Rep. Ron DeSantis says he understands Mike Huckabee's threat of leaving the GOP if it doesn’t take a strong stand against gay marriage and on other key social issues.
DeSantis, a Florida Republican, said on Newsmax TV
Friday that it's important for the former Arkansas governor and other conservatives take a stand against liberals, who are "hostile to conservatives’ cultural values."
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"They're hostile to religious liberty and a lot of our traditions and the Republican Party and conservative voters are really the only force against that," DeSantis said. "You see this in instances in which the Health and Human Services Department is forcing Catholic nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, to be complicit in abortifacients and other things that really go against core values of religious freedom.
"So, I understand where he's coming from," said DeSantis, who was joined on "America's Forum" by The Shark Tank blog editor Javier Manjarres. "There's a whole bunch of issues in which the left is hostile to where the governor is going to be coming from. And you've got to have a strong opposition party to be able to stand up for those values."
Huckabee, who was a candidate in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries, has spoken out strongly against same-sex marriage and is a strident pro-life advocate. If the GOP doesn’t take a stand on those social issues important to Huckabee and other like-minded members of the party, he plans to become an independent
, he said this week on a radio program hosted by American Family Association President Tim Wildmon.
"If the Republicans want to lose guys like me, and a whole bunch of still God-fearing, Bible-believing people, go ahead and just abdicate on this issue — and while you’re at it go ahead and say abortion doesn't matter, either," Huckabee told Wildmon. "Because at that point, you lose me, I'm gone."
Huckabee also told Newsmax in an email that if that happened, "he wouldn’t be leaving the GOP, the GOP would be leaving social values voters like him."
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Manjarres said Huckabee was just reacting emotionally, that it’s implausible for him to actually leave the party if he plans to run for president again.
"It galvanizes conservatives, but at the end of the day he's not going to run as an independent,” Manjarres said. “If he's running for president he's going to lose. No one's going to back him, the money will not get behind him. So he's speaking out of emotion. God bless him he's right, but I don't think he's going to flip like Charlie Christ and become an independent."
DeSantis made clear that he believes that marriage rights should remain with the states
"I don't think the federal government has any authority to redefine marriage,” he said. “It is an issue for the state, but Justice Kennedy in that Windsor opinion, he basically put a lot of rhetoric in there. Even though he said he wasn't dealing with marriage, a lot of the courts have grabbed onto that and that's why you're seeing a lot of decisions come out the way they have."
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