Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee joined me today:
HH: Pleased to welcome back Governor Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, star of Fox News Channel. Governor, welcome, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you.
MH: Hugh, it’s a pleasure to be back, thank you, sir.
HH: You must be happy. A Reuters poll showing you’re in second place nationally behind Donald Trump, showing momentum for Mike Huckabee.
MH: That’s always good news, but you know, I guess having been through this before, you don’t want to get too excited when the polls are showing you near the top. You don’t want to get too depressed if they show you that you’re not near the top, because at this point, they’re going to fluctuate. But the key thing we’re focused on is building the structure and the organization in the early states. And that’s what I’m very happy about. We’ve built out the biggest precinct-level organization in both Iowa and South Carolina, and that’s what it ultimately takes to win these early states.
HH: Well Governor, I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to talk to you about. I want to start with the first question I posed to Scott Walker last hour. I’m in Colorado at Colorado Christian University today, and this week in Colorado, John Boehner, Speaker of the House, was at a fundraiser for Scott Tipton, good Congressman, and he called Ted Cruz a jackass. And there were people there that were very upset at that. What do you think of the Speaker calling a senator, and I know the Senator pretty well. He’s one of America’s leading Constitutional litigators.
MH: Well, I don’t think we do our party and even our prospects for winning the election a lot of favors when we end up fighting among ourselves publicly. Even though there are sixteen other candidates running for president on the Republican side, my attitude, Hugh, is that we’re all trying to be the quarterback of the football team. I think I’d be the best quarterback, but I’ve got to prove that on the field. But I want to prove it by earning the job, not by breaking the legs of all the other people in tryouts for the same position.
HH: But he’s, but Speaker Boehner is not a candidate for anything. I don’t understand the upside of doing that, vis-a-via any Republican at all when you’re in leadership.
MH: Well, I think it was a huge mistake, because it’s not exactly going to do anything to help John Boehner in his leadership role. It does not do anything to hurt Ted Cruz. Maybe he’s doing it because he wants to help Ted Cruz, because to have John Boehner or any of the Republican establishment speak disdainfully of any of us, frankly, is something I’m sure we would all welcome and be delighted to hear.
HH: (laughing) I hadn’t thought of it in those terms. So John Boehner’s a secret Ted Cruz supporter?
MH: He might be writing him a big check for all I know. And if John Boehner would like to say some ugly things about me, I’ll provide for him any forum he’d like to have. I’ll even pay for the microphone.
HH: Governor, that’s great. All right, serious subject that does divide the field on policy grounds. We have a state visit scheduled for President Xi. Scott Walker wants it cancelled. Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina have said on this show downgrade it. Donald Trump said keep it, but negotiate harder. What’s Mike Huckabee say?
MH: I would say keep the event, because as you know, Hugh, and I’ve been to China, and I’ve been many times to other Asian countries both as a governor doing trade deals, and one thing you don’t want to do is to create a situation where you cause the other side to lose face unnecessarily. That is a slap in the face, and it’s something that does not help you in the long term. Now what we need to be doing is holding China accountable for intellectual property theft. We need to be holding them accountable for hacking. We need to be holding them accountable for cheating trade deals and dumping products into the U.S., specifically steel, which they have done repeatedly. Those are things that we ought to do, because there, we have a direct opportunity to point out something that they’re doing in violation of agreements, and make it very clear that we’re not going to have future agreements, and it’s going to greatly injure our long-term relationship if they continue these endeavors. But to cancel a dinner, I don’t know what that accomplishes, to be honest with you.
HH: Now Governor…I was pretty close to Richard Nixon, helped him write The Real War, oversaw the construction of his library. He’s the man who opened China. I don’t think he would let the Chinese president come after a cyberattack on the United States like the OPM deal. That’s what bothers me the most. It seems very weak to me.
MH: Well, he might not, and again, that’s maybe the right course, is just to say we’re not going to have it. But if you do have him, I don’t think it ought to be a big blown-out state dinner with all the frills and flourishes. I do think it should be a very terse kind of meeting, and there should be some very, maybe to borrow a phrase, some real straight talk that would go on between our administration and theirs, and make it very clear that the United States is not going to be played as chumps. But the problem with that, Hugh, is that we’re already being played for chumps with our deal with Iran, with the Russians, with the Syrians. I don’t know of any place on the globe that we’re playing strong. We’re playing weak everywhere.
HH: Well, I definitely, I definitely agree with that. Let’s, I’ll be right back with Mike Huckabee, America. Don’t go anywhere.
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HH: Governor, I mentioned at the start of our conversation I’m at Colorado Christian University, and it’s right outside Denver. In Denver last week, the city council voted to put on hold a Chick-Fil-A restaurant at the Denver International Airport because of the religious beliefs of the founders, and I’m sure you know them, and their support of traditional marriage. They said you know, we’ve got to, we can’t let them have a Chick-Fil-A in here. We’ll put it on hold. And you know, that’s as blatantly unconstitutional as it gets. What do you think about that action? And how would you respond if you were the president?
MH: Well, I think if I was the president, I would ask the Justice Department to go and investigate the complete denial of the Constitutional rights of free commerce. This is outrageous. This is what was going on when you had Rahm Emanuel in Chicago saying that no Chick-Fil-A was going to come to Chicago, even though same sex marriage was voted down in Illinois. This is what happened when Tom Marino was mayor of Boston, and he said that Chick-Fil-A was not welcome to do business in Boston. You know, here’s the thing. On the left, we as conservatives, we don’t mind not only tolerating, but even doing business with people whose political positions we don’t agree with. If I order something of Amazon, I’m not buying the politics of Jeff Bezos. And if I get a cup of Starbucks, I’m not accepting that I agree with Howard Schultz on politics. I find it just outrageous that the left wants to make sure that we’re totally tolerant of what they stand for, but they are utterly intolerant, even to the point of being brutish when it comes to a person having a belief. And what’s really tragic about this, Chick-Fil-A is not a publicly-held company. It’s a privately-held company. And it’s not that Chick-Fil-A as a restaurant has an official position of marriage. It doesn’t. It doesn’t matter who you are. You go to a Chick-Fil-A restaurant, you’re going to buy chicken, not to buy a view of marriage. The CEO of the restaurant in the past has been supportive of traditional marriage. Unfortunately, he has backed off of any public support of those marriage organizations, because he’s been intimidated not to do it anymore. And he’s still getting in trouble, which leads me to think he should have never backed off, because it doesn’t ever end the attacks from the left.
HH: All right, now let me turn to your old friend, Hillary Clinton, and I say that, you know, you worked together on a few things. You know, it’s an interesting relationship you have with the Clintons. But yesterday in Cleveland, she said the most astonishing thing about the pro-life positions of the GOP field. Let me play it for the audience. This is Hillary Clinton yesterday.
HRC: Extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world. But it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States.
HH: Now do you believe she compared you to a terrorist group there, Mike Huckabee?
MH: I do. I think it’s just amazing. If any Republican had said anything even like that, that those who support Planned Parenthood, for example, are like terrorists, because after all, terrorists do destroy people. They cut their heads off. Planned Parenthood cuts the arms and the legs and the heads off of unborn children. My gosh, we’d never hear the end of it. I think somebody needs to really challenge Hillary Clinton, and I certainly hope I get the opportunity to do it. I’ve battled the Clintons my entire political life. They’ve campaigned for every opponent I ever had. Every election I was ever involved in, I was campaigning against the political machine they had built, so I know them very well. And I’d love to be able to say Mrs. Clinton, you claimed to have never seen the Planned Parenthood videos. I’d just like to ask could you tell me at what point, if ever, is it wrong to hack into pieces an unborn child. Would you tell me at exactly what point you would find that objectionable?
HH: Well, of course, she opposed the ban on partial birth abortion, so I’m not sure she has an answer to that, Governor.
MH: Well, I think her answer is she has the view that a lot of people on the left do, that the right to have an abortion is stronger than the right to protect the rights of the unborn child. Hugh, I think we should invoke the 5th and 14th Amendment and give protection, due process before the life or liberty is deprived of an individual, equal protection under the law under the 14th Amendment. The left should be playing defense, not us. And we should make them show some reason why this is not a person, and we should operate from the principle that that is a human life. And if it is…
HH: Now you bring up the 14th Amendment, Governor. I’ve asked a lot of the candidates this week if they believe the 14th Amendment confers birthright citizenship upon anyone born in this country, even if their parents are here without color of law. What do you think? Does the 14th Amendment protect birthright citizenship?
MH: It has been the practice that we’ve had for over a hundred years. I think if we’re going to change that, then we need to be able to declare why we’re going to change it. And I know that there’s the language about jurisdiction. There has been questions about if a diplomat’s child is born here, does that make that person a citizen. So I don’t think it’s an ironclad type decision, but I think it would be helpful for there to be legislation defining what the jurisdiction clause means. I don’t think a Constitutional amendment is likely to happen, but I don’t think it has to be a Constitutional amendment. And the bigger question is not that this is happening. The bigger question is that Americans are disgusted with the immigration process, because people are using the good nature of the American way of life to cheat our system, and to benefit from it. And I think people are sick of that, and they want the law to be applied equally and fairly.
HH: Well yesterday, yesterday Marco Rubio said he wouldn’t support a law to abrogate birthright citizenship. But you would, to be clear?
MH: I would, because I think that when we see even advertisements in China advertising essential birth tourism, where people are able to purchase packages so they fly to the U.S. have their baby in the U.S. so it has dual citizenship, and it’s not done, this isn’t about people who are impoverished looking for a Medicaid payment. These are very wealthy people who are coming here so their child will, in essence, be able to put a foot down and be able to say I have American citizenship, dual citizenship, American and Chinese. And I just don’t see how we can sit back and say that’s perfectly okay.
HH: One more segment coming up with Governor Mike Huckabee. Don’t go anywhere, America.
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HH: Governor, I want to play for you Hillary Clinton two days ago talking about her email scandal. You will hear, because you are a practiced listener to Clinton speak, how she frames this response very carefully.
HRC: I’m confident that this process will prove that I never sent nor received any email that was marked classified. And I’m going to keep talking about what the American people talk to me about, what’s on their minds.
HH: Any email that was marked classified, that’s actually not the test of the law. Under the Espionage Act or the 18 USC 1924, Governor Huckabee, it doesn’t matter if it was marked. If you received it or if you misused it or you gave it to the wrong people. Do you think she’s guilty?
MH: She certainly talks as if she does, and look, for her to have a server that was located in the bathroom of someone’s apartment in Denver, an unsecured server, for her to have the unmitigated gall to erase government records and determine without any check and balances as to which records needed to be turned over and which ones did not, knowing that some of them did contain classified information, and I think the operative phrase that she had was that were not marked classified. That is so Clintonesque, because a lot of these documents would not necessarily be marked, per se, but they clearly would contain classified information. And she can’t plead ignorance, Hugh. This is a person who was a partner in the Rose Law Firm, one of the most prestigious law firms in the South. She was first lady of the United States. She was a U.S. Senator. She was the Secretary of State and a candidate for president now twice. And for her to say with that kind of background that she just didn’t know any better, it’s absolutely without merit.
HH: The FBI has reported this afternoon by Fox to be very serious that it’s an investigation of the higher penalty clauses of the Espionage Act, where you knowingly give classified information to people who do not have to have it, as opposed to 18 USC 1924. Do you have confidence, Mike Huckabee, that the Bureau will prosecute Hillary Clinton and her aides, Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, whoever, to the fullest extent of the law, to the extent that anyone not named Clinton or associated with Clinton would otherwise be prosecuted?
MH: I wish I could say that I did, but as long as this administration is in power, I don’t have a great deal of confidence, because this is the same administration that said they were going to get to the bottom of the IRS scandal and Lois Lerner. They never got to the top of it. This is the same administration that promised that they would get and root out who it was that was able to wiretap James Rosen’s, one of my former colleagues at Fox News, his phone calls, and even that of his parents. Do you remember anybody getting prosecuted for that? Of course not.
HH: You’re right.
MH: And so no, I don’t have confidence.
HH: All right, last quick question. Can you beat Joe Biden if Hillary gets out?
MH: I can beat Joe, I can beat Hillary, I can beat Bernie. Bring them on.
HH: Mike Huckabee, thank you for joining me, Governor. Stay tuned, America.
End of interview.