you know, what he’s going to say next, what his response is.

And going into what you were talking with Abby about, I don’t think the Oscars to take away his trophy. I think maybe he gets like he can’t come back next year or maybe a five-year ban. I don’t think we need to be taking away the trophy.

The bottom line is, he still won. He still did the movie. He still did a stellar job. Listen, he’s embarrassed. He’s not — this is — it was the biggest moment of his life for winning an award. And this is what he’s going to be remembered for, the slap.

CAVUTO: Yes, but even if they take your Oscar away, to your point, I mean, everyone will know he won this past.

GUNZELMAN: Yes.

CAVUTO: So, leaving that aside, Abby, I’m curious that Chris Rock has not filed any charges. He could. Local police say that he’s always open to do so. But he’s opted not to. What do you make of that?

HORNACEK: Well, I think that’s a classy move. I mean, the joke might not have been a classy joke. But I do think that he acted in pure class by saying, I’m not going to file a report.

And, look, I mean, Will Smith, I think — I might be unpopular in this opinion, but I think, as soon as you enter the public sphere, you have the moral obligation to be a role model, whether you want to or not. That goes for athletes. That goes for actors. It goes for politicians, whoever.

And people were watching this. And there were children.

CAVUTO: Then how do you explain Gunz? How do you explain Gunz?

(LAUGHTER)

GUNZELMAN: Got a lot going on.

HORNACEK: “Best Smacktor.” New York Post always has the best headlines.

CAVUTO: No, I see what you’re saying.

Abby, seriously, you mention — you raise a very good point.

And, Gunz, that point is, there’s a higher degree of responsibility that comes with being a public figure. And Will Smith botched that moment.

GUNZELMAN: Yes, he did not live up to the standards.

But let’s be honest. We’re talking about Hollywood here. Very few people are these great role models, especially in the Hollywood elite club. I think there’s — the other topic that’s been going on right now is, was this all a work?

And I truly don’t believe that it was. But if the Oscars were smart, Neil, they would have Chris Rock host next year, because that would guarantee people would tune in. They should have Chris Rock. Tune in next year, because, Neil, the ratings just came down.

And they broke up the hours. It was on — it was on path to be the lowest rated Oscars of all time, lower than last year, which was the worst one. They had about nine million viewers before that happened. Afterwards, when it went all crazy across — viral across social media, they jumped to over 15 million.

So, it definitely worked for people talking about it.

HORNACEK: This is going to be a really…

CAVUTO: Well, there’s got to be — there’s got to be a better way.

Go ahead, Abby, real quick.

(LAUGHTER)

HORNACEK: I was just going to say, this is going to be a very expensive NFT one day. Someone’s going to pay some big bucks for that.

(LAUGHTER)

GUNZELMAN: Well done.

CAVUTO: That’s a good way of looking at. Your generation and those darn NFTs, which I still don’t understand.

Guys, thank you both very, very much.

GUNZELMAN: Thanks.

CAVUTO: Well, my buddy Charlie Gasparino probably was looking at all this and saying, I have more important things to worry about and more important things to share.

He had a close call. He’s here to tell us just how close. I’m talking a life-and-death kind of issue. Important.

Charlie next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: Our Charlie Gasparino is probably one of the toughest reporters on the planet.

But you all of a sudden throw prostate cancer in his face, and tell him, it could be very dicey, but he’s got to follow doctor’s orders, you can go ahead and get him to dress up in this — in this outfit to be treated.

Now, a lot of people keep this to themselves and they figure, well, I’m over it, I’m OK, but not Charlie. He has a message. He wants people to learn from his experience. And he’s kind enough to join us right now.

Charlie, that was pretty scary stuff. But you survived. Tell us all about it.

CHARLIE GASPARINO, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: I have some role models in my life. And I consider you one of them. And you’re one of the guys that fought back from all sorts of stuff, and you’re still killing it.

And I was — I was not going to let this thing get the best of me. I will say this, though.

CAVUTO: This came out of nowhere, right? This came out of nowhere.

GASPARINO: Yes.

CAVUTO: Explain what happened.

GASPARINO: Yes.

I mean, so — over Christmas, I get COVID, like everybody else. But I’m like — I’m running. I’m running six miles. When I had COVID, I worked out every day, throwing around pretty heavy weights. I had a mild case, but I still had COVID.

I know people…

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: I told you, Charlie, that was dangerous. This running is bad for you. But you didn’t listen to me.

(LAUGHTER)

GASPARINO: It was good. It was good.

CAVUTO: So, then what happened?

GASPARINO: My blood tests were rising.

The doctor comes back to me and says, listen, my PSA and my blood tests were rising. And that’s a marker, not a perfect one, but a marker of prostate cancer. My doctor says, listen, just get a biopsy just to check it out. I know — he actually said he didn’t think I had it and — because my MRIs kept coming back, OK.

And then, lo and behold, the biopsies are very — are painful, I will say this, for the prostate. But it’s worth taking. It came back. And when you see on your chart the words malignant prostate cancer, I mean, I almost — I mean, I remember I was at work when that — when it came in.

Because of New York state law, they have to share it with the patient before they even call you. I mean, they have to share it immediately.

CAVUTO: Wow.

GASPARINO: So I was left trying to figure out if I was going to die or not. Thank God I have a brother who’s an amazing doctor, a Ph.D. and an M.D. He runs Brooklyn — he’s the chairman of medicine of Brooklyn Hospital, and he’s board-certified in 10 different disciplines, including critical care.

He walked me through. And he says, dude, you’re not going to die, but you’re going to have to get something done here. And that something done, I got last Monday. I was — right about now, I was leaving hospital, NYU Langone, which is an amazing place. I have great doctors there.

Ken Langone has done an amazing job would be raising money for that place, and we got world-class health care there. And I got a treatment which is not the least invasive, not the most invasive, is taking it out. I could have done that.

But because mine is very early stage and localized, I did this other treatment, which, like I said, wasn’t a walk in the park, still is not. And I’m still a little queasy here.

CAVUTO: Yes.

GASPARINO: But it’s better than the alternative.

And I will tell you, everybody, just keep on this, I mean, not just this, colonoscopies, the whole thing, down the line. Take care of yourself.

One thing I do — I have appreciated, as someone who works out a lot and takes care of himself — and I have never been in the hospital, just so you know.

CAVUTO: Wow.

GASPARINO: Except from when I was a kid, when I got into fights and getting stitches and things like that. You leave the next day.

We’re all leaky vessels, to one degree or the other. It’s — and, as you get older, what’s great about science is that we can plug these leaks and live a long decent life, if you just keep — if you live a healthy life.

CAVUTO: But the cancer, to be clear, I just — because a lot of people don’t — and this is the message you’re trying to get out.

A lot of guys are very, very anxious about addressing that kind of stuff.

GASPARINO: Don’t be.

CAVUTO: But it’s not as dangerous if it stays localized to the prostate. It’s when it spreads that it becomes very dangerous, right?

GASPARINO: Right.

And it’s like everything else. A friend of mine had to stop testicular cancer.

CAVUTO: Right.

GASPARINO: Got through it because it was localized to the testicle.

And I have other friends who’ve had other types of cancers that, as long as it’s localized, colon cancer, localized, not spread out, because you get your colonoscopies.

CAVUTO: Very key.

GASPARINO: You do survive. We will survive this. And you will live a great life. And…

CAVUTO: Well, how are you now? What are the doctors saying now, Charlie?

GASPARINO: OK, so I got my surgery, which is known as ablation, where they essentially go in and kill the bad cells in the prostate.

CAVUTO: Right.

GASPARINO: And, listen, I got to go back in three months and get blood tests. And this is something we’re going to be watching for a while.

But I had one of the best, Herbert Lepor, over at NYU Langone. And he says he thinks he got it. And you can only think you got it, right? You don’t know until the end, but I’m felling pretty confident.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: … around with it.

I think this thing was afraid of you, Charlie. Bottom line, it was afraid of you. And you took it on head on.

GASPARINO: I don’t know about that, man. I’m afraid of it.

And, listen, I have always took care.

CAVUTO: Yes.

GASPARINO: One thing I have always done — and I buried my parents really young, because they — particularly my mom. She didn’t do what I did.

I have always went and I always got my checkups. I never missed a checkup. I have a wife that pushes me to get it, thank God. I have a brother who pushes me.

CAVUTO: Good for you.

GASPARINO: And if — some of this is maintenance. Working out is maintenance. And so is this.

CAVUTO: You’re amazing.

GASPARINO: And that doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent, because it — because nothing is 100 percent. But you know what I’m saying.

CAVUTO: Be on top of it. Be on top of it, my friend.

GASPARINO: Correct.

CAVUTO: We want you alive as long as possible…

GASPARINO: Thank you.

CAVUTO: … so all those people who say nasty things can keep saying them about you.

(LAUGHTER)

GASPARINO: They’re going to have to put a stake through my heart. And it better be metal.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Charlie, you’re incredible.

END

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