OTR Interviews

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright returns and scorches Obama: Martin Luther King said, 'I have a Dream,' Barack said, 'I have a drone'

Inside Obama's controversial former pastor's keynote address at the Chicago Teachers Union breakfast

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 15, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Only ON THE RECORD tonight, confronting the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. There is new controversy surrounding the Chicago pastor who mentored President Obama, well, that is until the 2008 presidential campaign. Reverend Wright known for making these very inflammatory comments like this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT, PASTOR, TRINITY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: Not God bless America. God damn America -- that's in the Bible -- for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating us citizens as less than human. God damn America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: So here is the question. Why in the world would the Chicago's Teachers Union invite such a controversial speaker to their event today? In minutes, you will hear what Reverend Wright told the teachers. Then you'll hear from former Congressman Allen West, what he thinks.

Right now, ON THE RECORD's Griff Jenkins' very strange encounter with Reverend Wright in Chicago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Quick question, Reverend Wright. Would you comment on your speech?

(CROSSTALK)

JENKINS: You mentioned the president. Could you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- security. I'm going to ask to you stop. I'm going to ask you to stop.

JENKINS: Can we ask him to comment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to ask you stop. That's what we're going to ask you to do. We're a community center. We have members here. I'm going to ask you to stop.

JENKINS: Can we ask him a quick question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you can't. I'm asking you to stop.

(CROSSTALK)

JENKINS: Reverend, can you comment on the policy that you mentioned? The president's policy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to go that way. We have classes and we have members.

(CROSSTALK)

JENKINS: The media has been invited here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand you are invited.

(CROSSTALK)

JENKINS: Reverend, can you comment on your policy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reverend Wright asked to not have any more interviews. I'm asking you to leave, else I'll call the police --

(CROSSTALK)

JENKINS: He invited us here and then he refuses to talk to us.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- he is not answering any other questions.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: And Griff Jenkins joins us live from Chicago. Griff, that didn't quite work out as well as you had planned.

JENKINS: Hi, Greta. Well, after being invited to his speech, Reverend Wright completely ignored us, all of us in the media, and kicked our cameras out when he gave his speech, for which we found out why, the content of the speech. Reverend Wright wasted no time launching into his incendiary remarks, many of which were directed at President Obama, saying things like we need to tell the truth about our politicians and their policies. He used lines and I, quote. "King said, 'I have a dream.' Barack said, 'I have a drone'." He went on to describe a kill list that President Obama looks at every Tuesday and chooses who he is going to kill.

So this audience that was at this event, about 200 and 300 folks made up of local teachers and some local pastors here in Chicago, were treated to a diatribe about a government, their government that Reverend Wright says is based on racism, militarism and capitalism -- Greta?

VAN SUSTEREN: Why the reemergence of Reverend Wright and why by the teachers union? What was the purpose of this? Was this a paid speech to fire up the teachers? What was the point?

JENKINS: That's a good question, since we weren't able to directly ask Reverend Wright. On would assume because the teachers union, the largest of its kind in the city, has a long-standing rift with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. They had hoped that Reverend Wright would come and preach his message of social justice and that would translate back to these churches, hence, the invitation to the pastors as the teachers union gears up for a fight in November with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

VAN SUSTEREN: Griff, he said pretty incendiary things about President Obama, making fun of him, saying, "I have a drone" in comparison to Martin Luther King, "I have a dream." Did he say anything complimentary or anything good about President Obama? Show any sense of admiration for him or that he thought he had done a good job doing anything?

JENKINS: No, there were no complimentary remarks whatsoever. Again, Greta, we haven't seen Reverend Wright in a while. He is back and he is just the same as always, fired up, very incendiary. And President Obama was not the only one for which was attracted a lot of criticism. So did Abraham Lincoln, the Constitution, Bill Cosby, and the current secretary of education, Arne Duncan. He wondered how he even got his job.

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, thank you, Griff.

Former Congressman Allen West joins us. Good evening, sir.

ALLEN WEST, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR/FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: Good evening, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Your thoughts about Reverend Wright.

WEST: Obviously, Reverend Wright wants to make himself relevant once again. You have to come out and say something absolutely outrageous. You invite the media to come in and then you shun the media. But, look, we are talking about him tonight. I'm sure other outlets are going to talk about him. President Obama last week had to deal with the excerpts from his former Secretary of Defense Gates' book and now he has to deal with these comments being made by Reverend Wright.

VAN SUSTEREN: These are particularly wicked. I mean, aligning him, making sort of with Martin Luther King's very famous statement and speech, "I Have a Dream" that inspired so many, he says Barack, meaning President Obama, says, "I have a drone." "I have a dream" and "I have a drone."

WEST: You, of course, have the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King coming up this month. I'm sure that's what he is trying to do is stir that controversy and draw that separation, that delineation between King and also between Barack Obama. But really, the focus should have been, look at the unemployment rate in the black community. Look at the out-of-wedlock births in the black community, 72 percent. Look at what is happening as far as the graduation rates for black males and incarceration rates. That's what he should have been talking about. This is political grandstanding.

VAN SUSTEREN: It seems he is still carrying a grudge for the president.

WEST: Oh, absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: If he is invited by the teachers, you might think he'd talk about education and teaching and how to improve things. Instead, he is a little fixated on the president.

WEST: He certainly is not going to talk about school choice in the black community in front of the Chicago's teachers union.

VAN SUSTEREN: Any thoughts about why the teachers union would pick him?

WEST: You know, just to get headlines. That's the only reason why. Bring him in, let him say something outrageous and incendiary and get some headlines, draw some attention for whatever reason. We just don't know.

VAN SUSTEREN: Wouldn't you think he would want to use his platform -- he has such a huge platform, the fact that we are covering him and we send somebody out to Chicago, wouldn't you think it's a big powerful platform that he might want to use it for something a little more potent than taking a couple grudge slaps back at the president?

WEST: That's a rational person's thought process. You are dealing with a person who is completely irrational, and he is a scorned woman.

VAN SUSTEREN: Getting back to the old Reverend Wright dispute, your thoughts on whether the president knew he was saying some of those things?

WEST: I don't think he did. I think, once again, he was caught, you know, kind of ambushed because the president, of course, today was in Raleigh, North Carolina.

VAN SUSTEREN: But, I mean the earlier ones that he said this --

(CROSSTALK)

WEST: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I'm sure that he has some semblance of knowing what is happening. Look, nothing seems to be very well coming out of Chicago these days between Rahm Emanuel, between Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah Wright, David Axelrod, Barack Obama, Saul Alinsky. So there is something bad in the water there in Chicago.

VAN SUSTEREN: David Axelrod has been good to me. So I will take him out of your list, at least I will.

WEST: OK.