OTR Interviews

Montel Williams blasts US government's failure to free Marine jailed in Iran: Who's going to enlist when we treat our soldiers this way?

In the year since the scandals at the Veterans Administration were exposed, the number of vets facing long waits for medical care has not adropped at all, AP reports. Montel Williams sounds off


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 9, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Our next guest has been fighting for Amir Hekmati's release. Marine veteran, talk show host -- you all know him. Montel Williams joins us.

Montel, when you listen to Sergeant Gabriel justice when he talks about his friend Amir, it really breaks your heart, doesn't it?

MONTEL WILLIAMS, TALK SHOW HOST & US MARINE VETERAN: It breaks my heart because, Greta, as we sit here and talk about our angst and anger over this deal with Iran, you know we are getting ready to figure out how we have to put troops on the ground or use US Troops to go and continue this effort if necessary. I'm going to ask you the question: Who is going to enlist? Who is going to serve in those ranks when we find out that we treat our soldiers this way after they serve the country that way?

I'm in Nashville, Tennessee. There are 90,000 people descended on the city for the NRA convention. I have got to tell you something. I have been walking around for two days. I can't make more than three steps before someone walks up to me and grabs my hand and says thank you, Montel for standing um for our soldiers because in this midst of 90,000 people. I'm going to guarantee you there is 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 veterans, some Marine and air force.

I'm hearing from every branch of the service. I'm hearing from elected officials. I have been only been here for 12 hours, I'm telling you I have spoken to over 100 people. Why? Because we have some patriots here at the NRA who are disgusted with the fact that we will let a Marine suffer the way he is suffering when we know that the people who are responsible for suffering are nothing but liars and going to continue to do so. So we have got to do something to get this man out.

VAN SUSTEREN: What can viewers do to help, Montel?

WILLIAMS: We have got a couple things we have got to do. One, I really need you. Look, last week, Greta, between you and I, I think there were 18 million likes about what we were talking about. We have got to get more people fired up; you have got to send an email off right now. Send a text, tweet, you know, bring up #freeAmirright now. #FreeAmirNow. Do that right this minute.

I also have to say something to those out there. There have been a couple people who despicably have used Amir's name to set up false web sites to raise money. I have got to clear this up because I have spoken to the family. Please, everyone out there listen to me. The only official web site to donate money to Amir's cause is at giveforward.com/freeAmir, Giveforward.com/freeAmir. Do not give money to anybody. I find it despicable that somebody would actually try to steal money at this time when this man and this family need so much.

VAN SUSTEREN: Montel, let me ask you about something else. More bad news for American veterans tonight it looks like the Obama administration, at least as far as the VA hospital that we had hoped so many things would be done for the VA hospitals but according to a report things are as usual.

WILLIAMS: You can go and look at the tape from Neil Cavuto a month and a half ago. I said I guarantee you I will be back talking about this in two months because it wasn't getting done two months ago. We have been hood wick winked yet again. In the last nine months, I have got the numbers right here, 894,000 appointments from August 1st, 2014, to February 28th, 2015, failed to meet the VA time standards of having appointment made in 30 days. The majority was 60 days appointments and some went as far as 90 days. This is an abomination. The bigger abomination, you've got to understand. This is the VA? Wait until you find out what's going on with our active duty soldiers? Do you know our active duty soldiers can have anywhere from a week to two week delay in getting doctor appointment, active duty.

VAN SUSTEREN: Montel, I will tell you when I woke up this morning and saw the AP story I just about fell over. A year later it has not improved. I have got to go.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Greta, so much.