Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) on Friday rushed to the defense of Josh Duggar, the eldest child of the family made famous by TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” who is now publicly facing allegations that he molested young girls when he was a teenager.
“Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable,'” Huckabee wrote in a Facebook post. “He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story.”
The Christian, ultra-conservative Duggar family endorsed Huckabee during the 2008 election cycle and did so again when he announced his 2016 campaign this month, after backing former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) in 2012. Endorsements from parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar currently have top billing on Huckabee’s campaign website.
The allegations against Josh Duggar surfaced Thursday when tabloid magazine In Touch published a 2006 police report showing Duggar was investigated for sex offenses, including allegedly fondling five underage girls, that occurred from 2002-2003. Duggar, now 27, was 14 years old when he allegedly committed the offenses. He was never charged with any crime.
Duggar said that he “acted inexcusably,” without elaborating, in a statement issued to People magazine later Thursday. He also resigned his position as executive director of the anti-gay Family Research Council’s lobbying arm, FRC Action.
In his Facebook post, Huckabee repeatedly bashed the media for showing “insensitive bloodthirst” in dredging up things that occurred when Duggar was underage.
“Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things,” he wrote. “The reason that the law protects disclosure of many actions on the part of a minor is that the society has traditionally understood something that today’s blood-thirsty media does not understand—that being a minor means that one’s judgement is not mature.”
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Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.