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Obama Slams Unrepentant Huckabee: 'Ridiculous' to Compare Iran Deal to Holocaust

Obama Slams Unrepentant Huckabee: 'Ridiculous' to Compare Iran Deal to Holocaust
(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images; Jim Young/Reuters)

By    |   Monday, 27 July 2015 09:43 AM

Mike Huckabee's comments comparing the Iran nuclear deal with the Holocaust are part of a general pattern that "would be considered ridiculous if it weren't so sad," President Barack Obama said Monday, but the former Arkansas governor and 2016 GOP presidential candidate is showing no signs of backing down.

"I mean, we've had a sitting senator call John Kerry Pontius Pilate," said Obama, referring to Sen. Tom Cotton's comments that Kerry had "washed his hands" on the deal. "We had a sitting senator who also happens to be running for president suggesting that I'm the leading state sponsor of terrorism. These are leaders in the Republican Party."

Issues of war and peace "are of such grave concern and consequence that we don't play fast and loose that way," said Obama.

Story continues below video.

On Sunday, Huckabee told Breitbart News that Obama's foreign policy is "the most feckless in American history" and "so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven."

And when CNN asked Huckabee spokeswoman Alice Stewart to elaborate on the "door of the oven," she replied that the comment "speaks for itself."

Huckabee doubled down on his comments in a statement to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program Monday that was in response to the station's airing of Obama's criticism.

In the statement, Huckabee did not apologize, but rather said that he wishes Obama would "say that it's ridiculous to make a nuclear deal with the government that holds Americans hostage, sponsors terror, funds attacks on Israel, and who openly and repeatedly promised to destroy both Israel and the United States.

"That is ridiculous and dangerous," Huckabee said.

His campaign also drew ire by posting late Sunday a meme with his "ovens" statement on Twitter:

The campaign went on to post more tweets quoting Iranian statements that have been made against Israel.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz compared Huckabee's comments to questioning whether Obama is an American, and called for Huckabee to apologize.

"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."

Monday morning, news pundits were more to the point, including a furious MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski, who said Huckabee's comments — and Monday's statement — were worse than any of those that presidential candidate Donald Trump has come under fire for saying.

"If you've been to Auschwitz, if you have been to any of these places where people were killed, and you see the piles of glasses, the piles of hair, the piles of shoes, and the piles of clothes, and every bit of their humanity that had to be stripped away, handed over, as they went and then burned to their deaths ... it's really not a good comment to say," Brzezinski said, telling host Joe Scarborough that he'd wanted her views on the air and that she'd agreed to give them.

"It's a deal breaker. It should be over for him. You don't say that, and by the way, if you said it by mistake, that's a sign of who you really are. That's all I have to say. You wanted me to say it on the air, I just did."

Brzezinski was also infuriated by Huckabee's response Monday.

"Wait a minute, hold on a second," she said after his statement was read on the air. "We are not getting an apology? Can you write back to that person ... is that the correct statement?"

When told it arrived under Huckabee's name, she demanded that someone "write back and ask if he really meant to put that statement out, including the comments he made about ovens, which I will never read again. Could you ask if maybe that's the wrong statement? 

"I think he pressed the wrong button," Brzezinski said.

The National Jewish Democratic Council called on Republicans to repudiate Huckabee's comments, reports Time,  noting that candidates and leaders alike "have fallen over themselves to speak out against Donald Trump’s outrageous rhetoric on immigration and veterans.

"Will they now do the same and speak out against this unacceptable attack against President Obama that smears the memory of Holocaust victims … or will they stand by in silence and implicit approval?"

Over the years, Huckabee has been known for being highly supportive of Israel, reports The Washington Post, and the former Arkansas governor and minister has lead several tours to the country over the past 42 years.

"Americans support Israel, but until they see it, they don’t get it," Huckabee, who has met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials during his trips, has said.

Huckabee's fellow GOP presidential candidates were staying quiet on his comments, reports the Post, even though most of them have condemned the Iran deal.

Spokespeople for Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker did not respond Sunday to The Post's questions about the remarks.

And former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum issued a statement through an aide that continued to call the Iran deal "the worst foreign policy decision ever made by an American president. Iran has never kept their promises and there is no reason to believe they will keep them now, but did not address Huckabee’s reference to the Holocaust."

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Mike Huckabee's comments comparing the Iran nuclear deal with the Holocaust are part of a general pattern that "would be considered ridiculous if it weren't so sad," President Barack Obama said Monday, but the GOP presidential candidate shows no sign of backing down.
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Monday, 27 July 2015 09:43 AM
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