WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has likened the agreement on an Iranian nuclear deal to "marching the Israelis to the door of the oven," a reference to the Holocaust.
The former Arkansas governor made the tweet Sunday, a day after first making the comparison when denouncing President Barack Obama for his role in the agreement reached July 14 by the United States and five other world powers with Tehran.
Responding, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Huckabee's statement was "grossly irresponsible" and called on him to apologize.
"This president's foreign policy is the most feckless in American history," Huckabee said in an interview with Breitbart News broadcast on Sirius/XM radio Saturday. "He's so naive he would trust the Iranians and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven."
Obama, asked about the comments at a news conference in Addis Ababa, where he was meeting with Ethiopian officials, said they were part of a pattern of attacks by 2016 Republican presidential candidates that would be "considered ridiculous if it weren't so sad." He said such issues as the Iran nuclear deal deserve serious debate, not outlandish statements.
"It doesn't help inform the American people," Obama said.
Huckabee quickly responded, saying that "What's 'ridiculous and sad' is that President Obama does not take Iran's repeated threats seriously."
"I will stand with our ally Israel to prevent the terrorists in Tehran from achieving their own stated goal of another Holocaust," Huckabee said in a statement his campaign emailed to reporters.
In his initial remarks, Huckabee said that "this Iran deal should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans."
"We forget Iranians have never kept a deal in 36 years under the ayatollah. There's no reason to think they will suddenly start doing it."
Huckabee said about the deal: "I read the entire thing. We gave away the whole farm. It's got to be stopped."
The Anti-Defamation League slammed Huckabee's comments, saying "Whatever one’s views of the nuclear agreement with Iran – and we have been critical of it – comments such as those by Mike Huckabee suggesting the president is leading Israel to another Holocaust are completely out of line and unacceptable."
"To hear Mr. Huckabee invoke the Holocaust when America is Israel’s greatest ally and when Israel is a strong nation capable of defending itself is disheartening. The great tragedy of the Holocaust saw the Jews of Europe without allies and without power at the worst possible moment," ADL National Director Jonathan A. Greenblatt went on to say in a statement issued Monday.
Huckabee's comments come as the Republican presidential candidates struggle to break through with 16 presidential candidates already in the Republican field, and one of those, New York businessman Donald Trump, getting more attention than most.
Ynetnews contributed to this story.