ADDISON, Texas — Shortly before former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) announced he was running for President, Breitbart Texas interviewed Taya Kyle, the widow of Chris Kyle, Navy SEAL and author of American Sniper. Kyle was in Addison to show her support for Perry, along with several other military heroes like Marcus and Morgan Luttrell.
Chris Kyle was the most lethal sniper in American military history and was tragically murdered in 2013 by a veteran who he was trying to assist with PTSD related issues. His autobiography, American Sniper, was turned into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starting Bradley Cooper. The film was nominated for six Oscars and won one for Best Sound Editing. Since his death, Taya Kyle has worked to support veterans’ causes in honor of her husband. Earlier this year, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) signed a proclamation recognizing February 2nd as Chris Kyle Day.
As Breitbart News reported, Kyle announced her support for Perry in late May. In an email sent by RickPAC, a Super PAC supporting Perry, Kyle wrote how she had gotten to know Perry and his wife Anita “outside the public eye” and appreciated their “humility and commitment to doing the right thing for people regardless of who gets the credit.”
Kyle is not yet sure what role she might want to play in the campaign moving forward, but the decision to support Perry came easily and naturally to her. Kyle told Breitbart News that she has known the Perrys for several years, and “has a lot of respect” for Perry, and “to me, it’s important to respect the wife too, honestly, and I have a lot of respect for Mrs. Perry as well.”
“Something that I’ve struggled with for awhile is looking at our country voting on sound bites, and to me, character is really important,” continued Kyle, explaining more about why she was endorsing Perry.
“And so, for me to sit home quietly when I know there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that the Perrys have done for people, things that I have really respected them for, to not say something about that, I feel would be neglectful on my part, really.”
Perry is one of only two Republican presidential candidates with military experience, having served in the Air Force, flying missions in Europe and the Middle East in the 1970s. “He does have the military experience, which I think is really nice,” said Kyle, acknowledging Perry’s work supporting veterans’ causes in general, as well as the relationship he had formed with several individual service members.
Once of those individuals is retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, who was also at Perry’s announcement along with his twin brother and fellow SEAL Morgan. Luttrell authored a book, Lone Survivor, which also became a hit movie. The Perrys befriended Luttrell when he returned to Texas after his service and was suffering from PTSD. They invited him to live with them in the Texas Governors’ Mansion while he readjusted to civilian life. Perry referred to him as a “second son” to him and Anita in his announcement speech.
Kyle shared with Breitbart News her gratitude for the love and support her family had received from people all over the country who had read Chris’ book or saw the movie.
“The response has been really wonderful, in that I feel like people know that [Chris’ story] is the story of so many veterans, and it’s one of the reasons that I wrote American Wife. There are so many layers to this story for veterans, and their spouses, and their families, and it resonates with people because it’s their story too, truly.”
She did note that the fame and media attention “doesn’t affect our daily life, you know what I mean? We’re still doing laundry and cleaning house.”
“I also feel like [Perry is] the type of person who can stand up for what’s right for people, and not be so swayed by every little bit of minutiae that comes his way,” said Kyle, echoing some of the populist themes that would shape Perry’s remarks.
“It’s important to me that he answers to a higher power,” added Kyle, who has spoken openly of her Christian faith. “I think that’s maybe why he’s humble, I don’t know…but to me that’s important.”
In American Sniper, Chris Kyle mentions his religious beliefs multiple times, describing how his faith was a comfort to him during his combat service and has continued to shape his worldview. “I was raised with, and still believe in, the Christian faith,” he wrote. “I am a strong Christian. Not a perfect one — not close. But I strongly believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible.”
Read Breitbart News’ detailed coverage of Perry’s announcement here.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.