Jon Huntsman leveled harsh criticism at his party on Sunday evening, BuzzFeed's Zeke Miller reported, comparing the Republican Party to communist China and questioning the strength of this year's presidential field.
During an event at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, Huntsman spoke candidly about his party's flaws, lamenting the Republican National Committee's decision to rescind an invitation to a major fundraising event after Huntsman called for a third-party candidate to enter the race.
"This is what they do in China on party matters if you talk off script," Huntsman said.
Huntsman, a former Utah governor who dropped out of the GOP primary in January, served as U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama.
He also criticized the Republican candidates' foreign policy stances, particularly in regard to China.
"I don’t know what world these people are living in," Huntsman said.
Although Huntsman did not mention any specific candidates, he has criticized Mitt Romney in the past for his "wrong-headed" approach. Huntsman, who endorsed Romney after dropping out of the race, said in February that the former Massachusetts governor should take a more opportunity-minded view to relations with China.
Huntsman also spoke on Sunday about his presidential candidacy, revealing that he was less than impressed by his fellow candidates when he attended his first debate in August.
"Is this the best we could do?" Huntsman said he asked himself.
He also joked that his wife forbade him to pander to the party's far-right contingent ahead of Iowa's caucuses, which likely hurt him with conservative voters in the Hawkeye State.
“She said if you pandered, if you sign any of those damn pledges, I’ll leave you,” Huntsman said. "So I had to say I believe in science -- and people on stage look at you quizzically as though you're ... an oddball."
Huntsman, however, did not actively campaign in Iowa, telling CBS News in December that "they pick corn," not presidents, in that early caucus state.
Since dropping out of the race, Huntsman has remained critical of his former opponents and has remained lukewarm in his backing of Romney.
"Gone are the days when the Republican Party used to put forward big, bold, visionary stuff," Huntsman said during the February interview with MSNBC that got him disinvited from the RNC fundraiser. "I think we're going to have problems politically until we get some sort of third-party movement or some alternative voice out there that can put forward new ideas."
And unlike others in his party who have endorsed Romney, Huntsman has refrained from appearing at campaign events on behalf of his party's likely nominee. According to his daughter, Abby Livingston, he won't be joining Romney on the trail anytime soon.
“My dad is not a surrogate for Romney and will not be out stumping for him in the general,” she told ABC News earlier this month. "He is enjoying private life.”
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place