At a campaign stop in Clinton, Iowa on Tuesday, Gov. Mike Huckabee shared some interesting thoughts on child abuse—namely that the worst kind is abortion, he argued, not the kind of child abuse perpetrated by Josh Duggar, i.e. molestation of family members or child pornography addiction.

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“You talked about the children,” a woman asked during the “Huckabee Huddle” event at a local diner, captured on video by American Bridge 21st Century, a progressive super PAC.“What’s your views on child abuse?”

“I don’t know of anybody who is for it,” said Huckabee. “I think it’s an abominable practice. Anyone who would abuse a child. I think the ultimate form of child abuse in this country is abortion. It’s the most irreversible form of child abuse. But the abuse of any child, regardless of what age, is an unacceptable—”

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“How come you supported them?” the woman followed up. “You support it on your websites. When the Duggars came out and the son had molested their child you more or less said you felt sorry for their parents. Their parents let it continue for over two years.”

“You don’t—ma’am, I’m sorry. Let me stop you because you’re accusing me of supporting child abuse. I’m gonna take you on on that because that hurts my feelings,” he said, speaking over the woman. When she tries to argue, he interjects harshly, demanding that she let him finish.

“I never supported anything that happened to those daughters,” Huckabee said. “I supported the fact that those daughters were maliciously and savagely abused not just by their brother, but by the news media who exploited them for their own purpose without regard for what it was doing to those young ladies.”

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“You don’t know what those parents did and how they worked to try to take care of their entire family,” he continued. “You come in here to confront me, which is fine, but you cannot abuse, which is what you’re doing, the reputation of a godly family who had been through hell because a son of theirs, one of their many children, did something evil and sinful that nobody is backing up and supporting. But I would support any family who tries to work through their problems under the grace of God.”

Huckabee threatens to throw her out if she asks another question, and the audience erupts in applause.

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Huckabee’s campaign has not responded to request for comment.


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.