Talk show host and U.S. Marines and Navy veteran Montel Williams has vowed to be “the worst thorn” and hold every presidential candidate “accountable” by standing up for America’s veterans.
Williams was asked which candidate he plans to support in the 2016 presidential election.
“I see a whole bunch of people half stepping, lying, not telling the truth about themselves or what they stand for. I will vote for the candidate that recognizes the debt we owe to those who serve,” Williams told PJ Media at the GI Film Festival, where he was honored as the Veteran Entertainer of the Year.
“So far, I have not heard one of them, not one, on either side – not talking any smack – say a word about what they are going to do for our veterans so from my perspective, everybody in the race right now, be careful, I’m coming. I’m not running. I’m coming after them to make sure somebody holds every one of them accountable. You’re going to see me be the worst thorn at every convention, every rally. I’ll be the butthead in the back screaming out questions about our veterans.”
Williams has spearheaded an effort to free former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati from prison in Iran. Iranian authorities arrested Hekmati, a U.S. citizen, in 2011 for allegedly spying for the CIA. Hekmati has denied the charges.
Williams has encouraged the public to call for Hekmati’s release by using the hashtag #FreeAmirNow on social media. Williams called on President Obama to publicly mention Hekmati’s name and sign legislation that demands the release of American hostages in Iran.
“I want the president to specifically, out of his own mouth, say Amir Hekmati’s name because the fact that he has not said his name has put Amir in a position where he is being singled out by the Iranians saying our country doesn’t care about him as much as they care about the other two,” Williams said, referring to Idaho pastor Saeed Abedini and Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.
“Sorry, look, he’s the commander in chief. Amir is different in this one regard than the other two hostages. Amir has been held for now almost four years and he is being held for one reason and one reason only: he wore a uniform to protect this democracy,” he added.
Williams, tearing up, said the Obama administration and Congress should defend the individuals who defend the American people.
“I don’t know what it’s going to take for this country to step up to the plate and say you have hawks right now trying to send us to war – hawks trying to send your brother, her daughter, her cousin out to defend us again,” he said.
“What pool of people are you going to pull from when they realize you will not defend them when they end up in a situation like this? So, we better get a grip real quick. Less than .06 percent of this country puts on a uniform or sends their child to do the same thing. We’ve got war coming. Keep playing games with those who serve.”
Williams, an independent, said he was a registered Republican for about 22 years.
“You know what’s really better about that? I owe nobody anything. Nobody funds me. I owe no one anything – that means you have to step up to the plate and give me the right answer to get my vote,” he said. “I’ve been so disenchanted with both that I am going after the party that supports those that support us.”