Prominent Republican Mike Huckabee served less than 24 hours on the board of the Country Music Association’s (CMA’s) charitable foundation before resigning under pressure, The Washington Post is reporting. Huckabee blamed leftist “bullies” for his exit, and said, “hate wins.”
Huckabee was appointed to the CMA’s charitable arm on Wednesday, along with singer Chris Young. However, Huckabee’s appointment was met with derision almost immediately, particularly from manager Jason Owen, whose roster of artists includes Faith Hill, Kacey Musgraves, and Little Big Town.
In a letter to CMA chief executive Sarah Trahern and Director of Community Outreach Tiffany Kerns, Owen, who is openly gay, noted that Huckabee has made statements, and supported legislation, that has been seen as anti-LGBTQ.
“I have a child and two on the way. This man has made it clear that my family is not welcome in his America. And the CMA has opened their arms to him, making him feel welcome and relevant.”
Huckabee has, for example, compared same-sex marriage to incest and polygamy. Similarly, Huckabee famously supported Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
For these reasons, Owen said, he was withdrawing his support from the CMA charity.
“It is with a heavy heart that I must let you know moving forward, [my companies] will no longer support the CMA Foundation in any way.”
Also of concern to Owen is Huckabee’s support of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which has come under fire in recent days following the Parkland, Florida school shooting. The gun-rights organization has steadfastly refused to support any new gun laws in light of the shooting, and several corporate and business partners with the organization have cut their ties. Huckabee has called them “cowardly.”
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) March 2, 2018
Less than 24 hours after being appointed, Huckabee tendered his resignation, which the CMA accepted.
In a statement on his website, entitled “Hate Wins,” Huckabee blamed “bullies” for his swift departure from the charity.
“The message here is ‘Hate Wins.’ Bullies succeeded in making it untenable to have ‘someone like me’ involved.”
The CMA Foundation, according to its website, seeks to provide money for music education. Since 2001, the organization has distributed about $20 million in grants.
Huckabee, for his part, has always had a love for music. In a rare move for a conservative, Huckabee has supported music education through the National Endowment for the Arts and has been an avid bass player since the age of 11. He often joins guests artists on his show for impromptu jam sessions.
The CMA foundation, for its part, has always attempted to be apolitical.