The country's two top Democrats both smacked down former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Monday for likening the Iran nuclear deal to the Holocaust.
"Comments like these are offensive and they have no place in our political dialogue," Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton told reporters while in Iowa. "I’m disappointed and I’m really offended personally. I know Gov. Huckabee, I have a cordial relationship with him ... but I find this kind of inflammatory rhetoric totally unacceptable."
Speaking from Africa, President Barack Obama knocked Huckabee and Donald Trump, too.
"The comments are part of a general pattern that we've seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren't so sad," Obama sad, speaking from Ethiopa. “Maybe it’s just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines."
This weekend, Huckabee said the Iran deal is “idiotic” and that Obama will ultimately “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”
The remarks made headlines and are the first time most have heard from the former Arkansas governor in days, as fellow presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to dominate headlines and control the news cycle. The situation has confounded the GOP candidates; with Trump taking up the oxygen in the political news cycle, his rivals need to make quite a scene to get any coverage at all.
The candidates need to boost their polling numbers to ensure their spot on the main debate stage next month, too. “Brad Pitt would have a better shot of being on the debate stage than real candidates for president,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said earlier this month in an fundraising email.
Still, the apparent Holocaust reference earned as much ire as it did headlines.
“Whatever one’s views of the nuclear agreement with Iran – and we have been critical of it, noting that there are serious unanswered questions that need to be addressed – comments such as those by Mike Huckabee suggesting the president is leading Israel to another Holocaust are completely out of line and unacceptable,” commented Jonathan A. Greenblatt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, in a statement.
Huckabee quickly hit back at Obama in a statement emailed to msnbc Monday morning.
“What's ridiculous and sad is that President Obama does not take the Iran threats seriously. For decades, Iranian leaders have pledged to ‘destroy,’ ‘annihilate,’ and ‘wipe Israel off the map’ with a ‘big Holocaust,'" he said. "'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."