Ultra-conservative former US presidential candidates quietly visit Estonia

The ultra-conservative former US presidential candidates, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, quietly visited Estonia in August; there is no information on why and whether they had any official meetings with their likeminded politicians in Estonia.

Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and a pastor, and Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, evidently visited Estonia on 11 August as part of their own Baltic Experience cruise.

Already in October 2018, Huckabee tweeted, “Want to actually collude w/ Russia in a GOOD way? Cruise w/ me to the Baltics next Aug-we have entire ship and we’ll visit St. Petersburg, Estonia, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden.”

According to the cruise website, anyone could’ve joined the two former presidential candidates in their all-inclusive Baltic cruise for at least USD5,250, but for up to USD11,995, depending on the cabin on the ship.

An excursion in “Talinn”

“If you have traveled with us before, you already know that all-inclusive means exactly that and there are no surprises along the way,” Huckabee wrote in a personal message on the website. “The Baltic Experience will be no different. We’ve included shore excursions in all ports but Gotland. And when the weather is often unbearably hot throughout most of the US in August, we will be enjoying the cool and delightful weather that makes travel in the Baltic region perfect.”

The cruise ship docked in “Talinn” on 11 August, according to the website.

“Talinn, Estonia Set off on a narrated walk through the medieval maze that is Old Town Tallinn. Drive past ancient ramparts and soaring towers into Upper Old Town. Then, continue on foot up Toompea Hill to Palace Square, where the baroque fortress of Toompea Castle still dominates the city.

“Follow narrow ways to reach the Russian Orthodox Nevsky Cathedral, heralded for its golden icons and elaborate mosaics. A short walk from here lies St. Mary’s Cathedral, a gothic masterpiece also known as the Dome Church. Enjoy an inside visit before continuing to a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the rustic medieval rooftops of Lower Old Town.

“Take a few photos before strolling to Town Hall Square, home to the oldest surviving Town Hall in the Baltic countries. Shop among the many local merchants and stop for coffee and pastries at a local café before a short drive takes you back to the port.”

No comment from the Estonian government

Considering both Huckabee and Santorum are ultra-conservative, it’s peculiar they visited Estonia a few months after the far-right EKRE party had been included in the Estonian governing coalition by prime minister Jüri Ratas.

Estonian World reached out to the press office of the Estonian government, asking whether any official meetings took place while Santorum and Huckabee were here, but within 48 hours, the press office failed to reply.

Another question that lingers is, why would the two Republican Party members visit Russia during the time when the Donald Trump administration is under scrutiny for allegedly colluding with Russia during the last presidential election in 2016.

The separation of church and state makes Santorum puke

According to the US-based website, ThinkProgress, “The timing of Santorum’s and Huckabee’s visit is, to say the least, odd. Special counsel Robert Mueller recently laid out for Congress the myriad ways Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and plans to interfere in the next election, as well. U.S.-Russian relations continue to deteriorate across other fronts, from arms control to security concerns.”

Rick Santorum ran for US president in 2012, and finished second in the Republican Party primaries after Mitt Romney. Santorum is infamous for, in 2012, blurting out that the separation of church and state “makes me want to throw up”. He opposes abortion and equal marriage.

Mike Huckabee ran for the Republican Party presidential nomination twice, in 2008 and 2016. He’s a Baptist minister and the former governor of Arkansas. He opposes equal marriage, has criticised the actress, Natalie Portman, for having a child out of wedlock, and believes abortion should be legal only when the mother’s life is in danger.

Cover: Rick Santorum (second from left) and Mike Huckabee (second from right) on a Baltic tour. Courtesy of Twitter.