COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) ripped the Republican Party during a South Carolina speech today, saying he doesn’t want to be associated with a party that would zero-out foreign aid and calling such a move “un-Christian.”
Speaking at a U.S. Global Leadership Coalition luncheon in Columbia, Huckabee told the largely-Republican crowd that their party had lost its way on the issue of foreign aid. In debate after debate, Republican presidential candidates have competed to determine which of them could be the most critical of American foreign aid funding. When the candidates gathered in South Carolina last fall, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney all proposed zeroing out foreign aid funding. “You ought to start off at zero and say, explain to me why I should give you a penny,” Gingrich said.
Huckabee, who was tasked with introducing Gingrich at the event, addressed the Republican Party’s dismissal of foreign aid, calling the notion “outrightly foolish” and “extraordinarily disagreeable.” The former Arkansas governor, also an ordained Baptist preacher, went on to say that not taking action to help those living in poverty around the world “would be un-Christian.”
HUCKABEE: I resent the idea that the conservative viewpoint somehow is at odds with the idea of strategic investment in countries around the globe. I not only disagree with it, I find it extraordinarily disagreeable. [...] To be honest with you, you go to a lot of political rallies, you can get an applause that will raise the roof if you just say, “we’re going to get rid of all foreign aid. We’re going to cut it all.” But it’s shortsighted if not outrightly foolish.
The simple reality is that every time America is making its presence known in any government across the world, it will be far more effective when it delivers bread than when it delivers bombs. And the next thing I think we ought to do, if we really are the Christians we claim to be, is to want to make sure that we do not turn our backs on the suffering we see. [...] As as a Christian believer myself, it would be impossible for me to have read the gospels of Jesus, to look upon a scene like that and not be moved to the point of action, and to just simply be moved to the point of compassion that did not result in doing something, would be un-Christian.
Watch the highlights from Huckabee’s remarks:
Gingrich spoke at the event immediately following Huckabee, but did not address the former Arkansas governor’s comments or his opposition to foreign aid. Gingrich instead claimed that preparing for an electromagnetic pulse attack — what scientists and nuclear experts dismiss as “far-fetched” — was a good use of American resources.