President Obama criticized 2016 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for invoking the Holocaust while criticizing the Iran deal, saying that Huckabee's words were just a ploy to "get attention," or push candidate Donald Trump out of the headlines.
Over the weekend, the former Arkansas governor called the Iran deal "naive" while on Breitbart News, adding that by signing the deal Obama "will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven." Since the interview, the Huckabee campaign has stood by this phrasing and made it a campaign ad.
"This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people," Huckabee added. "I read the whole deal. We gave away the whole store. It's got to be stopped."
Obama, who has tried to avoid campaign politics thus far, condemned the GOP while on a trip to Ethiopia, claiming that Huckabee's statements on Iran and Israel are "not the kind of leadership that's needed for America right now" and this would all be "ridiculous if it weren't so sad."
Huckabee, who has been a longtime supporter of Israel and has led numerous pilgrimage trips to the Holy Land, argues the Iran deal will harm the Jewish state. In addition to his recent comments, the former Arkansas governor has sent a series of tweets quoting Ayatollah Khamenei's intentions to destroy Israel.
The GOP hopeful responded to Obama's criticisms on Monday morning, turning the president's words against him.
"What's 'ridiculous and sad' is that President Obama does not take Iran's repeated threats seriously," Huckabee said. "For decades, Iranian leaders have pledged to 'destroy,' 'annihilate,' and 'wipe Israel off the map' with a 'big Holocaust.' 'Never again' will be the policy of my administration and I will stand with our ally Israel to prevent the terrorists in Tehran from achieving their own stated goal of another Holocaust."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also expressed his extreme condemnation for Obama's Iran deal, as have numerous other pro-Israel politicians in the United States. But, Obama was the only Democrat to slam Huckabee's words, as Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz called Huckabee's words "cavalier" and "unacceptable."
"But now, the most liked Republican presidential primary candidate Mike Huckabee said that President Obama is marching Israelis to 'the door of the oven'. This rhetoric, while commonplace in today's Republican presidential primary, has no place in American politics," she said. "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."