Mike Huckabee hadn't even marked 24 hours in his new position as a board member of the CMA Foundation when he abruptly stepped down Thursday, a result of backlash to his appointment by country music fans and industry members who criticized some of the former presidential candidate's stances (most notably on the LGBT community) and his ties to the NRA. "The CMA Foundation has accepted former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s resignation from its board of directors, effective immediately," said a CMA rep, per the Tennessean. In the past, Huckabee has tied legalizing gay marriage to incest and polygamy, as well as railed against adoption by same-sex couples, CNN notes. This backstory spurred critics to push back on Huckabee's involvement with the foundation as it grows music education programs across the country.
"A grossly offensive decision" was one reaction, from Jason Owen, the openly gay co-president of Monument Records. "What a terrible disappointment," said Whitney Pastorek, the manager of Sugarland's Kristian Bush. Huckabee posted his resignation note on Twitter, tweeting, "Gee, Anthony 'The Mooch' Scaramucci lasted longer than me!" He was more serious in his post, titled "Hate Wins." "I genuinely regret that some in the industry were so outraged by my appointment that they bullied the CMA and the Foundation," he wrote. He noted his music and education background and says he hopes "the entertainment industry will become more tolerant and inclusive and recognize that a true love for kids having access to the arts is more important than a dislike for someone or a group of people because of who they are or what they believe."