Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) just took his feud with real-estate magnate and GOP presidential rival Donald Trump to the next level.
Perry, who has repeatedly denounced Trump in recent weeks, prepared a more than 3,000-word speech to blast the rival Republican presidential candidate in the harshest terms on Wednesday — even comparing him to a “cancer” and “false prophets.”
“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, according to a transcript of his prepared remarks. “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 — the cause of conservatism.”
Perry’s speech criticised Trump for almost all of his recent controversies. For example, Trump ignited a media firestorm last weekend when he initially questioned Sen. John McCain’s (R-Arizona) war record before acknowledging him as a war hero “because he was captured.” McCain’s plane was shot down during the Vietnam War, and he spent more five years captive.
“Donald Trump was born into privilege,” Perry said Wednesday. “He received deferments to avoid service in Vietnam. He breathes the free air thousands of heroes died protecting. And he couldn’t have endured for five minutes what John McCain endured for five and a half years.”
“But most telling to me is not Mr. Trump’s bombast, his refusal to show any remorse for his comments about Senator McCain, but his admission that there is not a single time in his life that he sought the forgiveness of God,” he added. “A man too arrogant, too self-absorbed, to seek God’s forgiveness is precisely the type of leader John Adams prayed would never occupy the White House.”
Perry also whacked Trump for his heated remarks against illegal immigration. While on the campaign trail, the real-estate developer often accuses the Mexican government of intentionally sending its “rapists,” drug runners, and other criminals to the US.
Many rival candidates, including Perry, have called Trump’s remarks offensive to Mexican immigrants. In his Wednesday speech, Perry likened Trump’s advocacy to the US’ 19th century “Know Nothing” movement, which opposed Catholic immigrants from Ireland and Germany.
“These people built nothing, created nothing,” Perry said. “They existed to cast blame and tear down certain institutions. To give outlet to anger. Donald Trump is the modern-day incarnation of the ‘Know Nothing’ movement. He espouses nativism, not conservatism. He is negative when conservatism is inherently optimistic.”
Perry also compared Trump to Joe McCarthy, the conspiratorial senator infamous for his quest to out communists in 1950s American society.
“I can only ask as Senator Welch did of Senator McCarthy, ‘Have you no sense of decency, sir?'” Perry asked. “My fellow Republicans, beware of false prophets. Do not let itching ears be tickled by messengers who appeal to anger, division and resentment. Resentment is the poison we swallow that we hope harms another. My fellow Republicans, don’t take the poison.”
The Wednesday speech was hardly the first time Perry attacked Trump. In recent days, Perry has called for Trump to withdraw from the race, denounced his “toxic” ideology, trolled him on Twitter, released a straight-to-camera video criticising him, and more.
Trump has responded by repeatedly mocking Perry and by accusing his anti-Trump campaign of being an attempt to lift his sagging poll numbers. On the campaign trail, the real-estate developer repeatedly blasts Perry’s “terrible” record securing Texas’ border with Mexico. Trump even openly questioned Perry’s intelligence.
“He put glasses on so people will think he’s smart. And it just doesn’t work! People can see through the glasses,” Trump mused during a Tuesday campaign speech. “He used to be really a nice guy. He used to come see me for contributions and support. All of a sudden he wants to show he’s a tough guy with Trump.”
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