'Glenn Beck': Setting the Record Straight on Senator Byrd

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," June 29, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: The longest serving senator in U.S. history died yesterday at the age of 92. Well, I have to make mention of this to set the record straight. President Obama is remembering Democrat Robert Byrd as a voice of principle and reason.

Wow. He is being remembered now as a guy who just served in the Senate. I'd like to point out that he also served in the KKK. The senator did apologize numerous times over the years for his Klan connections and for countless — countless racist comments.

And maybe — you know, look, I'm not here to judge. Forgive him. Fine. But let's not whitewash somebody's history. It's important to learn from the past. And yesterday when he died, everyone was running pieces in the mainstream media.

If I saw him playing the fiddle one more time, I was going to explode. Could we spend maybe a hair more time less with the fiddle and more with — oh, I don't know — what he did in the 50s and '60s? Klan days. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Byrd was a powerhouse and an old-fashioned crowd pleaser on the stump putting out his fiddle.

BECK: That is what was on TV. The headlines and the obituaries. All the big papers were making little mention of Byrd's once deep hatred for African-Americans. Also barely mentioned — the time served in the Ku Klux Klan.

Sen. Byrd, wasn't just a member of the KKK. He was a Klan leader holding titles of "Kleagle" and "Exalted Cyclops." The senator claimed to have left the organization in 1943, but later wrote a letter to the group's grand wizard, saying, quote, "The Klan is needed today more as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia," end quote.

As recently as 2005, in his memoir, Byrd describes the KKK as a fraternal assembly of, quote, "upstanding people," end quote. He was the only senator to vote against both African-American Supreme Court nominees Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas.

He personally filibustered the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. He opposed President Truman's initiative to integrate the Armed Forces. And he said he would never fight, quote, "with a negro by my side. Rather, I should die 1,000 times than to see this beloved land become degraded by race mongrels," end quote.

He once called Martin Luther King a, quote, "self-seeking rabble- rouser" and even told the FBI he could give a speech condemning King on the floor of the Senate, saying it was time that the civil rights leader, quote, "met his waterloo."

He also once said the writers of the Declaration of Independence did not intend for words "all men created equal" to be taken literally.

FMR. SEN. ROBERT C. BYRD (D-WV): My name is Robert C. Byrd. This is my Constitution.


BECK: Again, Robert Byrd did quit the KKK. He apologized for his past many times. And that is fine. I just think we need to remember people's past.

Right now, I'm under the gun because people are now saying on the left that I am distorting African-American history — by what? Pointing out heroes and pointing out people who filibustered the civil rights movement? Said that about Martin Luther King?

I'm the bad guy and he is not really remembered for how he really was in those days. Let this complete the record of Sen. Byrd.

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