Huckabee, a former Baptist minister who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, added that he and his wife have tithed at least 10% every year since they were broke, young newlyweds. Asked if there was any public record of his charitable giving, he offered to forward an email from his accountant. (He did: the email stated that Huckabee had donated 11.05% of his taxable income in 2014, and 11.82% in 2013.)
“It’s a matter of authenticity,” said Huckabee, who was careful not to call out Cruz by name. “If I say I’m a vegan but you look at me eating hamburgers and ribeye every night you’re going to say, ‘I don’t think this guy’s really a vegan.’”
Ben Carson, another candidate who has invested heavily in appealing to religious voters, declined to comment directly on Cruz’s tithing but highlighted his own giving — without providing specifics — in a statement to BuzzFeed News.
“Since tithing is a personal commitment between oneself and God, I wouldn’t begin to speculate on someone else’s faith or devotion,” Carson said. “I know that tithing and charity are deeply important to me, and I have always been committed to giving back to the Lord and to the community. Every voter will have to decide for themselves what they are looking for in a leader. But I hope that they will see in me a man who has always led by example, and always stayed true to his commitment to God.”