Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee’s debate tweet evoking a racial stereotype of dog-eating Koreans has caused a swift backlash on social media as the candidate tries to defend his remark, the New York Daily News reported. Adding to the online outrage is the irony that his tweet came only four minutes after he tweeted about the problem of racism in America.

“I trust @BernieSanders with my tax dollars like I trust a North Korean chef with my labrador,” Huckabee wrote on Twitter during the debate, the Daily News reported. His previous tweet stated, “Racism exists because we have a sin problem in America, not a skin problem."

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Huckabee’s words were especially alarming to animal rights activists who had once accused the candidate’s son, David Huckabee, of torturing a stray dog to death in 1998, according to the Daily News, which added that the allegation forced the 17-year-old out of his counselor position at a Hatfield, Arkansas, Boy Scout camp.

As Tuesday’s debate ended, Huckabee returned to Twitter to walk back his remark by tweeting, ““Poor liberals think it’s racist to deplore a brutal dictatorship,” the Daily News reported, but this attempt at damage control was too little, too late as social media was already abuzz with Huckabee detractors using the hastags #Huckabee and #DemDebate to air their disgust.  

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Twitter user Timothy Thelen (@timmthelen) tweeted, “I’d trust Chris Christie with my cheeseburger before I’d trust Mike Huckabee with the White House,” while Gene Fox Jr. (@genefoxjr) wrote, “Huckabee has dropped out. He just doesn’t know it yet.” Hello Peril (@jestom) tweeted directly to the former governor with, “Suddenly, I’m hungry for @GovMikeHuckabee’s labrador."