Mike Huckabee reacted to University of Virginia students defacing the statue of their college's founder, Thomas Jefferson, and tagging him as a "racist" and "rapist."
A common criticism of Jefferson that may have led to the epithets is the report that he fathered a child with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings.
Huckabee said the bright spot in the criminal activity at UVA was courtesy of the college president, Theresa Sullivan, who denounced the vandalism.
"She stood up to the simple reality," he said. "Thomas Jefferson was a flawed man but also a great man."
He asked why the objecting students decided to attend UVA while it was Jefferson who founded the Charlottesville, Va. school, questioning whether they are ignorant of their own university's history.
"Only Jesus measures up to the person without sin," he added.
Huckabee said that statues don't "hurt us," but that what does hurt is human beings who try to erase "every vestige of who we once were and who we are."
"If we're not going to listen to our history, that's a dangerous thing," he said.