Voters turned away from Donald Trump last week because they hate Congress, not the president, said Mike Huckabee.
The former Arkansas governor, and father of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, described slam-dunk Democrat victories in New Jersey and Virginia as merely a vote against America’s least-loved institution, not its least-loved president.
“Was that a repudiation of President Trump? I think not,” Huckabee told Fox News on Sunday.
“I think it’s a repudiation of a completely inept Congress who has so far failed to deliver on even the simple things like tax cuts and tax reform, which ought to be an easy layup for Republicans in Congress,” he added.
Huckabee’s take on the Democrat election wins has some basis in reality, given that few Republicans can pull off Trump’s brand of populism, nativism, nationalism and xenophobia because few are as charismatic as the outsider president, as the New York Times put it.
But whatever the cause, Democrats saw the big victories in Virginia and New Jersey as a political sea change and a mandate for change.
“Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we will not condone hatred and bigotry, and to end the politics that have torn this country apart,” gubernatorial winner Ralph Northam said in his victory speech on Tuesday night after defeating Republican Ed Gillespie.
For his part, Trump also said the Democratic sweeps stemmed from candidates who tried to distance themselves from Trump and Trumpism.
“Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for,” Trump tweeted after Gillespie’s loss.