As Texas Gov. Rick Perry finds himself in the middle of a scandal about whether he abused his office or properly applied his authority, a fellow Texan and potential 2016 presidential GOP rival is coming to his defense – Sen. Ted Cruz.
Cruz, a former solicitor general in Texas, said the indictment of Perry on allegations that he exacted political revenge by denying funding to the office of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, is politically motivated.
Perry demanded that Lehmberg step down from her post after she was arrested for drunken driving and, the governor said, made a scene, getting aggressive with the police officers. When she ignored his demand to resign, Perry vetoed funding for the state’s public integrity unit.
“Unfortunately, there has been a sad history of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office engaging in politically-motivated prosecutions, and this latest indictment of the governor is extremely questionable,” Politico quoted Cruz as saying in a statement.
“The Texas Constitution gives the governor the power to veto legislation, and a criminal indictment predicated on the exercise of his constitutional authority is, on its face, highly suspect.”
Fellow Republicans Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also defended Perry. Both men have been mentioned as possible 2016 GOP presidential candidates as well.
“Ridiculous. Major overreach and an encroachment on his veto authority,” Bush said in a tweet.
Jindal characterized the indictment as a “blatant misuse of the judicial system by liberal activists who couldn’t defeat him at the polls.”
Perry noted the support of Cruz, Jindal and Bush in interviews on news shows over the weekend. “Rick Perry is a friend, he’s a man of integrity — I am proud to stand with Rick Perry,” Cruz said.