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July 26, 2015

Mike Huckabee: Obama marching Israel to 'door of the oven'

Republican presidential candidate references Holocaust in comments denouncing Iran nuclear deal

Former Arkansas governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee made inflammatory remarks on Sunday about President Obama's endorsement of the tentative Iran nuclear deal, stating in an interview with Breitbart News that the president is marching Israelis to "the door of the oven."

"This president's foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is 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," Huckabee said.

The statement, alluding to disturbing imagery from the Holocaust, comes as Huckabee and other Republican leaders wage a campaign to derail U.S. participation in the international agreement, which would lift economic sanctions in exchange for Tehran abandoning its pursuit of large-scale nuclear capabilities and permitting inspections.

When asked for elaboration, Huckabee's campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart told CNN "the comment speaks for itself," while Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz condemned the remarks. 

"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."

The National Jewish Democratic Council denounced Huckabee's comments "in the strongest terms possible," The Guardian reports, and issued the following statement. 

“Far, far too often, this organization has found itself forced to denounce politicians for invoking the Holocaust in inappropriate and offensive ways. These comments by Governor Mike Huckabee, however, may be the most inexcusable we’ve encountered in recent memory.
“To state that President Obama is leading Israelis ‘to the door of the oven’ is not only disgustingly offensive to the president and the White House, but shows utter, callous disregard for the millions of lives lost in the Shoah and to the pain still felt by their descendants today.”

Huckabee, who currently ranks third among GOP candidates in a new CNN/ORC National Poll, went on to call the Iran deal "idiotic" and said that it should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans. He refused to apologize for the comments in a tweet on Sunday afternoon. 

In order to be implemented, 34 out of 100 senators must offer support for the Iran deal, which the White House has defended as an historic step toward transparency in the prevention of nuclear proliferation.