Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said he didn’t believe that his fellow 2016 contender Donald Trump “understands the challenge” of strengthening the U.S.-Mexico border, adding he was “offended” when Trump labeled Mexicans “rapists” during a speech last month.
“The fact is that I’ve said very clearly that Donald Trump does not represent the Republican Party,” Perry, the former governor of Texas, said Sunday on ABC News' “This Week.” “I was offended by his remarks.”
Trump, a billionaire businessman who is also a Republican, lost business partners and has endured criticism from fellow candidates after he said in his presidential announcement speech last month that Mexico was not sending “their best” people to the United States.
"They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we're getting," he said.
Perry said his 14 years leading Texas, which has a long border with Mexico, better prepared him to address immigration and border control.
“To paint with that broad a brush that Donald Trump did, is, I mean-- He's going to have to defend those remarks,” Perry said. “I never will. And I will stand up and say that those are offensive, which they were.”
Responding to Perry’s comments, Trump tweeted Sunday that Perry “needs a new pair of glasses” -- a hit on Perry’s relatively new, black-rimmed eyeglasses.
“Rick Perry failed at the border,” Trump wrote. “Now he is critical of me. He needs a new pair of glasses to see the crimes committed by illegal immigrants.”
Perry also distanced himself from his criticism during his 2012 presidential campaign of the repeal of the “Don't Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prevented gay people from openly serving in the military.
“You don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school,” Perry said in a 2011 ad.
He suggested Sunday that, if elected president, he would not bring back “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” saying “the horse is out of the barn.”
“I have no reason to think that that’s going to be able to be done,” he said.