(WTNH) Given another chance this morning to walk back comments comparing the proposed Iran nuclear deal to the Holocaust, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee refused to do so. Appearing on “Today,” Huckabee told Matt Lauer that “we need to use strong words” when debating President Obama’s proposed deal to lighten sanctions on Iran in exchange for a slowing of its nuclear program.
Huckabee has faced a storm of criticism since telling an interviewer over the weekend that Obama “..would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven,” a clear reference to the extermination of millions of Jews at the hands of Adolph Hitler’s Nazi regime before and during World War II. Even Israeli diplomats who oppose the Iran deal, as well as American Jewish organizations, have condemned Huckabee’s comments as wildly inappropriate and a trivializing of the so-called “final solution” genocide. During the “Today” interview, though, the GOP presidential hopeful said the response he’s been getting from Jewish people to his comments has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
What’s not clear is whether Huckabee’s Iran comments are aimed at raising his profile in the crowded Republican presidential field. He’s one of 16 GOP candidates, and only those with higher poll numbers will be included in upcoming televised debates. Some pundits have said that with Donald Trump leading in voter surveys after his own controversial comments over immigration and Senator John McCain’s war record, that Huckabee might be trying the same strategy to get himself noticed.