Huckabee accused of bigotry and racism

(CNN) — Former Arkansas Republican governor Mike Huckabee is facing allegations of racism after he tweeted a photo on Saturday of five men who appear to be using hand signs associated with the MS-13 gang with the caption, “Nancy Pelosi introduces her campaign committee for the take back of the House.”

According to a guide to from New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General, some of the hand gestures seen in the photo are used as gang signs for MS-13. According to the Department of Justice, “MS-13, which is short for La Mara Salvatrucha, is a gang composed primarily of immigrants or descendants from El Salvador. In the United States, MS-13 has been functioning since at least the 1980s.”

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, a California Democrat who’s the House minority leader, said when reached for comment, “Trump and his surrogates will continue to repeat blatantly false attacks as long as the media continues to take the bait and print them.”

The image and caption have also generated backlash on Twitter, including accusations of bigotry and racism against Huckabee.

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol referred to the tweet as a “dog whistle.”

Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, reacted to the tweet by calling Huckabee a “despicable racist.”

Huckabee later justified his tweet in an exchange with Washington Post political columnist Karen Tumulty.

“MS-13 is not a race but an illegal gang who rapes, murders, and mutilates children as sport. Nancy Pelosi defended them because she said @realDonaldTrump insulted them,” Huckabee tweeted at Tumulty. “Are you defending them too? Wasn’t aware that criminal was a ‘race.'”

When Tumulty then urged him to understand that his “tweet had a racial meaning,” Huckabee stood firm that it was not racist.

“Absurd!” he tweeted. “To see race in everything IS racist. Nothing about race but about a vile violent criminal gang. Please understand that.”

Later Saturday, Huckabee accused a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, of bigotry after his daughter, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, said that she was kicked out because she works for President Donald Trump.

Huckabee has a history of making inflammatory remarks, including ones that have drawn criticism from within his own party. While running for president in the 2016 election, Huckabee invoked the Holocaust to criticize then-President Barack Obama, comments that drew a rebuke from his then rival former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

After dropping out of the Republican presidential race in 2016, Huckabee said that he was “all in” for Trump.

Huckabee’s tweet referencing Pelosi was retweeted on Saturday by the President’s son Donald Trump Jr.

Huckabee did not respond to a CNN request for comment.

Trump has previously made false and misleading statements attempting to inaccurately link Democrats to the MS-13 gang.

In May, Trump claimed that Pelosi “came out in favor of MS-13,” a statement that the fact-checker PolitiFact rated as false.

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7 comments

  • On It

    What father wouldn’t step up for his daughter? More propaganda from CNN. The left can do any vile thing & it’s A ok, but when a dad get’s triggered to defend his daughter with truth……it’s A ok to call him names, bring on the labels, because it’s all they have. Communist News Network brought to your door everyday whether you like it or not. I guess I have to swear off of local news too, channel 3 could give lessons to cnn their coverage is so biased, too bad 17 is tied to cnn, as they do a better job over all of local coverage.

  • C

    If anybody’s offended, it should be the gang members. I know that if I was a gang member, I’d be pissed off that anyone would think I’d be associated with Nancy Pelosi, too.

  • RG

    The Democrats and the leftist media support open borders which include letting MS-13 members cross the border unchecked. MS-13 is a violent criminal gang and Democrats don’t seem to care.

  • C

    Hey, Censor. what did I say that caused my comment to be moderated out of existence? The idea that the gang members might be more offended by by using their name and Nancy Pelosi in the same sentence than Pelosi herself? Or that you’re a Pelosi fan and are offended by what Huckabee said? Or, that I used a term ‘pissed off’ which is commonly used every day in media today? I’d like to know why you invite comment or dialogue and then as the judge of what might be considered offensive or objectionable.

  • Paul Brandt

    Anyone who isn’t a progressive is a horrible racist, homophone, or some other kind of hater. Period! Just ask a progressive, they are pure people who are filled with peace and acceptance of anyone and anything, well except for any conservative, or anyone who doesn’t also hate conservatives….those people are to be hated! (In other words, progressives are the very worst kind of hypocrites, calling themselves judge, jury, and executioner, while they themselves are much worse than the people they despise.)