Beyond the sound bite: Teachers union explains why it invited Rev. Wright to MLK breakfast

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 17, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The very controversial Reverend Jeremiah Wright is at it again. President Obama's former mentor making more inflammatory and assaulting comments. Listen to what he told the Chicago teachers union at their Martin Luther King breakfast.


JEREMIAH WRIGHT, PASTOR EMERITUS, TRINITY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: We need to teach the truth about our politicians from Bush to Barack Obama. It's not about the person but the policies of this government. I'll teach you a news piece. I'll share it with you. King said, "I have a dream." Barack Obama said, "I have a drone."


We need to teach the truth about our politics and the policies for this country. Every Tuesday morning we have a kill list. The president decides who he's going to kill this week.


VAN SUSTEREN: Why did the Chicago Teachers Union invite Reverend Wright to speak? Kristine Mayle is the union's financial secretary. She joins us.

Good evening.


VAN SUSTEREN: I must say I think -- I'll tell you right out of the gate -- I think that Reverend Wright is just about the last person I would ever invite to a Martin Luther King breakfast. Martin Luther King did so much to unite and heal and Reverend Wright does the exact opposite. Your response?

MAYLE: We invited Dr. Wright because he does embody the ideals of Dr. King. That's exactly what he spoke about. He spoke about Dr. King being taken out of context and being used in sound bites and that we have to look at the bigger message. And his main message to us was that we need to research and learn about the truth of what was really happening and the true spirit of Martin Luther King because he was sanitized by the media.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it taking it out of context that Reverend Wright at the Martin Luther King breakfast makes fun of the president, said Martin Luther King's speech, "I've got a dream," and then he makes the crack about "I've got a drone," about President Obama. And then he makes a crack about Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, at a teachers breakfast in which he says the reason why Secretary Arne Duncan - who has got a long history of education, whether you agree or not - said he was chosen because he has a good hook shot playing basketball with "Barack Hussein Obama"? Is that within the spirit of Martin Luther King?

MAYLE: I think he's criticizing policies that need to be looked at more critically. Arne Duncan is the education secretary of this country, but he has no education experience. He never taught. He --


VAN SUSTEREN: That's not true. That's --


VAN SUSTEREN: He's got a very rich background in education.


MAYLE: He has a degree in social work from Harvard. He's never taught, and he doesn't have a background in education. So, that's what Dr. Wright is talking about, looking at the bigger picture, not taking just the sound bites, and looking into the truth.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you go through any of the sound bites, go through any of them, Reverend Wright makes the most racist remarks about the people. He's not there to unite ever. If I wanted to draw people together, literally, he's t,he last person I would choose. He is the antithesis of people like Martin Luther King or Mandela. I just for the life of me, like, why do you want to divide and raise vitriol and associate with Martin Luther King?

MAYLE: No, I completely disagree. I think he is embodying the spirit of King. And during his speech, which we have on our website,, you can watch the whole thing and watch it in context and not the sound bites. You look at the readings he references in it. Dr. King was a lot more controversial than people want to know. You have to read his writings beyond the "I Have a Dream" speech. He says some very powerful and very controversial things. So that's exactly what his speech was about, why would we sanitize that version of him, let's celebrate the true man on his birthday and see what he was really about. Things are not as simple as sound bites.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, if you want to impress -- I know there are huge problems with education in Chicago and a lot of our major cities and there are a lot of issue in terms of getting money and bringing people together. But if you want to do that, I suggest next year you take a look around and find somebody else. I think you made a huge P.R. mistake for your organization and I regret it.

But, sorry, I'm going to take the last word on that.

MAYLE: Well --

VAN SUSTEREN: Kristine, thank you for joining us.

MAYLE: Thank you.