Former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was criticized on Twitter Saturday after tweeting a photo of five tatooed Hispanic men using what appears to be MS-13 gang hand signals.
"Nancy Pelosi introduces her campaign committee for the take back of the House," the tweet said.
MS-13, a gang present in the United States, Mexico, Central America and Canada, mostly has members from Central America, particularly El Salvador. The group has been a flashpoint for Americans concerned about undocumented immigrants committing crimes in the U.S., including President Donald Trump, who regularly refers to members of the gang as "animals" and has also accused democratic leaders of leaving the nation's borders vulnerable.
The tweet comes as heated immigration debate rages throughout the U.S. over the Trump administration's controversial zero tolerance immigration policy.
Trump signed an executive order Thursday to put an end to the policy of separating families at the U.S. border and called on Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform.
Television anchor and correspondent Soledad O'Brien called Huckabee's tweet bigoted.
Adam Davidson, a staff writer at the New Yorker, compared the tweet to Nazi propaganda about Jews.
CNN news anchor Jake Tapper retweeted a tweet by Politico reporter Marc Caputo, also calling Huckabee’s comments bigoted.
Senior editor at the Atlantic Adam Serwer said the tweet inappropriately jokes about Latinos and Democrats.
Political analyst Jeff Greenfield called the tweet a departure from Huckabee’s attitude toward immigration reform when he ran for president in 2008.
The tweet was not only met with criticism. It was liked by over 9,000 Twitter users as of 11:30 a.m. Saturday and retweeted over 4,043 times, including by Trump's oldest son Donald Trump Jr.
This is not the first time Huckabee has spoken publicly about the recent immigration debate. In a post on his website Wednesday, Huckabee blamed democrats and the media for the debates surrounding Trump's immigration policies, specifically citing audio ProPublica obtained of crying children who have been separated from their parents.