Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee on Monday attacked his potential Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton while defending his recent comments lambasting the nuclear deal with Iran.
Clinton, who seeks the Democratic party nomination to run for president in 2016, was the latest to strike out at Huckabee for his comparison of the Iran nuclear deal reached earlier this month between Tehran and world powers with the Holocaust. Huckabee said over the weekend that President Barack Obama would “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven,” prompting criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. Clinton responded Monday saying she was personally offended by the comments, which “have no place in our political dialogue.”
Huckabee, however, stood his ground, and on Monday tweeted saying that he said he considered a “mushroom cloud over Israel” to be “unacceptable” and that he would stand with Israel “to prevent the terrorists in Tehran from achieving their own stated goal of another Holocaust.”
“How many times will Iran’s leaders call for Israel’s annihilation before @HillaryClinton wakes up to this existential threat?” Huckabee tweeted, targeting Clinton. “How many murdered Israelis will it take for @HillaryClinton to express as much outrage at Iran as she did at my defense of Israel?”
The former Arkansas governor’s tweets were the latest salvos in an increasingly personal argument over the Iran nuclear deal. Obama called Huckabee’s comments — in addition to those of other Republican candidates — as “ridiculous if it weren’t so sad.”
.@HillaryClinton: You finally come out of hiding to attack me for defending Israel? What's "unacceptable" is a mushroom cloud over Israel.
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) July 27, 2015
Huckabee defended his remark, accusing Obama of ignoring threats from Tehran.
“What’s ‘ridiculous and sad’ is that President Obama does not take Iran’s repeated threats seriously. For decades, Iranian leaders have pledged to ‘destroy,’ ‘annihilate,’ and ‘wipe Israel off the map’ with a ‘big Holocaust,'” he said in a statement.
“‘Never again’ will be the policy of my administration and I will stand with our ally Israel to prevent the terrorists in Tehran from achieving their own stated goal of another Holocaust,” he added.
“This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history,” Huckabee said in an interview with Breitbart News broadcast on Sirius/XM radio Saturday. “He’s so naive he would trust the Iranians and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven.”
Huckabee said that “this Iran deal should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans.
“We forget Iranians have never kept a deal in 36 years under the ayatollah. There’s no reason to think they will suddenly start doing it,” he continued.
Huckabee said about the deal: “I read the entire thing. We gave away the whole farm. It’s got to be stopped.”
Clinton retorted saying that “Comments like these are offensive and they have no place in our political dialogue. I am disappointed and I am really offended personally.”
“I find this kind of inflammatory rhetoric totally unacceptable. One can disagree with the particulars of the agreement to put a lid on the nuclear weapons program of Iran. And that is fair game. But this steps over the line and it should be repudiated by every person of good faith.”
A day earlier, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Huckabee’s statement was “grossly irresponsible” and called on him to apologize.
Other politicians and groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, also denounced Huckabee’s comments.
But a Huckabee spokeswoman defended the comments on Sunday, saying they reflect a long-standing position that “the Iran deal is a bad deal — bad for America and bad for Israel.”
Huckabee’s comments come as the Republican presidential candidates struggle to break through a crowded field of 16, with one of those, New York businessman Donald Trump, getting more attention than most.