Even the school was surprised by Perry’s already-discredited attack
As secretary of energy, Rick Perry should be concerning himself with matters of national importance, including (he was surprised to learn) management of the nation’s nuclear weapons. But somehow, amid all that responsibility, he’s found time to call out Texas A&M University following the school’s election of a gay student body president in Bobby Brooks.
Brooks won the election after his opponent and initial winner of the campus vote, Robert McIntosh, was hit will allegations of failing to report a campaign expense and voter intimidation—the latter of which was later dropped. Further, the A&M student newspaper reported that McIntosh, the projected favorite, was also reported to have tallied up 14 other election violations during his campaign. Following McIntosh’s disqualification, Brooks, the runner-up, was named the winner.
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While Perry’s motives have not been made clear, his past homophobic comments suggest it wouldn’ t be a surprise if he were opposed to a gay student so prominently representing the conservative star’s alma mater. In an open letter to the Houston Chronicle, he claimed the election was “stolen outright” and accused the university of foul play in the name of tokenism.
Texas A&M was quick to fire back to the Houston Chronicle, claiming that students—not the administration—run the election, and those students voted almost unanimously to give McIntosh the boot following his countless trespasses during the campaign.
The University, speaking for many who raised an eyebrow at a senior government official getting involved in a college’s student election, said through A&M marketing exec Amy Smith, “Honestly, we were just surprised to see that the secretary of energy would take the time to weigh in in detail, and we respectfully disagree with his assessment of what happened.”
Similarly, even professors at other Texas schools were left with little doubt as to whether the Bobby Brook’s sexual orientation was Perry’s call to action, rather than “fairness.” Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, said “He’s written it as a call for fairness, not that he’s come out against the first gay student body president at A&M, but the extraordinary part is that he took the time to do this when he should have so many bigger fish to fry in his current job.”