Rick Perry, it seems, is not taking his indictment the least bit seriously. In fact, he’s fundraising off it.
On Friday afternoon, the Texas governor tweeted:
The link directs interested parties to his political action committee, RickPAC, which is selling $25 T-shirts featuring his mug shot on the front, with the caption “WANTED (for securing the border and defeating Democrats),” and the mugshot of Rosemary Lehmberg on the back, with the caption “GUILTY (driving while intoxication and perversion of justice).”
Some background: Lehmberg, a Democrat, is the district attorney in Travis County. She was caught on tape drunkenly berating law enforcement after being pulled over and taken in for drunk driving. Perry publicly threatened to veto funding for a powerful agency that she controlled if she did not step down from her position (which would have enabled Perry, a Republican, to appoint her replacement), and then he followed through on the threat. That resulted in an investigation into Perry, which culminated last week with the finding that he had abused his power and attempted to coerce a public servant—first and third degree felonies, respectively.
Perry’s strategy to convince the media and the public that the charges against him are nonsense has been to treat them as such. After getting his mug shot taken, for example, he went out for ice cream. And much to the chagrin of some in the Lone Star State, a lot of people seem to be buying it. New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait branded the indictment “unbelievably ridiculous.” The New York Times editorial board deemed it “the product of an overzealous prosecution.” And former senior Obama adviser David Axelrod dismissed it as “sketchy.”
Besides shrugging off the indictment, Perry is doing his best to make sure every single breathing creature with the ability to see in the United States of America has observed Lehmberg’s disheveled mug shot and the deeply embarrassing video of her arrest, which shows her strapped to a restraining chair and having a white mask placed over her face. Earlier this week, Perry released an ad highlighting the arrest video.
It seems safe to assume that Perry’s next move will be to emulate former Louisiana governor and current congressional candidate Edwin Edwards by selling “Vote for the Crook” bumper stickers.