Mike Huckabee said on Thursday that Holocaust survivors and descendants of those who survived the Holocaust "hugged" and "thanked" him for saying that, by trusting Iran, the Obama administration's nuclear deal "will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven."
Huckabee has received widespread criticism for the remark.
Hukcabee told the Jan Mickelson Show that "the Jewish community" expressed its appreciation for his outspokenness when he visited the home of a Jewish doctor on Monday night, at an event where everyone was Jewish and which "several" Holocaust survivors attended.
"The support from the Jewish community has been overwhelmingly positive," Huckabee said. "I was in an event on Monday night this week, right after all this blew up on Monday, and I was in a home, a Jewish doctor who hosted an event for me, everyone at that event was Jewish — there were about seven rabbis, about a 150 Jewish people, several of them were Holocaust survivors and many of them were Holocaust descendants — they were the children or the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors."
"They hugged me," Huckabee said. "They thanked me."
Huckabee, who throughout the week has defended his "oven" remarks despite bipartisan criticism, reiterated earlier in the interview that the comments shouldn't be considered offensive.
"I'll tell you what's offensive," Huckabee said. "Offensive is that the United States government believes they can trust the Iranians. What's offensive is that the president of the United States left four hostages sitting in an Iranian prison and didn't negotiate for their release as part of this deal, part of a precondition. What's offensive is that many of the Democrats and the liberals in an overwhelmingly insane attempt to try to protect Barack Obama and John Kerry and Hillary Clinton for this agreement are turning the attention about something that I said to Breitbart on a Saturday afternoon satellite radio show into the point of discussion."
To drive home his analogy, Huckabee invoked the example of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whom he described as "one of the few voices in the German theological world, in the German church world, who had the guts and the courage to stand up against Hitler and to declare it's wrong," as others looked the other way.
"That's why we've got to learn the lessons of history or, as has often been said, we will unfortunately be forced to repeat them," Huckabee said.
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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