Last Friday, Mike Huckabee was on CNN, where he was asked to respond to the latest news surrounding Pope Francis’ meeting with embattled Kentucky clerk Kim Davis. You can read his remarks below:
KATE BOLDUAN: Another issue, a very important issue for you and this all happened in the last minutes. Kim Davis’ meeting with the pope, Governor, the Vatican, just a short time ago put out a statement to kind of pushing back on the meeting saying that, yes, that — acknowledging they met but saying that shouldn’t be seen as an endorsement of her position. When she left that meeting, she seemed to think that the pope was supporting her and telling her to stay strong. What do you make of the Vatican’s pushback on that? Because this is something so near and dear to your heart.
MIKE HUCKABEE: Well, we know the pope told ABC’s Terry Moran that people have a right to religious liberty. He said that to him on the plane back to Rome. This morning, Matt Staver, the head of the Liberty Council, who is Kim Davis’ attorney, also released a statement, and clarified the meeting happened at the invitation of the Vatican. It wasn’t initiated by Kim Davis or her attorneys. It was a private meeting. It wasn’t one of a long line of people lined up. It was private. A car was sent for her. They took her to the Vatican embassy in Washington. The meeting was held. It was very personal, very private. I wasn’t in the meeting. I couldn’t tell you exactly what happened. And I couldn’t explain why, after some clarity about the meeting, the Vatican seems to be pushing back other than, there has been an uproar from many people, especially on the left, who don’t like Kim Davis, who don’t appreciate that she took a stand for her conscience, and maybe there’s just a feeling that the Vatican doesn’t want to engage in controversy. But I think the pope made it clear, that he does support religious liberty, he does support the notion that a person has a right to express their conscience. And he called it, by the way, not a religious right but a human right, something bigger than just the laws of one country, one state, one city.
Huckabee also discussed the controversy on Newsmax TV:
STEVE MALZBERG: [A report says] there’s a ‘sense of regret’ that the pope ever met with Kim Davis.
MIKE HUCKABEE: Yeah, that’s very interesting because that seems to be coming out of left field. Heres why – I talked to Mat Staver, Kim Davis’s attorney. He confirmed with me just this morning, the Vatican invited her, Kim Davis. And it was a private meeting. It wasn’t that she was in a long line of people who just went by and shook hands. It was a private meeting with no one but she, her husband, and the pope, and one of his personnel. In addition to that, they sent a car to come pick her up and take her over to the Vatican embassy. He affirmed with her her right to religious liberty, and then on an airplane between Philadelphia and Rome, he told ABC’s Terry Moran that he believed that religious liberty is a human right that transcended all laws. So I don’t know what this spokesperson said, but I know what the pope said to Terry Moran, and I don’t think Terry Moran is out there trying to shill for Kim Davis.
Thomas Valentine is a researcher for APIA and a junior at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.