Mike Huckabee isn’t coming to Medieval Times in Buena Park until November, but the political jousting over his appearance is already underway. The former Arkansas governor is the special guest speaker for the city’s 40th annual mayor’s prayer breakfast dubbed “Faith in Life and Leadership.” The event touts Huckabee as a renowned author, television host and ordained pastor; why he’s even an advocate for arts education in schools and raises money to buy musical instruments for students–who knew?
But Orange County Democrats don’t regard Huckabee so rosily and, instead, see an opportunity to pounce on their Republican rivals before his scheduled Nov. 15 arrival.
Sunny Park, a Democrat running for city council in District 1 against mayor Virginia Vaughn, criticized her opponent for extending the invitation. “The Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast is supposed to be an inspirational community event that involves Buena Park residents, clergy, and others in celebration of the holiday season,” says Park in a statement. “By inviting a polarizing and hyper-partisan figure to our city who regularly engages in hateful and bigoted rhetoric against the immigrant community and minorities, Mayor Vaughn has shown a commitment to partisan politics instead of bringing people together. Mike Huckabee does not reflect the values of Buena Park and I join many others in calling on Mayor Vaughn replace him as the keynote speaker at this year’s breakfast.”
The Weekly contacted Vaughn for comment on the criticism, but received no response by press time.
It’s not just Buena Park city council races where Democrats are storming the castle on Beach Boulevard before Huckabee comes to town. Gil Cisneros, a candidate in the 39th congressional district that includes Buena Park, added a little “Hear ye, hear ye,” himself and put forth a challenge to Young Kim, his Republican opponent, who’s also a Vaughn supporter. “Mike Huckabee has used ugly and divisive rhetoric against Latinos, Asian-Americans, African-Americans, the LGBTQ community, and women,” said Cisneros in a statement. “No one should be made to feel marginalized because of the color of their skin, the religion they believe in, their socioeconomic status, or who they love. I strongly condemn Mike Huckabee’s hateful rhetoric, and I’m calling on Young Kim to join me in denouncing his bigotry and discrimination.”
Waiting for Kim to join Cisneros’ call is like waiting for storefronts to actually fill up The Source OC down the street from Medieval Times.
Before Huckabee’s prayer breakfast appearance, he infamously tweeted out a photo of MS-13 gangsters in June and pegged them as Democratic house minority leader Nancy Pelosi’s blue wave “campaign committee.” Many rightly saw the tweet as racist; Huckabee insisted it was satire. The Southern Baptist pastor also only lasted a day before resigning from the Country Music Association Foundation’s board in March following criticism of his anti-gay politics. In the past, Huckabee likened same-sex marriage to incest and polygamy while deeming homosexuality “sinful.”
Come to think of it, maybe Huckabee’s medieval mind will feel right at home at Medieval Times. No word yet if attendants of the mayor’s prayer breakfast will have to eat the first meal of the day with their hands.
Gabriel San Roman is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and tallest Mexican in OC.