Mike Huckabee has added to the furore Rep. Todd Akin unleashed with his ‘legitimate rape’ comments by pointing out that ‘extraordinary’ people can be born out of ‘forcible rape’.
The one-time presidential candidate made the claim, which will no doubt stoke the fires of outrage, on his radio show on Thursday as he gave the beleaguered Akin a platform to explain his comments.
‘Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape,’ Huckabee said of the late singer, as reported in the Los Angeles Times.
Stoking the fires of outrage: Former Arkansas Governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has said ‘forcible rape’ creates ‘extraordinary’ people as he defends Rep. Todd Akin’s rape comments
‘I used to work for James Robison back in the 1970s. He leads a large Christian organisation. He was the result of a forcible rape.’
He added: ‘I know it happens, and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, those people are able to do extraordinary things.’
Akin, a Republican who is running for Senate in Missouri, stunned Americans when he explained his opposition to abortion for pregnancies caused by rape on KTVI-TV in St. Louis at the weekend.
‘It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,’ he said. ‘If it’s a legitimate rape the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.’
Beleaguered: Rep. Akin claimed in cases of ‘legitimate rape’ most women can’t get pregnant
Akin has since apologised and shrugged off suggestions his comments could destroy his Senate bid, saying he is not the first politician to suffer from ‘foot-in-mouth disease’.
He appeared on Huckabee’s syndicated radio show on Thursday night, where the host took the chance to cast the best possible light on the candidate’s position.
Huckabee, who previously helped the congressman kick off his campaign, moved on swiftly from his ‘extraordinary’ people comment – but it was not missed by listeners.
‘Mike Huckabee has mastered the art of sounding genial while being mean spirited. The aware aren’t fooled sir. Not fooled at all,’ Twitter user S. Anthony Thomas wrote.
Glenn Moye added: ‘According to Mike Huckabee, rape can actually be a GOOD thing. Maybe we need MORE “forcible” “legitimate” rape.’
On his show, Huckabee was referencing earlier comments made by Texan televangelist James Robison, whose mother had been raped.
‘My mother was a practical nurse and was raped by the alcoholic son of the elderly man she cared for,’ Robison told the Christian Broadcasting Network. ‘It was a forced – I don’t think we would call it violent – but he forced his affections on her, and at age 40 she conceived me.’
He added that he later confronted his father, but that his adoptive parents helped him find God.
‘So here I sit as a product of rape, but I had an encounter with God,’ Robison said.
Huckabee’s other reference, Ethel Waters, was also the product of rape; her mother, believed to have been around 13 years old, was raped by a family friend and Waters was born in 1896.
Her father had no part in her upbringing and she later recounted a miserable childhood in poverty.
The poorly-judged comments come as Mitt Romney revealed he will not join the growing clamour for Akin to drop out of the U.S. Senate race in Missouri.
‘We’ll leave that to others to sort out,’ Stuart Stevens, Romney’s chief strategist, said.
Romney had previously told the National Review: ‘Congressman Akin’s comments are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong. Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.’