By Ben Kamisar - 05/05/15 03:27 PM EDT
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) suggested Tuesday his successor went too far in directing state troops to oversee a U.S. military training exercise some fear is part of a plot to take over the southwest.
“It’s OK to question your government. I do it on a regular basis. But the military is something else,” Perry, a potential 2016 contender, told the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday.
“Our military is quite trustworthy. The civilian leadership, you can always question that, but not the men and women in uniform,” he added.
That led Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) last week to order the commander of the Texas Military Forces to monitor the operation in order to “address concerns of Texas citizens and to ensure that Texas communities remain safe, secure and informed about the military procedures occurring in their vicinity.”
“I expect to receive regular updates on the progress and safety of the Operation,” Abbott wrote in his letter.
“Directing the State Guard to monitor the Operation will allow Texas to be informed of the details of military personnel movements and training exercise schedules,” he added.
The Pentagon said Monday that Americans have nothing to fear and that the operation won’t threaten civil liberties, according to a report from McClatchy. The exercise is expected to last about two months, and will include special forces practicing scenarios across the southern United States.
White House hopeful Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzMeet the billionaire donor behind Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Party chairs see reversal of fortune McConnell: Trump White House will have ‘constraints’ MORE (R-Texas) told Bloomberg that while he has “no reason” to doubt the military’s assurances, he is asking the Pentagon for more information.
But Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, threw cold water on the concerns.
“These are incredibly capable, patriotic Americans and the notion that they’re going to be some sort of private army for the president to take away all our guns is just silly,” he told the Dallas Morning News.
--This post was updated at 1:29 p.m. on May 6.