‘Your World’ on Russia and Ukraine

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This is a rush transcript of “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on February 9, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHARLES PAYNE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: President Biden huddling with energy CEOs, trying to boost his green spending plan. But what about all the green Americans are spending just to heat their homes and fill their tanks? Is any relief on the way for that?

Welcome, everyone. I’m Charles Payne, in for Neil Cavuto. And this is “Your World.”

First to Jacqui Heinrich at the White House with more — Jacqui.

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

Well, the president just met with the heads of several electric utilities, including Exelon, Southern Company, and Duke Energy CEOs there. He was arguing that his spending plan is a way to transform the power grid in an effort to address climate change.

He’s framing it as investments that they’re making that to make the future better, create jobs, become competitive with China, and, yes, even bring down inflation, he says, all this without increasing the deficit or raising taxes, as we have heard him pitch before.

But the massive spending plan is effectively dead in Congress. Today. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki did not rule out rebranding Build Back Better as lawmakers try to break it up into smaller pieces and get it passed that way. But there just has not been enough appetite for big spending to pass it as it stands.

And critics say, critics of the administration say that this is because of inflation. And the White House is bracing for some tough numbers tomorrow on the inflation report. But they’re saying that recent data shows a trend in the right direction.

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: November and December, price increases showed relative to the month before — slowed relative to the month before. And, in January, they were down almost half from where they were in October. That’s a sign of progress.

We expect a high year-over-year inflation reading in tomorrow’s data, given what we know about the last year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEINRICH: So, tomorrow, the president’s going to travel to Virginia to try to build support for Build Back Better, all as a way to reduce inflation.

Unclear, though, exactly how this big event is going to change people’s minds in Congress, when he needs their votes to pass it, and inflation is still a big problem, a big challenge he has not overcome — Charles.

PAYNE: Absolutely. Jacqui, thank you very much.

HEINRICH: Thank you.

PAYNE: While they’re talking green at the White House, Americans are seeing red over surging energy prices.

Economist Steve Moore with me now.

Steve, I think one of the biggest problems with this, at least from folks who are in the know, that it was so avoidable, a lot of it. Even Democratic economists, like Larry Summers, begged the White House, warned the White House, said, listen, you’re going to send us in a place we did not want to go. Here we are and inflation at 40-year highs.

So, I mean, what do you make of it that they’re still trying to rebrand and repackage more spending?

STEPHEN MOORE, FORMER DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: The problem with this is that — Charles, is that the inflation looks like it’s going to get worse in the months ahead, both because of rising food prices and, as you know, the price of oil went to above $90 a barrel.

That’s the equivalent about $4.50 at the gas pump. So the worst is not over here. And I think there’s a direct connection, Charles, between all of this massive debt spending that we have done in the last 18 months in this buildup of inflation, which is why almost no one no — I don’t know a single economist who actually believes that passing more trillions of dollars of debt and more money creation would make this situation better

It would almost certainly make it worse.

PAYNE: One of the key problems seems to be the sort of almost religious- like adherence to climate, right? We must, we must do these things because of climate change, an emergency that will evolve over a period of years.

But we’re not prepared. I mean, it’s just not logical, Steve. Why not have a smart approach to this? No matter how much you believe that we need to attack climate change, we’re not in a position that we can replace every fossil fuel gasoline car overnight. We can’t change homes that are heated by natural gas.

Why aren’t we taking advantage of what we have been blessed with? We are blessed to have the fossil fuels under their feet, the technology to get it, because that’s the main thing that’s hurting people’s pocketbooks.

MOORE: That’s exactly right.

And I just looked at these new trade deficit numbers that came out late yesterday, Charles. And, as you know, we had a record high trade deficit. Now, there’s a lot of reasons for why the trade deficit rose, but what was really interesting, I looked at that report.

Guess what is way, way up in terms of our imports, Charles? I think you know the answer that, oil and gas.

PAYNE: Yes.

MOORE: So, think about this. This — we — a year ago, when Trump left office, we were actually energy-independent.

We were not importing any oil and gas from Saudi Arabia or Russia or any of these OPEC countries. Now, today, we have got a president who has to go hat in hand to the Saudis. And, by the way, that’s the president’s solution. Oh, I’m trying to cajole the Saudis to increase their oil production.

Well, Charles, that raises the question, why aren’t we raising our own oil and gas production? And you are so right, my friend. The United States of America is more endowed with oil, gas and coal than any other country in the world. We should be using it, not just as a matter of bringing inflation down and helping our economy, but also as a matter of national security, when you look at what’s going on in Russia right now.

PAYNE: The American public learned something about economics 101. And I think — and a lot of folks will be surprised, Steve, that the American public is rejecting free money. This is something you probably couldn’t have ever said a year ago, but now people understand there are consequences when you go too far with this stuff.

Thank you so much. Always a pleasure.

MOORE: OK, thanks, Charles. Have a great night.

PAYNE: All right, folks, take a look at this, front page of The New York Post with a guy they’re doubling the Hamburglar after he allegedly walked out of a Trader Joe’s supermarket with 10 steaks, this as crime continues to run rampant in New York and other big cities.

To Eric Shawn with more on this out-of-control crime spree — Eric.

ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Charles.

Well, the district attorney of Manhattan, the controversial Alvin Bragg, says he will go after serial shoplifters, while everyone here in New York today is talking about that guy. They call him the Hamburglar, front page New York Post.

A photographer for The Post in Trader Joe’s says he saw this guy walk out stealing 10 steaks from Trader Joe’s, so many, as you can see, trying to balance them with his chin. Retail crime up 38 percent of the city. Here’s a video I took a few weeks ago of a guy I saw stuffing items into his bag at my local drugstore.

And he just walked out. The clerks told me they couldn’t do a thing. Well, today, the district attorney, Alvin Bragg, spoke for the New York County Lawyers Association. And he promised that he is going to now start charging thefts at what he calls a higher level, targeting what he calls opportunists who go from store to store stealing stuff.

He admits there is a crime crisis and does not want New York to return to the high crime era of the 1980s and early 90s. New York City Mayor Eric Adams is in Albany today. He’s a former police officer himself. And he’s testifying before the state legislature, demanding that the Democratic- controlled Assembly and state Senate change the laws.

He wants them to scrap some progressive policies like bail reform. Critics say those policies are soft on crime. But the Democratic leaders, well, they are refusing to budge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC ADAMS (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Reducing crime will require both intervention and prevention. That is why it is urgent that we request the state’s immediate assistance in expanding the number of beds for those in critical need of mental health care and funding for the medical and support staff they require.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAWN: When DA Alvin Bragg ran for office, he promised not to prosecute anyone who steals less than $250 worth of stuff.

That’s right. Don’t prosecute you if you steal under $250. Personally, I have seen two cases of shoplifters taking stuff right out of a store. Perhaps Mr. Bragg now is changing his tune — Charles, back to you.

PAYNE: It’d be nuts for him not to.

Eric, thank you very much.

With me now, former New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir.

And, Howard, we have had this conversation several times over this period of this. Every time we talk, the numbers get higher and more — and these images get more brazen. I guess someone like an Alvin Bragg just is not going to come out and say, I was wrong.

But maybe he’s seeing the light and trying to take baby steps. But isn’t the urgency factor such that we need to do something more decisive right now?

HOWARD SAFIR, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Absolutely.

All he has to do is do his job. And his job is to prosecute criminals. But what he did the day he came into office was he told everybody who was out there stealing and committing violence, you can have a free ride, because I’m going to do social programs. I’m not going to do my job.

This is — the chaos that we’re seeing in New York is exactly what I predicted would happen.

PAYNE: You did.

Hey, the Hamburglar, now I’m not sure if the $250 limit is — maybe when you’re not cooked, they’re less than 250. But certainly those 10 steaks, medium well, that’s more than $250.

And all kidding aside, I mean, that speaks volumes about how much New Yorkers just have no disregard now. Those who want to take just simply walk in a store and take what they want.

SAFIR: Well, when you send a message to criminals — and it’s not just Bragg. Blasio did it for eight years. This legislature in Albany is continuing to do it.

And what they’re doing is basically sending messages to criminals. You can go in, you can steal stuff. Even if we do bring — arrest you you’re going to get out on bail, you’re not going to go to jail, and probably not going to get convicted. So why shouldn’t they do it?

It’s there for the taking.

PAYNE: There’s the thinking. And I want to add something here that just came up yesterday, and a lot of folks are shocked. Some are angry.

This is the Biden administration saying they want to offer a free crack pipes to certain constituents, underserved, which is often a euphemism for black Americans. The route that they are taking, it just feels like they’re not trying to get to the root of any of these things to actually solve them, but just — and, ultimately, doesn’t this all make it all worse?

SAFIR: Absolutely.

President Biden has from — since George Floyd said, cops are racist, cops are brutal. He’s pandering to criminals. And he’s looking to make more drug addicts in this country by facilitating the use of drugs, whether it’s crack pipes or injection sites. It’s sending a message it’s OK to use mind- altering drugs, and we’re going to try and legalize as much as possible.

We are in deep trouble. And this needs to be changed.

PAYNE: OK, so the they’re not offering crack pipes, but there’s a program to facilitate safe drug apparatus use. And from what I have read, I thought it was — included crack pipes.

So where do we go from here? Eric Shawn mentioned the ’90s and the ’80s. But I also grew up in New York in the ’70s, which I thought was probably worse. Crack took the ’80s to a different level. But it took years, decades to get to where we were, and it’s all unraveling.

So where do we go from here? Do you think we have to hit rock bottom before there’s a general epiphany even amongst those who are the biggest advocates for this kind of stuff now?

SAFIR: Well, Rudy Giuliani got elected because David Dinkins showed that he absolutely could not do anything to control crime in New York.

Hopefully, Mayor Adams will get some support. But you have to remember, he’s one-third — the police are one-third of the criminal justice system. If they arrest somebody and they don’t go to jail, and they don’t get prosecuted, the cops are going to sit back and they’re only going to respond to crimes in progress, which, of course, is a failure.

We need to get back to broken windows. We need to get back to stop, question and frisk, and do it constitutionally. But we need to send a clear, clear message to criminals. You commit a crime, you’re going to be held accountable.

PAYNE: Yes.

SAFIR: Right now, that’s not happening in New York. It’s not happening in Los Angeles or San Francisco or Chicago. And that’s why murder rates are off the charts.

And another bellwether is car thefts.

PAYNE: Yes. I…

SAFIR: Car thefts are up like 60 percent.

PAYNE: They’re all through the roof.

Commissioner, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

SAFIR: Good to be with you.

So, does pain at the pump for Americans main pain at the polls for Democrats? New signs some lawmakers are worrying.

But, first, Russian President Putin moving more forces to the front lines and inching closer to crossing red lines. Senator Chuck Grassley is here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: Russia ramping up its military presence, as tensions show no signs of cooling down.

FOX News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin is at the Pentagon with more — Jennifer.

JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Charles, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed U.S. troops sent to Poland could be used to set up checkpoints, tent camps and other facilities inside Poland’s border to help in the event that thousands of U.S. citizens have to flee Ukraine if Russia invades.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: I can’t rule out the fact that these soldiers could be used with some — to some degree with evacuation assistance on the other side of that border.

And, certainly, they’re going to be prepared to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: U.S. troops will not be going into Ukraine itself.

This video shows some of the members of the 82nd Airborne arriving in Poland on C-17 transport planes today. There are 7,000 Americans registered with the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine and an estimated 30,000 more inside Ukraine who have been told by the State Department they should make plans to leave, given the heightened tensions.

Major General Chris Donahue, the commander who oversaw the evacuation from the Kabul Airport, was sent to Poland to oversee this effort, given his experience last August.

General Donahue’s boss, Lieutenant General Erik Kurilla, is en route to Germany as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. GEN. ERIK KURILLA, 18TH AIRBORNE CORPS: The mission we were given was to reassure our NATO allies and to deter Russian aggression against those NATO allies. So we are deploying elements of 18th Airborne Corps headquarters, the 82nd Airborne Division and other elements of 18th Airborne Corps to Poland and Germany.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: U.S. Stryker vehicles left Germany today and our en route to NATO ally Romania.

Americans could have to make their way overland to Poland, Romania and Moldova if Russia invades.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIRBY: If Americans are listening, listening carefully, and following the guidance by the State Department and by the president of the United States, they should be leaving now.

They should have been leaving before now. And there’s plenty of ways to do that just by going to Kyiv and jumping on an airplane and leaving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: U.S. officials expect between one to five million refugees from Ukraine if Russia moves forward with an invasion.

Of note today, Russia’s top General Valery Gerasimov arrived in Belarus to oversee large-scale military exercises. He is sanctioned through much of Europe for his role in the 2014 invasion of Ukraine’s Donbass region and killing up to 1,000 Ukrainian troops — Charles.

PAYNE: Thanks, Jennifer.

Russia says it sees room for diplomacy, but is it all lip service?

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley joins me now.

Senator, your thoughts? All the pieces keep moving closer and closer, and many armchair folks guessing that maybe, after the Olympics, we could actually see an invasion.

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R-IA): That’s what I have heard.

And it’s a sad commentary. Ukraine is no threat to Russia. NATO or Europe is no threat to Russia. And there’s going to be needless killing of civilians and soldiers in Ukraine. But there’s going to be a lot of body bags going back to Russia. And I don’t know what he’s trying to accomplish, whether it’s ego or what.

I think that Americans are worried, because they see an administration that is more concerned about the border between Russia and Ukraine than they are the border between the United States and Mexico, an open border. And they ought to be able to take care of both of them. But they aren’t taking care of the Southern border.

So that’s a mistake on this administration’s part. They’d have more credibility with what they’re doing in Europe if they would enforce the laws in the United States.

PAYNE: Senator, I want to ask you about — you joined with 32 other senators, sent a letter to the Biden administration over this Iranian deal, reminding them that they must submit anything to Congress.

You’re going to reject a weak deal. And, certainly, you want these sanctions enforced. Any response to that?

GRASSLEY: No response yet. And I’m sure they don’t want to respond.

But we have, under law, a review by the Congress of the United States. I don’t want them to forget that. We also have advice and consent to treaties. Now, this isn’t a treaty. But if — if — they ought to still seek the advice. They didn’t do it, and went with a bad agreement in 2015. And we want to make sure we don’t end up with the same bad agreement.

And I think they’re already starting out with a weak hand, when they have already relaxed some sanctions that we had against Iran. But we ought to have a voice in this under our Constitution, as respect for Senate involvement in foreign affairs through treaties.

PAYNE: All right. And, of course, the stakes are so high, I think the American public would want that as well.

I want to switch gears here. The Judiciary Committee held hearings today on the military’s use of drone strikes. How important are they in maintaining homeland security?

GRASSLEY: Not only homeland security, but — well, the war on terror is about homeland security, so I shouldn’t have interrupted that part of your question.

But, anyway, we’re very concerned now because of Afghanistan, the bad pullout we had there. Taliban’s taken over. We don’t have intelligence on the ground. We don’t have any way of launching attacks there.

But we have been told by intelligence people that, within just a few months, we think that ISIS and Al Qaeda will be able to be prepared to create terrorism activities around the world. And the United States is around the world. And I’m sure we’re going to be the first one for them to consider some action against.

And the use of drones is very important to do that. And we should continue to use drones, because, when you put American troops on the ground, there could be loss of life.

PAYNE: All right.

GRASSLEY: When you use other methods other than drones, you can have a lot of collateral damage to civilians that we shouldn’t be harming.

PAYNE: Yes.

And, of course, we just had the recent death of the ISIS commander. In that, we decided not to use drones, and there were still a whole lot of civilian deaths and casualties.

If I can, I would like to switch gears, though, while I have you, on the Supreme Court nominee. I know that you had spoken with President Biden about reaching across the aisle with respect to this Supreme Court pick. You met with him previously on this. How did that conversation go? How’s this process going?

GRASSLEY: Well, it’s going very good at the start.

I think that he has limited the number of people that he could put on the court with his announcement of an African-American woman. That’s his right to do it. I think it was only how he did it. It shouldn’t have been a campaign promise. He could have that in the back of his mind and do it, and it wouldn’t raise all these objections that you’re hearing about from some of my colleagues.

But I’m going to not look at what type of person man, woman, African- American, white, Hispanic, et cetera, et cetera.

I’m going to look at whether or not this nominee is a strict constructionist, reading the Constitution by original intent…

PAYNE: Yes.

GRASSLEY: … not filling in details that maybe the court thinks that Congress neglected when we write a law. That’s our job to write the law, not the Supreme Court.

Those are the things that I’m concerned about.

PAYNE: All right, Senator Grassley, thank you so much. We appreciate your time.

GRASSLEY: Thank you very much. God bless you.

PAYNE: No end in sight for those truckers protesting in Canada, as lawmakers there are scrambling. How much should the White House be worrying?

And fed up with kids having to mask up, now parents in Virginia’s Loudoun County are speaking out. We will talk to the one who’s leading the charge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGAN RAFALSKI, PARENT: You guys need to figure this out, because those kids are going to be suffering. Nobody’s actually thinking about what these — these things have consequences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: The Mouse House is rocking in after-hours trading, Disney beating earnings and sales expectations, boosted by a return to theme parks, as more Americans have started traveling again. Shares are trading higher in the after-hours.

We will be watching it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAFALSKI: How in the world can people learn English language by not seeing lips moving? You guys need to figure this out, because those kids are going to be suffering.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAYNE: Parents and students in Virginia is Loudoun County demanding an end to the school’s mask mandates, as a growing number of states are starting to lift their restrictions.

We will speak to that Loudoun County parent, Megan Rafalski, in just a moment, but first to FOX News correspondent Mike Emanuel with the very latest — Mike.

MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Charles.

Yes, a tense and dramatic moment when a parent speaking at the meeting called for the affidavits to be given to the school board.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have been served today on February 8, 2022. Children, please deliver the affidavits.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL: Many of the children delivering the affidavits are suspended from school for not wearing masks. Parents are accusing the school board of bullying the kids, one of the students carrying affidavits into the meeting a high school senior Eagle Scout who is now suspended.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAROD MISSLER, STUDENT: It’s 10 days, or indefinite if the superintendent designee signs off on a paper that extends my suspension.

And doing my work best I can from home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL: His father, Andrew, a longtime police officer, praises his son for sticking to his principles and notes this is a young man who has never been in trouble in his life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW MISSLER, FATHER: Pretty angry. I mean, Eagle Scout, Public Safety Cadet, and never been in trouble ever before, and now you’re going to suspend him over a mask.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL: Other parents at that meeting vented their frustration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you declaring war on families again. Sending out step-by-step instructions on obtaining trespass warrants on students is a new low even for the most woke school district in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL: CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said today on easing restrictions — quote — “We’re not quite there yet.”

The Virginia legislature may soon end the fight. The Virginia Senate passed a bipartisan amendment allowing parents to opt children out of masking. Once the House of Delegates passes it, it would go to Governor Youngkin for his signature — Charles.

PAYNE: Mike, thank you very much.

My next guest is one of those parents leading the charge, Loudoun County parent Megan Rafalski.

We do want to mention that we have reached out to the Loudoun County Public Schools and — for a statement. We have yet to hear back from them.

Megan, you have been at the forefront of this going back to last fall. Progress is being made, though. Of course, we had the vote in the Senate, Republican Senate — Virginia House, 21 yes, 17 nays.

Are you starting to feel, particularly seeing a lot of these Democratic states drop the mask mandates, some vindication that maybe victory is within sight?

RAFALSKI: I surely hope so, Charles. Thanks for having me on.

At this point, it’s just complete theater on their side. Honestly, all we see his politics. It seems like a game. And the pawns that they’re using our children. And it’s time to stop.

PAYNE: Why do you think that is?

Today, White House Press Secretary Psaki said, Jen Psaki said teachers and students should still wear mask, even if the state drops the requirement.

RAFALSKI: The same masks that Rochelle Walensky previously said, cloth, that the majority of these children and teachers, by the way, are wearing does nothing.

So, why? Why would we continue to put something on our face, prohibit learning and emotionally damage these children just for the sake of some adults that are scared and need to be the ones? Then, fine, if you would like to continue to mask, you can do that. And if you’re really that scared, then I encourage you to take a leave of absence and get some serious help and feel better about life in general.

It’s really a sad — honestly, more than anything, it’s been frustrating. But it is sad, the state of a lot of folks in the country right now.

PAYNE: Yes. Yes.

We see these children, and we know the emotional and psychological impact, unfortunately, for them will last a whole lot longer. Way after this pandemic is over, they’re going to have to deal with this, they, themselves, their families and their future families.

You have got a lot of parents, though, who’ve come to — come over to your side. How does it feel that a lot of folks who maybe weren’t sure, but they did their research, they paid attention, they listened to their own children, their own doctors, that they are now siding with you?

RAFALSKI: Yes, absolutely.

I’m encouraged by that. I mean, I think that it’s two years now we’re into this, and people are finally starting to wake up, even the ones who have diligently listened to every single mandate, recommendation requirement, whatever you want to call them, and they have done their — they have done their best to follow them.

But then they have been told just a little while longer. Get another booster. Put — and then you will be able to not wear a mask. And then you will be more free. They’re never going to roll that back. They just want more power at this point.

And it is becoming more clear to folks that that’s exactly what’s going on here. It’s never been about public safety. And — yes, so I’m encouraged to see that there’s more and more turnout each time that we gather.

PAYNE: Yes.

RAFALSKI: And what I’m really encouraged to see is that it is folks that I wouldn’t necessarily run into. Our lives don’t necessarily overlap.

I had a new friend that I met a couple weeks ago who was — never voted before, but he saw the porn books in his kids’ school…

PAYNE: Yes.

RAFALSKI: … and was furious.

And that’s what I just want to be sure that we cover, is that the affidavit that was served yesterday was not about mask mandates. There was COVID regulations and things of that nature, the overreach in that capacity, but it was covering much more than that, and, in particular, where they have broken the law in harboring someone who was a predator in the school, while suspending Eagle Scouts and folks like that.

The hypocrisy of all of it is hard to deal with.

(CROSSTALK)

RAFALSKI: Sorry. Go ahead.

PAYNE: Megan, you brought together a disparate group of people that have one thing in common, their love for their children.

I have got a run, but any thoughts about you running for public office?

(LAUGHTER)

RAFALSKI: I have heard that a couple times now.

PAYNE: Yes.

RAFALSKI: And I — that has never been on my list of to-do’s.

I — honestly, Charles, I would love to be in my backyard gardening and cooking delicious meals for my family and living a quiet life with my friends around me.

PAYNE: Yes. OK.

RAFALSKI: But, unfortunately, we can’t stand on the sidelines anymore. Thanks for having me.

PAYNE: No. Well, you have certainly not. You certainly have not. Thank you.

RAFALSKI: Thanks.

PAYNE: Well, no more masks in New York, but if you want to dine in, you still need the shot. A restaurant owner saying, enough already.

And the truckers stopped at the Canadian border saying, enough already, to Prime Minister Trudeau.

That’s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: New York’s Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul ending the indoor mask mandate for businesses, but what about the vaccine mandate that New York City restaurants are still dealing with.

Mary Josephine Generoso is the manager of Rocco’s pastry shop in Brooklyn, New York. She’s been defying that vaccine mandate, and she joins me now.

It’s, well, maybe a step in the right direction, but still not, of course, what you want. So what do you feel about at least the direction we’re moving in now?

MARY JOSEPHINE GENEROSO, PASTICCERIA ROCCO: Well, I mean, at least the mask mandate was lifted.

But, unfortunately, Charles, I mean, it’s an arbitrary lifting of a mandate. And I feel that the vaccine mandate should be lifted as well.

PAYNE: Mary Josephine, the August 16 edition, 2021 edition IN The New York Post, New York City restaurant manager goes renegade in the face of new vaccination-proof rules.

People applaud you for that, and they still look up to you. What’s the feedback been recently?

GENEROSO: Honestly, we have garnered so much support throughout the city, throughout the country.

We’re standing up for what’s right. I mean, unfortunately, vaccines shouldn’t be the reason why people don’t go enjoy a movie, or they go into a restaurant eat. Obviously, the vaccines have been proven to be, I guess, Omicron-hesitant.

And the fact that we could still be transmitting the virus even though you’re vaccinated should say enough is enough already.

PAYNE: And, also, of course, there is the economic damage, right? And a lot of these businesses are family-owned businesses.

We know, in the first year especially, how many restaurants went out of business. I’m sure you must have friends in the industry who no longer even have their business anymore.

GENEROSO: I mean, it’s completely — it’s so sad.

I mean, New York is supposed to be the epicenter of restaurants and culture and theater and museums. And what we are doing is, we’re telling people that they’re not allowed to enter, they’re not allowed to go there. Of course, it’s having a negative impact.

I mean, you have people who don’t want to travel here from out of state because they need to be vaccinated. It’s unbelievable. I have always called this the pass to lock the city down. It was never a pass to unlock the city. It’s actually taking a small minority of people or even more, if you think of the people outside of the city, and you’re essentially telling them that they can’t come here.

I don’t see how that’s good for economics. I don’t think it’s about public health at this point. It’s been about control. And, unfortunately, we have to take a stand. And I really implore other businesses to say enough is enough already.

PAYNE: Well, Mary Josephine, we have got less than a minute to go. But do you think at some point, because so many people were saying what you say — are saying, and they’re saying it loud — before they were saying it privately, but now people are not afraid to say in public — that maybe, ultimately, we will look back on this in retrospect and say, hey, we learned how not to handle this kind of an emergency in the future?

GENEROSO: Well, we should have learned from the 1918 pandemic, where masks didn’t work, lockdowns didn’t work. We had a history of this.

And I don’t think that that history will look so kindly on this. We have done more devastation to the world, unfortunately, than we needed to for a virus that in the beginning we didn’t know about, but now we know how to live with it.

PAYNE: Right. Right.

GENEROSO: And we should have ended these lockdowns way earlier. And shame on the politicians for doing this to us.

PAYNE: Mary Josephine Generoso, thank you so much, the renegade.

We will talk again soon.

GENEROSO: Thank you.

PAYNE: All right, it’s not just drivers feeling the pain at the pump.

Some lawmakers up for reelection are now feeling the pressure ahead of the midterms.

And the scene from the U.S.-Canada border, the traffic backing up, as truckers there aren’t giving up in their fight against vaccine mandates.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: You’re looking at Port Huron, Michigan, where traffic at the U.S.- Canada border crossing piling up, as Canadian truckers continue to drive to protest vaccine mandates there.

We’re going to get to the fallout from the White House in just a moment, but first to FOX’s Molly Line in the thick of it in Ottawa, Ontario, with the very latest — Molly.

MOLLY LINE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: We’re just outside of Parliament.

The trucks remain. The truckers remain. The protesters say they will be staying in place until the COVID-19 vaccine mandates are lifted. If you take a little look behind me, you can see the stage. There are lots of ways that these protesters have been making noise after a judge said you couldn’t honk your horns anymore.

You just missed the bagpipes. There have been bands playing and grandmothers playing the drum and shaking jingle bells. They have found plenty of ways to ensure that their voices are heard hear.

Leaders in Ottawa, as in police leaders and city leaders, are requesting additional police officers to come here to help handle the protesters. But one thing about a potential law enforcement action that has been very concerning to the police is that there are so many kids here.

They’re estimating that about 25 percent of the trucks on site have children that are staying in them. So that’s one of the concerns that police have here on site. And it’s families that these truckers are so concerned about. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nineteen grandchildren. For freedom. My one grandson can’t go to university. He’s not vaxxed. Just end this silly propaganda that they’re giving us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LINE: The blockades are not just paralyzing the neighborhood here near Parliament.

Demonstrators are halting or snarling cross-border travel as far west as Alberta and most notably at the Ambassador Bridge crossing between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, where the mayor said this today:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DREW DILKENS, MAYOR OF WINDSOR, ONTARIO: And I’m very concerned about the lasting and permanent impact that this demonstration and protest will have on the region’s economic competitiveness.

Businesses require certainty. They require a certainty of movement, with many operating, including our auto sector, on a just-in-time delivery model.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LINE: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised his concerns about the economic impact of all of this again before Parliament — Charles.

PAYNE: Molly, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

The White House today is saying that it is very focused on these protests. So how big of a deal is this standoff for the administration?

Let’s get the read from Bob Cusack, editor in chief of The Hill.

Bob, it’s one of those things. We grew up. We remember the movie “Convoy,” right? I mean, I loved that movie. And it was just like regular people. And you relate to them. And I got to believe that politicians in this country have to be very nervous about just the sympathy that Americans have for those truckers.

BOB CUSACK, THE HILL: Oh, that’s right. And certainly the White House should be very focused on this, because already there’s organizational — basically, on social media, this is coming to the United States.

This is — these protests are going to happen in Washington and California and other places. And this country’s very tired. It’s been two years. Most people have listened to the government, have gotten vaccinated, have been boosted. But they’re just tired of this.

PAYNE: Yes.

CUSACK: And the politics have changed dramatically.

PAYNE: If it comes here, do you think they should avoid taking a page from the Trudeau book, playbook, talking about swastikas and Confederate Flags, when it’s pretty clear, just listening to that gentleman with 19 grandchildren, that that’s not what this is about?

CUSACK: Yes, that’s right.

I mean, you have got a — I think you are going to attract some sympathy for your job or supply chain, which obviously is a huge issue in the United States. But you have got to watch the rhetoric, or else you’re not going to attract much sympathy.

And I do think that this story is going to be continuing into February, into March and possibly into the spring.

PAYNE: Yes.

Bob, we got to let you go. Thank you so much. Always appreciate you.

CUSACK: Thanks.

PAYNE: Think lawmakers aren’t paying attention to high prices at the pump? Think again. For some facing tough midterm battles, it’s becoming a real pain in the gas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: Gas prices up 28 straight days and counting. Now two Senate Democrats up for reelection are calling for a national federal gas tax holiday.

Are Democrats worrying this could be a major problem for them in the midterms?

Well, let’s get the read from Democratic strategist Robert Patillo and GOP strategist Erin Perrine.

Robert, let me start with you.

This is a big issue, isn’t it?

ROBERT PATILLO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Oh, absolutely. And I think that this is just a recognition that, when you have inflation going the way that is, when you have gas prices being up, and when the president’s been unable to move his agenda, either on Build Back Better, voting rights, criminal justice reform, well, you have to grasp at straws in order to try to make the American people think that you’re doing something.

This is a wrongheaded idea. The gas tax is 18 cents. You would suspend it for a year, you might be cutting prices for two weeks, and they will get gobbled back up. They need to be focused on long-term goals, getting in there, passing the legislation that the American people elected them to do.

PAYNE: Erin?

ERIN PERRINE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: That’s right. This is grasping at straws, and it’s really rich coming from Hassan and Kelly, Hassan, who, as governor of New Hampshire, signed a gas tax increase, and Kelly, who believes that solar panels and electric vehicles are the way to try and handle the increase at the gas pump, when we all know that, when it comes to solar panels, the supply chain, the global supply chain goes right through China and possibly through Uyghur slave trade.

So neither of these are good policies. And these are two people with deeply flawed records on both.

PAYNE: Erin, speaking of grasping at straws, it wasn’t long ago President Biden said, OK, we’re going to open up the Strategic Reserve.

And just, coincidentally, I think gas prices might have dropped 50 — five cents, 10 cents, and he took a victory lap. Here we are again going back up. So what are some of the more concrete things that you think should be done? I mean, they’re not going to give up, I don’t think, the climate change agenda.

PERRINE: Democrats aren’t going to give up on their climate change agenda.

And Biden says he can’t change the gas prices, but then tries to take a victory lap on the Petroleum Reserve. What we need to be looking at is going back to American energy independence. That means things like the Keystone pipeline. That means things like fracking. That means things like coal and oil here in the United States, so that we don’t have to depend on any other country in the world for our energy needs here in the United States.

PAYNE: Yes.

PERRINE: American energy independence works. We need to pursue that.

PAYNE: So, Robert, where does the White House go from here?

Because President Biden had another climate — some energy folks over, utility operators, again, pushing the climate, maybe rebundling, repackaging Build Back Better. But it just feels like all the oomph is gone, like there’s just nothing there, like they’re going through the motions, and it feels like defeat is hovering over the White House right now.

PATILLO: Well, I think that’s exactly where he should be going, actually, because we know the issue is less so the supply and more so the demand.

I think that if you see a large American investment in green energy and electric charging stations and battery technology, that you will see gas prices going down, because now there’s competition within the market.

We know that, if get cars were invented today, they would be electric- powered, not gas-powered. We don’t need be going back in time to the horse and buggy. We need to be going forward in time in infrastructure.

(CROSSTALK)

PAYNE: To that point, Robert, if — the correlation, though, I mean, it’s — realistically, that’s certainly not going to happen before the midterms and may not really happen, realistically, for another decade. What do you do between now and then?

PATILLO: I think we’re far less than a decade away.

If you look at Tesla, for example, or any of the other electric car companies, the new Mustang is electric, the new Humvee is electric, for a reason, because that’s the technology of the future. America needs to get on board and get — and catch up with the rest of the industrialized world and understand that coal and gas and fossil fuels are the thing of the past. Electricity is the thing of the future.

And that’s how you won’t have to ever worry about gas prices again.

PAYNE: All right, Erin, I got to leave it here.

But we should remind folks that you may feel like I’m not polluting, but just wonder where that electricity comes from. Old dinosaurs that died a long time ago.

PERRINE: That’s right.

PAYNE: We got to leave it there.

(LAUGHTER)

PAYNE: Thank you both very much. Appreciate it.

And that will do it for me. Of course, don’t forget to watch me, FOX Business, tomorrow. You must watch tomorrow. We have got the inflation number coming out. It’s expected to be a humdinger. This market is going to be all over the place.

Disney’s rocking right now. I’m rocking.

And, of course, you know “The Five” is rocking. They always are. And they start right now.

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