Hours before the second foreign policy debate this campaign season, Rick Perry called for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder based on his handling of Operation Fast and Furious, and should Holder refuse to resign, the Texas governor says President Obama should fire him.
“Mr. Holder’s proclaimed ignorance leaves Americans to draw one of two conclusions: Either he is guilty of extraordinary bureaucratic incompetence or he is guilty of a cover-up meant to shield him from the consequences of an operation that has left at least one federal agent dead and continues to imperil many more,” Perry wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Times. “Either way, it is high time for Mr. Holder to step down. If he refuses to resign, Mr. Obama must fire him immediately.”
Perry is the second presidential candidate to call for Holder’s resignation after Rep. Michele Bachmann voiced her position last week.
Perry highlighted the impact of the operation and detailed the information Holder provided during a congressional investigation into Fast and Furious.
“Hundreds of Fast and Furious firearms have been implicated in criminal activity, and another 1,400 firearms are on the street because the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives engaged in gun-walking – the selling of firearms to straw purchasers in an attempt to locate major weapons traffickers in Mexico. This controversial tactic, involving thousands of weapons, means that brave law enforcement personnel along the border remain at risk,” Perry wrote in the op-ed. “As details come to light, a larger shadow has been cast on Mr. Holder. When initially asked under oath to say when he first knew about Fast and Furious, Mr. Holder told the House Judiciary Committee on May 3, ‘I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.’
“But the evidence casts serious doubt over that claim. First, President Obama had commented publicly on the operation, noting on March 22 – more than a month before Mr. Holder’s sworn statement – that an inspector general had been assigned to investigate the matter.”
Perry, a border state governor, criticized Holder for not apologizing immediately to the family of slain border patrol agent Brian Terry.
“Under the attorney general’s leadership, our nation’s top law enforcement agency proactively armed some of the most dangerous criminal organizations in North America, and at least one American is dead as a direct result. The damage done to Mr. Holder’s credibility is irreparable,” Perry wrote. “Moreover, Mr. Holder never apologized to – or even spoke with – the family of slain Border Patrol Agent Terry until he was confronted by Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, earlier this month, nearly a year after Terry’s murder.”
“America simply cannot tolerate an attorney general who arms the very criminals he is supposed to protect us from and then refuses to comfort the grieving parents of a slain Border Patrol agent. Nor can we tolerate a president who lacks the courage to take decisive action in restoring justice to the Department of Justice,” Perry continued. “It is time for Mr. Holder to go.”
Speaking at a Federal Law Enforcement Foundation luncheon last Friday in New York, Perry called Fast and Furious an “ill-conceived operation” and made a veiled reference to Hoyer, saying the country deserves an “attorney general who displays the same courage and a sense of responsibility which they serve.”
Perry has heightened his attacks on Democrats in the past week as he has attempted to paint himself as the Washington “outsider” by picking battles with President Obama, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Rep. Steny Hoyer.