Huckabee’s Controversial Remarks Undercut By Former U.S. Ambassadors To Israel

CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Barack Obama gestures during a joint news conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Monday, July 27, 2015, at the National Palace in Addis Ababa.

Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee hasn’t been discouraged by criticism over his controversial remarks on the weekend which took aim at the Obama administration’s acceptance of the Iranian nuclear deal. Instead, the former Arkansas Governor appears to be banking on the attention it’s brought his campaign by sticking by his words, indicated by a Sunday-afternoon tweet.

The comments were criticized by President Obama during his trip to east Africa. “The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are just part of a general pattern that would be considered ridiculous, if it wasn’t so sad,” he said to a crowd in Ethiopia.

Huckabee’s comments also drew the ire of other Democrats. Deborah Wasserman-Schultz, the Democratic National Committee Chair and Representative of Florida’s 23rd Congressional district, told the BBC, “Mike Huckabee must apologise to the Jewish community and to the American people for this grossly irresponsible statement.”

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton labelled Huckabee’s remarks as offensive on Monday.

But Huckabee has found support from another Republican presidential candidate’s camp, a candidate known for making inflammatory remarks of his own.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s campaign manager, told CNN on Monday that he didn’t think Trump found Huckabee’s remarks offensive.

“We’ve been there and my father’s a Holocaust survivor,” Cohen said, adding that he’d lost many family members from the period. “There’s that old statement, ‘Never again.’ What Trump is trying to say is a nuclear Iran is the destruction of this world.”

The Iranian nuclear deal has been lambasted by critics who lay the blame at the feet of the Obama administration but a group of former diplomats, including five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel, have penned a letter to House leadership in support of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“We are persuaded that this agreement will put in place a set of constraints and monitoring measures that will arrest Iran’s nuclear program for at least fifteen years and assure that this agreement will leave Iran no legitimate avenue to produce a nuclear weapon during the next ten to fifteen years. This landmark agreement removes the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to the region and to Israel specifically,” the diplomats wrote in the letter dated July 27, 2015.

The letter was signed by former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and Ambassador to NATO, R. Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Frank G. Wisner, and former U.S. Ambassadors to Israel James Cunningham, William Harrop, Daniel Kurtzer, Thomas R. Pickering, and Edward S. Walker Jr.

“Those who advocate rejection of the JCPOA should assess carefully the value and feasibility of any alternative strategy to meet the goal of better protecting the security of the U.S. and Israel and more effectively prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” the letter said. “The consequences of rejection are grave: U.S. responsibility for the collapse of the agreement; the inability to hold the P5+1 together for the essential international sanctions regime and such other action that may be required against Iran; and the real possibility that Iran will decide to build a nuclear weapon under significantly reduced or no inspections.”