- The Washington Times - Monday, June 25, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It must be Whack-a-Huckabee time ‘round the ol’ game table called politics.

First, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is told by a restaurant owner in the state with a motto that bleeds love — “Virginia is for Lovers,” remember? — to get out, go home, and take your President Donald Trump support with you.

Now comes dad Mike Huckabee, rocking angry media waves, too. Why? What for?

For tweeting a photo of MS-13 gang members beneath the message: “Nancy Pelosi introduces her campaign committee for the take back of the House.”

For that, he was labeled racist.



The Root ran this headline: “Mike Huckabee Tweets Racist Photo Associating Nancy Pelosi With MS-13.”

CNN ran with this one: “Mike Huckabee accused of racism in tweet.”

HuffPost ran with this: “Mike Huckabee’s Racist Tweet Calls MS-13 Nancy Pelosi’s ‘Campaign Committee.’”

Joe Scarborough on “Morning Joe” said this: “Mike Huckabee sent out a tweet this week, it’s so racist that you even had an awful lot of conservative Christian leaders coming out. Whatever you want to call it — you pick — if you don’t want to pick, let’s say, parallels to the 1930s in Germany, let’s say David Duke, if that makes you feel more comfortable.”

One “conservative Christian” leader to whom Scarborough perhaps referred?

Erick Erickson — one of the old tymey Never Trumpers, by the way — tweeted this: “There was a time I think I probably would have thought this was funny. But then I grew up and realized I need to reflect my faith better in public. I still screw up, but I try to say sorry when I do and not double down.”

Another?

Bob Vander Plaats, CEO and president of The Family Leader:

“Where did my friend and pastor @GovMikeHuckabee go? I want him back,” Vander Plaats tweeted. “I’ll assume someone hijacked his twitter account. He’s way better than this!”

Oh boo hoo. Fine and dandy for Erickson, for Vander Plaats — for the lot of them, for that matter. But thing is: Huckabee’s tweet is hardly racist.

Has America forgotten what the word racist actually means?

Huckabee’s tweet, for those who’ve not been paying attention to politics, basically smacks Pelosi with her own failing moral compass by factually pointing to her public tendency to put illegals on a pedestal and America citizens and Trump in the mud — yes, even illegal “animals” like MS-13 gang members. When Trump calls the violent gang a group of “animals,” Pelosi rushes to defend.

“Calling people animals is not a good thing,” she said back in May.

Now comes Huckabee with his tweet. And it’s called racist?

As the former governor himself notes in a followup tweet, in answer to his hand-wringing accusers: “MS-13 is not a race but an illegal gang who rapes, murders, and mutilates children as sport. Nancy Pelosi defended them because she said @realDonaldTrump insulted them. … Wasn’t aware that criminal was a ‘race.’ “

Well, it’s not. Criminal isn’t a race.

Moreover, a photograph of criminal MS-13 gang members isn’t racist. And a message that speaks about the politics of Pelosi above this photograph of criminal MS-13 gang members isn’t racist, either.

The tweet may be blunt. It may be hard-hitting. It may even be offensive to some, particularly to those who work for Pelosi, support Pelosi, or who, say, support the gang MS-13. But racist? That it ain’t. And slinging around the R-word when it’s not justified is both cheap-shot and harmful to the cause of fighting real racism.

Let’s not get to the point in this country when disagreeing with someone automatically gives rise to the catcalls of racist.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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