Earlier this week, Mike Huckabee was asked to retract his endorsement of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
The request came from Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica, a conservative political nonprofit with more than 8 million members that aims to use social media to "reinvigorate the public with the principles of American exceptionalism: freedom, prosperity and virtue." He made the request in an open letter published by Breitbart News.
"Do the most courageous thing you've ever done, in a lifetime of bravery. Retract your endorsement," Bozell wrote to Huckabee and other conservatives he said has endorsed Trump. Among those named were former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, and Dr. Ben Carson.
There's just one problem: Huckabee has never endorsed any candidate for president.
But when asked about Bozell's letter, the former Arkansas governor didn't mince any words. And ultimately, he wound up making the endorsement he was accused of making in the first place—sort of.
"The irony is that I have not endorsed in the primary," he told WorldNetDaily. "I think some assume if you don't hate Trump and spew venom at him, you must have endorsed."
"For the record, I like Trump and think he is our very best hope to beat Hillary, and I know Hillary probably a lot better than any Republican who ran this year," he added. "Trump [has] said a lot of what I said 10 years ago and since about trade, the working class, failures of our foreign policy and the way the game is rigged by the elites. Too bad for me, but the media gave Trump hours to my seconds of coverage. [B]ut I appreciate that he is the only candidate left who isn't owned by the Wall Street donor class and that alone would be a seismic shift."
Addressing the stark differences between himself and Trump on key social issues, including marriage, abortion, and the debate over transgender bathroom bills, Huckabee agreed the GOP front-runner would not be a strong advocate. But he also questioned U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's policies.
"I have no illusion that Trump would be as strong on issues like life and marriage as me, but neither will Cruz, although he makes good lawyerly speeches making people believe he will fight for those issues," he said. "But if people read the fine print, they will learn that [Cruz would] leave such things to the states or SCOTUS, which means he will be all thunder and no rain but will leave voters feeling used again just like we were in the Bush years."
While that's still not an official endorsement in the political world, that's about as close as one can get without actually doing it.
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