After Josh Duggar addressed accusations that he molested five underage girls as a teen, 2016 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has spoken out in support of his longtime friends the Duggars.
“Janet and I want to affirm our support for the Duggar family,” began Huckabee, 59, in a lengthy statement on his Facebook page. “Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable.’ He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities.”
As Josh, 27, told PEOPLE in a statement Thursday, he and his family “spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling.”
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Huckabee went on to say, “No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story,” adding that “good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things.”
The former Arkansas governor also condemned those behind releasing the sealed police reports for their “insensitive bloodthirst, for there was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past.”
Concluded Huckabee, “We have been blessed to receive God’s love and we would do no less than to extend our love and support for our friends. In fact, it is such times as this, when real friends show up and stand up. Today, Janet and I want to show up and stand up for our friends. Let others run from them. We will run to them with our support.”
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Huckabee has known the Duggars – and been especially close to Josh – since the late 1990s, when patriarch Jim Bob was in the Arkansas legislature and would have Josh, then just a young boy, tagging along to the state capitol with him.
The family campaigned for Huckabee in his 2008 presidential bid, and the politician has already won the Duggars’ endorsement for his 2016 race for the White House.
Back in January, Huckabee questioned the Obamas’ style of parenting while praising the Duggars, telling PEOPLE: “I’ve pointed them out as an example of something that’s wholesome and wonderful.”