In June of 2015, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry delivered the kind of speech that candidates for president generally have a difficult time walking back. Speaking to something called the Opportunity and Freedom PAC, he ripped into his rival, Donald Trump, as a “cancer on conservatism” that “must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.” He was a “sower of discord,” Perry said, who “foments agitation, thrives on division, scapegoats certain elements of society, and offers empty platitudes and promises.” Trump was a “barking carnival act,” and “Trumpism, as he defined it, was a “toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.”
Perry hasn’t always been on the mark in his life. At Texas A&M he once got a D in “Meats.” (It’s actually a hard class. Whatever.) But he was right about Trump!
And then, not long after, he endorsed his old rival; took a job in his administration as secretary of energy; and spent several years running around Ukraine doing the president’s dirty work and trying to get his friends rich. One man’s barking carnival act is another’s Cirque du Soleil. Perry stepped down in 2019, but his efforts on behalf of Trump evidently continued. On Friday, CNN reported that in the aftermath of the November election, Perry pitched a radical plan to help his boss overturn Joe Biden’s victory:
Members of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol believe that former Texas Governor and Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry was the author of a text message sent to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows the day after the 2020 election pushing an “AGRESSIVE (sic) STRATEGY” for three state legislatures to ignore the will of their voters and deliver their states’ electors to Donald Trump, three sources familiar with the House Committee investigation tell CNN.
This is, of course, the strategy the White House ultimately pursued all the way up to January 6th. Perry has denied sending the message. CNN reports it came from the cell phone number on file for his Department of Energy email address. Maybe he got a D in OpSec too.