Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee—an ordained Southern Baptist minister, popular radio and television personality, and vocal supporter of Israel—on Tuesday announced that he will run for president for a second time in 2016.
Huckabee, the runner-up to U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 Republican presidential primary, told a crowd in his hometown of Hope, Ark., “It seems perfectly fitting that it would be here that I announce that I am a candidate for president of the United States of America.”
The former governor joins U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), as well as retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, in the field of official Republican presidential candidates. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is considered by many to be the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, but has yet to announced his candidacy.
In a December 2013 interview with JNS.org, Huckabee said that because the U.S. “has indicated that they are going to act independently of Israel as it relates to Iran,” Israel has “a license to act without having to be scolded for not having consulted the U.S. for their plans.” At the time, when the Obama administration was brokering peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, Huckabee said the “fundamental prerequisites” to any American involvement in such negotiations should be the insistence that the Palestinians acknowledge Israel’s right to exist and “cleanse their textbooks” of materials that teach children to hate Jews.