- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was criticized by the public, former diplomats, historians, and former government officials when he said German chancellor Angela Merkel “must have” felt “awkward” attending a ceremony commemorating D-Day and the collapse of Nazi Germany.
- Critics quickly pointed to the German government’s efforts over the last several decades to take responsibility for the Holocaust, as well as Merkel’s long history of adhering to that goal.
- Huckabee’s remarks also drew scorn given US President Donald Trump‘s history of defending white supremacists, particularly after the Charlottesville riots in 2017.
- “There’s one Nazi sympathizer in that photo and it ain’t Merkel,” one user wrote.
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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was roundly criticized when he tweeted Wednesday that German chancellor Angela Merkel “must have” felt “awkward” attending a ceremony commemorating D-Day and the collapse of Nazi Germany.
“Must have been an ‘awkward’ moment for Angela Merkel to sit in ceremony as the Allies commemorated D-Day that broke the back of Nazi Germany,” wrote Huckabee, the father of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and a former Republican presidential candidate.
Must have been an "awkward" moment for Angela Merkel to sit in ceremony as the Allies commemorated D-Day that broke the back of Nazi Germany. https://t.co/pnNGCoD3B0
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) June 5, 2019
The tweet from Huckabee, who is a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, drew immediate and swift backlash from former diplomats and government officials, as well as the general public.
Ben Rhodes, a key adviser to former President Barack Obama, defended the German chancellor in a tweet.
“Merkel has been going to these events for years and accompanied President Obama to Buchenwald,” Rhodes wrote. “She should be celebrated for her grace, her fidelity to the US alliance, and her defense of the values that the D-Day ceremony represents.”
World leaders convened in France and Britain this week to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the June 1944 allied landings in Normandy during World War II. Merkel, who was born in communist-controlled East Germany a decade after D-Day, spoke at the events, calling it a “gift of history.” She expressed gratitude that as Germany’s leader she could join the Allies to “jointly stand up for peace and freedom today.”
James Fallows, who worked as former President Jimmy Carter’s chief speechwriter, said Huckabee’s comments were “despicable.”
“The forthrightness of German governments of the past 70 years, and of huge majority of the German public, in facing responsibility for the Holocaust, the Nazi era, and the war does them enormous credit – and sets a standard for other [governments],” he wrote.
Others pointed out Merkel’s history as a staunch anti-fascist, as well as Germany’s process of reconciliation for Nazi crimes.
Pitiful tweet. NO country in the world has internalised the lessons of Naziism/Fascism/20th century like Germany. https://t.co/VUo2GahCjs
— Peter Foster (@pmdfoster) June 6, 2019
Merkel grew up in East Germany, quite literally among the ruins of what Nazism wrought. She's been an avowed anti-fascist her entire life and dedicated years to combatting Far Right extremism. This is an imbecilic statement, Governor. https://t.co/vYmFs011gs
— Mike Stuchbery???????? (@MikeStuchbery_) June 6, 2019
Despicable ignorant godawful rubbish. Germany is one of the most moral nations on earth precisely because it acknowledges the horrors of its past. That takes a degree of honesty and courage this man could only dream of. https://t.co/3PKOsqwX3e
— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) June 6, 2019
Huckabee’s remarks also drew scorn given Trump’s own rhetoric defending white supremacists, particularly after the deadly Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville in 2017.
Must have been most awkward for Trump since he thinks there are "very fine people on both sides" https://t.co/NGZYIguIMM
— İyad el-Baghdadi | إياد البغدادي (@iyad_elbaghdadi) June 6, 2019
She's not the one leader in this picture who defended people who march with Nazis. https://t.co/KWWGI8plxX
— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) June 5, 2019
There's one Nazi sympathizer in that photo and it ain't Angela Merkel https://t.co/oIChV1Q02C
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) June 5, 2019
Mike Huckabee might not realize this, but German society undertook massive education of the public to know that what they did under Nazism was wrong, to their national shame, and they should be glad to have been defeated.
U.S. failed to do the same with the Confederate legacy. https://t.co/ii8Jgw03cL
— Eric Kleefeld (@EricKleefeld) June 6, 2019
- Read more:
- Trump calls Pelosi ‘Nervous Nancy’ before a somber D-Day commemoration at an American cemetery in Normandy
- These haunting photo overlays capture the horrors of D-Day, which happened exactly 75 years ago
- D-Day by the numbers: Here’s what it took 75 years ago to pull off the biggest amphibious invasion in history
- He parachuted into Nazi-occupied France as a 22-year-old American soldier. 75 years later, he did it again.