Rick Perry Called Donald Trump a ‘Cancer.’ Now He’s a Supporter. How Does That Work?

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Republican presidential candidate and former Texas Governor Rick Perry fields questions at The Family Leadership Summit at Stephens Auditorium on July 18, 2015 in Ames, Iowa.
Some nasty words uttered about a political rival can be incurable. Photo: Scott Olson/2015 Getty Images

When then-presidential candidate Rick Perry said the following words about Donald Trump in July of 2015, it probably did not occur to him that he’d have to eat them in less than a year:

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[Trump] offers a barking carnival act that can best be described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery and mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.

And that was by no means the worst thing he said about Trump on that occasion. This was:

Let no one be mistaken Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised, and discarded,” Perry said during a speech in Washington, D.C.“It cannot be pacified or ignored for it will destroy a set of principles that has lifted more people out of poverty than any force in the history of the civilized world and that is the cause of conservatism.”

Yeah, well, that’s how Perry’s catechism goes. But in any event, when you start comparing people to "cancer" it’s very hard to take back. And that’s why the word is being mentioned almost universally today in stories about Perry endorsing Trump and even hinting that he might be a good ticket mate for the mogul. 

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, who for the moment at least has declined to make a meal of her own words about Trump, had some easy target practice with Perry:

Yeah, let it be a lesson to other pols. If you want to lay the thick wood on a rival, call him a “cad” or a “bounder” or a “blackguard.” Calling him a “cancer” is well-nigh incurable.

Perry Tries to Live Down Trump ‘Cancer’ Comment