Donald Trump isn't being petty by not giving up stage and air time during the Republican National Convention to former candidates who couldn't be trusted to keep their pledges on whether to support him as the eventual nominee, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says in a strongly worded opinion piece for Politico.
"Breaking News! If Ted Cruz, John Kasich and others don't endorse Donald Trump, they won't be invited to speak at the Republican National Convention!" Huckabee, who dropped his own bid for the GOP nomination wrote. "So the anchors all urgently reported earlier this week. That's not breaking news — that's breaking wind."
Huckabee has spoken at every GOP convention in some capacity since 1992, and writes that all the presidential nominees in those conventions, including George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney, controlled all details of the convention, including who sang the National Anthem to open it and who closes it in prayer.
But Huckabee said the bigger story is being missed, because nobody is talking about the "outright lie" many of his other former contenders said on national TV in the first debate last August, when they promised to support the eventual nominee.
at the time, Trump would not agree, saying he wanted to be sure the Republican National Committee would treat him fairly,. After RNC Chairman Reince Priebus met with Trump, the now-presumptive GOP nominee also said he'd agree to the pledge.
Trump has invited Cruz to speak, but if he can't use the speech to honor his pledge to support Trump, then he should decline the invitation, said Huckabee.
Huckabee admits that Trump was not his first choice for president: "I was my first choice."
But for reasons Huckabee said he doesn't and won't ever fully understand, Trump won the nomination "the old-fashioned way" by getting the most votes, tallying up far more votes than any other Republican.
That includes the "utterly discredited Mitt Romney," said Huckabee, "who has shamefully and sadly shown his petulance as he leaves the political stage in disgrace, having gladly accepted Trump's money and endorsement in 2012, only to become a "Never Trumper" and de-facto Hillary Clinton champion in 2016."
Huckabee said he was not happy to walk away from his good income as a Fox News host, and to give up a year of his life. Huckabee said it was "frustrating to know that the message I championed about trade, the decline of the middle class, the need to manufacture in the United States, support for veterans and a more innovative approach to health care that focused on prevention rather than expensive intervention was mirrored by Donald Trump."
The difference was that the television networks focused on Trump, Huckabee said, while ignoring him and the others "because of our unwillingness to engage in the blood sport of trashing the other Republicans on the stage, including Trump."
But the candidates agreed they'd support whoever survived the "cage match," said Huckabee, and he is gladly supporting Trump "because I respect the voters and the process and accept the verdict."
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