Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry took to the stage Monday at the Republican National Convention to praise a man for his courage and love for America. That man was not soon-to-be-nominated Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In fact, Perry didn’t mention Trump at all.
He delivered brief remarks on the first night of the convention in Cleveland, which was devoted to the theme of “Make America Safe Again.”
Perry, who endorsed Trump in May despite previously calling him a “cancer on conservatism,” spoke only about Marcus Luttrell, a retired Navy SEAL who wrote the book Lone Survivor and gave his own remarks after Perry’s. The only Trump-esque line in Perry’s comments was a riff on his “make America great again” motto.
“Tonight, our commitment is this: Making America great again starts by taking care of our veterans,” Perry said.
It’s not a huge surprise that Perry skipped praise of Trump, given his past criticism of him. As one reporter noted, Perry’s website still includes a knock on “Trump-ism.”
Even when Perry endorsed Trump in May, it wasn’t exactly ringing.
“He is not a perfect man. But what I do believe is that he loves this country and he will surround himself with capable, experienced people and he will listen to them,” Perry said at the time. “He wasn’t my first choice, wasn’t my second choice, but he is the people’s choice.”
Most of the Monday convention speakers devoted significant time to Trump. But another exception was Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who said the name “Trump,” unlike Perry, but similarly skipped the opportunity to praise him. Instead, Cotton talked about his own family and his military service, with a brief mention of the presumptive nominee.
“Let me say again, this time directly to our troops: In a Trump-Pence administration and with a Republican Congress, help is on the way,” Cotton said.