Rick Perry is understandably upset with a Texas grand jury’s decision to indict him for abuse of power, and he’s letting everyone know about it.
The “abuse of power” in question is this: Perry wanted District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, to resign her post after being convicted of drunk driving. When she didn’t, he publicly threatened to veto funding to her office. Then, he actually did just that. A watchdog group filed an ethics complaint against Perry over the incident, which resulted in the indictment he is now facing.
But Perry is not the type to ride quietly into the night. He’s going to be shooting his gun into the air and hootin’ and hollerin’ the whole way down. YEE HAW!
According to KWTX.com, he said in a short press conference earlier today:
“We don’t settle political differences with indictments in this country. It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state’s constitution. This indictment amounts to nothing more than abuse of power and I cannot and I will not allow that to happen.”
No, Republicans just settle political differences by filing lawsuits in the U.S. House of Representatives against the President of the United States and threatening to impeach him over just about every single thing he does — which is so much better, right?
There’s more to this story, which makes his “partisan political theatrics” comment especially rich. Lehmberg heads Texas’ Public Integrity Office. According to Mother Jones, Perry likely thought that forcing Lehmberg out would allow him to appoint a Republican replacement for her, to serve out the remainder of her term. The head of the Public Integrity Office is whomever serves as Travis County’s DA, and Travis County tends to lean blue.
Mother Jones points out that the Public Integrity Office frequently investigates Republicans for ethics violations, mostly because Republicans hold the majority of public offices in Texas. Dismantling that office seems to be a permanent plank in the Texas GOP’s platform, possibly because they don’t like having so many investigations of their people. It’s entirely likely that the Texas GOP sees the Public Integrity Office as one giant political stunt.
But, despite all that, Perry stands by what he did. Fox News Insider reports that he said:
“Just as I have following every legislative session during my service as governor, I exercised this authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership had lost the public’s confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically. I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand by my veto, and I’ll continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor.”
When it comes to partisan theatrics, the GOP is king. Perry has a lot of nerve making comments like this when he’s still part of it.