PHOENIX — Former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Republican nominee Donald Trump needs to show a poised restraint in the third presidential debate on Wednesday night.
“I think he’s got to go into this maintaining an equilibrium, not letting himself take the bait,” Huckabee told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.
“I don’t care what [Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton] says to him, he should not get on the defensive. He needs to quickly pivot, turn it back to Hillary.”
Huckabee said voters want to hear Trump talk about the future of the nation and the economy rather than attack others for what they’ve said about him.
“I get what he’s up against and it’s an incredibly daunting task, but he just needs to be reminded: Nobody cares what the Clintons have done to him, what the media has done to him,” Huckabee said. “They care what this insider, incestuous government has done to them.”
Huckabee said that same principle applies to the GOP. He said nothing good will come of Trump using debate time to bash his own party, some members of which have distanced themselves in recent weeks after concerns of Trump’s comments toward women made national headlines.
“Let some of the rest of us go out there and point out the hypocrisy of some of these folks whose own lives who are not that pure and they’re running from Donald Trump because of things he said and did 30 years ago,” Huckabee said.
The former Arkansas governor also said Trump needs to cut back on the “Clinton deserves to be in jail” rhetoric.
“He doesn’t need to step across that line where he would call for her to be imprisoned or prosecuted because that’s a bridge too far for him in this debate,” Huckabee said. “I’m not saying it shouldn’t happen, I’m just saying he’s not the one to call for it and he certainly shouldn’t do it in this debate.”
Instead, Huckabee wants to see a poised Trump attack Clinton on the issues and her history.