Jim Gilchrist at Laredo, Texas, rally (WND photo)
The surprise decision this week by Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist to endorse the candidacy of Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has a drawn sharp reaction from within the Minuteman movement, which split two years ago over funding.
Chris Simcox, founder and president of the Minuteman Civil Defense League called Gilchrist’s endorsement of Huckabee “unwise.”
“Jim Gilchrist speaks only for himself – not for my organization and not for the Minuteman movement,” Simcox told WND.
Gilchrist’s The Minuteman Project and Simcox’s Minuteman Civil Defense League are completely separate organizations of citizen volunteers seeking to curb illegal immigration.
“What raised everybody’s ire was when the media came out and said the Minutemen support Huckabee,” Simcox said. “No, the Minutemen don’t support Huckabee. Jim Gilchrist supports Huckabee. This endorsement threatens to destroy Gilchrist’s credibility and the credibility of his organization forever.”
Similar to Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani, Gilchrist told WND his support of Huckabee was calculated to back a “least worst” choice who still has a chance to win.
“Let’s cut to the chase here,” Gilchrist told WND in a telephone interview. “If the electorate wants a choice between Giuliani and Hillary, all they have to do is get rid of Huckabee and those will be our two choices. It’s as simple as that.”
Asked why another candidate could not emerge for the lower tier just as Huckabee has, Gilchrist indicated it likely is too late.
“Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter have been the key leaders on Minutemen issues,” he said “But we need to support someone else when Tancredo and Hunter are down at 1 or 2 percent support in the polls with only eight weeks left in the primaries.”
Simcox took exception with the new nine-point strategy for immigration enforcement and border security Huckabee currently has posted on his website, arguing the former governor’s record in Arkansas provides no confidence he actually would enforce the plan.
“Huckabee would be the last of any candidate out there I would endorse personally or that my organization or PAC would ever endorse” Simcox told WND. “I have no trust or confidence Huckabee will help the Minutemen solve the problem we have organized to solve.”
Simcox pointed to Tancredo, Hunter and Ron Paul as “the candidates who have been true to the Minuteman movement for years.”
“These three brought us to the dance and supported us all along,” he said. “Those are the candidates our volunteers are out there working to elect, not Mike Huckabee.”
William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration, or ALIPAC, agreed with Simcox.
“Jim Gilchrist does not speak for almost any of the rest of us,” Gheen told WND in a telephone interview. “There is a great sense of disappointment in the movement over what he has done here.
“Gilchrist has endorsed a pro-amnesty immigration candidate,” he said.
In a letter posted on the ALIPAC website, Gheen argues Huckabee’s “Secure America Plan” is a warmed-over version of the “touchback” proposal advanced unsuccessfully by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., in the 109th Congress.
“Huckabee’s new plan is nothing more than a ‘shamnesty’ proposal,” Gheen wrote, “which grants amnesty to illegal aliens who sign up with the government and then leave the U.S. for a day or two and later on pick up new documents across the border to walk back in and say, ‘Look at me!’ I came in legally this time!”
“We denounce Jim Gilchrist’s solo endorsement of a pro-amnesty Open Borders candidate for President,” Gheen’s letter reads. “Mr Gilchrist does not speak for us!”
Gheen said Gilchrist doesn’t consider that Huckabee “may be one of the last choices the globalists who favor illegal immigration have.”
“Sure, Huckabee will talk border security now,” Gheen said. “But once Huckabee gets elected, it will just like it was when he was governor of Arkansas. It will be back to open borders and support for illegal immigrants, just as the globalists want.”