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This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 22, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Reverend Jeremiah Wright is at it again and this time he is targeting the Tea Party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMIAH WRIGHT, PASTOR EMERITUS, TRINITY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: We've got some unfinished business on the agenda with one branch of the Tea Party being nothing but a 2.0 upgrade of the lynch party. We've got some unfinished business on the agenda with some folks doing everything they can to get that black man out of their White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Former Congressman Allen West joins us. Good evening, sir.
ALLEN WEST, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR/FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Good evening, Greta. How are you?
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well. Well, what a way to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, with Reverend Wright calling the Tea Party a 2.0 upgrade of a lynch party. Not exactly a uniting statement. But your thoughts about what he said?
WEST: No, it's definitely not a united statement. And when you consider Reverend Barber and the heinous thing he said about Senator Tim Scott, calling him basically a ventriloquist dummy. What Reverend Wright needs to understand very simply, if he were to check his history, Jim Crow laws, the Ku Klux Klan, poll taxes, literacy tests, all those came from the Democrat Party. When you are trying to castigate, as he is, the Tea Party's constitutional conservative grassroots movement as being somewhat anti-black, that is not the case. They stand for freedom and liberty, they stand for fiscal responsibility, government operating within its right roles and responsibilities, the free-market system and a strong national defense. I can't understand why Reverend Wright would not want to disagree with that. They are just trying to demonize the Tea Party because they understand the impact that that grassroots movement will have in these midterm elections.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I think the Tea Party are a bunch of big boys and big girls. I think the thing that's still stunning to me is that he poisoned Martin Luther King Day. Martin Luther King Day does not just belong to African-Americans in this country. There are a lot of Americans, white Americans who admire and recognize all that he did.
Let me give you a contrast. Dr. Ben Carson is going to be joining us in a second. But this is what his tweet was, and what a contrast to Reverend Wright. He said, on Martin Luther King Day, he tweeted, "As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, let us pay more attention to the content of one's character than the color of one's skin." It's a completely different them trying to bring us together, whereas Reverend Wright seems to be throwing gasoline on a fire.
WEST: That's the difference between having an adult in the room and being a part of the conversation and having a very immature child, which is exactly what Reverend Wright is. He's just trying to make himself relevant. He's just trying to get people to talk about him. Unfortunately, we're doing it once again, just like we did last week when he made the attack about Dr. King had dreams and President Obama has drones. So again, this is someone that is off in a corner ranting and raving to get attention.
VAN SUSTEREN: But you know, you've got to at least point it out, I mean when someone is trying so hard to do this, because it's got to stop. There are groups around this country, the Chicago teachers last week, who, for whatever reason, thought he was a good representative for them. Now he's got another group celebrating Martin Luther King. Look, unless we all try to find people who aren't trying to throw gasoline on the fire to really solve problems, we're not going to get any further, if we don't do something to at least point out, you know, sort of the meanness of it or the motive of some of this.
WEST: You're absolutely right. He's not talking about the breakdown of the black family. He's not talking about the failure of education. He's not talking about school choice in the black community. And he's definitely not talking about the dropout rates or the incarceration rates.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Congress, let me bring you to another topic that's sort along that them. Right now, the number of Americans dependent on food stamps is skyrocketing. In 2013, a record 20 percent of households were on food stamps. Now, Congressman, is the increase in food stamps because we have identified people with greater need, who are sort of left out, who needed the help, or is it because we have suddenly just, you know, gone haywire in terms of deciding how to sort of improve the economy for everybody and to lift people up?
WEST: Well, I think that we have to stop saying that the president's economic policies are failing and we start looking at really what the trend is. We're seeing an incredible growth of the welfare nanny state. We're seeing the poverty roles explode. We're seeing the food stamp roles explode. We're seeing more dependence on the government largess and problems. Look at what just happened with Target, kicking part-time workers off of their health care insurance plan. We're seeing a desperation and a despondency that's being created by this administration. And it caused me to go back and read about the Cloward-Pivin Strategy of Richard Cloward and Francis Fox Piven, who were Columbia University professors. It just so happens that the president went to Columbia. And they talked about overloading the welfare system to a point where it would collapse, you would cause such chaos, and then you would have to move from a welfare system to almost a national income system. And when you think about this 11th extension of unemployment benefits, it's almost like the federal government's trying to pay people not to get out there and participate in the job market.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, when I look at these numbers -- first of all, I don't want anyone to be hungry, and I'm willing to give food stamps to anybody who needs it.
VAN SUSTEREN: But I look at these numbers and I see that as a gross failure on the part of my generation in terms of how we make an environment for people who can go out and work and take care of themselves. Because we have failed them on so many levels that this is where it is, that the best we can sort of do is put food stamps out there. This is not a good sign to me. This is a sign of failure that the food stamps have gone up.
WEST: No. It is a sign of failure, but is it intentional failure? You think about this, when you have a federal government that's using taxpayer dollars to advertise for people to go on food stamps, not just here in America, but they were also doing it south of the border in Mexico, so what message is that sending? Do we have a government, do we have an administration that is really trying to improve the quality of life and the standard of living for the American citizens or are they just trying to get them more attached to government.
VAN SUSTEREN: It would be nice if we could, while at the same time, we're advertising benefits, food stamps for people who are hungry and need it, we're advertising more jobs and opportunity. But I am not seeing those jobs and opportunity to sort of equal that.
Let me ask you another question. It's about the military. There's big news today at the Pentagon. The Pentagon announcing that it is relaxing its rules on religious apparel and hairstyles that troops can wear while in uniform. That means some turbans, tattoos, body piercing and facial hair will be permitted. Any religious items that post a safety hazard will still be banned. Congressman, a good idea to relax these rules?
WEST: It's a horrible idea. It's part of the fundamental transformation of the United States of America and the social reengineering of our military. Let me give you an interesting hypocrisy. Just during this last Christmas season, we had a gentleman by the name of Mikey Weinstein that brought a complaint about the dining facility at Guantanamo Bay because they had a nativity scene and he wanted that nativity scene to be taken down. Now we're saying everyone else can have their open expression of their religion, when here is a guy that does not want us to say "under God" as part of the Honor Code Oath of the United States Air Force Academy. We could have seen this coming when the ruling during the Nadal Hasan case was that he would be allowed to keep his beard. This is a breakdown of the good order and discipline. I don't understand why the administration would take this on. But I believe Chairman Joe Wilson, who is head of the subcommittee in the House on military personnel, should immediately call a hearing and start challenging this administration by making these unilateral decisions that's going to affect the military and its personnel. Eventually, it will affect its readiness. It's going to cause more complaints, more issues.
VAN SUSTEREN: Far be it for me to suggest how the military how to run it's business, because I have never been in the military, but it seems to me that part of the idea of a uniform, part of an idea of a military is that everything be uniform so you can have discipline. And I can understand people's interest and desire to practice religion or whatever. I would certainly aggressively support that. But in that case, serve your nation perhaps in another way, join the Peace Corps, do things there. But, of course, I always fear that with every sort of change, we're going to have to have six committees, which is just going to bog us down in more bureaucracy.
WEST: That's right.
VAN SUSTEREN: but I respect the people who serve and I certainly want to respect their rights to practice their religion. But the military is a very different organization than virtually any other.
WEST: Very different.
VAN SUSTEREN: And there's so many ways to serve your country.
WEST: And remember, it's a voluntary military. You don't have to join. But they have standards. They have rules and regulations. You cannot be too short. You cannot be too fat. You cannot have flat feet. So those are the type of standards that we have that make us different and unique from the rest of civilian society.
VAN SUSTEREN: When I was growing up, and there was a trap, is that people could actually get out of serving if they could establish they were conscientious objectors. We actually let people out because of a deep conviction, which is an interesting twist in history.
WEST: Another hypocrisy, indeed.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know if it's a hypocrisy, but it's an interesting twist. We'll debate that on another time.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, always nice to see you. Thank you, sir.
WEST: Thank you so much, Greta.