Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), who was a candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, endorsed fellow Texan Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for president.
Transcript as follows:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC HOST: Joining us now from Austin, Texas, former presidential candidate and former governor of Texas, Republican Rick Perry. And this morning he is announcing his endorsement for president, of a fellow Texan. Sir, why don’t you take it away? Who are you endorsing?
RICK PERRY, FORMER GOVERNOR OF TEXAS: Mika, it’s good to be with you. Thank you.
Senator Cruz and I have spent some quality time together over the course of the last 60 days. And I really didn’t know Ted Cruz. I mean, he was the solicitor general, I was the governor. I had a caricature of him, here’s what the media said, here was the media narrative, here was the political lens that I saw him through. And what I found after I spent some time with him, both in direct conversation and then on the phone over the course of the last month, is this is a different person by a substantial margin. This is probably the best listener that I’ve ever been around in the political world. Truly listens. He’s not just being quiet, he’s processing.
BRZEZINSKI: I don’t think people on Capitol Hill think he listens very much. In fact, I don’t think he’s very popular on Capitol Hill and I’m just wondering if it’s lonely on that island you’re on.
PERRY: Yes, and courage is something he’s not lacking in. And courage is doing what’s right even when it’s not popular.
Mika, I will remind you, back my first term as governor, my first session as governor, I vetoed 82 bills, which was a record. And people said oh my god, you’ve ruined your political life, it’s all over with, you can’t get along with the House and Senate. But what it was doing, it was setting a marker so that people understood this is what I believe in, and if we’ll work together and not go outside the bounds of this, then, you know, I can work with you. I think the senator was doing the same thing. From time to time, you’ve got to hit the mule up the side of the head with a 2 x 4 to get its attention. And I think that’s what the senator did.
NICOLLE WALLACE, FMR. WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It’s not a morning with the governor from Texas without a mule reference. I remember your speech with —
PERRY: Or a donkey reference.
WALLACE: Exactly. With admiration for his courage and the risk you took. You took on Donald Trump in the fall. You called him a cancer on conservatism and I wonder if today’s endorsement of Senator Cruz is more a rejection and a continued protest against Trump, or are you really enthusiastic about Cruz?
PERRY: I’m really enthusiastic about this man, Ted Cruz. He will be ready to be commander in chief on day one, as a former Air Force pilot, as a person who has a real passion for the veterans and the active duty military. We talked about that a lot. We talked about his understanding that America’s interests have to be protected, that our allies have to be stood up for around the world, but that we’re not in the nation building business. We’re not going to be going out, getting involved in places in the world. And Ted understands that better than — as well as anyone on the right, let me put it that way.
And he understands and he knows what he doesn’t know. I can’t tell you what a virtue that is for an individual that’s going to be the commander in chief. Our government is incredibly complex. He will have people around him who truly understand all of these different aspects of government, empower them and allow them to go and drive and evolve that power back out of Washington, D.C.
He understands the Tenth Amendment. He is not interested in consolidating more power in Washington, D.C. Push it back out to the states, let this country get back to being this powerful, competitive place, where the states compete against each other, and people will figure out where they want to go live. And this one size fits all government, we can get away from.
BRZEZINSKI: Governor Rick Perry, thank you for coming on the show this morning.
PERRY: Good to be with you.
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