Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Sunday teased a possible 2024 presidential run while declining to support Donald Trump’s campaign, becoming the latest onetime Trump appointee to distance himself from the former president’s third White House bid.
Perry, who unsuccessfully sought the 2012 and 2016 GOP presidential nominations, told CNN’s Jim Acosta in an interview that he hasn’t “written off” the idea of running for president in 2024, saying there was “a lot of time” before a decision would need to be made.
When asked if he believes Trump should be the Republican nominee next year, the former Texas governor said, “I’m still trying to sort that out for myself.”
“He may get to hear me call him names again,” Perry added, alluding to previous clashes between the two men in the 2016 Republican primaries. “If you’ll recall, I didn’t announce for president in 2011 until August, so we’ve got a lot of time left.”
When asked explicitly if he was considering another run for president, Perry did not give a direct answer.
“It’s early in the process, I think, for any of us to sit back and say, ‘I’m for this person or that person,’” Perry said. “It certainly is something that I haven’t taken off the table, but the chances of it happening are probably a little bit slim.”
“There’s a lot of time left, and we’ll see how this all works out,” he added.
Perry is the longest-serving Texas governor in history, assuming the role in 2000, when Gov. George W. Bush resigned to become president. He won three full terms before opting against reelection in 2014.
Trump picked Perry as his energy secretary in 2017, a position he held until he resigned in 2019 amid scrutiny over his role in the administration’s dealings with Ukraine – which stemmed from a whistleblower’s allegation that Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky to investigate now-President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and that the White House attempted to cover up the conversation.
Perry was again embroiled in a Trump-related scandal when members of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol identified Perry as the author of a text message sent to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows the day after the 2020 election pushing an “AGRESSIVE (sic) STRATEGY” for three state legislatures to ignore the will of their voters and deliver their states’ electors to Trump, sources told CNN at the time. Other texts between Perry and Meadows discussing how to overturn the election, signed by the former governor, also found the light of day during the investigation.
In his CNN interview Sunday, Perry denied sending the text message to Meadows, calling it “misinformation.” He did not respond when asked by Acosta if he agreed with the strategy to form alternate slates of 2020 electors in key states.
“I got called on (the text) a couple times. Number one, it’s not my style of speak, or texting, so to speak. So again, there is a lot of misinformation out there, Jim, and that was one piece of it,” Perry said. “So I can assure you that that didn’t come from me.”