Perry urges conservatives not to vote for Trump
© Greg Nash

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry made one more appeal to his party to move on from Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE and choose a “true conservative" in 2016. 

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While never mentioning Trump by name, he repeatedly shadowboxed against the party’s current front-runner for the presidential nomination, whom Perry had tried to take on before bowing out of the race earlier this month.

“We cannot make the mistake of replacing a liberal divider-in-chief with a conservative divider-in-chief or to sacrifice our principles for the cult of personality,” he said at the Values Voter Summit, a conference for religious conservatives.

“It is time to to elevate this debate from divisive name-calling, from soundbites without solutions, and start discussing how we can make this country better for all of us if conservative values are put into place."

Perry hammered Trump, again without mentioning his name, over his controversial comments about Mexican immigrants and his immigration platform.  

"We can secure the border and reform our immigration system without inflammatory rhetoric, without base appeals to divide us," he said. 
 
"Demeaning people of Hispanic heritage is not just ignorant, it betrays the example of Christ." 
 
Perry doubled down on his criticisms of President Obama, accusing him of constantly testing the "limits of his power" and noting that there's "no argument too silly or a soundbite too shrill for this president."
 
He spent much of his speech quoting scripture or speaking about America's greatness and closed with another barb at Trump, this time a play off the billionaire businessman's slogan "Make America Great Again." 
 
"Let's make America good again so it can be great again," he said to close. 

The speech was Perry’s first major address since he abruptly dropped out of the presidential race on Sept. 11 after fundraising struggles. A frequent critic of Trump, Perry, like all of the presidential candidates who took the stage at the summit, received a standing ovation when he finished.

Despite his opposition to Trump, Perry told MSNBC on Thursday that he would support the real estate tycoon if he became the Republican nominee.