OTR Interviews

Allen West: Pres. Obama a dangerous threat to the existence of America as a constitutional republic

Former Fla. congressman blasts president's assertion that health insurance is every American's right and more

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 19, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight: Former congressman Allen West says President Obama is a dangerous threat to the existence of America! Why? Allen West is here to tell you in just a minute.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: He and his party are the sole destroyers of the American health care system!

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to keep doing everything in my power to make sure this law works as it's supposed to because in the United States of America, health insurance isn't a privilege, it's your right. And we're going to keep it that way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number one concern of Americans remains ObamaCare.

LIMBAUGH: It is Obama and the Democrats have turned the American people, particularly when it comes to health care, into servants of government!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American people wanted health care reform because they wanted affordable care. And what we're seeing under this health care law is that the cost of care is actually going up.

OBAMA: ... because in the United States of America, health insurance isn't a privilege, it's your right.

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY: There are many conservatives like myself standing up and saying, Look, ObamaCare is going to be a disaster for the country.

OBAMA: ... because in the United States of America, health insurance isn't a privilege, it's your right.

PAUL: As I travel around Kentucky and around the country, people come up to me and they say, Stand firm, stand up, try to stop this monstrosity because it's going to be bad for the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can tell you there was a popular physician at my town hall said ObamaCare shouldn't go forward.

LIMBAUGH: The fact of the matter is the vast majority of the American people oppose this plan! They don't want ObamaCare!

OBAMA: I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure this law works as it's supposed to because in the United States of America, health insurance isn't a privilege, it's your right. And we're going to keep it that way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: Apparently, former congressman Allen West is not impressed with what the president said about health insurance being a right. He calls President Obama, quote, "a very dangerous threat to the existence of America."

Congressman West joins us. Nice to see you, sir.

ALLEN WEST, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR/FORMER FLA. CONGRESSMAN: It's a pleasure. Now, you got one thing wrong.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's that?

WEST: It's America is a constitutional republic. That was the entire sentence that I used. And that's a very important thing to understand because, first of all, we should not have a president that's demagogueing an entirely different group of people, the Republicans, to say that they want to actually hurt people just because they disagree with a policy.

But when you have a president that is standing there saying that health care, health insurance, is a right -- when you go and you read the Declaration of Independence -- and I'm going to put on my little geeky political philosophy hat. Thomas Jefferson said that the inalienable rights that we have of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as individuals -- they come from the creator, and that goes back to natural law theory.

He said that specifically that they don't come from man, and man makes up government. Now all of a sudden, the government believes that they're the ones that grant you your rights. Government can also take those rights away, which is why Jefferson said a government that is big enough to give you everything that you want is also big enough to take it away.

And think about this, Greta. The last time we had a president talk about the American people as individuals having a right to a certain thing, it was back in about 1978, when Jimmy Carter said that every American had a right to own a home. And that was the Community Reinvestment Act.

And you fast forward 30 years later to 2008, we had this incredible financial meltdown based upon the mortgage industry and government getting involved in that industry.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you about sort of the tone and the temperature of your words. Sometimes I get going, say things that I want to sort of dial back later. You say, though, he's a dangerous threat to the existence of America.

Is that just Congressman Allen West sort of getting on a roll, or is that genuinely what you believe, that he's a dangerous threat to the existence of America?

WEST: And I said, as a constitutional republic because once again...

VAN SUSTEREN: What is -- tell me what you mean, "as -- as a"...

WEST: As a constitutional republic because you have to look at the rule of law. You have to look at our founding documents. And when you have a president that is saying that, you know, a certain thing is a right that government is supposed to give to you, that goes against the founding premise of this country.

As well, you know, I quoted in that Facebook post the book by Montesquieu, the spirit of the laws, that talked about the separation of powers and checks and balances.

The president should not be able to delay certain parts of law. He should not be able to push away certain mandates of this cap on the out-of- pocket expenses because once a piece of legislation has passed through the House, has passed through the Senate, is signed into law by the president, you don't get to cherry pick it. And that's a threat to us...

VAN SUSTEREN: How can he...

WEST: ... as a constitutional republic when a president is starting to cherry pick law.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that seems to be going on, I mean, quite -- quite routinely. I mean, there have been a number of things (INAUDIBLE) talk about the health care (INAUDIBLE) talking in a moment about all the delays that are coming up. But different things have been cherry picked. Like the employer mandate...

WEST: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... that's put off for a year. The cap on how much people...

WEST: The cap on out-of-pocket...

VAN SUSTEREN: On out-of-pocket expenses -- that -- that has been postponed. That was (INAUDIBLE)

WEST: But it's also...

VAN SUSTEREN: But so -- so there is some cherry picking going on. Is there -- I mean, is there anyone besides Congressman Allen West who is sort of -- you know, is raising -- raising this issue?

WEST: Well, I don't sit around worrying about what other people say.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, yes, except I...

WEST: But I'll...

VAN SUSTEREN: Except if you're the only one, chances are, nothing -- you know, that -- it's not going to resonate if you're the only one.

WEST: I think it's resonating because I'm sitting here talking to you about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, there is (INAUDIBLE) You're right about that.

WEST: And I think, furthermore, you know, no one can say that this is not correct. What I just told you is enshrined in our declaration about the inalienable rights of the individual. Those don't come from, you know, President Obama.

When I talk about the spirit of the laws and the system of checks and balances and separation of powers, that's ingrained in our Constitution. When we start to get away from those things, when we start to have a Supreme Court that is legislating from the bench -- you know, Mark Levin has great book that's out, "The Liberty Amendments," and he's talking about all these end runs going around our Constitution. That's a very serious threat.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you know -- I mean, I don't want to (INAUDIBLE) too far, but you talk about legislating from the bench, is that it's been typical -- so a typical Republican position that they like exceptions to the 4th Amendment, giving more police powers to the police so they can go in and bust (INAUDIBLE) houses, right?

WEST: Well, I don't know.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean -- I mean, that -- but every time you create an exception of the 4th Amendment...

WEST: But I'm concerned about the NSA and what they're doing.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, no. No, but I mean -- but I mean, there's an awful lot of legislating being done by every court under that theory, but it's, like, people are for it if it happens to be something they like. They're against it and say it's bad or it's activism by a court if they don't like it. I mean, there's a lot of quote, sort of, legislating by the bench.

WEST: Yes, but I'm -- I'm just a straight shooter. And this comes back to another thing that happened with the Affordable Care Act. When they ruled that the individual mandate was lawful because Congress has taxing authority, there should have been one question. Was the individual mandate consistent with the commerce clause? And it was not, and that should have been the end of it, not trying to figure out how you can make it fit.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, they also -- well, the Democrats also said and pushed in supporting and pushing the individual mandate that it was not a tax, and then suddenly, later, they wanted to call it a tax.

WEST: And it was a tax.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, but there was...

WEST: Now why do we have the employer mandate being delayed but yet the individual mandate (INAUDIBLE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, why is that? Got a -- got a theory...

WEST: You got to ask...

VAN SUSTEREN: You got a theory on that one?

WEST: You got to ask the president about that.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's your theory on that?

WEST: My theory is that it fits an agenda and I think it is a kickback to those people that are going to benefit from it, just the same as you see with the out-of-pocket expenses.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, but it's not -- you know what? If everybody gets sort of a special deal out of this ObamaCare, the whole idea of it that everyone's sort of contributing and pitch in to sort of lower the cost -- that is going to quickly, very quickly vanish, if not gone.

WEST: Well, that's why Max Baucus calls it a train wreck, and he was the original author of it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, I mean, he's the original author of the train wreck comment out of the Democratic Party.

WEST: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Congressman, let me ask you about the ObamaCare navigators. They will have access to the personal information of millions of Americans, but the newly hired navigators will not undergo background checks themselves. Do you have any problem with that?

WEST: I have a huge problem with that.

VAN SUSTEREN: How does that even happen? I mean, it's, like, they get...

WEST: But that's what we were just talking about, Greta!

VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE)

WEST: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, it's -- extraordinary!

WEST: It is absolutely extraordinary. And if we don't have people and voices that are standing up and, you know, bringing this to the attention of the American people, then the next thing you know -- you're going to have folks that are only getting 20 hours of training. I mean, they don't even qualify for the ObamaCare coverage because they're not even getting full-time -- that are going to have access to...

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes (INAUDIBLE) 50 hours, but anyway...

WEST: Yes. They're going to be having access to your personal records. But yet there are no background checks for these individuals. And a lot of these individuals are tied to the certain types of community organizing groups that are very sympathetic to the left.

VAN SUSTEREN: But -- but I mean, it's so -- you know, I use the term "extraordinary" -- I mean, is that -- to have the amount of information, personal information that many people fear is going to be out there, you would at least hope it was trusted. I mean, we can't even trust sort of the spy information with the NSA.

WEST: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: So how in the world are we going to -- how in the world are we going to -- at least -- I think Snowden probably had more of a background check (INAUDIBLE) dealing with more significant things. But I mean, if these people don't have any sort of check...

WEST: Sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... on who they are, why they might want the information, how much access they have...

WEST: And that's the problem when you think about the credibility of the government, period. I mean, not just the administration, but the House, the Senate, and also these bureaucratic agencies, such as HHS, who's going to be bringing on these people that have not had any background checks, but yet they're going to still have the access to your Social Security number, your medical records, all of these type of things. And really, this is another aspect of data mining the American people.

VAN SUSTEREN: So -- so what's going to happen? They'll just let it slide?

WEST: I think that when we do get our dear colleagues back up here on the House side and the Senate side, one of the things they need to look at is they need to take this off the shelf and look at really what this Affordable Care Act is about.

VAN SUSTEREN: Apparently, though, they're not doing much. Now, there are a number of state attorneys generals who have written HHS Secretary Sebelius, and they -- they have pointed out that -- that -- according to the letter they wrote that they want a response from her by the 28th of August.

But they write -- this is -- "Personnel in many of the new programs will have significant access to consumers' personal information, yet HHS's relevance and guidance lack clarity regarding privacy protection." And it goes on to say, "The rule does not -- rules over these navigators does not even require uniform criminal background or fingerprint checks before hiring personnel. Indeed, it does not state that any prior criminal acts are per se disqualifying."

WEST: Well, I would say don't hold your breath to get a response back from Secretary Sebelius because recently, we found out that anywhere from about 50 to 56 ObamaCare has missed, you know, many different deadlines already in the first three years.

But this is something where the states' attorney generals -- they're absolutely right. They should not allow these exchanges to get set up. They should not allow these navigators to start accessing American private records unless they get some answers back. We cannot allow people to have this type of access and they don't have background checks themselves.

VAN SUSTEREN: Any idea what information they're going to have access to? I mean, it -- I've heard such a wide range of things. You know, there's sort of, you know, alarming the idea that they have access to personal information. But what -- you know, do you have any idea what this personal information is?

WEST: Well, when you sign up for these exchanges, I mean, they've got to get your basic information, your Social Security information, your medical information because that's part of the assessment to go into these exchanges.

And when you look at the fact that the president's going to be going out to New York and he's going to go to college campuses, you know, if they don't get enough young people to sign up into these exchanges, the whole thing is going to collapse. So you're going to see a huge push for that between now and 1 October when it's supposed to kick in.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I guess the problem is that they're not going to have your personal medical history is not particularly comforting to a lot of people. A lot of people just don't believe that in light of the fact that we're told lots of things by our government aren't going to - - you know, will not happen, and it does.

WEST: And then it comes back to the credibility of the federal government right now.

VAN SUSTEREN: And the credibility of the federal government is not particularly high with a lot of Americans.

WEST: It's not.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's not!

(LAUGHTER)

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, always nice to see you, sir.

WEST: Thank you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you.