Mike Huckabee

 [Back to Election Central]



Mike Huckabee is the former Governor of Arkansas, where he served 1996-2007 before seeking the 2008 Republican nomination for President. Notably, Huckabee won the 2008 Iowa Caucus with 34% of the vote, barely defeating Mitt Romney who eventually won the Republican nomination. After leaving office, Mike Huckabee went on to host the Fox News Channel talk show Huckabee and author a number of books. He announced his campaign for the 2016 Republican nomination in May 2015 in his home town of Hope, Arkansas.


On the Issues

AAI tracks statements, non-statements, and the track records of each presidential candidate on the issues we care about most. Click on an issue to read what Mike Huckabee has said on the campaign trail.


Foreign Policy     

Domestic Policy


U.S. Role in the Middle East 

Voting Rights 


U.S. Response to ISIL

Civil Rights + Civil Liberties








Community Policing




Bigoted Speech


Iran Negotiations 

Immigration Reform

Key Advisors

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders: Campaign Manager. Sarah is Mike Huckabee’s daughter and has been an integral member on multiple campaigns, serving as the Campaign Manager on Sen. John Boozman's (R-AR) 2010 Senate campaign, and as a Senior Adviser to Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) campaign for Senate last fall.
  • Hogan Gidley: Senior Communications Adviser. He is the former Executive Director of the South Carolina Republican Party. He worked on Huckabee’s 2008 presidential bid and then on Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential bid.


The U.S. Role in the Middle East

“And here is what we have to do: America has to have the most formidable, fierce, military in the history of mankind. So when we have a threat, whether it is ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranians, whatever it is, we make it very clear that we plan to push back and destroy that threat to us. And we won’t take 10 years doing it, we hopefully won’t even take 10 months, it will be like a 10 day exercise, because the fierceness of our forces would mean that we can absolutely guarantee the outcome of this film. That’s how America needs to operate in the world of foreign affairs, and foreign policy.” (July 2015, Buzzfeed)

“I will lead with moral clarity in a dangerous world. There’s a difference between right and wrong. There’s a difference between good and evil. I’ll keep all the options on the table in order to defeat the evil forces of radical Islam.” (May 2015, Huffington Post)

Regarding Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East: “Everything he does is against what Christians stand for, and he’s against the Jews in Israel. The one group of people that can know they have his undying, unfailing support would be the Muslim community. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the radical Muslim community or the more moderate Muslim community.” (February 2015, Fox and Friends)

“I don’t think we’ve done an adequate job of explaining to younger people that what is happening in the Middle East is not limited to the Middle East. Everything [ISIS] is doing there is the warm-up act to what they plan to do here.” (September 2014, Real Clear Politics)

U.S. Response to ISIL

"The way we defeat [ISIL] ideologically is that we remind people that what their intent is is to kill us, and that it is our intent to use every means possible to get to them before they get to us.  We are pretending that this is a war that is not that significant… We've got to make it so untenable for somebody to join ISIS.  Rather than making it so that teenagers from around the world want to go and be to be a part of this, we need to go after it with significant ground troops, air campaign. And the rules of engagement have got to be loosened, because we have to make sure that we are not just going over and setting off some fireworks.  We have to kill some terrorists and kill every one of them we can to make it very clear that to take action or threaten action against the United States, and you've just signed your death warrant.  We're coming to get you.  And you won't be coming to our shores.  You're going to be going to your funeral.  That's what we need to do to begin to defeat it ideologically." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

“When you’re dealing with Islamic jihad, that has as its goal the annihilation of everyone who does not agree with their absolute religious fanaticism, you’re dealing with a rattlesnake…. As a kid growing up in south Arkansas, one thing I learned about rattlesnakes, you don’t try to get in their head and figure out why they want to bite you. .. You take their heads off with a .410 shotgun or a hoe before they bite you—because the one thing that you can be sure of is that snake will bite you if he can.” (April 2015, Campaign ad)

“[W]e should have been long ago arming the Kurds. They’re the most reliable force that we have in the Middle East, especially in the northern part of Iraq, that is willing and ready to fight ISIS and to do it without American blood being spilled.” (April 2015, CBS Face the Nation)

“We have not kept our promise to the Kurds. The second thing we should do is make sure that, wherever there’s an ISIS target, that we bomb the daylights out of it. We make it unpopular, we make it very, very tenuous for anybody to want to join ISIS, because we need to let them know, they are basically sign on to a death sentence if they want to join this hideous, savage, uncivilized group of people who think it’s OK to burn people alive and cut their heads off, and not only to do it...but I think what is most despicable is that they are proud of it.” (April 2015, CBS Face the Nation)

“We don’t leave anything off the table. But if they’re going to be boots, they have to be more than just U.S. boots. There’s got to be some boots that come from the Saudi’s, the Jordanians and others.” (April 2015, CBS Face the Nation)

“Sadly, the President openly admits he doesn't have a strategy to deal with groups like ISIS. Well let me loan him one -- you don't spare not a moment, nor any resources in eradicating these cancers on civilization.” (September 2014, Huckabee Show)


"we must immediately ban ALL visas for travelers and tourists from any country with a significant ISIS or al-Qaeda presence. Second, we must reject all Syrian refugees to America." (November 2015, Sunshine Summit)

"It's time to wake up and smell the falafel. Something isn't going right in this open immigration policy. We are importing terrorism... I would not bring refugees into the United States. I think what we should do... is establish a safe haven for refugees - let's do it in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait, maybe Dubai, maybe somewhere in Jordan. We'll help assist with it, but I'm tired of America having to take care of a whole load. And frankly it's illogical and irrational to take people out of their culture, they're language, they're religion, and even their climate, and put them in a place where they are going to be completely disoriented. It would be much better to do a safe haven in the Middle East, more so than bringing them 8,000 miles to America." (November 2015, Fox News interview)

On the U.S. response to the Syrian refugee crisis, Hucakbee said, "This idea that we have an obligation to receive vast numbers of people ... we have a real obligation to make sure that we protect the sovereignty of the United States. That's not a lack of Christian charity. It's the essence of charity, to provide for needs, but not to put your own children at risk, if what you're importing could be people who have a nefarious purpose for wanting to be here." (September 2015, Eagle Forum in St. Louis, MO

“...Syria is an Iranian proxy in the Arab world.” (September 2007, Huckabee’s speech to the CSIS)


"I think it is very important that as Americans we show support for Israelis in their capacity to build their neighborhoods in their own country. It is interesting to me that our government has put more pressure on the Israeli government to stop building bedrooms in their own neighborhoods, than on Iran to stop building bombs.”  (August 2015, from Shiloh settlement in the West Bank)

“[I]f you’re going to visit Israel you should visit all of Israel, and that would include Judea and Samaria,” (August 2015, The Guardian

“[T]he fact is, that they are separating the issue from the election from the existential threat they face from the possibility of the Iranians having a nuclear weapon.  And Israel is the canary in the coal mine. Something happens to Israel, and that’s not the end of it. That is just the beginning of it. And the ultimate target would be the United States. So we need to recognize the valuable strategic role that Israel plays in our own safety. This isn’t just about Israel. This is about the safety of the United States.”  (March 2015, CBS Face The Nation)

“[The Israeli] military also takes extraordinary measures to prevent civilian casualties. I spent a day with Israeli pilots at their southernmost air base and witnessed the elaborate steps they take to protect noncombatants — even those used as human shields to protect terrorists. No nation, not even the United States, takes greater care to protect civilians.” (February 2015, Medium)

“The anniversary of 9/11 this week, well it's a good time to remember that the murdering mad dogs that committed those acts are of the same blood of the ones firing rockets into Israel, kidnapping young girls and raping them, shooting Israeli informants in the head behind a mosque.” (September 2014, Huckabee Show)

“[Under Israeli protection], the Arabs make more money than they ever made in their lives, and who have security and sidewalks and schools and hospitals that they’ve never had before.” (June 2014, Israel Day concert)

“If there’s a two-state solution, the Palestinian state needs to be outside the boundaries of the nation of Israel. There’s plenty of land in the world where we can find a place and say, ‘Okay, let’s create a Palestinian state.’ But not within the confines of a secure Israel.” (June 2014, Israel Day concert)

“I know that if [Jerusalem] were divided, I do not trust one moment that the PA would protect for a day the shrines of anyone who are Jewish or Christian…let us be clear: the boundaries of Israel are not given by the United Nations but by Almighty God.” (June 2014, Israel Day concert)

“I have to be careful saying this, because people get really upset — there’s really no such thing as a Palestinian. That’s been a political tool to try to force land away from Israel.” (June 2010, New Yorker)

“My point is, if that’s the issue, if its real estate, if you look at a map, and say here is how much Israel has and here is how much the Arab states hold, there is plenty of land. Let them take it out of Egypt. Let’s take it out of Syria. Let ‘em take it out of Jordan.” (2008, campaign stop)


No statements recorded. If you'd like to submit a statement to appear on this website, please email Kristin McCarthy.

Iran Nuclear Deal 

“It has to do with the incredibly dangerous place that this world is gonna be as a result of a deal in which we got nothing. We didn't even get four hostages out. We got nothing, and Iran gets everything they want. We said we would have anywhere, anytime negotiations and inspections, we gave that up. We said that we would make sure that they didn't have any nuclear capacity, we gave that up. The president can't tell you what we got. I'll tell you what the world got. The world has a burgeoning nuclear power that didn't, as the Soviets, say "we might defend ourselves in a war." What the Iranians have said is, "we will wipe Israel off the face of the map, and we will bring death to America." When someone points a gun at your head and loads it, by God, you ought to take them seriously, and we need to take that seriously.” (August 2015, Fox GOP Debate)

“It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.” (July 2015, Politico)

“‘Never again’ will be the policy of my administration and I will stand with our ally Israel to prevent the terrorists in Tehran from achieving their own stated goal of another Holocaust.” (July 2015, Politico)

“I tell you this, if I’m elected president of the United States, it is not a matter of political rhetoric, it is an absolute reality that the Iranians will not be able to have a bomb, and they will not be able to continue to threaten the peace of Israel.” (June 2014, Israel Day concert)

Voting Rights

"When I go to the airport, I have to get in the surrender position. People put hands all over me. And I have to provide photo ID in a couple of different forms and prove that I really am not going to terrorize the airplane. But if I want to go vote, I don't need a thing." (April 2014, Americans for Prosperity)

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

“Was there any indication that either one of these shooters were unable to board a plane? No, there was not. In fact, they were fully vetted. They were able to come back into the country. She had a passport, she had a visa. This nonsense, that, well, they wouldn’t have been able to buy guns. This is the false argument that this White House has made in an attempt to dodge the real issue." (December 2015, Fox News)

“Because if you equate same-sex marriage to a civil right- First of all, what an insult to African-Americans, who were hosed in the street, who were beaten, who were truly discriminated against, who were truly discriminated against with separate restrooms, separate drinking fountains, separate entrances. That was true discrimination and it was horrible. It’s hard to say that the redefinition of marriage is on the same basis as was racial discrimination throughout history.” (July 2015, Salon)

“I am deeply concerned about the rate at which young African-American males enter the prison system. As many African-American males have served in prison as have all whites both male and female, despite the significant population disparities between whites and blacks. While disproportionate crime rates are a factor, it is inescapable that we have a system where white kids from upper middle class families get probation and counseling, while young black kids get 108 years behind bars. Our system must have true justice and equality for all.” (April 2015, Brennan Center)


After being asked if surveillance of mosques goes against Muslim Americans First Amendment rights, Huckabee replied, “No, it does not violate their First Amendment rights to have someone go and listen to the sermons. You can go to any church in America, it's a public place, you can listen… So, if it's a public place, and people are invited to come, how does it violate anybody's First Amendment rights that somebody shows up because they might want to just listen in and see is there something that is a little nefarious? And, if there is, then you take the second step of getting a search warrant, you do whatever you have to do. That's all protected under the constitution… If Islam is as wonderful, and peaceful as its adherents say, shouldn't they be begging us to all come in and listen to these peaceful sermons? Shouldn't they be begging us all to come, and listen, and bring the FBI so we'd all want to convert to Islam? And, if we can't, if there's something so secretive going on in there that somebody isn't allowed to go and hear it, maybe we do need for sure to send somebody in there and gather the intelligence." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

“If this is so effective, why hasn’t it foiled potential terrorists plots?...If you have probable cause to suspect Chris Wallace is going to commit criminal acts you go to a judge and get a warrant. Then you can listen to his phone calls.” (May 2015, MSNBC)

“Frankly, there’s never been a time in my lifetime where people are more distrustful of government...If this is so effective, why hasn’t it foiled potential terrorist plots?...It seems like we’re spending billions of dollars on whiz-bang technology and not enough on human resources, which have proven to be the most effective way of stopping terrorism.” (May 2015, The Hill)

"There’s no doubt that intelligence gathering is vital to the security of all Americans, but there should be a balance between that protection and our privacy. However, Obama’s warrantless NSA spying program is more than just illegal, it’s an unconstitutional, criminal assault on our freedoms as Americans. As president, I will repeal this program and protect the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans." (May 2015, The Daily Signal)

If you’re upset about the NSA accessing your personal phone call data, cheer up: it’s perfectly constitutional...A ruling by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge Claire Eagan has just been declassified. That’s the secret court that oversees the NSA’s snooping, when the NSA bothers to tell them about it. Judge Eagan ruled that the NSA’s gathering of Americans’ private phone records didn’t violate the law or the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures because it’s authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Besides, not one of the phone companies that were asked to turn over customer records ever challenged it, so they must accept that it’s legal. The ACLU called that ruling “completely unpersuasive.” I’d say that it says more about the phone companies than it does the Constitution. But then, I would think it’s unconstitutional even to have a secret court that rules on citizens’ civil rights without them knowing it. So what do I know?" (September 2013, Facebook)

Community Policing

No statements recorded. If you'd like to submit a statement to appear on this website, please email Kristin McCarthy.

Bigoted Speech: Instances of Condemnation and/or Use

*The Arab American Institute is leading a campaign to hold public officials accountable for their bigoted rhetoric this election cycle. Join us by signing our Pledge to Combat Bigotry, and use #NoBigotry on social media to hold candidates accountable and thank candidates who stand against it.*

"@BarackObama's speeches are like @TSA pat downs, Arab relations & unrelated rashes. Painfully bad. But it will get worse. #SOTU" (January 2016, Twitter

"Why are Obama & Hillary more interested in protecting the image of Islam than protecting American women from rape by Middle East migrants?" (January 2016, Twitter

"Obama’s new domestic terrorism plan probably requires Americans to memorize Koran verses... Bomb-throwing Baptists, Anglican arsonists, or radicalized Roman Catholics don’t commit these atrocities—radical Islamic jihadists do. Yet this administration is so naive, they refuse to speak the truth about Islamic terrorism." (November 2015, Fox News)

"It's clear President Obama is more interested in appeasing America's homosexuals than honoring America's heroes. Veterans suicide is out-of-control and military readiness is dangerously low, yet Obama is so obsessed with pandering to liberal interest groups he's nominated an openly gay civilian to run the Army. Homosexuality is not a job qualification. The U.S. military is designed to keep Americans safe and complete combat missions, not conduct social experiments." (September 2015, Facebook)

“Children in Islamic countries are raised to believe that strapping a bomb to their bodies to kill Jews is a holy mission that brings rewards in the afterlife. And the world asks Israel to give up the land God gave them so their sworn enemies can get closer to their children’s schools, playgrounds, and bedrooms?” (February 2015, Medium)

“A lot of people are very naïve about the Middle East. Whether it is ISIS or Egypt or Iran all are tied together by one key fact. [The Islamists’ objectives] are not about territory. It’s about the annihilation of anyone who doesn’t agree with their ideology.” (September 2014, Washington Post)

"Can someone explain to me why it is that we tiptoe around a religion that promotes the most murderous mayhem on the planet in their so-called ‘holiest days’?  You know, if you’ve kept up with the Middle East, you know that the most likely time to have an uprising of rock throwing and rioting comes on the day of prayer on Friday. So the Muslims will go to the mosque, and they will have their day of prayer, and they come out of there like uncorked animals -- throwing rocks and burning cars."(August 2013, Huffington Post)

“If the purpose of a church is to push forth the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then you have a Muslim group that says that Jesus Christ and all the people that follow him are a bunch of infidels who should be essentially obliterated…” (February 2011, Fox and Friends)

“It is right for us to be on the offense against Islamofascism, and not wait until they attack us on our soil. Unlike any war we have ever fought in this nation, this is not a war for soil. It is a war for our soul. We will either win it or we will lose it. This nation must rally to the point where we recognize there is no compromise. There is no alternative. We must win; they must lose. Islamofascism must disappear from the face of the earth, or we will.” (February 2009, CPAC)

Immigration Reform

"It's embarrassing when a left-wing socialist French President shows strength and determination to eradicate animals who are slaughtering innocent civilians while our President lectures us on the moral necessity to open our borders to tens of thousands of un-vetted people from the Middle East. France has closed its borders and all President Obama wants to do is close Gitmo." (November 2015, Sunshine Summit)

"We are creating a low wage situation for Americans and we're doing it artificially by importing labor to drive wages for American workers lower than the dead sea... This notion that we've got to expand H1B is a huge, monumental mistake." (November 2015, Fox News)

“We’ve got to repeal Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders, oppose amnesty and secure the border.” (April 2015, Daily Caller)

“By securing the border and protecting American workers and their livelihoods, we’ll finally help every American earn his or her maximum wage.” (April 2015, Daily Caller)

“What we’ve got to do is to have a secure border fence, something I have proposed that we do within 18 months of taking office. If we don’t have a secure fence and have just this open door that people can come in and out at will, we’re never going to deal with this issue effectively and responsibly. And today, many Americans are angry not that people want to come here -- and I’m going to say it again -- people in this country are grateful to God they’re in a land that people are trying to break into and not one they’re trying to break out of. So it’s not that we’re building a fence so we can keep our people in or keep people out, but that people who do come here would have to come legally.” (January 2008, Republican primary debate)

“There can’t be an amnesty policy, because that’s an insult to all the people who waited, sometimes, ridiculously, for years, just to be able to make the transition here. If you can get an American Express card in two weeks, it shouldn’t take seven years to get a work permit to come to this country in order to work on a farm. So if our government is incapable of making that process in that length of time, then we should do it in a way to outsource it. And here’s why: When people come to this country, they shouldn’t fear. They shouldn’t live in hiding. They ought to have their heads up, because we believe every person ought to have his or her head up and proud.” (November 2007, Republican primary debate)