Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. speaks in Hanover,… (Cheryl Senter / Associated…)
Former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. is stepping back from his remarks drawing a link between the Republican Party and China’s Communist Party, made during a candid media interview Sunday.
During an appearance at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, Huntsman expressed his thoughts on being disinvited from a Florida fundraiser in March after he made a call for a third party to join the standard two-party mold.
"This is what they do in China on party matters if you talk off-script," he said.
Huntsman said Monday morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he was "waxing philosophical," and accused Buzzfeed, which originally reported his remarks, of taking them out of context.
"I said, you know, if you're not on-script and you get knocked out of an event like that, the parties are supposed to be big-tent, you're supposed to bring in all ideas,” Huntsman said on the show. "And I said I thought for a moment about what they do in China if you go off-script. The party, they knock you out. We shouldn’t be doing that here, we should be accommodating all voices."
His criticisms of the Republican Party weren't limited to the its leadership though, as his views on its field of presidential candidates were equally clear from his remarks Sunday.
"Is this the best we could do?" he said he remembered asking himself during an August presidential debate in Iowa.
When asked about the candidates' stances on China, where he served as U.S. ambassador under President Obama, Huntsman said, "I don't know what world these people are living in."
The former governor of Utah dropped out of the presidential race on Jan. 16 after poor showings in nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. He won just 0.6% of the vote in Iowa and finished third in New Hampshire, despite focusing all of his resources there.
Huntsman partially credited his poor showing in Iowa to his wife, Mary Kaye.
"She said, 'If you pandered, if you sign any of those damn pledges, I’ll leave you,'" he said jokingly. "So I had to say I believe in science, and people on stage look at you quizzically as though you’re an oddball."