Former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) responded to Donald Trump’s attacks on his immigration record on Wednesday, in a video message posted on YouTube.
Trump has faced a backlash for comments he made about illegal Mexican immigrants during his presidential announcement speech. Perry was one of the first Republican presidential candidates to criticize Trump, telling reporters after his speech at the National Press Club that he did not think Trump’s remarks “reflect the Republican Party,” and then elaborating on that sentiment in a Fox News Channel appearance later that day.
Trump responded via Twitter, posting a tweet on Sunday saying that Perry had “failed at the border” and mocking his glasses:
Rick Perry failed at the border. Now he is critical of me. He needs a new pair of glasses to see the crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2015
On Wednesday, Perry released a three minute YouTube video, responding to Trump:
“Hey Donald. I saw your tweet the other day,” begins the video, with Perry looking directly into the camera, “but I think you might need to borrow my glasses to get a good look at the steps I took to secure the border while I was Governor of Texas.”
Perry goes on to tout his record in Texas, citing the nearly $1 billion Texas spent in border security efforts during his tenure as Governor. “I know that there can be no national security without border security,” says Perry.
“I also know that while border security might be Washington’s responsibility, it’s Texas’ problem,” he continued, mentioning how President Barack Obama had come to Texas for a Democratic Party fundraiser in Dallas, but refused to visit the border.
Perry cited the additional personnel he had sent to the border as part of a surge operation last summer, and noted that these efforts resulted in a 74 percent decrease in apprehensions as fewer people dared try to cross.
“Those are real results, not just rhetoric,” said Perry, who added that he knows that “securing the border is going to take a lot more than just building a wall,” including “personnel on the ground, aviation assets, quick response teams.”
He also directly addressed Trump’s original comments about immigrants near the end of the video:
I also know that your comments about Mexicans are offensive, and they don’t reflect the values of the Republican Party. Mexican-Americans have been a part of the fabric of Texas from the very beginning, and have fought on behalf of our state and our country, from The Alamo to Afghanistan.
Donald, you might want to take a trip down to Texas sometime to meet some of the Hispanic-Americans who’ve helped make our nation great, and to learn a little bit about what we need to do to secure our border with Mexico.
Otherwise, your remarks might make for good reality TV, but they’re way out of touch with reality. There will always be bad actors out there, and that’s why we need to secure the border once and for all, to protect all Americans from those who would do our country, and our citizens, harm.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.