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Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who served nearly three years as U.S. Secretary of Energy under former President Donald Trump, was noncommittal about whether he would support the former president in his reelection bid during a Wednesday interview with The Texas Tribune.
Perry told the Tribune he was attending a Republican Governors Association conference on Tuesday in Orlando, where Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis was speaking, just hours before Trump announced his third bid for the White House from Mar-a-lago. Perry said he’d committed to the conference three weeks ago.
“I’m of the opinion that this will all sort itself out,” Perry said in an interview. “For me personally, it’s kind of like, show me what you got. Whether it’s Donald Trump, whether it’s DeSantis, whether it’s somebody that we haven’t seen yet.”
He added that it was still early, and after running for statewide office six times, he knows how the campaign and election processes go.
“I respect the process, and may the best person win,” Perry added. “It’s a fair and open and free for all, so it will be interesting to watch.”
Perry is Texas’ longest-serving governor, serving from 2000-15. He ran for the GOP nomination for president twice, most recently when he faced off against Trump but withdrew in September 2015. From 2017-19, Perry headed the U.S. Department of Energy and served on Trump’s cabinet.
Trump’s popularity within his party is up for debate after the midterm elections, in which candidates he endorsed underperformed. Meanwhile, DeSantis’ political star is rising after he won his reelection bid for governor in Florida by 20 points on the same night.
According to a new GOP poll, Texas Republican voters favor DeSantis over Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination.
Many of Trump’s former allies have turned on him ahead of and after his campaign announcement.
Former Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview Tuesday that voters will have “better choices” than his former ballot partner in 2024. On Wednesday morning, Mike Pompeo, who served consecutively as the director of the CIA and then the U.S. Secretary of State under Trump, tweeted that the U.S. needs leaders who aren’t “claiming victimhood.”
At the Republican Governors Association conference on Tuesday, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump ally, received applause for criticizing Trump, blaming him for the GOP’s losses in the last three election cycles, Axios reported.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump also distanced herself from her father after his announcement. On Tuesday night, she posted a statement to Instagram saying she plans to support her father “outside the political arena” but will not be involved in his campaign.