Former Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas has called upon the GOP to unite behind presumptive nominee Donald Trump, despite his reservations about the business mogul.
On May 4, Huckabee issued a statement declaring his support of Trump. He also urged defiant Republicans of the #NeverTrump movement to wind down their resistance, the Washington Times reports.
The former governor declared the GOP primary all but finished following the Indiana primary May 3.
“The combination of Donald Trump’s blowout of the Indiana vote and Ted Cruz’s decision to end his campaign put the lid on the nomination,” Huckabee wrote. “Donald Trump will be the 2016 nominee, and I predict he will defeat Hillary Clinton and be the 45th president of the United States.”
Huckabee has previously touted that Trump would be the most formidable Republican candidate against the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. In March 2016, the former governor challenged the wisdom of Clinton’s pollster and top strategist, Joel Benenson.
The Clinton pollster had told Politico that Trump would not have a viable path to winning the general election. Benenson said that he could not see “any state that Democrats have won five out of six times, or six out of six times, that Trump […] poses a threat in.”
Huckabee pointed to Trump’s surprise momentum in the GOP primary as evidence that Democrats were underestimating the business mogul. The former governor had himself mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination but dropped out following the Iowa contest.
“I’m not sure what they’re smoking over there in the Clinton camp,” Huckabee said. “Everybody said Donald Trump wouldn’t come, they said, he couldn’t get past August or the early controversies […] well, he’s outlasted all of us and I think they’re gonna underestimate Donald Trump’s candidacy at their own peril.”
The former governor added that Trump would cut into the Democrat vote, making him Clinton’s “worst nightmare.”
Fast Forward to post-Indiana, and Huckabee has pledged to help Trump “defeat Hillary Clinton and I call upon all fellow Republicans to unite in defeating Hillary and abandoning and repudiating the hapless ‘Never Trump’ nonsense.”
Huckabee proceeded to list off his disapproval of Trump’s stances, while still praising him as the choice of the Republican voters.
“Is Donald Trump as pro-life as me?” Huckabee wrote. “No. Is he as solid on the marriage issue as me? No. Does his position on Israel come from a deep conviction both politically and Biblically? No. But neither did Ted Cruz’s. And much to my chagrin, the voters didn’t accept my message, but his.”
Huckabee’s request that the #NeverTrump give into Trump as their nominee appears unlikely to be granted. Following the business mogul’s win in Indiana, a number of Republican operatives blasted his inevitable nomination, many posting images of burning their GOP voter registration cards, according to the Independent.