Mike Huckabee managed to be racist, transphobic and anti-democratic in a single tweet. The backlash was blistering

Mike Huckabee

In a sad attempt at conservative humour, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has managed to be racist, transphobic and anti-democratic with a single tweet.

Huckabee, 65, father of former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, came under fire for saying he would start identifying as Chinese to get freebies from American corporations.

“I’ve decided to ‘identify’ as Chinese,” he tweeted on Saturday (3 April). “Coke will like me, Delta will agree with my ‘values’ and I’ll probably get shoes from Nike and tickets to Major League Baseball games. Ain’t America great?”

Mike Huckabee’s tweet appears to be criticising companies that have come out against the bill known as SB 202, or the Election Integrity Act of 2021, which makes sweeping changes to almost every part of Georgia’s voting and election system.

Civil rights groups have denounced the law, calling it a form of “modern day voter suppression” that disproportionately targets people of colour.

Mike Huckabee has a long history of attacking minorities, especially LGBT+ people. His latest remark is particularly insidious at a time when hate crimes against trans people and Asian-Americans are on the rise.

2020 was America’s deadliest year on record for transgender murders; meanwhile there were 122 incidents of anti-Asian American hate crimes in 16 of the country’s most populous cities in 2020, an increase of almost 150 per cent.

The New Georgia Project, a voting rights group based in Georgia, called Huckabee’s tweet “openly racist,” while others described it as “hateful,” “disgraceful” and “antithetical to the gospel“.

Actor and activist Patricia Arquette also joined the chorus of criticism. “Elderly Asian women are getting beaten up on the street and you say this?” she asked.

But the most satisfying clapback came from Democrat Ted Lieu of California.

The Asian-American politician told Huckabee that Coke, Delta and Nike do indeed like him – “but it’s not because of my ethnicity. It’s because I’m not a s**thead like you who is adding fuel to anti-Asian hate.”