Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee appeared to double down Sunday on comments equating the US nuclear deal with Iran to the Holocaust, despite intense criticism from leading Jewish and Democratic figures.
The candidate was unperturbed by the denouncements, tweeting a photo of his earlier statements that the deal was “marching the Israelis to the door of the oven,” and adding: “Tell Congress to do their constitutional duty & reject the Obama-Kerry #IranDeal.”
The Anti-Defamation League called Huckabee’s comments “completely out of line and unacceptable,” regardless of one’s views of the deal with Tehran. It noted that whatever the differences between the administrations, the US remaines Israel’s strongest ally.
The ADL called on all sides of the debate on the nuclear accord to conduct themselves “responsibly and civilly.”
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) July 26, 2015
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair, pressed Huckabee earlier to apologize for his remarks.
“This rhetoric, while commonplace in today’s Republican presidential primary, has no place in American politics,” she said in a statement.
“Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable. Mike Huckabee must apologize to the Jewish community and to the American people for this grossly irresponsible statement.”
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) said it in a statement that it condemned the candidate’s comments “in the strongest possible terms,” the Guardian reported.
“Far, far too often, this organization has found itself forced to denounce politicians for invoking the Holocaust in inappropriate and offensive ways. These comments by Governor Mike Huckabee, however, may be the most inexcusable we’ve encountered in recent memory.
“To state that President Obama is leading Israelis ‘to the door of the oven’ is not only disgustingly offensive to the president and the White House, but shows utter, callous disregard for the millions of lives lost in the Shoah and to the pain still felt by their descendants today.”
Speaking during an interview with Breitbart News Saturday, Huckabee asserted that Obama’s foreign policy was the “most feckless in American history,” and implored Americans to rally against the nuclear deal with Tehran.
“It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians,” the former Arkansas governor and Fox News host said of the president, according to Breitbart. “By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven,” he added. “This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people.”
He maintained that the US “gave away the whole store” to Iran, and concluded that the deal therefore has “got to be stopped.”
AFP, Adiv Sterman and Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.