Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Wednesday said that only the media cares about his comments uncovered Tuesday in which he said that he wished he could have pretended to be transgender in high school "when it came time to take showers in PE."
"Nobody ever asks me about it except the media, they're the only ones who seem to be stirred up about it," Huckabee said.
To illustrate his point, Huckabee told an anecdote about a man who lost his job in the economic downturn.
"So what people talk to me about is not some speech I made four months ago. And it's not some cultural issue," he said.
"People talk to me about the loss of their job. They talk to me about the threats to this country and that's what I'm focused. It's why I'm running for president, it's not to entertain the mass with comments on the culture news of the day. So I'll continue to focus on the things that I think people are far more plugged into."
BuzzFeed News has found at least two other times Huckabee has joked about teenage boys pretending to be transgender to go shower with the girls, on his Fox News television show and during the Family Research Council's 2013 Value Voters Summit.
Both times Huckabee made the comments, he was reacting to the 2013 California School Success and Opportunity Act which allows transgender public school students in the state to use school facilities and participate in activities based on their gender identity.
"So, Jerry Brown, the governor of California, this week signed a bill — by the same legislature that passed a bill that said if six-year-olds, who are biologically boys think that they are really girls, that they should be able to go to the girls restroom," Huckabee said in the 2013 Value Voters Summit speech.
"And if they're 16 and they really — maybe you're biologically all male but they identify as female, they should be able to go to the locker room with, shower with, and play on the sports teams of the girls. And to those of us who believe that there is a difference between male and female, we would say 'we have been told you're on your own.'"
"And by the way, it is a good thing that that didn't come up when I was in high school cause I'm pretty sure that every boy in my high school would have suddenly felt like that he was just a little more comfortable showering with the girls no matter how uncomfortable the girls might have been with it. Is that not the craziest think you've ever heard?"
Huckabee made similar comments on his Fox News show in August of that year, saying he wondered how many of his high school classmates would have "awakened" at the "revelation" they could shower with girls by being transgender.
"If the child says 'you know what, today I really' — a boy walks in and says — 'I am feeling my girl's side', he gets to go shower with the girls when he's 14," Huckabee said.
"I'm just thinking of all the 14-year-old boys I went to school with, and how many of them would have awakened with that revelation."
Here's the video of him making the joke on his Fox News show:
Here's the video of Huckabee at the 2013 Value Voters Summit:
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Megan Apper is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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