Former Arkansas governor, two-time Republican presidential candidate, and Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee is president-elect Donald Trump’s likely pick to be ambassador to Israel, according to the Daily Mail.
However, things don’t appear to be set in stone. A source within Trump’s transition team refuted the rumor to the Independent Journal Review. IJR had initially confirmed the Daily Mail’s report, but has since updated their story with the denial. An earlier version of this story also reported on IJR’s confirmation.
The Mail adds that Huckabee intends to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from its current location in Tel Aviv. “That’s going to happen,” the transition official told the Mail. “Governor Huckabee is going to see it through.”
The Jerusalem Embassy Act, which first ordered the move in 1995, has been delayed by three successive US presidential administrations, citing security concerns.
The move is deeply symbolic for the incoming Trump administration, as is the naming of Mike Huckabee. It confirms the president-elect’s campaign promises to certain communities concerned over America’s relationship with Israel. Many conservative Christians are so-called “Christian Zionists,” who support a Jewish state in Israel insofar as it aligns with certain biblical prophecies regarding the end of days.
Huckabee is a known proponent of Christian Zionism, though his welcome in Israel may not be so warm. Earlier this week the former Arkansas governor came under criticism for blaming some anti-Semitic graffiti at Northwestern University in Illinois on “Jewish liberals.”
He has previously asserted that Evangelical Christians are “more supportive of Israel than the American Jewish community.”