"We’re going to be doing some fundraising but more importantly, I’ll also be visiting with a number of officials and discussing the Iranian deal," the Republican presidential candidate said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "I think it is the most dangerous situation that we face, not just for the Middle East but for the rest of the world for a long time. This is essentially arming and equipping a terrorist state."
Huckabee said he will leave Tuesday. The candidate also announced leadership teams in those states Sunday; he has 139 leaders, including 71 county chairpeople, in Iowa, and 141 leaders in 32 South Carolina counties. Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses in 2008.
Huckabee said that he will be in Israel only for "a couple of days" but that it is important to discuss the nuclear deal. He did not say with whom he plans to meet.
"This is essentially arming and equipping a terrorist state. The Iranian government is not to be trusted," Huckabee said. "For 36 years, they have kidnapped Americans. They have killed Americans. They hold Americans hostage right now. And we're being pushed to go into a deal that gives us nothing but gives the Iranians the capacity to ultimately end up with a nuclear weapon, and that's just insane."
Huckabee has visited Israel for decades and ferries paying guests around the country. This trip will be focused on meetings, Huckabee spokesman J. Hogan Gidley said.
"This isn't a departure from the (campaign) trail. This is the trail," Gidley said of the Israel trip, because it underscores how Huckabee's support for Israel is a "cornerstone" of his presidential campaign.
Huckabee was also asked about the case of an 11-year-old Paraguayan girl who said she was raped by her stepfather and denied an abortion. The girl gave birth this week.
Huckabee said that the case in Paraguay is a "terrible tragedy" but that an abortion should not have been permitted. The girl was 10 when she was raped; her stepfather was arrested in May and her mother was charged with negligence. Huckabee recounted the story of his former boss, whose mother was raped and tried three times, unsuccessfully, to have an abortion.
"A 10-year old girl being raped is horrible but does it solve a problem by taking the life of an innocent child?" he asked. "It isn't easy. I wouldn't even pretend it's anything other than a terrible tragedy. But let's not compound the tragedy by taking another innocent life."