A wise man once said, “Everything Trump touches dies.”
With a hat tip to the ever-eloquent Mr. Rick Wilson, I’m going to take on the painful task of laying out the next profile in cowardice.
When I decided to begin this series, I knew I was biting off a lot. So many have fallen under the weight of partisanship. So many in the Republican party have sold their souls to the curse of Trumpism.
It’s not easy to admit that I was as duped by partisanship as any glassy-eyed Trumpster, for many, many years. I toed that party line faithfully, and truly believed that only Republicans were fighting for the glory of God and country.
I used the term, “Demoncrats” often.
I had conservative heroes, whose words would stir in me such patriotic fervor! They had me convinced, beyond all doubt, that if we were to keep this nation on the right path, we would have to fight the scourge of liberalism and vote Republican, no matter what!
Of the many, I can say that one man in particular earned all my trust and an over-abundance of admiration: former Texas Governor Rick Perry.
To me, Governor Perry had it all. He had a solid record and 14 years of leadership over the 12th largest economy in the world. He presided over the economic boom that was (and still is) Texas.
I loved hearing Perry’s speeches about the promise of America. I loved hearing him expand on his belief in the right to life, as well as his faith in God.
In reality, I still love going back and hearing those speeches.
I was in attendance at the 2015 “We Stand With God” South Carolina rally, where Perry spoke with such fervor about God’s providence over our nation. It wasn’t a political talk. It was all about God’s goodness, and it was 15 minutes of awesome.
When Governor Perry took his first shot at the presidency in 2011/2012, he stumbled in a debate exchange with Mitt Romney. He had his “Oops” moment in front of that debate crowd and from that moment, the naysayers determined that “oops” was all he had to offer.
If you ever wonder if the media or most voters care more about optics than results, this was a perfect example.
Fox News, the alleged “conservative” alternative to mainstream media, rushed to pound that moment into the minds of their viewers. It’s a point they never loosened their grip on.
In 2015, Perry decided to take another shot at the presidency. After 8 years of Barack Obama’s oppressive liberalism, it was time for a strong conservative hand back at the helm.
Governor Perry had been preparing for this moment. He was healed from the debilitating back problem that had tripped up his 2012 chances. He had made all the right moves to get his name circulating in the right circles, with international trips, speeches and political wheeling-and-dealing galore.
There are few politicians who are better at retail politics than Rick Perry.
When Donald Trump entered the already bloated field of Republican contenders in the 2016 race, it was seen as a novelty, especially when he began attacking every other contender. It wasn’t the usual primary banter. It was just ugly. Trump trashed men and women who were far better, far more accomplished in their fields, and far more honorable than himself.
Trump and Perry had a particularly rancorous feud.
In July 2015, while giving a speech to the Opportunity and Freedom PAC, Governor Perry coined the phrase “Trumpism,” and spoke prophetically about what we see in the GOP today.
“Let no one be mistaken Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised, and discarded,” Perry said during a speech in Washington, D.C. “It cannot be pacified or ignored for it will destroy a set of principles that has lifted more people out of poverty than any force in the history of the civilized world and that is the cause of conservatism.”
“Donald Trump the candidate is a sore of division, wrongly demonizing Mexican Americans for political sport,” Perry said. “It is wrong to paint with a broad brush Hispanic men and women in this country who have fought and died for freedom from the Alamo to Afghanistan.”
Perry also likened Trump to the defunct “Know-Nothing” party that carried strong anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic sentiments. Perry said he, “scapegoats Hispanics to appeal to our worst instincts.”
Perry stated Trump was “born into privilege,” and “couldn’t have endured for five minutes what John McCain endured for five-and-a-half years,” causing the audience of roughly 50 to burst into applause.
He was absolutely correct.
When Perry finally dropped out of the 2016 race, he threw his support behind fellow Texan (and first Profile in Cowardice subject), Senator Ted Cruz. I wasn’t happy about it. For starters, I desperately wanted Perry to stay in and fight it out, or even to consider an independent run.
Secondly, I’d already seen what a weasel Ted Cruz was, at that point. He’d spent months cozying up to Trump, playing the doting sidekick. He couldn’t be trusted. Why would a man of Perry’s stature attach his star to that opportunist?
And then Cruz fell.
The cancer of Trumpism had taken hold. It had won the day, and with the help of GRU, it took the nation.
The last thing I expected was for Governor Rick Perry to fold. Even if he rode off into the sunset to enjoy his retirement from the cesspool of politics, that would have been preferable. He’s a man who has set a high bar for conservatism, and his successful tenure in the executive branch of Texas politics, as well as across the global market would not be forgotten.
At least, it wouldn’t have been, had he chose principle over party.
When Donald Trump won the presidency, he began a process of parading bested opponents through his court, dangling Cabinet positions like the proverbial carrot in front of their dazed eyes.
Mitt Romney was considered briefly for Secretary of State. Images of the two clinched close over dinner made the rounds, before the now-Utah Senator was booted from the running.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was probably subjected to the most demeaning course of servitude to Trump’s ego, as he groveled and hoped for the Attorney General post.
That went to Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, and given Sessions’ subsequent treatment, Christie should consider the snub a blessing in disguise.
When it became Perry’s turn to feed on the crumbs from the gilded toad’s table, he was offered the position of Secretary of Energy.
Was it ridicule or simply a lost irony?
Remember the previously mentioned 2011/2012 debate flub?
The Department of Energy was one of the three departments Rick Perry had promised to end, had he been successful in his 2012 bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Further, the Department of Energy was the department he forgot in his infamous “oops” debate moment.
Whatever the situation may have began with, it ended with Perry falling in with the sycophants Trump had chosen to surround himself with. He took the job. He did not end the department.
For most part, Secretary Perry kept his head down, doing little to draw attention to himself, unlike so many others in Trump’s cadre of misfit clingers. When he did choose to speak up, however, it was an utter embarrassment and a blemish on the man’s reputation as a solidly principled leader.
One for instance came in November 2019, when Donald Trump looked upwards and referred to himself as “the Chosen One.”
Many were aghast at such scandalous self-worship. Perry, on the other hand, was ready to back him up, and in a later interview agreed that, indeed, Trump was chosen by God.
I think back to the months and months of prayer calls, throughout Perry’s campaign and well beyond, where I and other supporters prayed for a miracle for Rick Perry and our nation. We believed him to be a godly and virtuous man, as well as a strong leader.
How the mighty have fallen.
It should have stopped there, but it didn’t.
After President Trump was impeached and his trial began, there were many MAGA players involved in the quid pro quo attempt involving Ukraine.
Our president and his lackeys attempted to extort political help against Joe Biden from Ukraine, by holding up desperately needed foreign aid. It was a move that only served the interests of Russia, and it put our allies in a precarious position.
Ambassador Gordon Sondland named the aforementioned lackeys in his testimony against Trump. Of those named, Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s involvement was most surprising.
While he dutifully toed the party line and denied any wrongdoing, he resigned his post as Energy Secretary shortly afterwards.
Why? He’s already ruined his reputation. He’s already been implicated in a conspiracy of corruption. He is tainted by the very cancer he once called out with such fire.
I’m guessing that he was jumping ship before things sunk any further.
Rats do that.
I have to thank Mr. Perry. He taught me a valuable lesson.
You don’t make heroes out of politicians.
Will he have to answer for his part in the Ukraine scandal? For the time being, it doesn’t look like anyone is pressing the issue. A complicit Republican-led Senate whitewashed the episode and gave Trump an acquittal. The scoundrels and thugs involved in the whole, sordid affair have scrambled.
Except for Trump and Rudy Giuliani, that is. They simply doubled down.
I suspect, however, that should Perry or anyone else attempt to carry on in the open, they’ll find themselves being ground under the wheels of the Trump bus.
If it happens to Rick Perry, I doubt I would feel sorry for him.
You reap what you sow.