Dave McNeely

Let's talk about former GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rick Perry, and their crisscross attitudes toward eventual nominee Donald Trump.

Perry was against Trump, but now he's for him. Cruz said he was a fan of Trump, but definitely isn't now.

Maybe that has something to do with Perry having a higher favorability than Cruz in a recent poll in Texas.

Some history:

Cruz won the Republican primary in 2012 to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, by upsetting then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in 2012, in a runoff. He easily won the general election and went to Washington.

His arrogant, aggressive obstruction quickly made him the least-liked senator by Democrats – and Republicans. And, it was obvious he was more interested in running for president than being a senator.

On March 23, 2015, he became the first to announce for the GOP nomination, at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

Perry announced on June 4, 2015, in a broiling hangar in Addison, against a backdrop of a C-130 cargo jet like he'd piloted in the Air Force.

On June 16, Trump announced his candidacy – referring to Mexican illegal immigrants as drug smugglers, criminals and rapists. He called the nation's leaders "stupid" and "losers," and bragged about his wealth, smarts, and business success.

Univision and NBC canceled the Miss USA pageant he owned, over the Mexican comments. Macy's dropped his line of suits and ties.

But the outlandish Trump totally stole the spotlight from presumed favorite Jeb Bush's announcement the day before.

Cruz chose to buddy up to Trump, praising him during most of 2015 – hoping to inherit Trump's avid supporters when Trump eventually dropped out.

Perry, however, became the first GOP contender to call out Trump, after Trump, on July 18, questioned Arizona Sen. John McCain's hero status despite five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Four days later, on July 22, before the Opportunity and Freedom PAC forum in Washington, D.C., Perry likened Trump to a dangerous political disease.

“He is without substance when one scratches below the surface. He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: A toxic mix of demagoguery and mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued,” Perry charged.

“Let no one be mistaken — Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.”

The same day, on Fox's Hannity show, Cruz praised Trump.

"He’s bold and brash, and he’s willing to speak the truth. And he’s taking on the Washington cartel," Cruz said. "I've been proud to defend him for focusing on illegal immigration."

As it turned out, Perry was the first to quit the race – due to inability to raise campaign funds after his "Oops!" run for the 2012 nomination. He suspended his candidacy on Sept. 11, 2015.

As late as December 11, Cruz was still complimenting Trump, referring to him in a tweet as "terrific."

Come 2016, things began to go south in the Cruz-Trump bromance.

Perry endorsed Cruz on Jan. 24, and began actively stumping for him.

In March, Trump started calling Cruz "Lyin' Ted," accusing Cruz of fraud after campaign workers during the Jan. 30 Iowa caucuses reportedly spread a rumor that fellow candidate Ben Carson was quitting the race.

Then, Trump's troops circulated on social media an unflattering picture of Cruz's wife Heidi.

That was followed by Trump talking up on Fox News a newspaper article that said Cruz's dad Rafael was with Lee Harvey Oswald days before Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

The accusation, based on a report in the sensationalist National Enquirer, owned by a Trump cohort, finally did it for Cruz. On May 3, the day he finished the Indiana primary well behind Trump, he told the press Trump was an incurable pathological liar and narcissist.

Three days later, with Cruz out of the race, Perry endorsed Trump on May 6.

At the Republican National Convention in late July, Trump allowed Cruz to make a prime-time speech. At its close, when Cruz told delegates to "vote your conscience" rather than endorsing Trump, he was resoundingly booed.

Questioned about his non-endorsement at a Texas delegation breakfast the next morning, Cruz said "I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father." More boos.

A Public Policy Polling survey released Aug. 17 showed Cruz pretty safe for re-election in 2018 – unless Perry were to run. The poll showed Perry with 46 percent to Cruz's 37, with 18 percent undecided.

Perry's shown no interest in the senate – so far. But he still obviously wants another political job. We'll see what happens when the presidential dust clears after November.

 

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Contact McNeely at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 512/458-2963.


EDITORS: For quick action, call my cell at 512/751-3540.

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