Mike Huckabee's Worst Media Moments
Fox Host Bids Network Farewell, Explores Presidential Run
Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI & BEN DIMIERO
Fox News and Mike Huckabee are finally parting ways as the now former host explores a second presidential run. After serving as the governor of Arkansas and losing a 2008 presidential primary bid, Huckabee was hired by the network. His media career was rife with controversial comments and outright falsehoods.
Media Matters looks back at Huckabee's worst media moments below.
Huckabee Falsely Claimed President Obama Grew Up "In Kenya," Then Lied About His Comments
While discussing President Obama's birth certificate in February 2011, Huckabee repeatedly and falsely claimed President Obama grew up "in Kenya." Huckabee claimed that upbringing explains why Obama's worldview is "very different than the average American ... his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather."
Amidst widespread derision over his remarks, Huckabee went into damage control mode and offered a series of increasingly dishonest explanations for the comments. His defense didn't wash with many observers, including conservative columnist George Will.
Huckabee Wondered If Obama Got College Loans "As A Foreign Student"
A year after the Kenya debacle, Huckabee went on The O'Reilly Factor to defend Mitt Romney's refusal to release his tax returns. Huckabee suggested that Romney should "make this challenge: 'I'll release my tax returns when Barack Obama releases his college transcripts and the copy of his admission records to show whether or not he got any loans as a foreign student.'"
The president's birth certificate and school records have been the subject of conspiracy theories for years. The claim that Obama had gotten financial assistant "as a foreign student" dates back to at least 2009, when FactCheck.org noted that the story had begun as a "transparent April Fools' Day hoax" that relied on a fabricated Associated Press story.
Huckabee: Schools Have Become "A Place Of Carnage" Because We "Removed God From Our Schools"
In December 2012, Huckabee linked the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting to the lack of God in schools. On the day of the tragedy, Huckabee appeared on Fox News and said: "We ask why there is violence in our schools but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?"
Huckabee Threatened To Leave The GOP Over Marriage Equality
During an October appearance on an American Family Association radio program (AFA is a virulently anti-gay organization), Huckabee threatened to leave the Republican Party over what he saw as its insufficient opposition to marriage equality.
During the appearance, Huckabee announced that he is "utterly exasperated" with Republicans who have allegedly "abdicated" on the issue of marriage equality. According to Huckabee, Republicans are in danger of losing "every election in the future" if they don't strongly oppose gay marriage, because the party will lose support of "guys like me and a whole bunch of still God-fearing, Bible-believing people."
"I'll become an independent," he threatened. He reiterated his comments on his Fox News show.
Huckabee Spoke At Several Anti-Gay Rallies And Events
Huckabee has regularly used his political celebrity -- bolstered by his role at Fox News -- to support and appear at a series of anti-gay events and rallies. In recent years, Huckabee has spoken at the "Family Leadership Summit," sponsored by anti-gay groups National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and Family Research Council Action; keynoted a convention for a Boy Scouts alternative that formed in response to the Boy Scouts allowing openly gay members; and attended NOM's annual "March for Marriage" (a rally against marriage equality in Washington, DC).
At the June 2014 March for Marriage, Huckabee proclaimed that Congress is "not required to defy natural law. They are not required to redefine marriage." He proceeded to suggest that the United States will feel God's "hand of judgment" if we "reject his hand of blessing."
Huckabee has also elevated odious anti-gay groups on his Fox News show. On a 2011 episode, Huckabee hosted FRC president Tony Perkins. While Perkins and the FRC have a long history of offensive anti-gay rhetoric, Huckabee labeled the group "one of the most respected family organizations in America."
Huckabee Attacked Natalie Portman For Glamorizing "Out Of Wedlock Births"
During a February 2011 radio appearance, Huckabee attacked actress Natalie Portman for having a child "out of wedlock." Huckabee said that it's "troubling" to see people like "Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, 'Hey look, you know, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children, and they're doing just fine.'" Huckabee added that "it's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock."
Huckabee Claimed Democrats Tell Women They Need "Uncle Sugar" And "Cannot Control Their Libido"
While appearing at a Republican meeting in January 2014, Huckabee claimed: "If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it." Huckabee responded to criticism of his remarks by using the controversy to fundraise for his political action committee.
Huckabee Defended "Legitimate Rape" Politician
During the 2012 elections, Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin claimed that pregnancies from rape are very rare and "if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Numerous Republicans disowned Akin after his bizarre and false remark; Mike Huckabee did not.
Huckabee stood by Akin on Fox News and elsewhere. In an August 2012 email to supporters, Huckabee wrote that the remark "was a serious mistake, but it was blown out of proportion not by the left, but by Akin's own Republican Party. Is this what the party really thinks of principled pro-life advocates? Do we forgive and forget the verbal gaffes of Republicans who are 'conveniently pro-life' for political advantage, but crucify one who truly believes that every life is sacred?" Huckabee added that he would "join Todd as often as I can, in his fight for our Party's pro-life policies, traditional marriage and our efforts to rein in the massive expansion of government under President Obama," and concluded that the Democrats were waging a "ridiculous" and "make-believe narrative of the GOP's fictional war on women."
Huckabee Compared Gun Prevention Efforts To Nazi Germany
In April 2013, Huckabee defended a radio caller's claim about firearm confiscation in Nazi Germany as "the truth." He added, "In every society and culture where dictators take over, one of the things they have to do is get control of the military and the police and ultimately all of the citizens and make sure the citizens are disarmed and can't fight in the streets. Gosh I hope it doesn't come to that."
Huckabee Sells Out His Followers To Shady Groups
Mike Huckabee has repeatedly sold out his followers to shady email schemes through his website MikeHuckabee.com's email list. Fox News helped grow Huckabee's email list, and he regularly promoted MikeHuckabee.com on his weekly program.
Huckabee sent sponsored emails touting dubious Alzheimer's disease cures from huckster Dr. Russell Blaylock. The emails were so bad that fellow Republican Scott Brown was forced to end his relationship with his email list manager, Newsmax, after criticism.
Huckabee sent sponsored emails touting the stock recommendation of Gray Fox Petroleum (GFOX) by Tobin Smith. Smith is so disreputable he was fired by Fox News for the shady practice of paid stock promotion. A February 2014 GFOX email sent to Huckabee readers by Smith implored them to "Buy shares of GFOX now while you can still get them at around $1.00 and you could... TURN $10,000 INTO $282,000 in the next 6 months!" GFOX's price has cratered and is now trading at a near 52-week low of $0.06.
He has also sent emails on behalf of Stansberry & Associates, a disgraced financial firm that has been fined $1.5 million for engaging in "deliberate fraud" and profiting from "false statements."
Huckabee has denied responsibility for shady email pitches sent to subscribers to his email list, telling Media Matters that he is "simply a conduit to send messages" and "can't always vouch for the veracity" of the promoted products.