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'Hannity' on Trump's stance on debt ceiling extension

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This is a rush transcript of “Hannity” on October 7, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: And welcome to HANNITY.

And tonight, we begin with a FOX News alert. The 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump, will be here in just a moment.

Plus, coming up, we’ll have a strong message from Mitch McConnell and ten other weak, spineless Republicans, the ones that just caved to the radical left and gifted them a nice long extension on the debt ceiling, giving them more time and space to ram through their radical new Green Deal socialist agenda.

But, first, tonight, I’d like to start on a personal note with a thank you. A thank you to everyone in this audience. FOX News is now officially 25 years old. Twenty-five years ago with a lot less gray hair, I began my TV career right here at FOX. Nobody at the time thought we would be successful. Nobody thought we’d ever compete, and they were all dead wrong frankly as usual.

Here we are 25 years later, number one in all of cable, and through hard work and innovation and a fearless dedication to you our viewers, this channel now has dominated the airwaves for decades, all while giving a voice to the forgotten men and women in this country. That is you, the people of this country. It’s you the people in this country, not the politicians, not the media elite, not the Hollywood elite, not news people on TV, you make this country the greatest country God gave man. Thank you.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

HANNITY: Amazing. It’s like a blur, 25 years, but I will always be forever grateful to all of you, to my partners here at FOX News, they let me be me and I’m grateful for that. This has changed my life in every way imaginable. I am forever grateful to all of you that make this show possible. But our work is far from over.

And tonight, well, my heart’s quite troubled. Mitch McConnell, where is your backbone? Where are your principles? Moments ago, Mitch McConnell, ten other weak Republican senators, they gave their Democratic colleagues a very generous gift, one they’ve been telling us for two months they would not give them. And that is a big new extension of the debt ceiling.

Now, everyone in this country is going to pay the price. Until yesterday, Republicans had been completely united. They weren’t going to budge. They were completely ignored and shut out by Democrats on the budget, in the whole process, and they promised us, you, we, the American people, that they would not assist the Democrats in raising the debt ceiling. Democrats can do it all on their own. Democrats were panicking on Capitol Hill.

Technically, they had enough votes. They could have raised the debt ceiling all summer long and rammed it through their own reconciliation. They did not need the help of Mitch McConnell and ten other weak Republicans. But they could not get it done. Why? Because the radical socialist Democrats and their slightly less radical socialist colleagues, they couldn’t come to terms.

At stake trillions and trillions of dollars in Green New Deal socialist spending and massive new tax hikes, record tax hikes, record spending, record regulation and you know, all they were trying to do now is ram this through in the middle of the night, along with the debt ceiling. Because Democrats could not come to terms they were threatening to blow up the legislative filibuster. That’s right. We’ll go to the nuclear option. Instead of forcing the Democrats’ hand, as they said they would, instead of calling their bluff as they said they would, McConnell completely caved to their threats and he did it at the last minute.

Now, thanks to him and other weak Republicans in the U.S. Senate, Democrats — well, they now have months to work out a solution and get their $3.5 trillion Build Back Better New Green Deal socialist spending bill through Congress. Mitch McConnell, he played the typical sewer swamp game of saying one thing, doing another, making a promise and breaking it. And by the way, Democrats they’re now mocking him, and taking a huge victory lap.

McConnell caved. That was a headline on “Drudge” and that was a headline of Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senator Elizabeth Warren is correct. Mitch caved.

And this brings us to an important question for Mitch McConnell. Why would you the Republican leader in the Senate? Republicans, I thought, no, I’m a registered conservative, because I’ve seen too much of this swamp weakness in my life, so I kind of left the Republican Party. When you’re right, I’ll defend you and, you know, I don’t — it’s not like I have a chance of supporting Democrats because they’re radical socialists.

You know, why would you support raising the debt ceiling knowing what the Democrats plans are, and that is to spend the $3.5 trillion on this socialist Green New Deal. McConnell’s office claiming that he was looking to avert a default with a short-term extension at a dollar — with a fixed dollar amount, at least they responded to us.

What Mitch is not saying is that he and the Republican caucus said they were united and would not do this. They promised not to do this. Mitch now gave Democrats this precious time. Now they can work out the disagreements on their massive spending deal, and by the way, one that will be raising taxes at a record level, spending money at a record level, and that will cause inflation to skyrocket and it will hurt every American family.

Already, inflation is costing the average American household $175 more per month. Do the math, times 12, that’s $2,100. That’s a Biden tax now, inflation tax on every single American household. He’s only been in office nine months.

Gas prices are now at a seven-year-high. Food prices are up through the roof. The price of raw materials are up. You know, look, at for example everything that you buy, everything you pay for — it’s up. Everything’s up.

And now, just think what $5 trillion in new spending will do. Everything you buy will be more expensive. Your paycheck will be less valuable.

And make no mistake, Joe Biden’s Build Back Better socialist plan is a down payment for the $10 trillion they really want for their New Green Deal socialism. You know, government paid family leave, guaranteed job, guaranteed government pay, guaranteed government paid child care, government paid college, tuition amnesty, if you will, when you get — oh, no, you don’t have to pay your loans back. Okay, I wish I had that when I was paying my loan back.

Anyway, billions for illegal immigrants. Massive womb to the tomb government entitlements for anyone unwilling to work. I wrote in the book “Live Free or Die: America and the World on the Brink”, socialism, it’s history of failure. Whatever name it’s given, whatever manifestation it takes on, it gives the greatest promises of security, we will take care of you.

Okay, the same people that say they keep our city safe and don’t, they can’t maintain law and order, the same people that destroyed our school system, the same people that bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, they broke open the lock box and they squandered the money, the same people that promised to keep your doctor plan and save money.

Now, the United States is the greatest wealth creation system ever created. It will be completely upended and our great economic system will end as we know it. That is what is at stake. Mitch McConnell, if you’re not willing to fight for basic, small government, simple, conservative principles, smaller government, less regulation, capitalism, free trade, fair trade, et cetera, if you’re not willing to fight tooth and nail and keep your promises, and protect the country from what we know doesn’t work, socialism, it always ends in unfulfilled promises, it always ends in more poverty and it always ends with people giving up freedom, it’s just a matter of how much freedom you give up in the name of false security.

But, Mitch, if you’re going to keep breaking your promises then you need to step aside, we need new leadership because clearly, your word is worthless.

Here with reaction, South Carolina senator, he’s not one of the eleven, Lindsey Graham.

Senator, you have some strong words for Mitch McConnell and your fellow Republicans. Why on earth would Republicans at this moment be helping the Democrats?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Well, we screwed up.

For two months, we promised our base and the American people that we would not help the Democratic Party raised the debt ceiling so they could spend three and a half to five trillion dollars to the reconciliation. At the end of the day, we blinked.

Two things have happened. We’ve let our people down and we’ve made the Democrats believe we’re all talk and no action. At the end of the day, every Republican voted against raising the debt ceiling, every Democratic senator voted for it. But we had a process in place.

We made a promise for two months that we would make them do it without our help, and we folded and I hate that. We’re in a hole. We got to dig out of this hole and we can.

We shot ourselves in the foot tonight, but we’ll revisit this issue in December. This issue comes back again in December but —

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: But, slow down, Senator, I don’t want to talk about December. Hang on a second.

GRAHAM: Yeah, OK.

HANNITY: For two months, the Republican caucus in the Senate, you were all united. You were united until the day before yesterday. You were united —

GRAHAM: Literally.

HANNITY: I mean, you think about it, today’s Thursday. You were united on Tuesday you weren’t going to do this.

GRAHAM: Yes.

HANNITY: Why did Mitch McConnell do this and then twist the arms of — and we’ll put up the names of the 11 Republicans that caved? You know, why at the last minute did Mitch McConnell do what he said he wouldn’t do?

GRAHAM: Here’s what he said, and I like Mitch. I like all my colleagues. We’re in a bad spot, but it was self-inflicted.

He said that if we continue to do what we promised to do, there’s a threat from the Democrats. They will change the filibuster rule and blow up the Senate. We cannot live that way.

When President Trump was in power, he asked us to change the rules every day, wanting us to get our way and I said no. So I have no sympathy for the Democratic Party threatening to use the filibuster to implement their socialist agenda.

At the end of the day, we cannot be extorted and live this way. We should have stood our ground and played this out. I don’t believe they would have blown up the Senate over this. We gave them a path to raise the debt ceiling through —

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Senator, hang on a second.

GRAHAM: — our fingerprints on it.

HANNITY: Joe Manchin said today again that he wouldn’t use the nuclear option. So that, if it was a threat, it was an idle threat that wouldn’t have manifested, or you know assuming that Joe Manchin was a man of his word. Okay.

So that — you know, and does that mean the Republicans all the Democrats have to do is say, we’re going to use the nuclear option, we’re going to be a hostage to the to the threat of the use of the nuclear option and then give up on core values and promises?

GRAHAM: That’s what we may have set in place. We have made — we may have made ourselves susceptible to this tactic in the future. Joe mentioned and Sinema have been great.

I really do believe changing at the last minute, using the excuse of changing the filibuster has made us less effective in the body. The Democrats are going to look at us differently and the people that we represent are incredibly disappointed and there was no reason to do this. Don’t say things that you can’t deliver on.

We could have delivered on this. We chose not to. This is coming up again in December and if we do this again in December, we’ll shoot ourselves in the head as a party, and I will do everything in my power to make sure we do not do this again in December.

HANNITY: Senator, it’s a pretty sad pathetic day and, you know, this is the Republican Party pre-Trump. You know, the Republican Party in many ways created Donald Trump. People like Mitch McConnell created Donald Trump, because a lot of swamp creatures did exactly this kind of garbage and didn’t fight, didn’t keep their word. And Republicans said, you know what, we need a disrupter, we need an iconoclast, and somebody is going to really keep their word and fight for us.

That’s why Donald Trump will get 50,000 people at a rally and Mitch McConnell will get five, the big difference. It’s sad. A sad day for the Republican Party and that’s why I’m not a Republican.

Senator Graham, thank you. And thanks for voting the right way.

Now, former President Trump will join us in just a moment. Bu, first, sadly, built back better, the New Green Deal socialism is just one part of the Biden administration’s radical big government domestic agenda — from vaccine mandates, open borders, mask mandates, the weaponization of the IRS, with a new plan allowing the federal government to monitor every bit, every one of your banking transactions over a whopping six hundred dollars, and of course hire — oh, let’s see — tens of thousands of new IRS agents. And let’s not forget, Biden’s DOJ now instructing the FBI to treat angry parents at school board meetings. We got to watch out, they may be domestic terrorists.

That’s right, I guess if you oppose and speak out about what is being taught in your child’s school, critical race theory, if you think there’s agent appropriate material, if you don’t like draconian measures as it relates to COVID and kids, well, the FBI could be knocking on your door because of strict instructions from the attorney general who’s compromised in this, Merrick Garland.

It turns out, Garland’s son-in-law co-founded a company. The name of that company is Panorama, that makes a fortune — guess what they sell? They hawk critical race theory curriculum in schools.

So we need an immediate special investigation into the attorney general. It seems like a pretty obvious conflict of interest, right, Merrick?

And tonight, don’t expect any cogent answers from Biden and his administration. As a matter of fact, Joe Biden himself — weak, frail, cognitive mess that he is — doesn’t even — it doesn’t even seem to know where he is half the time. On the rare occasions, away from his weird video conference room across from the White House, Joe Biden, he doesn’t do very well. That’s probably why they get mad at him if he answers any questions, I’m not allowed. They told me no, or else I won’t get my ice cream. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And also, we’ve got state leadership here. Lieutenant Governor Juliana is here — Stratton. And the Ohio-Pennsylvania — the Ohio-Pennsylvania — I’m from Pennsylvania. The Illinois president, Don Harmon.

And we’ve got great labor leaders here, too. Tim — where’s Tim? There you go, Tim. Thank you.

And Robert Riter — Reiter — R-E-I-T-E-R — Reiter — of the Chicago Federation of Labor.

And, folks, that’s how we beat COVID-19.

You know, if I can progress for just a second, last night, I was in a television, on television — I was on the telephone with a person at an emergency hospital ward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Here with reaction, Arkansas gubernatorial candidate who I am supporting, Sarah Sanders, former White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus.

I keep telling your dad Sarah that you’re going to end up being the best governor in the history of Arkansas, and he thinks he was. But, you know, I think that’s why he’s growing a beard. He’s getting superstitious.

On a serious note, I see this vote tonight and I think this is why conservatives get fed up with the Republicans. There were 65 show votes to repeal and replace Obamacare. Then when the moment came and Donald Trump was president, what happened? They didn’t even have a plan ready to go after eight long years of having time to prepare one. They weren’t ready. They missed their moment.

SARAH SANDERS (R), ARKANSAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely, what’s going on in Washington is a complete and total failure. This administration promised Build Back Better, but everything they touch gets absolutely destroyed. It gets worse. It’s a complete and total display of incompetence whether we’re talking about inflation, crime, Afghanistan, the border — everything this administration touches, they absolutely destroy and make ten times worse.

And I think that the all-time low approval ratings are showing that people are paying attention and this is not at all what they signed up for.

The Biden administration is trying to manufacture settings and manufacture a good narrative and it’s not going to work, and it’s one of the reasons I think our conservative governors across this state have to be our firewall we cannot rely on Washington to fix anything and they are going to have to be on the last line of defense pushing back against Washington and making sure we deliver on good government and good policy for the people that we represent. And that has to happen and it has to happen sooner rather than later because we have seen nothing but total failure at the hands of this administration and what’s coming out of Washington, D.C.

HANNITY: You know let me ask you, Reince, you know a thing or two about politics. It’s Mitch McConnell. It’s John Thune. It’s John Cornyn of Texas? All right, Lisa Murkowski, no shock. Richard Shelby, why? Because he’s retiring or Rob Portman of Ohio because he’s retiring. John Barrasso, Roy Blunt because he’s retiring? They care more about Mitch McConnell than the promise they made the American people for two straight months?

REINCE PRIEBUS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, they didn’t use the leverage they had, Sean. So, I mean, you’re exactly right, and using it in December — you know, just kicking the can down the road.

Sarah’s right. There’s so much at stake in this country and you look at where we’re at today and where we were at a year ago, you mentioned gas prices. Gas prices are a dollar more a gallon. That means every American’s paying 20 more dollars every time they fill up their tank.

The border, 220,000 people coming across the border today. A year ago, it was four thousand.

Thirteen American heroes died in Afghanistan. Under Donald Trump, not a single person died in Afghanistan over the past 18 months.

That’s why Joe Biden’s at 32 percent with independents. They can’t even use Joe Biden in Virginia for Terry McAuliffe and to ease up on the Democrats at this moment, to not just keep pressing and riding this thing out — I mean, you mentioned back to Biden. You mentioned Biden in his fake, you know, Truman Show room, you think about Harry Truman and what was on his desk, the buck stops here.

Well, all Biden does is blame everyone else for everything that’s happening, whether it be Afghanistan, COVID, the border patrol — everyone else is to blame but him. It is a total and complete disaster. To let off the gas tonight — I agree with Lindsey Graham — I mean, he — he’s obviously embarrassed you can tell by — you know, he’s in a box, he can’t start —

HANNITY: Why should he be embarrassed? He voted the right way. He didn’t break his promise.

PRIEBUS: Yeah, no, I’m saying with fellow Republicans, you know?

HANNITY: And it is embarrassing for them.

PRIEBUS: — explain this stuff and it’s frustrating. It’s just frustrating.

HANNITY: All right. Reince Priebus, thank you. Sarah Sanders, your old boss is waiting so I have to say goodbye. But we’re going to follow your gubernatorial race very closely.

Joining us live on the phone for an exclusive interview, the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

Mr. President, you did urge the United States senators today not to do what they promised for two months they wouldn’t do, but yet they threw a lifeline to Chuck Schumer. And by the way, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, yup, they’re mocking Mitch McConnell. They’re making fun of the Republicans. And they’re laughing at them, because he just threw him a lifeline that they didn’t have to throw them.

DONALD TRUMP, 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (via telephone): The Republican Senate needs to do leadership and I’ve been saying it for a long time. Mitch is not the guy. He’s not the right guy. He’s not doing the job. He gave them a lifeline. It’s more than a lifeline. He gave them so much time now to figure out what to do because they were in a real big bind. They wouldn’t have been able to do anything.

He had the weapon and he was unable to use it. And it’s a shame. It’s a shame.

These 11 people — I know them, some of them are wonderful and some I don’t agree with too often. You know, I’m not surprised to see some of the names. But I will tell you this — that was not a good thing that happened today. He made a big mistake.

HANNITY: Let — let me start, there’s a lot going on in the country. And when you start with abandoning Americans in Afghanistan, and I want to get into all of these issues in detail. And then you look the crisis at the border, you look at Joe Biden gave up the energy independence that you achieved for the first time in 75 years, and now, he’s begging OPEC.

You look at inflation. You look at the cost of energy. You look at America’s standing in the world. You look at the saber-rattling of China. We have a lot of ground to cover.

The first thing, though, that I really think needs to be discussed is it’s what, day 54? TRUMP: Right.

HANNITY: Americans abandoned behind enemy lines. It’s been almost 40 days since Joe has even mentioned them. We have thousands of green cardholders.

We have unknown hundreds of Americans and their families abandoned. He said he wouldn’t do it 13 days before he abandoned them. Then we have Afghan allies we abandoned, and then we have military equipment and the billions of dollars that we leave in the hands of terrorists.

I never thought, Mr. President, in my lifetime that I’d ever see that happen. What — is there anything we can do now?

TRUMP: Well, look, we have to get our country back. It’s — what happened in Afghanistan, in my opinion, Sean, is the single most embarrassing event to happen to our country, maybe in its history.

The warriors that were killed, and I’ve spoken to the parents of many of them, and they’re devastated. How did we take out the military before everything else? The military is gone and we leave everybody else there.

And remember this — $85 billion, the best military equipment — I bought it. I rebuilt the entire military — $85 billion, the best — the best equipment, military equipment in the world and now, they’re taking it apart.

Russia, China, they’ve already got some, they are taking it apart. They are going to examine it and they’re going to build it themselves. They can never do what we have with the Black Hawk helicopters and all of the other things that we have.

This is the most — it looked like a total surrender, the most embarrassing moment.

And then, you look also at the border and they see these pictures at the border of hundreds of thousands of people coming in every couple of weeks into our country. We have no idea who they are.

And, by the way, speaking of that, go back to Afghanistan and you take a look at the people that came out of Afghanistan — only three percent of them qualified to come out. They just rushed the airplanes. And they are plenty tough and plenty smart, and a lot of energy, and those are the people that got onto the planes. Three percent, the various planes, three percent of the people qualified.

And it’s incredible what’s happening to our country. We’re being laughed at all over the world. We’re not respected anymore. We had a thing going — you take a look at Taiwan, there wasn’t — that was not happening during the Trump administration with Taiwan, and they understood you can’t do that.

And what’s going on is just a terrible thing for our country. I don’t think — I don’t think we’ve ever been this disrespected.

HANNITY: You know, you were — last time on this program, I think we need to put emphasis back on this, that your conversation with the leader of the Taliban before you ever discussed any deal of withdrawal was number one, it was based on your — your stated threat that you would obliterate them.

Do you remember exactly what you said? Because I have a source that says you were brutal to them. And that you said you would destroy them, you would destroy their province, you would destroy it and it would be — everybody in the area would be dead.

Did you say that?

TRUMP: So, what I said and I had a very strong conversation. I said, I hate to start the conversation this way but that’s the way it is. And I said we would do serious, serious harm to them if they killed any of our soldiers or any American citizens, and went on from there. And then we got back into a more normalized conversation.

Well, from that conversation on, 18 months I believe is the amount of time, we didn’t lose one soldier. We didn’t have one soldier shot at. No American was killed. They understood exactly.

And they also understood we were getting out. And they had conditions. They didn’t fulfill those conditions. So we hit them hard. And we stayed longer.

And we were getting ready to move. And I said, I want every bolt, I want every nail, I want every screw, I want the — you know, those buildings, those beautiful canvas buildings that we build as hangers, I want the buildings taken out. I want the canvas, I want the airplanes, I want the tanks, I want every single piece of equipment we have.

And then we were going to bomb five airfields and we were going to keep Bagram because it’s right next to China. In fact, it’s right next to their — very close to their nuclear facility.

It would have been great to keep it because $10 billion to build it and we left with the lights on. They left the lights on. They left the dogs there. They didn’t destroy the equipment. They didn’t take the equipment out.

They said they destroyed some equipment because they were so embarrassed that they left without the equipment. Eighty-five billion dollars, nobody knows what that is — $85 billion worth of equipment.

The entire budget, military budget of Russia for a year is 50 — $50 billion.

HANNITY: Wow.

TRUMP: And we left $85 billion worth of equipment in the hands of the Taliban.

HANNITY: And so — so — so — here’s my — so you would obliterate them if they didn’t follow every dotted I and crossed T. OK. You also — it was going to be —

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Yes, that’s right. They understood that.

HANNITY: It was going to be a conditions-based withdrawal, only if conditions were suitable.

TRUMP: Right.

HANNITY: You would keep in perpetuity Bagram Air Base, which we paid for and built.

Can you explain to me when Joe Biden had the month of March, April, May, June, and July, when he had full control of Kabul, including the perimeter around Karzai International Airport, when the Taliban was south — way south of Kabul, why didn’t he evacuate? If he wasn’t going to obliterate them and push them back, why didn’t he move everybody out when he had full control of Kabul and the airport, and the perimeter?

Why would he wait until the Taliban took over Kabul?

TRUMP: Nobody understands it. And the media is not covering it. It’s already become like not only fake news but old news. They’re trying to get rid of it. You don’t see them talking about that now.

I read an article two days ago where they’re selling the machine guns. They have 600,000 guns of different types, the most sophisticated weapons in the world.

And they’re selling these machine guns and guns on the black market. Other countries are buying them. The most sophisticated weapons in the world and they’re selling these machine guns and guns on the black market, other countries are buying them.

They are selling them. They don’t need that many. You don’t need that many, 600,000 to 700,000 guns. They have night goggles that are better than anything we have. The latest model, brand-new, out-of-the-box, never used before. The latest model.

All stuff that, you know, they never liked to — very good fighters, but they never liked, the Taliban, fighting at night. Now they can fight at night. They can do what they want to do. They have the best. They have the Apache helicopters. They have the best equipment in the world, $85 billion.

That wasn’t the deal. And they understood. I spoke to Abdul (ph), and Abdul understood we’re leaving and we’re taking our equipment, we’re taking our American citizens. If they wanted to stay, they had the right to stay but they don’t want to stay. And we were taking them. And the last out would have been — and when everything’s gone, the last out would have been our military.

The big mistake to take our military out first, and I could just see these people saying, Abdul, he is the leader, and now if you look, he is the leader still. I could just see them saying, Abdul, the American military has left and him saying, there is no way, you’ve got to be crazy. And they go, no, no, they’ve left. And going in and then they going to Kabul, and they’ll find out that they left. These guys could not believe that they left. But that’s what happened.

HANNITY: Let me move to the border, Mr. President. When you first ran, it became a big issue. You implemented what’s known as the “stay in Mexico” policy, that has been abolished. You built about 500 miles of new wall. We had the lowest rate of illegal immigrants coming into this country in nearly 40 years. You eliminated the catch and release program.

The wall building has stopped. The “stay in Mexico” program has ended. And it’s no longer catch and release, it’s process and release and then hand them a — people a request form. We request that you may show up in court, you don’t have to, we are not mandating, but we request it. I doubt people will honor the request.

We now have — we are on path to have a record number of illegal immigrants, probably a 30-year high. We’re closing in on 2 million illegal immigrants in the country. There’s no vaccine mandates like for American citizens. There’s no COVID checks.

There’s a high rate of COVID positivity. There’s no security or background checks if people have radical associations. It’s all unfolding before our eyes. You see the mess at the border. You saw the overcrowded cages. You had it under complete control.

And now we see the Democrats are trying to slip in amnesty in this reconciliation bill. You know, at this point, I’ve got to believe that this is done on purpose. They are not enforcing the law. If you didn’t enforce the law, they’d want to impeach you. It seems like they’re aiding and abetting in lawbreaking. What are your thoughts on the border?

TRUMP: Well, I think you’re right about that. And I will say that the border we had was the strongest probably ever. And all they had to do is leave it alone. You know, they sued us, the Democrats, Congress for two- and-a-half years. We won all the suits, but two-and-a-half years, and then we were able to start the wall. It would have been finished in a period of — literally in a period of weeks.

And now we are paying $6 million a week for contractors not to build the wall. Now the wall was almost complete and it’s one of the things that led to this great record. And one thing you didn’t say, Sean, is drugs. Drugs were at the lowest point — drugs coming in, in particular fentanyl, which is a brutal drug. It was stopped.

It was at a level that we hadn’t seen in a long time, low level. And now it’s coming in at levels that we have never seen. Three, four, five times more than we ever had coming in. It’s pouring into our country.

There’s something wrong. The — you wouldn’t believe you could even say this, but somebody doesn’t love our country. When they allowed this to happen to our country, we have hundreds of thousands of people pouring in every two weeks. Hundreds of thousands.

And coming from countries we don’t even know from where they are coming. And, you know, they are emptying out many countries. I used to say the three, Guatemala, you could add Mexico, Honduras, you could add El Salvador, but I used to say three or four countries.

I hear it’s 50 countries. They’re emptying out their prisons into the United States. Their jails, some of the toughest people on earth are being dumped into the United States because they don’t want them. They don’t want to take care of them for the next 40 years.

So, these people that are the roughest prisoners there are anywhere, are being dumped into the United States for us to take care of them. What are they doing? They are destroying our country.

HANNITY: Well, that’s now a big part of the spending bill. I guess this is the difference between “America first” policies and “America last” policies. You know, when you were out and you were pushing to get the money, and fighting to get the money, which you eventually found a way to build the 500 miles of wall that you built, you talked about a big wall — a beautiful wall you used to say, with a big door in it.

Now I’m for legal immigration, all for it, my grandparents came from Ireland. I think you know my family story. And, you know, they had no money in their pocket, they were broke, and my parents grew up very poor.

And but so I’m pro — I’m pro-immigration. Is it wrong to ask for a security check to make sure you don’t have radical associations in the middle of a pandemic? Should we not give preferential treatment to people that don’t respect our law? Should they at least have a COVID test, a health check?

Is it wrong to say that if we’re going to invite you into our country, we don’t care where you come from, but you’ve got to be able to provide for yourself and you won’t be a financial burden on the American people. That seems like — like pretty fair conditions. Would you support that?

TRUMP: Well, you have to support that. And for everybody else they have to go through it, but if they just happen to walk in, they don’t have to do any of the things that were supposed to be done. And, you know, there’s one other thing that nobody talks about, so we have hundreds of thousands of people flowing in from Haiti. Haiti has a tremendous AIDS problem.

AIDS is a step beyond. AIDS is a real bad problem. So, hundreds of thousands of people are coming into our country. And if you look at the stats, if you look at the numbers, if you look at just — take a look at what’s happening in Haiti, a tremendous problem with AIDS. Many of those people will probably have AIDS and they’re coming into our country. And we don’t do anything about it. We let everybody come in. Sean, it’s like a death wish. It’s like a death wish for our country.

HANNITY: Well, obviously, it seems that the Democrats, it’s a top priority for them because they want to offer — you know, it’s very interesting, I pointed out that so many countries actually sell citizenship. You can buy – – if you want to spend $2.5 million, you can buy citizenship into places like Cyprus. You can buy citizenship.

I believe Turkey sells it for $1 million or $2 million. Australia and New Zealand have conditions but also you pay out millions of dollars. Then Antigua and St. Kitts and Nevis. It’s something of great value.

And I believe in, again, legal immigration. But let me move on to another issue. And that is, you know, for the first time in 75 years, you were able to achieve something that I have believed in for many, many years, and Newt Gingrich and I had started a campaign, “drill here, drill now, pay less.”

And you finally got America to the point where we were energy independent. We didn’t have to rely on countries that hate our guts, for our — the what is the lifeblood of the world’s economy. We didn’t have to worry so much about the Straits of Hormuz and the crazy mullahs in Iran. We didn’t — you didn’t import a single barrel of oil, I believe, from Saudi Arabia in your last however many months in office, we were energy independent and a next exporter of energy.

Now Joe Biden has given that up, but worse, he’s begging OPEC to increase their production. I want your overall thoughts because we’re now paying $1.50 more on average a gallon, over $5 a gallon in some places in California.

TRUMP: We became energy independent for the first time in the history of our country. One of the things I was most proud of. We had ANWR in Alaska, Ronald Reagan tried, everybody tried to get it approved, they couldn’t get it approved for many, many years. Ronald Reagan couldn’t do it.

He wanted to do it many years ago in Alaska. And Senator Murkowski made it possible, then it was just ended by Biden. And that was done by a Republican senator, made it possible that ANWR, perhaps the biggest drilling site in the world, as big as Saudi Arabia.

One of the other things that I was very proud of, we became number one in the world in energy and oil and output. We were beating Saudi Arabia by a lot. We were beating Russia by a lot. We were bigger than both. And now we’re going back to them? We’re going back to OPEC for the first time in a long time. We are going back to OPEC because we don’t have enough energy, we don’t have enough oil and gas.

Because a lot of the areas that we’re talking about were shut down. Stupidly shut down for no reason. Not even an environmental reason, they were just shut down. And it’s — it’s very — it’s very sad.

We were energy independent just a few months ago. But we were really — we were really — we were going to be much bigger than both Russia and Saudi Arabia. We were already quite a bit bigger.

And that took place on my watch. And I was very proud of it. Think of it, energy independence. We didn’t have to go through the straits. We didn’t have to go to the Middle East. We didn’t need anybody.

We had the best energy in the world. We had the best companies doing it. And that ended about two months ago when we started going to OPEC because we don’t have enough oil.

HANNITY: Let me ask you about this question. Why would Joe Biden give a waiver to Vladimir Putin to build the pipeline so that he could provide natural gas to our western European allies while simultaneously ending career jobs and energy independence on the Keystone XL pipeline, canceling ANWR, which you had finally opened up?

Why would he do that? And when you look at that, do you then think, well, it’s — are maybe the Bidens compromised by Vladimir Putin?

I’ll give you another example. You see the saber-rattling. You see all these jets of the communist Chinese flying over Taiwan. They’re talking about reunification with Taiwan.

I haven’t really heard much from Joe Biden about what the communist Chinese are doing, clearly showing ambitions to take over Taiwan.

And what do they have in common? Hunter Biden got a $1.5 billion deal with the Bank of China, no experience that I can see. He got $100,000 shopping spree from a Chinese national. And in Russia, Hunter Biden got a $3.5 million deal with a Russian oligarch, the former first lady of Moscow.

Now if it was — the last name was Trump, do you think that if you gave a waiver to Putin and you allowed the saber-rattling of China over Taiwan and didn’t do anything about it, and your sons made millions of dollars and did billion-dollar deals, don’t you think the media in this country would accuse you of being compromised by China and Russia?

TRUMP: The media, the prosecutors, the Democratic radical left prosecutors that are all over the place would be all over us. It’s incredible what’s taken place.

During the debate, I was not happy with Chris Wallace because he protected Joe. During the debate, I said, why is it that the mayor of Moscow’s wife gave $3.5 million to the family? And Chris Wallace wouldn’t let us — wouldn’t let him answer the question.

He said, well, that’s not pertinent. I said I think it’s pertinent. But, you know, it’s a question we asked.

Look, as far as Taiwan is concerned, we had an understanding, President Xi and I. We’ve talked a long and hard, and pretty tough talk. They never did a thing on Taiwan.

All of a sudden, they’re flying 35, 40 bombers at a time over Taiwan. And they have their eyes on Taiwan.

They never did that with me. We never had any problem with Taiwan. It was not a subject in the news.

People thought someday it might be, but it was not during my watch. And President Xi understood that. We had a very good relationship until the China virus flowed in. Once that came in, did, you know, did (ph) a big number on the relationship —

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Let me ask you specifically about this.

TRUMP: By the way —

HANNITY: Yeah?

TRUMP: By the way, Sean, very importantly, hundreds of billions of dollars from China came into the United States that I instituted between taxes, and tariffs, and other things. And we gave $28 billion to our farmers because they didn’t treat our farmers right. You know that.

I gave $28 billion. And we had hundreds of billions of dollars left over that went into our Treasury. We never took in 10 cents until I came along, 10 cents from China.

HANNITY: Well, nobody would ever ask them. I mean, that was a point that you made often.

But we now have Chinese warplanes have now violated Taiwan airspace over 149 times in the past week. President Xi is talking about reunification. And he is threatening United States, our military institution — installations, Japan’s military installations, and they’re talking about reunification. If you were president, how would you handle that threat?

TRUMP: Well, I did handle the threat for four years because it wasn’t a threat. And he and I understood, you couldn’t do it. That was not going to be allowed.

And we had a very tough talk and I’m not going to reveal the talk, we had a very tough talk together at Mar-a-Lago when he was here, right at the beginning.

The relationship was really an extraordinary one until — until COVID. But it was an extraordinary relationship that we had. And I had a great relationship with many of the leaders. But they weren’t ripping our country off.

Every country rips off the United States. I couldn’t believe it. There wasn’t a good deal that we had all over the world, that’s why we have trillions and trillions of dollars of deficits.

But we were changing all of that, making incredible deals. You know, you mentioned the pipeline. I got the pipeline from Russia to Europe shut down. And then Biden came in, one of the first things he did is he opened up that pipeline. But he shut down our pipeline, which is the Keystone XL pipeline, one of the biggest in the world.

He shut that down. And he allowed the biggest probably in the world from Russia into Europe and Germany in particular. It’s — you can only ask him why. I can’t tell you why, doesn’t make sense. But you can only ask him why.

HANNITY: Well, I think the fact that maybe Hunter made all this money, you know, we just saw that the Libyans had a pretty good read on Hunter Biden. They knew about his drug addiction. They knew about his use of prostitutes. They had the book on him.

And I would imagine that China, that did the $1.5 billion deal, and Russia, where he got $3.5 million, I would imagine their spy agencies, if Libya had it, they probably have a pretty good read on Hunter Biden and probably have compromising materials — to use the words Adam Schiff made famous, on the Bidens.

Is that — is that a stretch on my part to suspect that what they know about Hunter could, in fact, impact Joe Biden?

TRUMP: Well, it’s not really my position to say. As you know, they have investigations going on. But those investigations are going nowhere. They only investigate Republicans, frankly.

HANNITY: It’s true.

TRUMP: Those investigations are going absolutely nowhere. I wouldn’t think you’re going to wake up anytime soon and say, look what they found. But there was no question. Whether it’s paintings for $500,000 apiece, how do you allow — how does something like this happen?

And that’s not nearly as bad as other things. But that’s going to be up to different people. You’d have to speak with them. It’s a terrible, terrible situation.

HANNITY: Let me ask you, let me ask you. You know, it’s interesting. You had COVID almost a year ago. And if you go from Labor Day of 2020 to Labor Day this year, it was a 300 percent increase in cases of COVID.

TRUMP: Yeah.

HANNITY: Didn’t get much reporting.

Now, this information is out today where more Americans have died this year of COVID-19 than died in all of 2020. He only mentioned monoclonal antibodies, which you received infusion of very early, one of the first to receive it, Regeneron. He only mentioned it for the first time two and a half weeks ago.

Now, my question to you is, how is it — that it is so underreported. And you — I know you — that there are people that believe in liberty and freedom, et cetera, but you did hand them off three vaccines, and monoclonal antibodies, as a therapeutic, how is it possible more people died this year when he was hammering you all last year about it?

TRUMP: Well, I was saying the other day, it was very interesting. During my administration, everybody wanted the vaccine. There was nobody saying oh, gee, I don’t want to take it. Now they say that. And that’s because they don’t trust the Biden administration. I can think of no other reason.

But they say we don’t want it, we aren’t going to take it. When I was there, everybody wanted it and we were doing great. Well, the military did a fantastic job.

You know, outside of the television generals, we have great generals. We have leadership in the military. They’re great people, great men and women. We have unbelievable leadership.

We defy — we defeated 100 percent of the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Iran, all over. But in Iraq, we knocked out the — by the way, we did around indirectly a very big favor because they’re not big fans of ISIS either.

But Syria, we knocked out 100 percent. And we knocked out their leadership. And we knocked them out very strongly. We had great leaders, great generals, and they did a fantastic job of the distribution of the vaccine. But there were no people — very few people, I heard of no people that didn’t want to take it.

And with all of the things you’ve seen, and in fact, one of the things I’m very proud of whether it’s Regeneron or Eli Lilly, or, you know, some of the things that we came up with, it’s therapeutics. The therapeutics are incredible that we came up with, in addition to the vaccines.

And you say, how is it possible that your numbers are bigger now?

But I don’t read that the numbers are bigger now. You hardly hear it. If that were me, it would be brutal because we did an incredible job on the pandemic, an incredible job. The ventilators, we became the world’s suppliers of ventilators.

The masks, the gowns, we make it all now. The cupboards were bare. When I took over as president, our cupboards were bare. We didn’t have anything. And now — and that included the states. We helped the states. And if the governors are honest, they’ll tell you what a great job the federal government did in terms of helping them get the equipment and the material they needed to fight this. But you’re right, it’s worse now. There are more cases now. But you don’t hear the news at all. You do not see the death counts on CNN; you don’t see any of that.

It’s an incredible job that we did. We have been given no credit. But you know what? The people know and we got 75 million votes. That’s more votes than any sitting president in history. And 12 million more than we did in 2016. That’s a record. Nobody came close to that. Usually, a president gets less in the second term.

HANNITY: Obama got less.

TRUMP: People know what a good job we did. People know what a good job we did, Sean.

HANNITY: Well, Biden is actually out there saying he started the vaccination program even though you had rolled it out.

Let me go back to the economy. There’s estimates out now that because of Biden inflation, which is now at a 30-year high, according to some indicators. And we now have the average American household is paying $175 more a month, that’s $2,100 of Biden inflation tax, if you will, on every single American household. You see gas prices now up dramatically, 50 percent from when you were president, not that long ago.

Food prices are up, raw materials are up, inflation is through the roof. If they pass this new green deal socialism, where do you see the economy headed? Because I don’t see good things happening. We’ve tried this before, it’s called socialism. And it always fails. The promises are unfulfilled. More poverty exists in the end. And we give up a lot of freedom in the name of false security.

TRUMP: So, the $1.2 trillion is about 9 percent. Think of that, 9 percent, they talk about infrastructure, this is 9 percent infrastructure. Should be 100 percent infrastructure. So that is a total shame. And then the 3.5, which a lot of people are saying is 5 trillion, these are numbers that have never been discussed before with any president, nobody would do it because it’s crippling to the economy. Most of it is money you could throw right out the window. It’s going to be devastating.

And then inflation has kicked in. And remember this, with energy going up like that, you know, if you have a product and you need trucks or you need whatever it is to deliver it, you need energy. So, with energy being doubled and tripled, what it was just a few months ago when we were there, $1.87 a gallon, and now it’s over $5 a gallon. That’s a lot more than 50 percent.

When energy goes up like that, Sean, everything is affected in terms of inflation. It has a huge inflationary impact on this country. And I was here with Jimmy Carter when Jimmy Carter went out and did what he was doing. And a lot of it was similar but on a much smaller scale, we had inflation. And it was almost ruining for our country. It almost ruined our country.

But this is much more severe. And what they’re doing is changing the social fabric of our country. It’s not even believable. Bernie Sanders can’t believe it. Bernie Sanders goes around telling people, I can’t believe what this is — what’s happening here. AOC and a very tiny group of people are pushing an agenda that will destroy, literally ruin our country.

Between the borders, between — you look at withdrawal from Afghanistan, you take a look at that where we have wonderful warriors killed so needlessly and leave the Americans behind, and we leave $85 billion worth of equipment behind. The military comes out first, and we leave the Afghanistan — we could have gone out with dignity, with pride, and with strength. And instead, we looked like — to the whole world we looked like we don’t know what we are doing, we looked like we surrender to people with knives.

HANNITY: Should we get rid of these vaccine mandates, sir?

TRUMP: Well, you know, we never heard the term mandate. But people have to have their freedoms. And we should be in a great shape, between the people that get it, they should not have to. If you get COVID, or whatever you want to call it, plenty of names, Wuhan virus, the China virus, you could call it a — we’ve got plenty of names. But when you get it, you don’t — you shouldn’t have to be forced — they want to force people who have had it to have the vaccine, when in actuality, when you have it, you don’t need the vaccine, you become immune. So they say. And it’s rare that you would get…

HANNITY: Natural immunity.

TRUMP: … it twice. It’s — it is…

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Let me ask…

TRUMP: … a natural immunity. Why are they forcing people to take the vaccine? Remember this, the drug companies make a lot of money. And they like it. I don’t know who else wants it or likes it, but when you get it, you don’t have to take the vaccine.

HANNITY: It’s sad that we’re even firing frontline nurses and health care workers that were diving on COVID…

TRUMP: Yes.

HANNITY: … grenades every day in the worst moments of this.

TRUMP: Yes.

HANNITY: Let me ask you about the IRS spying on Americans, on $600 transactions, which is ridiculous. And I want to ask you that in light of Merrick Garland now and his new effort to — to empower the FBI to literally look at moms and dads at school board meetings, looking into possible domestic terrorism. I would think local police could be called in if there’s a problem.

But then we find out that Merrick Garland, the attorney general’s son-in- law is a partner of this firm, Panorama, that’s making millions of dollars in contracts with school districts pushing Critical Race Theory, which is part of the reason many parents are complaining or COVID restrictions. What is your reaction to that?

TRUMP: Well, you’re just telling me the last part. I didn’t know that. But, you know, look, he’s a respected man. I hope he’s going to do what’s right. This country is at a breaking point. This country is not going to stand for it any longer. But he’s somebody that has always been highly respected. He happens to be on the liberal side of things. And so hopefully he will do what’s right.

But, Sean, the country can’t take much more of it, they can’t — they can’t do it. When you look at those…

HANNITY: The people are suffering.

TRUMP: … school boards, those school boards, those are parents — those are parents that love their country, and they love their children. And they don’t want all of this nonsense that’s been — being fed to their children. They’re not — they just don’t want it. And, you know, they’re trying to make them out to be terrorists. It’s — actually, they used the term today, I saw it today that they’re terrorists.

The Taliban, they are terrorists. We gave them a lot. You know, we are trying — they’re trying to approve $10 billion a year to go to Afghanistan, $10 billion a year to the Taliban. On top of everything else, on top of the $85 billion worth of equipment, it’s going to be in our budget. And we don’t have other countries contributing. To pay $10 billion a year to the Taliban, which is Afghanistan. I mean, how crazy is this?

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. I — and I’ve gotten asked this question about you a lot. People know that I’ve known you for many years. We’ve been friends for a long time. I knew you long before you ran, over 25 years. And they say, I agree with the president’s policies, and I want him to run again in 2024, but maybe if you could just fight a little less.

Now I don’t know what that means, I guess if they want you to fight for issues like the border, and lower taxes, and energy independence, and free and fair-trade deals, and fight our enemies, and I don’t know if they expect to have a switch that would go off and say, OK, I’m — now I’m going to be Mr. Nice to the media that’s asking me hostile questions, but.

But I do get asked the question a lot. If there — is there anything that, stylistically, when people complain about style, that you would say to them?

TRUMP: Well, remember this, when I got elected, I thought I would be running the country. And I thought that would be my primary function. Run the country, defend the country, all of the typical things. But I had another thing I had to do, and that was survival. They created a fake Russia, Russia, Russia hoax.

They had fake impeachments, two fake impeachments, where the Republicans were great, I have to say, they stuck with us. And they were great. But they were fake charges, a perfect phone call, nobody ever got — could even imagine, it was a perfect phone call. The whole thing was fake, and I had to survive.

And to survive you had to be tough. And you had to be out there. You didn’t have time to be necessarily dainty and nice. And we did a great job. We created the greatest economy…

HANNITY: By the way…

TRUMP: … in the history of the world.

HANNITY: We, on this program, debunked the Russia hoax myth, and we got it right.

TRUMP: That’s true.

HANNITY: It took us three years to get to the bottom of all of it.

Mr. President, you’ve been very generous with your time. These are troubled times for the American people. I know that the forgotten man and woman was a big theme in 2016. And I’m sure —

TRUMP: Right.

HANNITY: — if you do run a 2024 it’ll be a big theme of yours again. We appreciate your time, sir.

TRUMP: That’s right. Thank you very much, Sean, thank you.

HANNITY: All right. That’s all the time we have left this evening. Please set your DVR so you never miss an episode.

Let not your heart be troubled. Laura Ingraham, big show tonight as always.

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