Rick Perry will support Donald Trump if he’s the Republican nominee

Live, from Austin, Texas, Rick Perry was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today.

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Looking good.

Rested and ready but, yes, out of the race, and opening up with a salute to the quality of the sunsets in Round Top, the idyllic community to which he has repaired after leaving the race for president a little more than a dozen days ago.

It’s a pretty sunset on the house over in Round Top so my wife and I are enjoying that.

He was the first candidate to bow out of the crowded Republican field.

This week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker followed suit, saying:

Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.

I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner. This is fundamentally important to the future of our party, and, more important, the future of the country.”

Well, Perry was ahead of Walker, in leading by leaving, and also in calling out Donald Trump.

Perry’s exit was less surprising than Walker’s. He peaked four years ago. Walker peaked a few months ago.

Perry blamed the white noise of a crowded field and being under indictment.

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We always knew this was going to be a very steep hill for us to climb with 17, a total of 17  in the race. It became a lot of white noise if you will.

But we always knew ours was going to be a challenge. We had an indictment – still do – in Travis County. The most Democrat county in the state of Texas brought forward – it was a bogus indictment – but we knew it had to be removed last summer and it wasn’t so it really impacted our fundraising.

And money’s like fuel in an aircraft. If you’ve got your destination planned out right and you don’t have enough fuel to get there, you better have a diversion and we decided to make the  safe landing and live to fight another day.

Host Joe Scarborough interjected, “it’s kind of tough also when you have a guy in first place who is flying his plane upside down, not playing by the rules of the game. That had to be very frustrating as well.”

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Well the process is the process.

Democracy and the way it works is sometimes messy but it’s the best there is in the world compared to all the others. I don’t complain about those things. they are what they are. 

I have great faith the American people will get focused. They will choose an individual who can lead this country in some very, very trying times.

And we look around the world and see what’s happening in China, in the  Middle East, in South America even, and we realize we have to have someone who has some extraordinary experience governing. And that’s the reason that some of these governors I think initially, and I think at the end of the day, are going to be looked at very seriously because you don’t want an intern doing your heart surgery Joe, you want the best you can find.

Perry was asked about Carly Fiorina.

Well, I’ve been impressed with Carly for a long time. Back in the mid-2000s she was the head of Hewlett-Packard when Compaq in Houston was absorbing part of that HP process. We negotiated with each other and we became very, very good friends. I’m a great fan of hers. She is solid. She is steady. I have not heard a better closing statement, maybe in my lifetime, than what we saw in that last debate. She was very, very impressive.

Carly is an impressive leader. She is impressive on the stump. She is obviously a very, very capable debater and an individual that, you know, Americans are looking at right now and they’re liking what they’re seeing.

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Would he back Donald Trump – a man he called a “cancer on conservatism” – if he is the Republican nominee?


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Whoever comes out of that Republican field I’m going to be supporting.

When you look at the other side and see the alternatives, whether it’s Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, or some other candidate out there. I mean, that is – we’re going to be head and shoulders above them.

It’s going to be more of the same from the Democrats. They want more government, bigger government, more taxes. We’ve tried that for, well it will be eight years, and it has been an aboslute disaster and Americans are ready for some free market capitalism and really let this country really become what it can economically, because of that economic prowess to build our military back up  so that we have influence across the globe. The world needs a strong America.

Perry was asked about Dr. Ben Carson’s suggestion on Meet the Press Sunday that a Muslim ought not serve as president of the United States.

Perry said:

What I’m more concerned is these absolutes you get asked. We frankly don’t live in an absolute world. There’s a lot of gray out there, and I think what Dr. Carson was asked was an absolute question that you get asked about.

He got asked, “Would you vote for a Muslim?” I think that was the quote. And he gave an answer that was an absolute when it’s really hard to address those as absolutes, because the fact of the matter, if it’s someone who says the Koran is going to supersede the Constitution, then most Americans are going to say, “You know what. We have a problem with that because we put our hands on the Bible, we make a pledge to uphold the laws and the Constitution of the United States.”

Here is actual exchange between Chuck Todd and Ben Carson on Meet the Press.



Let me wrap this up by finally dealing with what’s been going on, Donald Trump, and a deal with a questioner that claimed that the president was Muslim. Let me ask you the question this way: Should a President’s faith matter? Should your faith matter to voters?


Well, I guess it depends on what that faith is. If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the constitution, no problem.


So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?


No, I don’t, I do not.


So you–


I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

Back to Perry:

I’ve got great faith in the American people to make a decision …. Let me just leave you with this.

Martin Luther said that I’d rather be ruled by a smart Turk than a stupid Christian.

Joe Scarborough: That’s a really good quote, governor.

Also, from what I could find, both widely cited and likely apocryphal.

From Wikiquote:

The earliest published source for such a statement yet located is in Pat Robertson — Where He Stands (1988) by Hubert Morken, p. 42, where such a comment is attributed to Luther without citation.

Another very popular but perhaps apocryphal Luther quote:

Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long, does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!

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Asked, what’s next, Perry said:

I’m going to stay engaged obviously. I care about where this country is headed. Any way I can participate to get America back on track, obviously

One of my passions is the military and how do we support those young men and women who are defending our freedoms around the world.

I can assure you that I will still be involved with Marcus Lutrell and his Lone Survivor Foundation with the brain research on PTSD.

(see the Dallas Morning News: Hope, Hype or Shaky Science? Texas taxpayers pay to spin vets in chair; Experts say $2.2 million paid for shoddy PTSD research)

There are a lot of things that are going to  keep me involved, engaged and busy, including those two beautiful grandchildren. And you know, our  daughter is going to get married sometime next year and I have a lot of great and good things going in my very blessed life. But being involved in this presidential election will be one of them. I will continue to be involved, engaged, watching closely  and at some point in time I may be asked to participate in an even more expansive role.

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Meanwhile, last night’s new South Park was entitled, Where My Country Gone?

In the episode (spoiler alert), Mr. Garrison whips South Park into a frenzy with rhetoric attacking a recent flood of illegal immigrants from Canada, and the political correctness that requires the school to respect the newcomers’ culture – by learning the Canadian alphabet and accepting the fact that each day at 8 and 11 they face east and play Chuck Mangione.

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Mr. Garrison and his angry legions head north to wreak havoc on Canada, only to be outraged to find Canada has erected a huge wall to keep Americans out.


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It turns out that Canada had elected as its new leader a demagogue who Canadian voters found entertaining until it was too late to stop him – thus the flood of Canadian refugees to South Park.


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Fox last night, however, was not to be outdone by Comedy Central.

On The Kelly File, National Review Editor Rich Lowery had this to say about Trump.


Let’s be honest. Carly cut his balls off with the precision of a surgeon. (Megyn Kelly- “What did you just say?”) And he knows it. He knows it. He insulted and bullied his way to the top of the polls and no one was able to best him ever until this tough lady on the stage. And it must be killing him. He must be simmering about it to this night.

And tweeting:

Author: Jonathan Tilove

Jonathan Tilove is the Statesman's chief political writer. He was a Washington correspondent for the New Orleans Times-Picayune from 2008 to 2012. Before that he covered race and immigration issues for Newhouse News Service for 18 years.

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