- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Michael Brown could have avoided being shot
- Huckabee also called the Congressional Black Caucus' protest "incredibly irresponsible"
- President Barack Obama, Huckabee said, shouldn't have invited "thugs and rioters" to the White House
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Wednesday that the African-American teen killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, "could have avoided that if he'd have behaved like something other than a thug."
Speaking on Newsmax TV, Huckabee said the evidence provided in the case surrounding officer Darren Wilson's shooting of Michael Brown suggests as much.
"It's a tragedy that the young man got shot, but this is a young man that just roughed up a store owner, just robbed a store, and now he's going after a cop's gun," he said.
"It's a horrible thing that he was killed, but he could have avoided that if he'd have behaved like something other than a thug."
Huckabee, a potential presidential contender, also slammed President Barack Obama for inviting "some of these thugs and rioters and mob members ... to sit down and have a conversation" at the White House, a reference to meetings the President held with young activists and community leaders, among others, this week.
"When people are breaking the law, they don't get an invitation to the White House. They ought to be getting an invitation to the big house," he said.
And he criticized the Congressional Black Caucus for protesting on the House floor Monday night by making the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture, which has become the rallying symbol of those protesting the events in Ferguson, and Wilson's acquittal by a grand jury.
"It's just incredibly dangerous that you have members of Congress on the floor of Congress holding up their hands in the 'hands up, don't shoot' position as if to say that somehow that is going to get you shot," Huckabee said.
"I'm going to tell you something: What gets you shot is when you grab a police officer's gun and you lunge at him and you try to hit him in the face," Huckabee added.
Brown's shooting exacerbated racial tensions in Ferguson and across the nation, sparking protests that grew violent last week after Wilson was acquitted.
Commenting on that unrest, Huckabee argued the "goings on that have happened in Missouri ... violates everything that [Martin Luther King, Jr.] gave his life for, which was nonviolent protest."
"This is just an anathema to everything that the civil rights movement was truly all about and what it accomplished," he added.