Republican presidential contender Rick Perry branded Donald Trump’s candidacy a “cancer on conservatism” Wednesday in the strongest denunciation yet of the billionaire’s provocations in the campaign.
Perry’s blistering criticism came after Trump announced plans to visit the Mexico border. Trump’s announcement signaled there would be no backing down — indeed, a possible further escalation — in his feud with presidential rivals and other figures in the party. That feud was sparked by his comments about immigrants last month and accelerated when he mocked Arizona Sen. John McCain’s experience as a tortured prisoner in the Vietnam War.
The Republican field was at first halting in responding to Trump’s comments, but contenders reacted when he insulted McCain, with several saying Trump was not fit to be president. Now Perry, a former Texas governor, has taken the pushback further.
“He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued,” Perry said in a speech in Washington hosted by a super political action committee supporting his campaign.
“Let no one be mistaken,” Perry said, “Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded. “
Trump plans to travel to Laredo, Texas, on Thursday, where he will hold a news conference at the border, meet members of the union that represents Border Patrol agents and speak to law enforcement officers, his campaign said.