Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, despite a strong job-creating record in Texas, became the first Republican contender to suspend his 2016 campaign on Friday. In an exclusive interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity Monday night, Perry revealed what he believed were the two most damaging factors that led to his tough decision.
The first bullet, Perry explained, was the indictment leveled at him from the Travis County District Attorney‘s office.
In April 2013, Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg was pulled over for a DUI. The videotaped arrest showed an intoxicated Lehmberg being uncooperative with the authorities, stumbling and stuttering incoherently. The footage prompted Gov. Perry to call for her resignation and threatened to halt funds to segments of her office if they didn’t comply. The DA office fired back with an indictment, claiming the governor was misusing government property and coercing Lehmberg to resign. Perry said those charges were unfair and his administration was successful in getting one charge thrown out.
Yet, the governor admitted the damage was already done:
“This drunk DA that had used this office we think for political purposes” had a “corrosive effect” on his ability to raise money, Perry said.
“The political opponents did their damage,” he added.
Hannity agreed with the governor:
“We seem to be criminalizing political differences,” Hannity said. “I thought the indictment was unfair.”
Tom DeLay knows exactly how Perry feels. For years, the Republican representative from Texas felt the wrath of political opponents who accused him of accepting illegal campaign contributions. After a decade, the case was finally dismissed as a dud by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Perry also said that his missing the main debate stage Aug. 6 had a negative impact on his campaign fundraising. He compared the unfortunate sequence of events to flying an airplane:
“When you run into unexpected headwinds you better find a safe place to land, and that’s what we did last Friday.”
The next question, inevitably, is now that he’s out of the race, who will he endorse for the White House? According to his comments on the campaign, it seems whoever he believes to be the candidate who can rise above the entertainment value of it all.
“This has become reality TV, rather than serious.”